Shalom Al Yisrael Synagogue

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Shalom Al Yisrael Synagogue
PikiWiki Israel 15003 Jericho synagogue mosaic.JPG
Shalom Al Yisrael Synagogue is located in the Palestinian territories
Shalom Al Yisrael Synagogue
Shown within the Palestinian territories
Location Jericho, West Bank
Coordinates 31°52′27″N 35°26′57″E / 31.874167°N 35.449167°E / 31.874167; 35.449167
Periods Byzantine
Site notes
Excavation dates 1936
Condition Preserved
Public access Restricted

The Shalom Al Yisrael Synagogue, (lit. "Peace Upon Israel Synagogue"), dates to the late 6th or early 7th century CE and was discovered in Jericho in 1936.


The synagogue, dating from the Byzantine period, was revealed in excavations conducted in 1936 by Dr. Baramki of the Department of Antiquities under the British Mandate. An Arab family built a house over the mosaic floor and charged admission to visit it.[1]

The mosaic floor incorporates Jewish symbols such as the Ark of the Covenant, the Menorah, the Shofar and the Lulav. There is also a Hebrew inscription, "Peace upon Israel" (שלום על ישראל), after which the mosaic was named.[2]

After the 1967 Six Day War, the site came under Israeli military control and remained under the administrative responsibility of the owners (the Shahwan family). Tourists and Jews began visiting the site regularly for prayers. In 1987, the Israeli authorities confiscated the mosaic, the house and a small part of the farm around it. They offered compensation to the Shahwan family but that was rejected. Following the Oslo Accords, the site was given to the Palestinian Authority (PA). Since then the PA has deployed a special security force to protect it.

Recent events[edit]

After the 1995 Oslo Accords, control of the site was given to the PA. It was agreed that free access to the site would continue and it would be adequately protected.[3]

At the beginning of the Al-Aqsa Intifada the site became a source of conflict. On the night of 12 October 2000, vandals entered and desecrated the building, damaging the private house on top of the ancient mosaic. Later, the PA repaired the damage.[4] The Torah scroll stored at the synagogue was rescued from the fire which had been started and was taken to Mevo'ot Yericho.

In 2005 a group of Israelis was able to visit the synagogue after it was restored by the Municipality of Jericho. Originally the IDF allowed only monthly visits - on the first of the Jewish month - in order to conduct prayer services. Beginning in July 2007 prayer services have been allowed once a week[5]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]