Our Jewish Heritage – some worthy additions for preservation

16 “new” sites have been added to the Israeli National Heritage Plan.

This article in Arutz Sheva provides a nice summary including this quote from PM Netanyahu 

“The heritage project is one that we owe ourselves, our children and future generations,” said Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who heads the committee. “We are not here by chance. The story of the Jewish People in the Land of Israel, the story of Zionism, the story of our cultural and historical heritage, and our unique link to this Land, find expression in sites that were clear to me, and I am sure to my older friends as well, when we were children. To my regret, these same sites have become run down and therefore, we have decided to renovate them and thus restore them to the center of our cultural awareness.”

Also on the list were two archeological sites in the Golan Heights and one in the Judean Hills, south of Jerusalem.

Let’s look at them in more detail:

Umm el-Kanitar in the Golan, where archaeological excavations have revealed a Roman-era Jewish city and synagogue.  First a short video to the accompaniment of Israeli rock music.

  Then an article about the site  which describes the features of it as an ancient synagogue  “two column capitals with the figure of a menora and shofar, and a pronounced bima, four meters high, in front of the ark, the only such feature among the synagogues of the Golan and Galilee. The bima, which is being restored, was approached by a short flight of stairs, still in position. The size of the structure, 18 meters long by 13 meters wide and calculated to have been 12 meters high, makes it one of the biggest of ancient synagogues and indicates the relative wealth of the village community.” “It will have served as a community center, as most synagogues did, with learning facilities and accommodation for travelers. It had an upper story but this was not necessarily for women, rather it was an overflow for days of greater attendance, for town meetings as well as services.”    

Gamla The second new additional heritage site on the Golan is Gamla, a camel hump-shaped hill that includes the remains of an ancient Jewish city and which was the site of the 1st century CE Jewish revolt against Roman conquerors. Here is a great  video.   Gamla is a symbol of heroism for the modern State of Israel.   Here is a  description of Gamla, with its first century Shule (shown) which has been restored and is popular for barmitzvahs. 

A third site is Herodian, the site of Herod’s palace in eastern Gush Etzion and a popular site for foreign tourists as well as Israelis.

“The tomb complex of Herod himself was found there, a chamber with rare frescoes. If these things are not cared for they will disappear from the face of the earth. Any reasonable person, any international community which appreciates cultural heritage, would be obliged to do this. It has nothing to do with the diplomatic agenda.”

Here is a video about Herod’s palace, including discovery of a sarcophagus.  And a modern Chanukah juxtaposition.

.. Just 3 of the wonderful Heritage sites.

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2 thoughts on “Our Jewish Heritage – some worthy additions for preservation

  1. Thankyou for this great article and links. Netanyahu is right to claim all historic sites. The antisemites of the world will never approve of Jewish rights to anything, so we can’t wait for their approval. The Hamodia newspaper reported that the grave of Joshua in Timnat Heres was recently defaced by Arab grafitti. Israel has always respected the sacred sites of other faiths and allowed access, while the Arabs have desecrated Jewish sites whenever possible, and forbidden Jewish access. This is a fact. And it was Arafat’s men who holed up in the Church of Nativity and desecrated it. Israel was of course blamed for this at the time. What do the members of Israel-boycotting Marrickville council who are sister city of Bethlehem say about that?

  2. I agree with you, Ruth. Israel needs to celebrate its historic sites. The silence at the desecration of Jewish and Christian sites by Arabs and Muslims is very revealing. While pointing it out may not change the minds of ideologues, others less rigid will see the hypocrisy. In the real world, the record numbers of tourists visiting Israel, and even Bethlehem, point out peoples interest in visiting and maintaining the historic sites.