You can bookmark articles to Read Later

Assad Forces Destroy Syria’s Oldest Synagogue

May 30, 2014

Eliyahu HaNavi Jobar Synagogue

This plaque once identified this building as the site of the Synagogue of Eliyahu Hanabi.  Although the building had been damaged last year in the war, Syrian forces recently leveled the building.  Inside were many valuable Jewish artifacts.  (YouTube capture)

“A prophecy against Damascus: ‘See, Damascus will no longer be a city but will become a heap of ruins.’”  (Isaiah 17:1)

As war rages on in Syria, it seems that an intriguing end-time Bible prophecy is in the process of being fulfilled in Syria’s capital city, Damascus, one of the world’s oldest, continuously inhabited cities.

The cost of the war has been high.  More than 130,000 lives have been lost, millions have been displaced from their homes, and countless heritage buildings are now reduced to rubble throughout the country, including in Damascus.

This past weekend, the ancient Eliyahu HaNabi Synagogue, which stood in the Jobar neighborhood of Damascus, was destroyed by Syrian Army forces.

Once the holiest Jewish site in Syria, the synagogue is located in an area that has been under bombardment for several months.  It seems now to be a victim of Assad’s “scorched earth” policy of total destruction, which includes random attacks on civilians.

An official of the Syrian American Council, a non-profit charity that is supporting the opposition forces commented, “I am deeply saddened to learn of the destruction of Jobar Synagogue, which was a treasure of Jewish and Syrian cultural heritage.”

The official, Shlomo Bolts, who is a Syrian Jew, said that this act of the government is part of a program directed at the destruction of religious and cultural institutions.  (dailybeast)

While the Torah scrolls and possibly other items had been removed prior to the destruction, many other priceless Jewish artifacts remained and 400 years of antiquity was wiped out.

The synagogue is believed to have been built over the cave in which Elijah the prophet took shelter when he was being pursued by Jezebel.

Tradition says that Elisha the prophet built the synagogue and anointed King Hazael on its steps.

The present edifice is said to go back at least to medieval times.

Jobar had been home to an established Jewish community from that time until they were driven out and the synagogue taken over by the Arabs in the 19th century.  After the establishment of the Jewish state in 1948, it became a school for Palestinian refugees.

 The historical Khalid ibn al-Walid Mosque

The historic Khalid ibn al-Walid Mosque, which had become a symbol of anti-government rebels, has sustained heavy damage.

The destruction of the Jobar Synagogue is just one of the historic Syrian religious sites destroyed in the fighting.

The Um al-Zinnar Church in the opposition center of Homs is also demolished.  That church is believed to have dated back to the first centuries of Christianity.

Bolts said that the 1,400 year-old Khalid Ibn al-Walid Mosque has also been lost to “a dictator’s manic desire to keep power at all costs.”  (JPost)

As a part of his war against the opposition forces, Assad is said to be responsible for the destruction of at least 33 churches and hundreds of mosques.  Six UNESCO World Heritage Sites have been destroyed as well.  (dailybeast)

Although, we cannot be certain that the current events in Syria will fulfill Isaiah’s Damascus prophecy, we can be certain that it will be fulfilled before Messiah returns.  Here is another like it from the prophet Jeremiah:

“Concerning Damascus:  ‘Hamath and Arpad are dismayed, for they have heard bad news.  They are disheartened, troubled liked the restless sea.  Damascus has become feeble, she has turned to flee and panic has gripped her; anguish and pain have seized her, pain like that of a woman in labor. …  Surely, her young men will fall in the streets; all her soldiers will be silenced in that day,’ declares the Lord Almighty.  ‘I will set fire to the walls of Damascus; it will consume the fortresses of Ben-Hadad.’”  (Jeremiah 49:23–27)

report article corrections