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As Israel Bombarded Mosques, Lebanon Restores Synagogue


World  (tags: synagogue, Beirut, Lebanon, Jews, Jewish, Arabs )

Sam
- 1177 days ago - buzzfeed.com
A promising story of religious cooperation in the Middle East may seem unlikely at the end of a summer of sectarian violence across the region. But a Lebanese project to rebuild its one and only synagogue project offers a tiny glimmer of optimism.



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Comments

Angelika R (143)
Tuesday September 2, 2014, 5:33 pm
...and their arch foe approved of the reconstruction! - How does this make Israel look !
After some 5 years, this is great news and hopefully more than just a "tiny glimmer of optimism" !
That man Isaac Arazi has to be applauded for his endeavor with this project and we wish him a thriving and growing jewish community again!
 

Freya H (361)
Tuesday September 2, 2014, 7:23 pm
Now who are the "bad guys"?
 

Kathleen M (231)
Tuesday September 2, 2014, 7:51 pm
Noted. Thanks, Sam. Hope the generous impulse displayed here spreads like wildfire.
 

Carol French (121)
Tuesday September 2, 2014, 8:22 pm
"The last refuge for the minorities of the Middle East "
This is the message of hope to go with the " Beirut's synagogue " the Maghen Abraham
Built in 1925 In ruins since 1982 (27yrs) & rebuilt again in 2014
All thanks to the Lebonese Jews, Muslims & Christians.
But thanks to Arazi himself.!!!!
Thank You!!!!!
 

Sam H (410)
Tuesday September 2, 2014, 9:30 pm
CORRECTION

The writer of the article or her editor made a mistake. While this one may be Beirut’s only synagogue, it’s by no means Lebanon’s only synagogue. There are at least two other synagogues: one in Sidon and one in Aley (Mount Lebanon). The one in Aley is probably the oldest in the country.
 

jess b (26)
Tuesday September 2, 2014, 10:00 pm
Admirable.

Israel must be made to pay "restitution" for it's crimes against humanity, deliberate targeting of mosques, churches, schools, refugee camps and centers, and infrastructure in Gaza.
It has used US taxpayers funds to desecrate homes and sacred places, with impunity and pretend it had no choice.

Group: $40 million worth of damage to Gaza mosques, cemeteries

29/08/2014 GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israel's military offensive on the Gaza Strip caused $40.4 million worth of damages to religious sites and cemeteries in Gaza, the Palestinian Economic Council for Development and Reconstruction said Thursday.

Over 73 mosques were completely destroyed, 205 partially destroyed, two churches damaged, and 10 cemeteries severely damaged, a report by PECDAR said.

In total, over one third of Gaza's mosques were damaged.

The Latin Church in Gaza City suffered partial damage as a result of airstrikes, while the al-Omari Mosque in Jabaliya was completely destroyed.

The mosque is believed to have stood on the same site since 647 AD, and the portico and minaret date back to the medieval Mamluk period, or at least 500 years.

Over three times as many religious sites were damaged in Operation Protective Edge compared to Israel's deadly 2008-9 offensive on the besieged enclave.


29/08/2014 - GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israel's military offensive on the Gaza Strip caused $40.4 million worth of damages to religious sites and cemeteries in Gaza, the Palestinian Economic Council for Development and Reconstruction said Thursday.

Over 73 mosques were completely destroyed, 205 partially destroyed, two churches damaged, and 10 cemeteries severely damaged, a report by PECDAR said.

In total, over one third of Gaza's mosques were damaged.

The Latin Church in Gaza City suffered partial damage as a result of airstrikes, while the al-Omari Mosque in Jabaliya was completely destroyed.

The mosque is believed to have stood on the same site since 647 AD, and the portico and minaret date back to the medieval Mamluk period, or at least 500 years.

Over three times as many religious sites were damaged in Operation Protective Edge compared to Israel's deadly 2008-9 offensive on the besieged enclave.
 

Rose Becke (141)
Tuesday September 2, 2014, 10:36 pm
Thanks Sam,this warms my heart
 

Sam H (410)
Tuesday September 2, 2014, 11:07 pm
I don’t know if you saw the Times article, Rose.

It seems Israel is an equal opportunity wrecking ball. It doesn’t only shell mosques, but synagogues as well. This particular synagogue was shelled by Israel in 1982. This is the New York Times article:

http://www.nytimes.com/1982/08/12/world/beirut-s-only-synagogue-is-casualty-of-the-israelis.html
 

. (0)
Wednesday September 3, 2014, 1:21 am
Mosque, Synagogues, Churches, Cathedrals ... they all ought to have been turned into museums, into reminders of the Dark Irrational Ages long ago.

 

Anteater Ants (122)
Wednesday September 3, 2014, 3:57 am
thank you
 

Angelika R (143)
Wednesday September 3, 2014, 4:17 am
Thx Sam for the correction and link to original article.
"Jewish residents say they have not been harassed by their Moslem neighbors or the Palestinians since the Israelis invaded Lebanon on June 6." ! Shows how little respect Israel had even for its own people and religious and cultural assets.
 

Abo r (107)
Wednesday September 3, 2014, 5:20 am
Thanks Sam for the post and Jess b for forwarding.
noted.
 

Sandra Penna (135)
Wednesday September 3, 2014, 6:10 am
noted, Sam, thank you. and thank you, Jess, for the forward.
 

Past Member (0)
Wednesday September 3, 2014, 7:07 am
Thank you....
 

Dandelion G (367)
Wednesday September 3, 2014, 7:22 am
Excellent....actions speak louder than words. Too many words of propaganda out there and that hurts many.
 

Past Member (0)
Wednesday September 3, 2014, 9:06 am
Wonderful to see--a peaceful beautiful gesture. Thanks Sam
 

Lona G (85)
Wednesday September 3, 2014, 9:17 am
Hopeful story. I hope that many of the Jews who lived there originally return to Lebanon when the synagogue has been restored with approval of all factions. Thanks for posting, Sam.
 

Krista S (201)
Wednesday September 3, 2014, 11:17 am
Noted
 

Eleonora Oldani (37)
Wednesday September 3, 2014, 1:43 pm

Thanks Sam, for posting this great news. Doesn't this show too how much "hatred" there is in the Arab countries for real Jews as opposed to "Zionists"?!

Another gesture of reaching out which could also be seen at the Iftar meals (breaking the fast) organized by Jewish communities in Cairo for the fasting Muslims in Ramadan.

Very much like the many restorations of synagogues under way in Egypt; one of the most famous ones - the Maimonides Synagogue restoration - was completed in 2010. The oldest synagogue in Egypt - the Ben Ezra Synagogue - dates back to 950 A.D. and was successfully restored in 1995. Both are just beautiful and I love to take our visitors there.

Let there be no mistake - the synagogues had environmental damages due to rainwater seepages and groundwater and were neglected.

The Ben Ezra Synagogue is probably best known for the discovery of the very old Hebrew scriptures (manuscripts and books) in the Genizah (storeroom), dating as far back as the 10th century. Some 20'000 of them are now in the Jewish Theological Seminary of America.

You may or may not know that in Judaism it is forbidden to throw out scriptures which contain the name of God; they have to be properly buried once they become unusable. Similar to Islam where documents containing the name of God or writings of the Qur'an are usually burnt. The findings in the Genizah of the Ben Ezra Synagogue are probably the most famous ones.

Let's hope that such endeavours overcome the hate and incitement which takes place from both political sides and that people can move closer together.

Imagine if peace, understanding and true acceptance of the other breaks out? All the warmongers and inciters and haters would suddenly be jobless!!

 

Eleonora Oldani (37)
Wednesday September 3, 2014, 1:54 pm

I just finished reading the whole article and stumbled over this:

"When sectarian tensions erupted into civil war in 1975, however, many Jews left for Europe and the Americas."

Why didn't they just cross the border and went to Israel? Wouldn't that be the most normal and easiest thing to do? Instead they went to ... Europe with its Holocaust history?!

And this one:

"The Lebanese government approved the synagogue’s reconstruction in 2009 with the support of all political parties, including the militant Hezbollah movement."

Aren't we always told that Hezbollah wants to destroy Israel, wipe it off the map and throw the Jews in the Sea ... very much like Hamas?

Somewhere the narratives don't hold ...

Thanks for the update too, Jess. Israel never has and never will pay for the damages. Paying reparation is only for other countries. As always the international community will chip in with our tax dollars and frankly, I'm sick and tired of it.

What really upsets me is this note in your posted articles: "The Latin Church in Gaza City suffered partial damage as a result of airstrikes, while the al-Omari Mosque in Jabaliya was completely destroyed. The mosque is believed to have stood on the same site since 647 AD, and the portico and minaret date back to the medieval Mamluk period, or at least 500 years."

One can't help but wonder: why were these targeted?
 

Kate K (215)
Wednesday September 3, 2014, 2:46 pm
I am glad to hear it was rebuilt-it is good new for lebanese Jews- but I have to wonder what tis has to do with Israel. I abhor why Israel is doing as doing, as do many Israelis and Jews all over, but do not attempt to lump Jews and Israel together.
 

Justin Vale (13)
Wednesday September 3, 2014, 3:31 pm
3 synagogue's in all of lebanon. and only one in beirut.
you could probably wander the sahara desert and bump into more than that in just one day.
3 synagogue's in all lebanon and they have the jewish nation right next to them.
corny little gesture, that's all this is. they're scared. hezbollah makes them a target.
isis is coming for hezbollah, and all of lebanon is in the way.
 

Justin Vale (13)
Wednesday September 3, 2014, 3:34 pm
i wonder how many mosque's there are in israel.
in some places it might be like 3 per block.
and i'll bet that every single last one of them is on the state's shekel.
 

Stan B (123)
Wednesday September 3, 2014, 3:57 pm
I don't suppose this is due to the fact that Hamas and other terrorists use mosques to hide and fire weapons. Never heard of a synagogue used for the same purposes.
Anyone know how many synagogues there are in Gaza? There used to be a few till the Israelis withdrew all the settlers and the peace loving Palestinians destroyed the lot, which is what they do best.
What a non story!!
 

Aurea Aurea Walker (226)
Wednesday September 3, 2014, 8:25 pm
applaud the restoration of the synagogue and fervently hope that this will hopefully restore understanding and respect of all religous factions involved.
 

Giana Peranio-paz (400)
Thursday September 4, 2014, 2:07 am
You are so right Stan and Justin. The only reason Israel bombs a mosque is because Hamas with firearms hide in them and send their missiles from them. What's wrong with you people? Again, so one sided and misinformed.
The whole country of Israel is full of mosques and Arab cities, Muslim and Christian and they are free to practice their religions with no problem. We have good coexistence, expecially where I live in Haifa, I have a mosque right across from me. We are all friends, Muslim, Christian, Jews and other religions like Bahai.
 

Maria Teresa Schollhorn (42)
Thursday September 4, 2014, 3:57 am
Noted. Thank you Sam for posting.
 

Angelika R (143)
Thursday September 4, 2014, 6:14 am
Ros, my guess is that our friend Giana was SOLELY referring to religious rights and matters. As for all the rest, I am sure she is well informed like we all are. Should anyone not be informed perhaps study this *here* about: • The legal framework of inequality • Citizenship rights • Income/poverty • Redistribution of resources and social welfare • Employment • Economic assets: land • Educational access/attainment • The Arabic language • Health • Political participation
 

Angelika R (143)
Thursday September 4, 2014, 6:16 am
...and once again we managed to get off-topic..argh...sorry for my part!
 

Sam H (410)
Thursday September 4, 2014, 6:57 am
Ros, you beat me. Had my comment ready to post before I got distracted. This is what I wanted to say:

Angelika, you’re so generous with your comments towards Giana. The Inequality Report you provided is very important, accurate and devastating.

But Giana’s “you people” comment is not a sign of an informed, open-minded person. Our friend Ros was not going to take such a comment lying down!
 

Angelika R (143)
Thursday September 4, 2014, 8:36 am
I hope you find no fault in me being "so generous", that's just my personal approach trying to educate and/or correct people rather than criticise, and I don't' think I was being unfair or trying to speak on behalf of Giana. I know her primary interest is NOT in politics and thus she leaves her state media unquestioned. And I am still sure her statement was only in response to Eleonora's question ".. why were these[ Gaza mosques] targeted?" And to be fair, none of us here has any evidence that Hamas is NOT doing what she claims.
But I agree she could have made a better choice of words.

I also do know how inportant that report is, that's why I gave the link one more time here. But, unlike Ros, I was only trying not to take the thread off from the original topic which is mosques and synagogues.
Peace!
 

Justin Vale (13)
Thursday September 4, 2014, 2:56 pm
that's right lets get back to the original topic.
where were we? oh yeah, how there are only 3 synagogue's in soon to be a wasteland lebanon.
i wonder if i google how many mosque there are in israel what number would show up. i know it's gotta be like off the hook cause i once read that israel has more mosque's than many muslim nations.
 

Sam H (410)
Thursday September 4, 2014, 4:12 pm
Justin, while I subscribe to el L’s idea about houses of worship, their number in the absolute is meaningless. They exist to serve their respective congregations. So their number, I would imagine, has something to do with the number of worshippers.

Worship in Al Aqsa, for example, is restricted by Israel. It’s Israel who decides who can pray their and who can’t. I’m, however, more concerned about restrictions imposed on the Palestinians’ movement in general and their devastating effects on their daily lives.
 

Sam H (410)
Thursday September 4, 2014, 10:24 pm
That’s an interesting story, Ros. It reminded of another. Once I had a professor who had immigrated to the US from India. He happened to be Catholic. He told me one of the reasons he decided to immigrate was the discrimination he faced in India as a Catholic. Once he got here, they discriminated against him because he was Indian. It seems the Copts on your street initially had a similar experience. Glad it had a happy ending!
 

Eleonora Oldani (37)
Friday September 5, 2014, 1:47 am

To Giana - I've just read through the comments and assume you took issue with my remark?

""The Latin Church in Gaza City suffered partial damage as a result of airstrikes, while the al-Omari Mosque in Jabaliya was completely destroyed. The mosque is believed to have stood on the same site since 647 AD, and the portico and minaret date back to the medieval Mamluk period, or at least 500 years."

Not sure though but let me clarify nonetheless: my issue was and is that given today's high-tech weaponry of which Israel has plenty there was no need to raze this ancient place of worship to the ground. I've been searching for any report that Israel claims/ed that rockets were fired from there or that troops were attacked from there thus giving them a reason - I couldn't find any article.

Knowing how much it upsets not only normal and religious people of any faith with a normal sense for culture and heritage to see valuable (stone) witnesses of our past destroyed in wanton acts I think that the destruction of this historic place of worship is very bad for the already quite bad image of Israel.

The really upsetting part is that it will backlash probably not so much on polit-Israel but on Jews in general - especially those outside Israel.

Imagine the positive picture if Israel could (rightfully) proudly claim that it protected that specific mosque by avoiding it?

I do recall the protests we staged when the Taliban destroyed the 2 gigantic Buddha statues. I was asked then why do you get so heated up ... it's only stones. Well - with a person of such a mindset there's no need to discuss further. But I gather from various comments of yours that you definitely don't fall into this category of people!

Equally we went on the streets when the Salafists wanted to convince the Mursi regime in Egypt to destroy the ancient buildings in Egypt if they have remotely anything to do with deities. Imagine?!?! Thankfully even the MBs didn't agree. Surprisingly the MBs even continued supporting (although very low key because of lack of funds) the restoration of those synagogues which still need work - eleven altogether.

I believe (maybe stupid?) that we all have a responsibility to keep the witnesses to our history intact - whatever religion and whatever race and culture; after all this is part of us, our heritage and something we should pass on to the generations to come.

I hope this clarifies a bit the point which I was trying to make.

What was equally upsetting at the time or even more (at least for me because it involved the most vulnerable of societies) was the partial destruction of the Latin Church. One of the priests sent out this message: “The church of Gaza has received an order to evacuate ... they will bomb the Zeitun area and the people are already fleeing. The problem is that the priest Fr George and the three nuns of Mother Teresa have 29 handicapped children and nine old ladies who can't move. How will they manage to leave?? If anyone can intercede with someone in power, and pray, please do it. We are trying. .. may our impotence be taken up by his Omnipotence!!"

I wish I could say that polit-Israel didn’t know about the residents of the Latin Church – but that’s not the case. Israel’s aim was just to bombard district after district. Yes, I know, such are the effects of war … yet we always hear that the IDF “is the most moral army in the world” and it just doesn’t tally with facts on the ground.

All we can do is hope that sanity will come back and at long last justice will see the light of the day – for BOTH sides!

Stay safe were you are, Giana, and shalom!

 

Eleonora Oldani (37)
Friday September 5, 2014, 2:30 am

Well Justin ... your comment re mosques in Israel as compared to mosques in Muslim nations just shows that you've never been in a Muslim country otherwise you wouldn't say that - LOL. The interesting fact is that they are always full on Friday the point that many have to pray on the streets. And no, it's only in Saudi (again!! thanks to the idiotic Wahhabis) where men are practically forced to go to the mosque - directly opposite to what the Qur'an teaches! I'd love once to tell them that and look at their dumbfounded faces - not that they don't know ... but imagine for a second a Western woman telling them that - LOL!

 

Eleonora Oldani (37)
Friday September 5, 2014, 2:37 am

Dear Ros - I do remember we're talking about that little Coptic Church a while ago. Pope Shennouda III was a charismatic person no doubt. "Baba" as he was called affectionately (Father in Arabic); he died early 2012 and was proof that one can change from a ranking army officer to become a Pope. He was holding very extremists views as a young man (and was thrown in jail by Sadat once because of a terrible manifesto) and later changed to be open and moderate. He was not only respected by the Copts (Orthodox Christians) and moderate Christians but equally by most Muslims.

Stay safe!
 

Evelyn B (62)
Saturday September 13, 2014, 8:45 am
Sam - I too had the impression that the article referred to "only synagogue" ... but then when I wanted to quote this (in order to query the statement), I found "a" and "one of" ... not "only".

Lebanon (like Palestine) had good coexistence between the different communities prior to the events building up to the State of Israel - and in Lebanon, this continued up to the time of the civil war. A curious anecdote that I heard of first hand happened in late 1975. A Jewish Lebanese family, who also had Australian passports, were caught in their home in the predominantly Jewish neighbourhood between Ras Beirut & downtown. This area was "hot", with snipers controlling the main streets, and shells falling in the area ... not specifically targetting it, but shells falling short of further targets. After several days of frequent shelling, the wife, several months pregnant, & her husband decided to try to get the family to a safer neighbourhood. They'd not got far, with the mother trying to keep her 3 children protected by her body, when a shell landed near them, & she was injured by a shell splinter in the breast. They struggled into shelter, & the husband went to try to get help. Police? No point - they were ineffective. Army? No - they tended to get away from "hot" areas. So - Australian Embassy. And the Embassy rapidly mobilised a team to help get the family out, while the Embassy arranged for shelter & for the hospital to receive the woman. Who did the Embassy ask for help to arrange to bring this family out? The PLO ... and the team was composed mainly of Muslims
(The same team had "rescued" a young dog abandonned on a balcony without food or water, when its owners had headed up to their mountain home ..)

The real barrier to collaboration is not religion itself, it is intolerance of those belonging to a different religious group and refusal of human rights to these people. Most of the long-term Jewish families of the ME know that they can live alongside the Palestinians, Lebanese, Syrians, Bedouin ... Their families used to do so.
 

Angelika R (143)
Saturday September 13, 2014, 4:41 pm
Yes Evelyn, exactly right! and what a lovely story, thx. These positive examples sadly see the light just too rarely which is not new either. Too much of the other propaganda plus the general media motto "bad news is good news", good news is no news"
 

Sam H (410)
Saturday September 13, 2014, 6:09 pm
Thanks Evelyn for the story! I had written to Hannah Jewell alerting her to the error in the original title. I'm glad it was corrected. But the title now is less impressive than it was!
 

Angelika R (143)
Saturday September 13, 2014, 6:22 pm
I agree, THAT is what you get in return for taking that extra trouble Sam,..- that's life I guess.
 

. (0)
Saturday September 13, 2014, 6:52 pm
this sure is a beautiful synagogue. oh god jess is back with her and carries hatred.
 

Sam H (410)
Saturday September 13, 2014, 7:48 pm
I just noticed that they added this at the end of the article:

correction


A previous version of this article incorrectly referred to the Maghen Abraham as Lebanon’s only synagogue. There are in fact several synagogues in the country, including the Deir el Qamar synagogue in Mount Lebanon and an ancient synagogue in the city of Sidon. BuzzFeed regrets the error. Sept. 4, 2014, at 8:17 a.m.

But they still missed what I think is the oldest one in the town of Aley. We'll, I led her to the water, but she only took a sip!
 
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