Ancient Synagogue burns in Damascus, rebels and government exchange blame

(JNS.org) The ancient Ancient Eliyahu HaHavi Synagogue in Damascus has reportedly gone up in flames while rebel forces and the Syrian government exchange blame over the incident.

The rebels contend that the Syrian government burned the synagogue and stripped it of its content, while the government blamed the rebels for the arson, Israel Hayom reported. The government later released a video purportedly showing the rebels breaking into the synagogue.

Tradition holds that the ancient synagogue is built on the site where the prophet Elijah hid himself in a cave to avoid arrest. It is considered one of Judaism’s holiest and most ancient synagogues.

But this is not the first report of the ancient synagogue being attacked amid the ongoing Syrian civil war. In early March, a video posted by rebel forces showed the same synagogue being severely damaged from shelling, according to Israel National News. Once home to a vibrant Jewish community, Syria’s Jewish population has dwindled to around 100 people today.

Posted on March 31, 2013 .