Occupied Jerusalem -

The restoration and rehabilitation work of the “Pride of Israel” synagogue, whose remains are located 250 meters from the western wall of the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque, has begun, decades after it was blown up and bombarded with artillery by Palestinian and Arab mujahideen and the Jordanian army, after forces from the Zionist Haganah gang entrenched inside it. and its use of fire in 1948.

This synagogue is only 100 meters away from the "Al-Khrab" synagogue, which is also located within the walls of the Old City.

Part of the Old City showing settlement projects in the Al-Buraq Wall area, including the Kharab Synagogue (Al-Jazeera)

Return to the promised land

The researcher in Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa Mosque affairs, Radwan Amr, said that the “Pride of Israel” synagogue is attributed to Rabbi Israel, who oversaw its construction in the mid-19th century, and that it was named by that name “in an attempt to enhance the pride of Jews around the world in beginning their return to the Promised Land.”

The synagogue was built on Islamic land in which there was soil that included the tomb of a Muslim saint named Sheikh Abu Shush, and the Jews claim - according to Amr - that they bought the land during the days of the Ottoman Empire, and that they preceded the Russian Church in establishing this Jewish synagogue on it.

Amr adds, "There was a race between the Russian Church and the Jewish rabbinate, led by the builder of the synagogue - Rabbi Israel - to obtain this land and build a religious landmark on it because it overlooks the Al-Aqsa Mosque and overlooks the Old City. The Jews claim that they preceded the Russian Church in establishing the synagogue, so the latter resorted to acquisition On another land outside the walls of the Old City in a strategic location, and built on it the building that is called the Moskoubiya Investigation Center today.

Researcher Radwan Amr: The synagogue of Israel's pride was built on Islamic land and the area was supplemented by settlers (Al-Jazeera)

Al-Maqdisi researcher stressed that the danger of restoring the synagogue comes from its sensitive location, as it is on a hill overlooking the Old City and close to Al-Aqsa Mosque and several other Jewish synagogues, most notably Al-Kharab Synagogue in the Al-Sharaf neighborhood, which was Judaized and seized and named the Jewish Quarter, noting that all of these synagogues It was established on endowment lands in the Al-Sharaf neighborhood and its surroundings, all of which supply the area with settlers who come to pray and learn the biblical teachings in schools attached to these synagogues.

Regarding the architectural form of this synagogue, Radwan Amr pointed out that it is square in shape, consisting of 4 floors, topped by a dome, and its total area is 300 square meters.

The first floor includes the "purgatory" in which Jews wash before performing worship, while the second floor will be devoted to prayer, and the third will be used as a hall for the study and teaching of the Torah and religious teachings, and the upper floor will be a view and a prayer hall that overlooks its surroundings, and on the roof of the building another view turns in crises And wars to a tower of fire, as happened in the synagogue itself before it was blown up.

Amr believes that "the high architectural design and strategic location of the synagogue was rehabilitated in the past to be a military base for the Zionist forces in 1948, as large forces holed up in the synagogue's rooms to store weapons, and thus the Palestinian and Arab mujahideen blew it up with the support of the Jordanian army and turned into ruins after it was a security fortress launched Fire in every direction.

Anchor point to target the maximum

Amr added that, according to some newspapers and documents, the snipers were on the roof of the synagogue and firing at the people of the Old City, in addition to targeting the minarets, wall and domes of Al-Aqsa from this strategic place.

Much was written in the past about the "Pride of Israel" synagogue;

It was reported in one of the old Lebanese newspapers in the mid-nineteenth century - according to Amr - that the Jews painted the dome of this synagogue green to provoke Muslims by virtue of the fact that the green color is widely used in their sanctities.

Israel is seeking to restore this synagogue to control the visual landscape of the Old City and try to compete with the domes of Al-Aqsa and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in the Old City by highlighting this Jewish dome that will be adjacent to the dome of the nearby “Al-Khrab” Synagogue.

The wall of Jerusalem, showing the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the extension of the Mughrabi Gate towards the town of Silwan and the Synagogue of Kharab (Al-Jazeera)

Amr asserts, “Al-Aqsa Mosque has two prominent domes, as well as the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, so the occupation is not satisfied with the dome of the Desolation Synagogue and wants a dome that supports it to give the Jewish character to the public space. Compared to the history of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and Al-Aqsa.

It is reported that Israel laid the foundation stone for the “Pride of Israel” synagogue twice: the first by Uri Ariel, and the second by Miri Regev, and it faced problems in adopting its construction due to its height above the Old City wall in a way that turns it into a prominent landmark on the city’s skyline. This was accompanied by fears and hesitation in Israeli circles.

This synagogue will exceed the height of the historic wall of Jerusalem, which contradicts the same Israeli organization and building frameworks that prevent the construction of buildings comparable to the walls in height or superior to them and blocking the view from them.

The cost of restoring it is 50 million shekels ($15.5 million).

Keywords: synagogue, russian church, jews, jerusalem, occupation, wall, rabbi israel, land, remains, old city, construction, pride of israel, al-aqsa, radwan amr, mujahideen