‘History is being lost’ – Maccabean site near Jericho in danger due to PA neglect

Israeli interest in visiting the site is particularly strong during the current Chanukah holiday, because of the ruins’ links…

HaShmonaim palace

Israeli interest in visiting the site is particularly strong during the current Chanukah holiday, because of the ruins’ links to the Maccabean revolt.

By Adina Katz, World Israel News

Local Jewish community leaders in Judea and Samaria are urging the Israeli government to establish a national park outside of Jericho, noting that a major site for Jewish history is in danger of being lost due to neglect from the Palestinian Authority.

The ruins of the royal palaces of Maccabean High Priest Yochanan and his son, Alexander, are located on the edge of Jericho, which is controlled by the PA. The Hashmonaim synagogue, which was later used as a palace by King Herod, is also located in the area.

But due to a geographic barrier established in the Oslo Accords, a section of the ruins is situated in Area A – a part of Judea and Samaria that is off limits to Israelis and administered by the PA.

At the moment, the only way for Israelis to visit the site is if they’re on an organized tour and accompanied by IDF soldiers. Conversely, foreign tourists who do not hold Israeli citizenship are free to explore the site at any time.

Israeli interest in visiting the site is particularly strong during the current eight-day Chanukah holiday, because of the ruins’ links to the Maccabean revolt.

Binyamin Regional Council deputy chairman Raful Engel told the Jerusalem Post that the incoming government must declare the ruins as an Israeli national park, which would both preserve the site for posterity and pave the way to free access for Israelis.

“We expect that the new government will turn it into a national park and open it to the general public,” Engel said. He told the Post that the part of the ruins, which are located under PA control, have essentially been lost due to neglect.

Moshe Goodman of the Shomrim Al Netzach NGO, which helps preserve Jewish historical sites throughout Israel, told the Post that “history is simply being erased here.”

He urged leaders to take conservation of the site seriously because “this heritage must be preserved for future generations.”

Jewish religious and historical sites in areas under PA control, such as Joseph’s Tomb, have seen repeated vandalism and mismanagement that has caused the sites to fall into disrepair.

Watchdog groups have also sounded the alarm about the destruction of Jewish legacy on the Temple Mount by the Waqf.

The post ‘History is being lost’ – Maccabean site near Jericho in danger due to PA neglect appeared first on World Israel News.

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