Hanukkah menorah removed from the roof of the mosque after Palestinians protested

A large electric menorah installed on the roof of a mosque at a historic site near Jerusalem has been relocated after the local Palestinian population protested the installation.

On Wednesday, Israeli nature and park officials set up a menorah on the roof of a mosque near Nebi Samuel, a place that Jews loved as the tomb of the biblical prophet Samuel. In the 18th century, a mosque was built on the site over the remains of a crusader church.

Currently, a small synagogue exists in the underground burial ground under the mosque, which is inside an Israeli national park, just above the green line on the West Bank, north of the capital.

Palestinian residents of the adjacent Nabi Samwil village reportedly protested the display after photos of the menorah were shared on social media.

In a Thursday report, Nabi Samwil municipal leader Amir Obeid told the news site Ynet that it was “unthinkable” for such a clear Jewish symbol to be installed on the roof of a mosque.

“It clearly does not make sense and it evokes a lot of anger among us,” he said of the locals.

Obeid said several months ago that the Muslim community asked the Israeli authorities for permission to light a crescent moon at the top of the mosque and that they were rejected.

“We face serious discrimination,” he said. “It doesn’t make sense to just celebrate Judaism here. If anything, let everyone celebrate in coexistence. ”

The Palestinian Authority’s under-secretary of the Ministry of Awqaf and Religious Affairs, Hussam Abu al-Rub, called the menorah a “violation of the sanctity of the place,” the PA’s official Wafa news agency reported on Wednesday.

Thursday morning, the menorah had been moved to the entrance of the building that provides access to the synagogue.

COGAT, the Israeli military body in charge of relations with the Palestinians in the West Bank, confirmed in a statement that INPA workers had set up the menorah.

“After clarifying the matter, the menorah was moved to the site’s site, as was the custom each year for the Hanukkah festival,” COGAT said.

Emek Shaveh, a non-profit organization that strives to prevent the politicization of archeology in Israel, criticized the incident, saying that “placing a religious Jewish symbol on a mosque is first and foremost offensive, and that makes the archeological site a part of it. of a religious conflict. “

The eight-day Hanukkah festival, where menorahs are traditionally lit every night, starts Sunday night.

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