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January 17, 2010

AP's Erasing of the Erasing of Iraq's Jewish History

"Iraq reclaims a Jewish history it once shunned," proclaims the headline of Rebecca Santana's AP article today. Good news, right? The lengthy article ostensibly examines the intentions of the Iraqi authorities seeking the return of Iraqi Jewish archives taken and restored by Americans during the Iraq war, and includes the claims by Iraqi authorities that they genuinely seek to preserve "our cultural heritage."

Meanwhile, completely unmentioned by the AP, Iraq's Antiquities and Heritage Authority is reportedly erasing all signs of Judaism at the holy site of Ezekiel's tomb. Just two days ago the Jerusalem Post reported:

For centuries Jews, Christians and Muslims came to Al-Kifl, a small town south of Baghdad, to visit the tomb of the Prophet Ezekiel and pray.

The distinctive Jewish character of the Al-Kifl shrine, namely the Hebrew inscriptions and the Torah Ark, never bothered the gentile worshipers. In the 14th century a minaret was built next to the shrine, but the interior design remained Jewish. The vast majority of Iraq's Jewish community left some 60 years ago, but Shi'ites took good care of the holy site.

Until now.

Recently "Ur," a local Iraqi news agency, reported that a huge mosque will be built on top of the grave by Iraq's Antiquities and Heritage Authority, while Hebrew inscriptions and ornaments are being removed from the site, all as part of renovations.

Prof. Shmuel Moreh of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, winner of the 1999 Israel Prize in Middle Eastern studies and chairman of the Association of Jewish Academics from Iraq, speaking to The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday, confirmed the report.

"I first heard the news of tomb desecration from a friend of mine who is a German scholar. After visiting the site he called me and said that some Hebrew inscriptions on the grave were covered by plaster and that a mosque is planned to be built on top of the tomb. He told me that he found the changes at the tomb disturbing and warned me that I'd better act quickly, before any irreversible damage will be inflicted," Moreh said.

"I had contacted Mr. Shelomo Alfassa, US director of Justice for Jews from Arab Countries, and told him about this situation. Then I saw the report from the Ur news agency, mentioning the decision of the Antiquities and Heritage Authority to build a mosque and to erase the Hebrew inscriptions and ornaments," Moreh said.

He asked friends to check out the developments at the site. The most recent to visit the shrine said that some of the inscriptions are now hidden by a layer of plaster.

Iraqi press reports claim that the building must be destroyed because of its poor condition. However, Alfassa believes that Iraq's Antiquities and Heritage Authority "has been pressured by Islamists to historically cleanse all evidence of a Jewish connection to Iraq - a land where Jews had lived for over a thousand years before the advent of Islam."

Iraq "reclaims" Jewish history indeed. Reclaims and destroys. Send feedback to info@ap.org.

Posted by TS at January 17, 2010 07:15 AM

Comments

Jewish history of Iraq will not erase, it will always be in the hearts of men!

Posted by: Дизайнер Одесса at December 15, 2014 04:51 AM

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