On the holiday of Passover, the blessing of the priests (Kohanim) took place Wednesday morning in the ancient city of the priests – Eshtemoa reports Channel 20. Yochai Damari, head of the Mount Hebron Regional Council said in a statement: “Returning to Eshtemoa reminds us of the depth of the roots of Jewish settlement in Israel.”
The Wednesday prayer took place at the crack of dawn (Vatikin) consisting mainly of residents of the Mount Hebron area inside the ancient synagogue in Ishtamua.
The ancient synagogue is a remnant of a large Jewish community dating back to the Byzantine era and even as early as the days of the Bible.
Eshtemoa is mentioned in the Bible as a city of priests, in the book of Joshua.
Jattir with its pastures, Eshtemoa with its pastures (Joshua 21:14)
Today, the synagogue is located in the middle of the Arab village of Samua where a mosque has been built alongside it. Access to the synagogue’s entrance was made possible by the security forces in the Judea Brigade and by the Susya Touring Center in cooperation with the Yatir Region Tourism council and Mount Hebron Regional Council.
Doron Sher Avi of the Susya Touring and Learning Center guided visitors to the Biblical site saying: “The synagogue is an expression of a large Jewish community that lived here and it is exciting to come here today, pray and recite the priestly blessing, just like in ancient times.”
Yochai Damari, head of the Mount Hebron Regional Council added: “Returning to the annual hearing reminds us of the right of the people of Israel to their land and the deep roots of Jewish settlement on Mount Hebron.”