In what appears to be the first physical evidence of an ancient Jewish presence in Jordan, archaeologists discovered a menorah carving on a stone block in a church, which was likely originally part of a synagogue.
A menorah carving found in a 1,400-year-old Byzantine church in Jordan provides the first substantial evidence of Jewish presence in the ancient city of Abila, which has long thought to have a substantial Jewish population, Haaretz reported.
The seven-branched menorah with a three-legged branch was carved on a stone block found in the second tier of a wall in the church, while excavating the Byzantine church from the sixth or seventh century C.E.
“This is the first physical evidence of a Jewish presence at Abila, and holds great promise that further discoveries will give more evidence in this direction,” said Dave Vila, head of the excavations.
Archaeologists can only confirm that the menorah carving predates the church, which is 1,300-1,400 years old.
The stone block is believed to have been taken from another structure, such as a synagogue, and reused.
Menorahs similar to this carving are often discovered on mosaic synagogue floors from the Late Antiquity period, from the late third century CE to the mid-seventh century CE.
During the period of Roman rule, there was a significant Jewish population, dating back to biblical times, east of the Jordan River.
While the Jewish presence has been well documented in books, this is the first archaeological evidence corroborating the texts.
By: JNS.org and United with Israel Staff
Do You Love Israel? Show Your Support!
Want to do something important for Israel? Make a donation to United with Israel, and help to educate and inspire millions around the world to support Israel too!
Now more than ever, Israel needs your help to fight the battle of public opinion. Israel’s enemies are using social media to incite brutal terror against innocent civilians. We need your help to fight back.
Help defend the truth about Israel to millions of people around the world. UWI also contributes to vital charity causes like building bomb shelters to protect Israeli citizens. Please show your support today!
Source: United with Israel