Preserve, Don’t Erase Area C History

Israeli visitors who want to walk in the footsteps of the Maccabees and see one of the remnants of their seats of power are also forced to navigate the geopolitics of the Israeli-Palestinian “conflict.”

That’s because the site of the palaces of the Maccabean High Priest Yohanan, also known as John Hyrcanus, and his son Alexander Jannaeus are located on the edge of the Palestinian city of Jericho.

The remnants of the palaces, with their ritual baths and the ancient Hashmonaim synagogue, which King Herod converted into his winter palace, are located in Area C of the West Bank, which is under IDF military and civilian control.

At present, Israelis can only visit through organized tours that are coordinated with the army. However, foreign tourists can enter through Jericho to see the palaces of the ancient Jewish warriors who were at the heart of events upon which the Hanukkah holiday is based.

“We expect that the new government will turn it into a national park and open it to the general public,” said Binyamin Regional Council deputy chairman Raful Engel. The ruins are located within his council’s boundaries.

The Religious Zionist Party’s plans to transfer aspects of Israeli civilian life in Judea and Samaria now under the IDF’s Civil Administration to relevant ministries could help them in their battle to preserve the site by placing it under the Antiquities Authority.

West Bank’s Maccabee palaces must be Israeli national park, settlers say, by Tovah Lazaroff/Jerusalem Post, December 18, 2022





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