Masjid Arbayeen – Mosque of the 40

Palestinians are not normally allowed to access Masjid Arbayeen as it can only be accessed from the military camp. Jewish tourists are welcome though. The mosque was built in the time of Salah al Din when Muslims first came to Palestine on the site where 40 Muslims were killed in battle. It was in regular use up until 1994 after the Abraham mosque massacre when the Israeli army seized it and built a military observation post on top. It is owned by the Islamic Waqf and surrounded by land owned by the Abu Haikal family. Jewish settlers claim this to be the tomb of Ruth and Jesse but there is no evidence to support this, just a legend from the Middle Ages. There are four ancient Muslim tombs inside which were concreted over for protection by Ahmed al Jabari from the Islamic Waqf aided by many neighbours in the seventies and which have now been covered with Jewish symbols and the archway above reads “Ruth and Jesse” in Hebrew. In recent years the mosque has been converted into a synagogue. The quibla which gives the direction to mecca has been covered by cupboard doors. In 2013 a new carved stone was placed above the entrance gate to the mosque depicting a Jewish menora candle stick. A sign inside points to the Crusader church and wrongly labels it “Ancient Synagogue” There has never been a synagogue on this site. The large crusader cross set into the stonework has been damaged and covered by a Jewish banner. In former years a large wooden cross was set into the wall here.

A recently carved Jewish menora was erected over the entrance gate in an attempt to Judaize the mosque:

Entrance to Masjid Arbayeen:

Hebrew lettering reads “Ruth and Jesse”. Actually this is the site of 4 ancient Muslim graves:

This recent Jewish mosaic covers the place of 4 ancient Muslim graves:

There never was a synagogue on this site. The arrow points to a room used as a church in crusader times:

This cross from crusader times has been damaged and covered with a Jewish banner. Originally the inset stones contained a large wooden cross:

The bookcase in the corner of the mosque covers up the mihrab showing the direction of Mecca:

Cupboard for Torah scrolls inside the mosque itself:

The alcove for burning candles next to the Muslim graves (high on the extreme left edge of the picture) is a recent addition to the mosque. The door into the mosque is on the right of the picture:

 

 

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