TURKEY - 1,000-Year-Old Jewish Books Seized

Arno Froese

Gold-embossed parchment manuscripts written in Hebrew that are believed to be about 1,000-years-old were seized by police in the city of Mardin in southeastern Turkey after they were illegally imported.

The books and the case in which the scroll was kept were all adorned with the Star of David and one of the books also had a menorah on its cover.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that sources had informed it that the manuscripts seized by Turkish authorities had been stolen by the al-Rahman Legion, a Syrian rebel group, from the Eliyahu Hanavi Synagogue in the Jobar neighborhood of Damascus, and were smuggled to Turkey.

The Eliyahu Hanavi Synagogue was bombed and looted during the Syrian Civil War, according to Diarna, a digital database about Jewish heritage in North Africa and the Middle East. The site is traditionally believed to be where the prophet Elijah hid from the Israelite king Ahab after declaring a drought. The site is also believed to be where Elijah's successor, Elisha, was anointed.

On March 26 this year, Turkish security forces seized a 2,000-2,500-year-old Torah with golden inscription in northern Samsun province.

-www.jpost.com, 3 November 2021

Arno's Commentary

According to the Irish Times (5 November 2021), the Syrian Jewish community once numbered about 100,000. Today, there are fewer than 100 Jews in Syria. The World Jewish Congress estimates that between 15,500-21,000 Jews remain in Turkey.

We note that Turkey was the first Muslim country to recognize the State of Israel in March 1949. Despite a strained relationship, Turkey’s exports to Israel have increased, from under $3 billion in 2015 to $4.7 billion in 2020.

Brenda Shaffer of the Atlantic Council Global Energy Center says, “There is a window of opportunity for 2025 and 2026, when most of Turkey’s gas contracts with Russia and Iran expire, to reduce those imports and replace them with Eastern Mediterranean gas.” Energy is the uniting adhesive bridging over soured diplomatic relations.

In our Bible, we see Turkey playing a prominent part, since all seven churches mentioned in the first three chapters of the book of Revelation were located there.

Turkey’s population of 85 million is 98% Muslim.

Arno Froese is the executive director of Midnight Call Ministries and editor-in-chief of the acclaimed prophetic magazines Midnight Call and News From Israel. He has authored a number of well-received books, and has sponsored many prophecy conferences in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. His extensive travels have contributed to his keen insight into Bible prophecy, as he sees it from an international perspective.

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