Beirut's Only Synagogue Set to Reopen, Local Jews Hope for Rejuvenation

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Magen Avraham Synagogue in Beirut, LebanonCredit: Petteri Sulonen/Flickr CC 2.0

Beirut’s only synagogue is set to reopen following a five-year renovation.

The Magen Avraham synagogue, located in the former Jewish quarter of the city, was opened in 1926 but partially destroyed at the beginning of Lebanon’s 15-year civil war in 1975, according to Israeli media, via an Arabic report in London’s A-Sharq al-Awsat.

The Lebanese Jewish community now has 100 members. Isaac Arazi, the community’s leader, said Jews, Christians and Muslims all donated to the project, estimated to cost $1 million. The renovation began in 2009.

Arazi hopes the synagogue will rejuvenate Jewish life in Lebanon. He said he is proud to be Lebanese, and conveyed antipathy toward Zionism and Israel.

“You can rest assured that if I was a Zionist Israeli, I would not stay in Lebanon for a second,” said Arazi, according to Israeli media. The Lebanese Jewish community “has no connection to those who wanted to live in Palestine and kill innocent people. We identify as Lebanese 100 percent.”

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