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April 20, 2014 / 20 Nisan, 5774
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Tel Shiloh Declared a National Heritage Site

Mishkan Shilo Synagogue

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The Israeli Government has approved ten projects promoting sites of historical significance, including an archeological site in Tel Shiloh, in the Binyamin region of Samaria.

These promotional projects will allocate millions of Shekels to the rehabilitation and development of the sites. All the sites are of historic and Jewish significance.

Shiloh housed the Mishkan – the Tabernacle – during the period of the Judges, and essentially served as Israel’s capital in the 13th century BCE. It was destroyed some time before the establishment of the First Israelite commonwealth. Archeological findings at the site indicate that the area was inhabited in later periods as well, including during the Hellenistic, Roman, and Byzantine periods. A visitor’s center was established there a few years ago, to facilitate study of the Tabernacle. Tens of thousands of people visit the site every year.

To date, there have been only minor excavations at the site, with no comprehensive and thorough uncovering of the entire ancient city. This new promotional project will enable the completion of archeological diggings. An educational center will also be established to focus on the biblical events that occurred here thousands of years ago.

The National Heritage Site program was initiated two years ago, and is intended to preserve, rehabilitate and reconstruct sites of historical Jewish and Zionist importance. Thirty sites, including Tel Arad, the Herodium, and Beit Ha’Aztmaut in Tel Aviv, will receive this special dispensation, ensuring that their national and educational value are properly presented to the public, while cultivating the national identity of the state and preserving a unique history for generations to come.

Tamar Asraf, Binyamin and Shiloh’s spokeswoman, told Tazpit: “We are very happy that the government has come to this decision. We think it is a worthy and proper development, as Shiloh was the capital city of the first commonwealth. The site has earned its place in this distinguished list as a result of its significance”.

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