On Thursday, the official Palestinian Authority news agency WAFA circulated the picture above under the headline “Israeli settlers erect menorah on Islamic mosque near Jerusalem.” We found hundreds of re-published versions of this story everywhere in the Arab media, all repeating one central lie: Israeli settlers today erected a huge menorah on the roof of a historical mosque in the village of Nabi Samwil, northwest of Jerusalem.
مســـ.ــتوطنون ينصبون شـــمعدانًا ضخمًا على سطح مسجد في قرية النبي صموئيل، شمال غرب #القدس المحـــتلّة، استعدادًا للاحتفال بعـــيد الحــانوكـاه pic.twitter.com/m4mziDif6A
— مؤسسة القدس الدولية (@Qii_Media) November 25, 2021
Nabi Samuel, the tomb of the Prophet Shmuel—the biblical prophet who anointed both King Shaul and King David and is considered the second greatest leader of the Jewish nation after Moses—is a site sacred to the three monotheistic religions. It is located at the top of a mountain northwest of Jerusalem, about one kilometer from the Ramot neighborhood. The most prominent structure in the area is a large Crusader fortress.
The site is an Orthodox synagogue, with separate prayer rooms for men and women. Religious Jews come to the tomb on the 28th of Iyar, Shmuel’s yahrzeit according to Jewish tradition. It is also Jerusalem Liberation Day, which stands to show you we’re running out of dates for new holidays. Non-Jews conduct pilgrimages to the great prophet’s tomb on their holidays.
The site was liberated from the Jordanian Legion during the Six-Day War by the IDF’s Harel Brigade. In January 1968, the Tomb of the Prophet Shmuel was opened to visitors. In 1969, a forest was planted at the foot of the mountain. The area has since been declared Nabi Samuel National Park and includes in its eastern section a small Arab village of about 15 houses and 20 families, a total of 250 people. This village is located west of the separation wall, but outside the Green Line (thank you, Ariel Sharon). Technically it’s in Area C, and so it is managed by the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories. The national park features a visitors center for tours and study. On the slopes of the mountain is the Alonei Shmuel nature preserve.
WAFA and hundreds of Arab online outlets are oblivious to all of the above proof of Jewish ownership of the area. And so as far as they’re concerned, the fact that the synagogue at Shmuel’s tomb ran a test of the rooftop menorah ahead of Sunday night’s first light of Chanukah, was nothing more than another landgrab. Anas Obeid, a resident of the village, told WAFA that “settlers, accompanied by staff of settlement organizations, set up a huge menorah on the village mosque purportedly to celebrate the Jewish feast Chanukah.”
Also: “The Undersecretary of the Ministry of Awqaf and Religious Affairs, Hussam Abu al-Rub, condemned the settler move as an “infringement upon the sanctity” of the site as he stressed his rejection of any Israeli interference in the affairs of Islamic holy sites across Palestine.”
Yes, white is black, black is white, they lie therefore they are.