Monday, July 16, 2018

IRAQ JEWS: Nineveh of Assyrian Empire Days And ISIS' Destruction

Nadene Goldfoot

Nineveh, the name of a city in the Bible, was where Jonah was sent long ago on a mission to persuade its citizens to repent.  They must have had quite the reputation.  Jonah is associated with the whale story and from the tribe of Zebulan during the 8th century BCE, considered a minor prophet.  .

In 1100 BCE, Nineveh was the capital of the new Assyrian Empire.  It's foundation was due to Nimrod, son of Cush, another biblical figure of Cushite origin known as the mighty hunter and strong ruler of Babylon, Erech, Accad and more.  Assyria was known as THE LAND OF NIMROD.    He's also connected to Gilgamesh and the Assyrian war-god, Ninurata.
King of Assyria from 721-712 BCE who took the throne when Shalmaneser III died.
during the siege of Samaria which brought on the exile of many of the ISRAELITE people.  In 720 BCE
he defeated a military alliance which included the remnants of the Israelites of Samaria.
He was assassinated, succeeded by Sennacherib.
Like the Greeks and Romans having similar gods, the Assyrian and Babylonian culture also shared their godly ideas.  " They also had their own pantheon of gods and semi gods working under them.
Ninurat, Assyrian god with 4 wings
Assyrian King of gods, Ashur of their pantheon of gods,   
In 612 BCE, Nineveh was attacked.  The Median army took Tarbisu, near Nineveh and encamped nearby, and then attacked the city of Assur, with the Babylonian text recounting how in 614 BC their Median ally destroyed Assur's temples and sacked the city, but their army did not reach the city until after the plundering had been done.
Fall of Nineveh 
The city of Nineveh went through a name-change and has been called Mosul, located in today's northern Iraq. Actually Mosul is 400 km north of Baghdad on the Tigris River opposite of Nineveh. 
There had been a Jewish settlement there that dated back to biblical times.  The surprise is that there had been a large community dating back to ancient Nineveh days in the immediate vicinity.  Mosul came about was founded in the early Mohammedan era about 570 CE and had 7,000 Jewish inhabitants at the time of Benjamin of Tudela, around 1170. 
In the 13th century, Mosul had the largest Jewish community in Iraq and was once the seat of an exilarch.  The town had declined in our modern days so that the population of Jews went down to only 1,100 in 1903.  Their economic position had deteriorated because they were being persecuted for being Jews in a Muslim environment, and they were reduced to peddling their wares.  In 1948 and afterwards, all the Jews emigrated, mostly to the newly-founded Israel. 
ISIS destruction of this ancient city of Mosul
Destruction makes them happy.  In 2015, the population was 664,221.
In both eras as Nineveh or Mosul, this important city has been home to Jews, then Muslim Arabs, Christians, Kurds and Yazidis.  The citizens of Mosul had once tried to revive the city's history, cultural life and diversity.  They had found the Old Mosul's synagogue with tinted blue walls, and a Hebrew inscription over a door that was recently unearthed.  The Jewish roots had gone back to the 8th century BCE with tombs in and near Mosul commemorating the prophets Jonah and Nahum.

Today, ISIS terrorists have developed in this area whose goal was to create their own empire.  They have been on a mission of destruction of ancient artifacts of the ancient religions.  ISIS blew up the tomb of Jonah  in July 2014 who was also known in Arabic as Nabi Yunis.

When the Jews left in 1948, the did not share their knowledge of Jewish sites.  The community left inscriptions and items with family friends that were passed down or left, collecting dust.  These hidden mementos were then saved from the ISIS invaders.  The synagogue was used as a storage area by ISIS for bombs and also as a hideout to avoid coalition airstrikes.
ISIS faced final defeat in Mosul
The Iraqi army fought for 8 months to liberate Mosul from ISIS
Weather here is hot but dry; 
 102°F (39°C), Wind W at 12 mph (19 km/h), 14% Humidity
     In 2017, much fighting took place in Mosul and someone had posted pictures of the rubble.  A Jewish man noticed that Hebrew letters were on one of the destroyed buildings that he could make out in a picture.  Come to find out, an American soldier wrote about finding the building, calling it a garbage dump.  Since then, local people have found another building underground under rubble that must be a synagogue.  They also found an old Jewish girls' school along with other hidden Jewish items.                                                                 
 ISIS has been designated a terrorist organization by the United Nations and many individual countries. ISIL is widely known for its videos of beheadings and other types of executions of both soldiers and civilians, including journalists and aid workers, and its destruction of cultural heritage sites] The United Nations holds ISIL responsible for human rights abuses and war crimes. ISIL also committed ethnic cleansing on an historic scale in northern Iraq.

Resource:  The New Standard Jewish Encycloopedia

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