June 04, 2015 (Source: http://www.haaretz.com)
Al Qosh, IRAQ – Nahum the Prophet warned the world about the impending end of the Assyrian empire and the destruction of its capital, Nineveh. More than 2,600 years later, his tomb, inside an ancient synagogue in the Iraqi city of Al Qosh, may face the same fate, courtesy of ISIS.
Smooth domes topped with crucifixes rise slightly above the beige stone houses in Al Qosh, the modern town built on the ancient Nineveh plain. The town is a treasure trove of history from the Assyrian empire and the beginnings of Christianity. Less well known is the town’s Hebrew heritage, emblemized by the Prophet Nahum.
The crumbling stone walls of one of Iraq’s last synagogues remain mostly standing, nestled in the center of the small town, against the backdrop of the Bayhidhra Mountains. Inside purportedly lies the tomb of “Nahum the Elkoshite” – meaning, of the town of Al Qosh – the Hebrew prophet who vividly predicted the fall of Nineveh in the 7th century BCE.
Asir Salaam Shajaa, an Assyrian Christian born and raised in Al Qosh, dusts off the green cloth that lies over the ancient tomb in the center of the run-down synagogue. He is adamant that resting under the heavy stones are really the remains of Prophet Nahum.
Like his father and his grandfather before him, Shajaa takes care of the site dutifully, fulfilling a promise made more than 60 years ago to the fleeing Jewish residents of the town.