Wrong religion: Israeli ruins re-identified

Scholars say what was thought to be an ancient Jewish temple is actually an Islamic palace

Published March 17, 2010 6:52PM (EDT)

Israeli archaeologists have announced that ruins long thought to be of an ancient synagogue are actually the remains of a palace used by Muslim caliphs 1,300 years ago.

The site on the banks of the Sea of Galilee was identified as a synagogue in the 1950s because archaeologists found a carving of a menorah, a seven-armed candelabra, that is a Jewish symbol. But scholars say in a new report that the identification was an error.

The site is now believed to have been a winter palace used by the caliphs of the Umayyad dynasty, the same rulers who built Jerusalem's gold-capped Dome of the Rock.

Early Arab historians had described the palace, calling it al-Sinnabra, but its location was previously unknown.

By Associated Press

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Israel Middle East