600 - 800 CE

The Persian and Muslim Conquests of Israel

Tower of David Museum, Photo by Ardon Bar-Hama

Synagogue at Jericho, 
600 CE

Inscribed below the menorah in Hebrew:
“Peace unto Israel.” 

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A Jewish Pilgrim Eulogia Bottle with Menorah

The menorah ampulla suggests there were ample Jewish pilgrims in Jerusalem to justify the manufacture of eulogia for them.  

Rijksmuseum van Oudheden 

Distribution of the Israelite Population at the Time of the Muslim Conquest, 637 CE

Source: James Parkes, A History of Palestine From 135 A.D. to Modern Times,  Oxford University Press, 1949

Mezuzah Recess from Entrance to a Synagogue at the Foot of the Temple Mount

Deuteronomy 11:18-21
Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds… Write them on the doorposts of your houses and on your gates, so that as long as the heavens are above the earth, your days and those of your children may be multiplied in the land that the LORD swore to give your fathers.

A notch in a stone at the foot of the Temple Mount was most likely used to house a mezuzah, a piece of parchment inscribed with the Jewish prayer Shema Yisrael, at the entrance of a synagogue.

The artifact suggests that devout Jews prayed and gathered at the site of the Temple Mount at the turn of the 7th century. 

Israel Antiquities Authority

Israel Antiquities Authority

After the Persian Conquest of Jerusalem in 610, Many Israelites Return to the City

In 2019, archaeologist Dr. Eilat Mazar found the gold medallion, as well as a hoard of gold coins, thus dating the medallion to the year 614 CE. The medallion was found in the area circled above, south of the Temple Mount.  

Muhammad’s Night Journey, 621 CE

According to Islam, the prophet Muhammad took a two part journey on a single night. The Israʾ and Miʿraj are the two parts the Night Journey.  In the Isra part, Muhammad traveled on the back of his horse Buraq to the “Western Wall” of the Temple Mount.  In the Mi’raj part, he ascends into heaven where he individually greets the prophets and speaks to Allah.   

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Tower of David Museum, Photo by Ardon Bar-Hama

Mohammad Expels 600 Jews from Arabia, 624 CE

Proclaiming the sanctity of Arabia, Mohammad expels the Jews and the Christians and all other strangers from his holy land… Six hundred Jews from Kainukaa, in Arabia, resettled at Jericho and Adr’at (Der’at).  A year later, another band of Jewish refugees came from Badhir and added themselves to the population of Jericho.

Source:  Jacob De Haas, History Of Palestine – The Last Two Thousand Years

Byzantine Emperor Heraclius Captures the Land of Israel from the Persians and Massacres Israelites, 630 CE

On March 21, 630 CE, Emperor Heraclius marched in triumph into Jerusalem with the "true cross."  A massacre of the Israelite population ensued.

Battle between Heraclius's army and Persians,​ Piero della Francesca, c. 1452

Arab Caliph Umar Captures Jerusalem, Allows Israelites to Settle There, 637 AD

Byzantine Bishop Sophoronius surrenders Jerusalem to Caliph Umar, a companion of Mohammad.  ​A Cairo Geniza fragment confirms that Caliph Umar granted the Israelites permission to settle in Jerusalem; and on the basis of his decision, 70 families came from Tiberias and settled there.   

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Chronicle, Fragment Preserved in the Cairo Geniza

Caliph Umar Allowed Israelites to Remove Debris From The Temple Mount, c. 692 CE

According to Ka ‘b al-Aḥbār, who accompanied Umar to Jerusalem, Israelites were responsible for cleaning debris from the Temple Mount. This was confirmed by an 11th century letter from a yeshiva (Ge’on Ya’agov) in Jerusalem, who wrote:

“Taking part were all the Muslims in the city and in the district and participating with them were group of Jews; afterwards they were ordered to evacuate the rubbish from the sanctuary and to clean it; Umar watched them all the time. Whenever a remnant was revealed, he would ask the elders of the Jews about the rock, namely the even shetiyyā (‘the foundation stone’), and one of the sages would mark out the boundaries of the place, until it was uncovered…”  

Moshe Gil, A History of Palestine 634-1099, p. 71. 

Caliph Abd al-Malik Builds the Dome of the Rock Over the Site of The Israelite Temple, 692 CE

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Model by Tower of David Museum, Photo by Ardon Bar-Hama

The Foundation Stone of Abraham

Very Few Arabs in the Land of Israel, 700 - 800 CE

“During the first century after the Arab conquest, the caliph and governors of Syria and the Holy Land ruled entirely over Christian and Jewish (Israelite) subjects. Apart from the Bedouin in the earliest days, the only Arabs west of the Jordan were the garrisons.”   

James Parkes, “Whose Land? A History of the Peoples of Palestine,” 1970.

Israel Exploration Society

Deir Aziz, Kanaf Synagogue
in the Northern Galilee, 749 CE

The Deir ‘Aziz synagogue was built in the first half of the 6th century CE and damaged in a 749 CE earthquake.   

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Synagogue at Khirbet Shema in the Northern Galilee, 749 CE

At the Khirbet Shema synagogue in the northern Galilee, excavators found a well-constructed Bemah—a raised place where the Torah shrine was set.

The evidence suggests that the Synagogue was destroyed by an earthquake in 749 CE. 

Israel Antiquities Authority

לְאַחַר שֶׁשָּׁאוּל הַמֶּלֶךְ וּבְנוֹ יְהוֹנָתָן מֵתִים בַּקְּרָב, פּוֹנִים רָאשֵׁי הַשְּׁבָטִים לְדָוִד, שֶׁמָּלַךְ כְּבָר שֶׁבַע שָׁנִים וָחֵצִי בְּחֶבְרוֹן. הֵם מְמַנִּים אוֹתוֹ לְמֶלֶךְ עַל הַקּוֹנְפֵדֵרַצְיָה הַשִּׁבְטִית הַמְּאֻחֶדֶת שֶׁל יִשְׂרָאֵל.     

דָּוִד הַמֶּלֶךְ פּוֹנֶה מִיָּד לְכִוּוּן יְרוּשָׁלַיִם, אַחַת הֶעָרִים הָאַחֲרוֹנוֹת שֶׁטֶּרֶם נִכְבְּשָׁה בְּמַהֲלַךְ כִּבּוּשׁ הָאָרֶץ בִּידֵי בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל.   דָּוִד בּוֹחֵר בִּירוּשָׁלַיִם מֵאַרְבַּע סִבּוֹת עִקָּרִיּוֹת: מַיִם, בִּטָּחוֹן, אִחוּד וְשִׁלְטוֹן קַרְקָעִי נֵיטְרָלִי, אַךְ חָשׁוּב מֵהַכֹּל, בִּגְלַל הַקְּדוֹשָׁה שֶׁל יְרוּשָׁלַיִם הַטְּבוּעָה בַּמָּקוֹם הַנִּבְחָר, שֶׁבּוֹ יִבָּנֶה בֵּית הַמִּקְדָּשׁ הָעֲתִידִי.     

לְפָנֶיךָ סִרְטוֹן הַמְּסַפֵּר אֶת הַסִּבּוֹת שֶׁל דָּוִד בְּכִבּוּשׁ הָעִיר.