Daily Israel Report

Hundreds at Byzantine-Era Synagogue

Hundreds visit ancient synagogues in Samoa and Susiya, touring in honor of slain hikers.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 7/8/2011, 1:36 PM / Last Update: 7/8/2011, 4:16 PM

David and Achikam Tours

Hundreds of Jews were allowed to visit an ancient synagogue from the Byzantine era on Friday morning. The tour, coordinated with the IDF, took place as part of a program to commemorate young hikers slain by Palestinian Authority terrorists.

The more than 200 hikers first visited the ancient synagogue of Samoa and the nearby village of Anin, mentioned in the book of Joshua. They held morning prayer services in the synagogue.

They then continued on to a second ancient synagogue, this one located in the village of Susiya, a town dating back to Talmud times that in recent decades has enjoyed renewed Jewish settlement.

The tour was hosted by “David and Achikam Tours,” a group formed to commemorate slain Jewish hikers David Rubin and Achikam Amichai. The two were murdered by Palestinian Authority police officers in a 2007 terrorist attack as they hiked in the hills surrounding Hevron.

Friends of the two decided to continue in their footsteps by bringing more people to see the hills of Samaria, Judea and Binyamin. “We see no reason that these wonderful areas, the birthplace of Israeli culture, should remain unknown,” they explained. They now hold monthly hikes to a variety of attractions, including ancient villages, mountaintops and natural springs.