Israeli rescue team finds biblical Esther scrolls in Turkey

Published February 21st, 2023 - 07:24 GMT
 Esther scrolls

ALBAWABA - An Israeli search and rescue team assisting Turkish authorities in saving people trapped under the rubble from a massive earthquake found something they were neither looking for, nor expecting to find: A centuries-old Book of Esther scrolls.

Israeli rescue team which came to turkey following the earthquake smuggled a centuries-old Book of Esther scrolls from under the ruins in Antakya, Turkish media reported.

The historical scrolls were reportedly handed over to Turkey after a warning from Turkish Jewish community.

— Quds News Network (@QudsNen) February 19, 2023

The Turkish "Haber7" website reported that it turned out that the Israeli search and rescue team that was sent to Turkey following the earthquake took with it manuscripts from the Book of Esther from the destroyed Jewish synagogue in Antioch.

A disaster response team led by the Israeli military smuggled 200-year-old Book of Esther scrolls out of earthquake-stricken Turkey last Thursday.

The scrolls were returned on Friday after the Turkish public learned about the incident and complained on social media.

— MintPress News (@MintPressNews) February 20, 2023

The Israeli move was condemned by social media geeks, who accused Israel in several tweets of "stealing" the manuscripts, forcing Tel Aviv to hand over the scrolls back to Turkey.

The Turkish Jewish community confirmed in a tweet that scrolls had been returned to Turkey.

"The relevant manuscripts of Esther were received from Israel and are now preserved in Turkey and will return to Antioch after the renovation of the Jewish synagogue," the tweet read.

The Book of Esther, which tells the story of "Jewish deliverance during the Achaemenid Persian Empire in around the 5th century BCE," is traditionally read from a handwritten scroll as part of the Purim holiday, the Times of Israel reported.

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