This i24NEWS segment (05:20) explores how the Galilee became the economic and spiritual center of the Jewish people following the destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem, with a focus on the ancient Jewish history in the Biriya Forest. The video highlights the archaeological remains of the ancient synagogue of Naburiya and the burial places of righteous sages, including the great Talmudic scholars, Abaye and Raba. From the website of KKL-JNF, this detailed article delves into the nature and history of the region. See a summary below.
The article focuses on the role of KKL-JNF in the development of the Biriya Forest as a natural and heritage site, including the planting of the forest, the construction of trails and recreation areas, and the preservation of ancient sites and tombs. It tells the fascinating story of the Biriya Fortress, which symbolizes the determination of the Jewish people to settle their land. Today, the Fortress hosts a museum which tells the long history of the site, from a Talmudic city of sages and the home of Rabbi Yosef Karo in the 16th century, through the persistent efforts of the Jewish people to settle the area after being repeatedly kicked out by the British in the pre-state Mandate period. The article describes the ancient archaeological remains from the Naburiya synagogue, reconstructed and upgraded with the support of KKL-JNF, and the tombs of righteous sages in the area, including the pilgrimage sites of the graves of Yonatan Ben Uziel, popular amongst marriage-minded singles, and Honi the Circle Maker, who allegedly stood inside a circle praying until God sent down rains.