(JTA) — Beirut’s only synagogue is set to reopen following a five-year renovation.
The Magen Avraham synagogue, located in the former Jewish quarter of the city, was opened in 1926 but partially destroyed at the beginning of Lebanon’s 15-year civil war in 1975, according to the Times of Israel, via an Arabic report in London’s A-Sharq al-Awsat.
The Lebanese Jewish community now has 100 members, and Isaac Arazi, the community’s leader, says Jews, Christians and Muslims all donated toward the project, estimated to cost $1 million. Renovation began in 2009.
Arazi hopes the synagogue will rejuvenate Jewish life in Lebanon. He said he is proud to be Lebanese, and conveyed antipathy toward Zionism and Israel.
“You can rest assured that if I was a Zionist-Israeli, I would not stay in Lebanon for a second,” said Arazi, according to Times of Israel. The Lebanese Jewish community “has no connection to those who wanted to give live in Palestine and kill innocent people. We identify as Lebanese 100%.”