corazim was a Jewish Town and was Resettled Twice since than / DR.R.S.Lissak

Nowadays, Corazim is a communal settlement established in 1990-1991 as a union between the village Corazim (established 1982, about 2 KM east of the ruins of ancient Corazim) and the communal settlement Ma’of (established 1983). The unified village is home to 370 residents.

Its name Corazim is thought to be derived from the word “Caroz”, a herald. It is also called by its Aramaic name Corazin. In the New Testament it is mentioned as Corazin, the town whose inhabitants Christ tried to convert to his teachings and cursed when they refused.

The Corazim region was settled as early as the Stone Age.

The Roman and Byzantine Periods (70CE – 640 CE)

Jewish Corazim was established during the time of the Mishna and Talmud, in the first century CE. Corazim was an important town, famed for the high quality wheat grown by its farmers.

Archaeological excavations have identified Corazim with the Carazze ruins, about 4 KM north of Kfar Nachum. The Archaeologist Charles Wilson led the first excavations on site in 1864, followed in 1875 by others, including Captain H. Kitchner (British Defense Minister during World War I). A German team excavated in 1905 and in 1926 the Antiquities Department of the British Mandate Government carried out its own excavations. The Israeli Antiquities Department carried out a survey in 1969 and between 1980 and 1984 the Antiquities Authority and the National Parks Authority carried out further excavations.

Archaeologists are divided as to whether the town reached its peak during the end of the 3rd century CE or the 4th. Excavations uncovered a 1st or 2nd century synagogue, one of the most beautiful of its kind in Israel.

Resembling the synagogue of Kfar Nachum, it is built of basalt stones and decorated with flora and fauna images, Jewish symbols and inscriptions in Hebrew and Aramaic. An Aramaic inscription appears on Moses’ Cathedral (an honorary seat), saying: “May Yodan Ben Yishmael be remembered for good, who paid for the columns and the steps from his own funds, may he have a share among the righteous”. The synagogue contains a prayer hall and along its walls seats are arranged in steps.

Excavations have also uncovered three olive presses, a ritual bath, and a whole city with its streets and buildings. The residential quarter was located west of the synagogue and its buildings constructed and paved with hewn basalt stones. The town’s public buildings stood in the Acropolis, located in the town’s upper section. Remains of one of these buildings have survived the ages. About 400 coins from the time of the Emperor Constantine (4th century CE), and some 1500 coins from the 4th century to early 7th century have been found.

In his book “Historical Geography of the Land of Israel”, Michael Avi Yona, based on Eusebius, determines that Corazim was destroyed in the 4th century CE. It seems its destruction had to do with the rebellion against the Roman ruler Gallus in 351CE. Jewish occupancy was renewed at the end of the 4th century. Another source tells that Corazim was reconstructed after being hit by an earth quake at the beginning of the Byzantine period.

The Arabic Period (638CE – 1099CE)

According to one version, Corazim continued to exist until the 8th century, when it was abandoned for unknown reasons. The English priest and missionary St. Willibald visited Corazim in 723. According to another version, based on visits of tourists, the Jewish town continued to be settled during the Middle Ages.
The Crusader Period (1099CE – 1260CE)

Christian pilgrims wrote about and visited Corazim in 1102, 1130, and 1137. Was it ruined or settled? Corazim is known to Christians as the place where Christ cursed the people for rejecting his teachings, and a man who went on pilgrimage to Corazim in 1130 wrote that the Anti-Christ will be born there.

The Ottoman Period (1516 – 1918)

The French traveler Pierre Billou visited the area in 1547 and wrote about the Jews residing in Kfar Nachum, Bet Zaida, and Corazim making their living from farming and fishing. He mentions, however, that “the villages are now settled by Jews who rebuilt all the places around the sea, and having restored fishing, repopulated them after they had been desolate”. Billou was writing about Jews exiled from Spain and Portugal who settled in these locations during the 16th century (ref. Yitzhak Ben Zvi, “Eretz Israel and Its Settlement”, pp. 196, 202). The Portuguese traveler Pantaleou D’Aviero who visited the place in 1565 wrote about Jewish fishermen in Bet Zaida. There is no further information about the Sephadic Jews in Corazim.

The British Mandate Period (1917 – 1947)

Bedouins of the Shamalna tribe pitched their tents in the area during the British Mandate period. The village was called Crazze. During the Arabic Revolt (1936-1939) Arabic gangs attacking the Jewish transport in the area used it as a hiding place. The security fence built by the British at that time in order to prevent Arabic gangs from the neighboring Arab countries infiltrating into the area was situated on the boundary of the Corazim region, south of the Sea of Galilee.

The State of Israel

During Israel’s War of Independence in 1948, the Bedouins fled from Israel to Syria, and other than a small demilitarized section on the slope to the Jordan outlet from the Sea of Galilee, the area of Corazim came under Israeli control. Syrians continued to infiltrate the Corazim region to terrorise Israeli civilian transport until Israeli forces put an end to it in a battle with the Syrian army in 1957. An Israeli post was built on the hill.

The Israeli Nature and National Parks Protection Authority has developed a national park on the site of ancient Corazim, preserving the ancient town of Corazim with its streets, homes, oil presses, ritual bath and synagogue.

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