US Diplomats Underline Support for Preservation of Hebrew Prophet Nahum’s Tomb in Kurdish Region of Iraq
A delegation of top US diplomats visited the burial tomb of the Hebrew prophet Nahum in northern Iraq on Friday, underlining America’s commitment to preserving a site that is significant to Jews, Christians and Muslims alike.
Ambassador Matthew Tueller, the US envoy in Baghdad, was joined at the site by Elisabeth Rosenstock-Siller of the US Consulate in Erbil, the capital of the Kurdish Regional Government.
The US Embassy in Iraq has so far contributed $1 million to the preservation project.
Nahum was a minor prophet who lived in the ancient Babylonian city of Nineveh — on the outskirts of Mosul in today’s Iraq.
At the end of last year, Nahum’s tomb in his birthplace of Alqosh was the site of Hanukkah celebrations organized by the local Kurdish Jewish community.
“Coexistence has always been one of the privileges of the Kurdistan region,” Hemn Faraydun — a member of the tiny local Jewish community — told Kurdish TV during a Hanukkah candle-lighting ceremony at the time.
The project to preserve Nahum’s Tomb is being implemented as a partnership between the US-based non-profit ARCH International and Czech company GEMA Art International, and is due to be completed by May.
The tomb has been guarded by a Christian family who promised Alqosh’s long-departed rabbi to safeguard it. Christians make up the majority population in the town.