The ruins of the ancient JewishvillageofUm-el-Kanatir are located in the central Golan. The abundant, clean, spring water was the reason for the village’s ancient industrial specialization in the production of fine, white linen cloth. The villagers also engaged in mixed farming, and raised sheep and olives. It is believed that the income generated by the linen industry enabled the villagers to construct the very large sixth-century synagogue. Interestingly, the synagogue appears to have been built on the site of a more modest, fifth century synagogue. The large synagogue was destroyed by the catastrophic Golan earthquake of 749 AD.
Neither the synagogue nor the town, were rebuilt after the earthquake of 749.
The name was given by Arab shepherds who continued to make use of the site the water source, a spring that pours from the face of a cliff into three basins carved of stone in antiquity. Each of the basins was surmounted by a Roman monumental arch of cut basalt.
Decorated stones found in the Synagogue