1998 and 2010 World Monuments Watch
Israel’s oldest mosque outside Jerusalem (according to historians) now stands in a town with a mixed population of Muslims, Jews, and Christians. At the edge of the early Muslim site is a square minaret with stone elevations marked by recessed, arched windows. Beyond the tower lie the mosque ruins and a network of subterranean vaults and ciserns. Near the tower is the tomb of Nebi Salih, which is a regular pilgrimage site, and a Muslim cemetery still in use. Since excavations were performed between 1949 and 1956, little has been done to protect the structures. In addition to erosion from blowing sand and vegetation, and general decay from exposure, the site suffers from lack of management and conservation plans. The town has shown little concern for preserving it architectural legacy. The Israel Antiquities Authority has championed the need for research and an architectural survey and master plan, followed by a long-term conservation project. A Samuel H. Kress Foundation grant supported a survey of the mosque ruins. Additional surveys of the tower and subterranean structures are necessary, but neither state nor local funds have become available.