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Syrian city, “half as old as time.” When Abraham fought King Chedorlaomer for the liberation of Lot, he pursued Chedorlaomer to Hobah, north of Damascus (Gen. 14:15). For intermittent periods beginning with David, Jewish kings ruled this capital of Aram. Finally, it fell to the Assyrian empire of Tiglat-Pileser in 732 B.C.E. Ruled at different times by almost every aggressive power of the Mid-East, Damascus fell to the Arabs and became their imperial city in 635 C.E. In 1516 C.E., Ottoman Turks held Damascus as one of their important ruling centers until World War I. To this day, the Jewish settlement of Damascus has been almost unbroken since the time of King Herod (40-4 B.C.E.). After World War I, Arab nationalism made life difficult for the Jews, and they began to move away, mostly to Israel. Once the Syrian government allowed Jews to emigrate in 1996, only 200 old and poor Jews remained.

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