Vandals desecrated one of northern Israel’s most popular tourist sites late last month, damaging rooms and burning Israeli flags that were hanging outside.
The site, an Ottoman-era mill and monastery located along Nahal Tzipori, near Nazareth between the towns of Harduf and Nofit in the Lower Galilee, is considered one of Israel’s seven wonders. The monastery was used by Carmelite monks until the 19th century.
“Whoever did this sought to spread destruction,” said Kishon River Drainage Authority president Haim Hami, according to the news website News1. “Of course, above all, was the burning of the Israeli flag by these youths. I fully condemn the barbaric behavior of those who sought to destroy a sacred Israeli site, especially so close to Independence Day.”
Damage to the building’s rooms, doors, windows and porcelain tiles was discovered a few days after Independence Day last month, and is thought to be the work of youths from a neighboring town.
The Drainage Authority, which manages the site, has already begun reconstruction to return the building to its previous condition and maintain its status as one of Israel’s “Seven Wonders.”
The Drainage Authority has plans to convert the mill to a training center, the first of its kind in Israel, for the research and study of the Kishon River area.
This is not the first time vandals have targeted one of Israel’s heritage sites.
In March, the Parks and Nature Authority reopened the Avdat archaeological site after vandals destroyed the ancient Nabatean city, which is on the UNESCO list of world heritage sites, in 2009. In that case, authorities beefed up security to prevent repeat attacks.