Scholars at Yad Ben-Zvi research institute in Jerusalem have called on Jews around the world who originally come from Aleppo, Syria and may possess fragments of the ancient Aleppo Codex to turn them over to Israel.
The call came yesterday at an event marking the 60th anniversary of riots against the Jews in Aleppo during which most of the codex, the authoritative copy of the Hebrew Bible written in the 10th century, was lost.
The head of Yad Ben-Zvi's Institute for the Study of Jewish Communities in the East, Prof. Yom Tov Asis, who witnessed the riots from the window of his Aleppo home when he was five years old, said yesterday: "We know for a fact that pages are being kept in various places in the world and we hope we can touch the hearts of those who are holding them."
The institute confirmed yesterday that talks are under way with former residents of Aleppo who are believed to be holding fragments of the texts, but declined to comment further so as not to jeopardize the negotiations. "This is the No. 1 asset of the Jewish people," Dr. Zvi Zameret, head of Yad Ben-Zvi said, "and I believe the Jewish people would do a great deal to have it back."