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Post  Admin on Thu 13 Jun 2019, 8:41 pm

Ancient Artifacts Found in Israel ‘Prove the Bible’ Is True
By Lindsay Elizabeth
June 11, 2019
Often times the relationships we see between Palestinians and Israelis is that of negativity. The mainstream media highlights the ever-mounting tensions between the two regions, only showcasing the negative relationships.

Four Rappers Went to Israel. Here’s The Beautiful Truth They Found.

In a recent Israel Collective film, the crew spoke to a Palestinian man living in Israel, who believes that the God of love is what can unite the two people groups.

The Israel Collective, a group “dedicated to building vibrant relationships between American Christians and the people of the Holy Land,” works to unify the two people groups under the teachings of Jesus.

In the video, Zak Mishriky shows the Israel Collective around his families store: Zak’s Jerusalem Gifts.

“This is a very interesting coin that has Paleo-Hebrew on it,” he said, holding up the coin to the camera. “This is Hasmonean or Maccabees, you know 100 B.B., and has Hebrew.”

Mishriky’s family has been in Israel for over 300 years, selling artifacts that tie ancient Israel with the present.

“I grew up on the border of a refugee camp located in Anathoth (East Jerusalem);  the same place where Jeremiah, the Prophet was born.   I was the oldest child of four children,” he writes on his antique shop’s website. “Because of the family situation, I had to find ways of contributing to the day to day expenses.”

“We are Palestinians, we grew up in Jerusalem,” he explained to the Israel Collective. “My business first is Biblical antiquities. You know my vision is to have gifts that are connected to the Bible.”

“We’re respecting the law, and working hard, and we’re getting prosperous in Jerusalem, like anywhere else,” he added.

He explained that over time his family saw that Israeli’s were trying, and that made the family want to support them.

“Not to look on an identity, but to look on human beings and that they are made in the image of God,” he explained.

“This is the oldest coin I have, it’s a 4th century B.C. Judah, or you know, Yehud. I don’t know if the camera can see this but next to this, next to the eagle here,” he said holding up the coin, “it has three ancient Hebrew letters.”

“It says “Yehud, like Judah, or Jews. Like Jews were here under the 4th century B.C.” he explained.

Mishriky explained that this meant that the Jews were in the region in the 4th century B.C. and that the fact that Palestinians and Israeli’s had to be enemies was ignorance.

“You know, people were like, one day were enemies, and we said that they were our enemies,” he added. “Then just like meeting them, and understanding that they’re trying very hard not to have another Holocaust, and they’re doing their best to keep the law and give equality for their people.”

“It made us appreciate them more. Our hearts were open, and we saw that their hearts were too,” he added. “You know to people in the land, even if we are not Jews.”

Mishriky explained to the Israel Collective that at the end of the day, God calls his children to show love and compassion to all people.

“You will not understand it if we don’t understand that God is love,” he explained. “God did all of this as a reaction of His love. God keeps His covenant because He is a loving God.”

“God, you know, takes care of His people because He is a loving God,” he explained. “God sent His son to manifest love He is love.”

Mishriky pointed out that he loves selling Biblical antiquities because they prove the Bible to be true.

“And the Biblical archeology proves the Bible,” he said. “And these items just open up the Bible. You know you see something and you can understand the verse in a better way.”

“If my first identity is Christian,” he ended with.

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Post  Admin on Tue 04 Jun 2019, 3:42 pm
Jewish Ties to the Temple Mount – What’s the Story?
Jewish Ties Temple Mount
Much of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is about land. There are strong Christian, Muslim and indeed Jewish ties to the region. But there’s one particular parcel of land that is fraught with history, symbolism and meaning, not just to the Jews and Palestinians living in Israel, but to people around the world.

The Temple Mount.

This trapezoid-shaped esplanade is the most sensitive 37 acres in Israel, maybe even in the world. Most prominent is the iconic glittering golden-roofed Dome of the Rock. Inside is the Foundation Stone, which many believe is the location of the Holy of Holies. Sitting on the southern edge of the plaza is the Al-Aqsa Mosque. At the bottom of the western side of a retaining wall surrounding the Temple Mount is the Western Wall.

Temple Mount
Photo by Yossi Zamir/Flash 90 with additions by HonestReporting
On any given day, pilgrims from all over the world come to Jerusalem looking for God, or at least some kind of spiritual experience. Within walking distance of the Temple Mount are Mount Zion, the Mount of Olives, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Via Dolorosa, Siloam’s Pool and Hezekiah’s tunnel and other sites associated with the Bible.

With so many holy and historical sites, why is the Temple Mount the one place that arouses so much more passion?

Jewish starJewish ties to the Temple Mount run deep. In Jewish tradition, the Temple Mount is considered the holiest spot in the world, the site of the First and Second Temples built by King Solomon and Zerubbabel respectively. Ground zero would be the Holy of Holies, the Temple’s inner sanctum which the High Priest only entered once a year.

Known in Hebrew as Har HaBayit (Temple Mount) or Har HaMoriah (Mount Moriah), the Temple Mount’s holiness is so transcendent that many observant Jews will not go there while in a state of ritual impurity (more on that below). This restriction on visiting complicates efforts to strengthen Jewish ties to the Temple Mount. The closest spot to the Temple where the vast majority of Jews pray is the Western Wall, a retaining wall around the Temple Mount.

The Foundation Stone (Even ha-Shtiyya in Hebrew), which is inside the Dome of the Rock, is assumed by many to be the spot where the Ark of the Covenant sat inside the Holy of Holies, the first place where earth appeared on the third day of creation, and the spot where Abraham prepared his son Isaac as a sacrifice.

According to Jewish tradition, the Third and final Temple will be built there too.

Muslim crescentFor Muslims, the Temple Mount is known as Haram al-Sharif (the Noble Sanctuary). The Al Aqsa Mosque is Islam’s third holiest site.

Much of the Temple Mount’s prominence stems from the story of the prophet Mohammed’s Night Journey. According to Islam, Mohammed flew from Mecca to Jerusalem on a winged horse which landed atop the Western Wall. At the site of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, Mohammed led prophets in prayer.  From the Foundation Stone, he ascended to heaven and met with other prophets before returning to Mecca.

The Dome of the Rock is among the oldest works of Islamic architecture extant and its glittering gold dome is the most iconic image associated with Jerusalem today. In Arabic, the Western Wall is called the Wall of Buraq (Hait al-Buraq) after the horse.

Christian crossFor Christians, the Temple is where Jesus was found at a young age debating law with the rabbinic elders (the Finding in the Temple), and where he later expelled the money changers and merchants (the Cleansing of the Temple).

Christianity’s historical Jewish roots make the Temple Mount a very popular pilgrimage site. Although they don’t have a formal role in administering the holy site, church leaders follow developments on the Temple Mount and often speak out on issues regarding its status quo. The remains of a Byzantine era mosaic found under the Al-Aqsa Mosque — the only archeological excavation ever undertaken there — are thought to be the remains of a church or monastery.

The purpose of this article is not prove or disprove any side’s claim, but to better understand Jewish ties to the Temple Mount.

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The status quo
The existing state of affairs currently governing the Temple Mount goes back to 1967, when Israel captured eastern Jerusalem from Jordan. Days after the war, defense minister Moshe Dayan met with Jerusalem’s Muslim leaders. Fearing a wider religious war, Dayan agreed to let the Jordanian-run Islamic Waqf continue administering the Temple Mount.

(A waqf is a trusteeship. The waqf overseeing the Temple Mount today is also responsible for other Muslim institutions in Jerusalem, including schools, mosques, religious courts, orphanages, libraries, museums, and other properties.)

The informal status quo coming out of that meeting was as follows:

Jews and non-Muslims would be allowed to visit the Temple Mount.
Jews and non-Muslims visiting the Temple Mount would respect Muslim religious feelings.
Jews and non-Muslims would not be allowed to pray on the Temple Mount.
The Western Wall would be the primary place of Jewish prayer.
The Islamic Waqf would oversee daily administration of the Temple Mount while Israel would retain “overall sovereignty.”
After the war, the Knesset passed the Preservation of the Holy Places Law, ensuring freedom of access and protection to holy sites under Israeli jurisdiction, including eastern Jerusalem.

Six Day War Temple Mount
Israeli paratroopers on the Mount of Olives view the Temple Mount during the Six Day War.
The Israeli courts have rebuffed challenges to the ban on Jewish prayer. In a 1976 ruling on a case in which the police expelled a Jew from the Temple Mount for praying, Supreme Court president Aharon Barak wrote:

The basic principle is that every Jew has the right to enter the Temple Mount, to pray there, and to have communion with his maker. This is part of the religious freedom of worship, it is part of the freedom of expression. However, as with every human right, it is not absolute, but a relative right… Indeed, in a case where there is near certainty that injury may be caused to the public interest if a person’s rights of religious worship and freedom of expression would be realized, it is possible to limit the rights of the person in order to uphold the public interest.

The Israel-Jordanian peace agreement of 1994 (article 9) enshrined a “special role” for the Jordanian monarchy in the administration of Jerusalem’s Muslim holy sites, including the Temple Mount. However, in a separate deal with the Palestine Liberation Organization in 1994, Jordan transferred the role of Grand Mufti — the leading religious figure –to the Palestinian leadership. The current Grand Mufti, appointed by Mahmoud Abbas and receiving a PA salary, is Mohammed Hussein, who rejects Jewish ties to the Temple Mount — specifically denying that the Temple ever existed there.

More recently, in February, 2019, Jordan expanded the size of the Waqf council to add more Palestinians. This enlarged council includes former mufti Sheikh Ekrima Sabri, who is close to Ankara and helping expand Turkish influence in Jerusalem.

Related reading: Stories I’d Like to See: Background on the Temple Mount Troubles

The Temple Mount’s history
Creation: In Jewish tradition, the Temple Mount was the first land to appear when land and water were separated on the third day of creation.
c. 2000 BCE Abraham prepares Isaac as a sacrifice (Binding of Isaac) (Genesis, ch. 22).
c. 1000 BCE King David purchases the threshing floor from Arunah the Jebusite (Samuel II, ch. 24 and Chronicles I, ch. 21). The purchase marks the beginning of formal Jewish ties to the Temple Mount.
825 BCE: Solomon builds the First Temple.
423 BCE: Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar destroys the First Temple.
353 BCE: Jews rebuild Second Temple.
164 BCE: Hasmoneans revolt against Greeks, purifying and rededicating the Temple in events commemorated by the Chanuka holiday.

Second Temple
A model of the Second Temple refurbished by King Herod.
20 BCE: King Herod begins refurbishing the Temple, expanding the Temple Mount and building a retaining wall around it. (The Western Wall is the only remaining part of this retaining wall.)
70 CE: Romans destroy Second Temple, building on top of it a temple to Jupiter Capitolinus.
335 CE: Byzantines consecrate the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. They viewed the Temple’s destruction as a fulfillment of Christian victory over the Jews. As Christian worship shifts to the Holy Sepulchre, the Temple Mount becomes a garbage dump.
638 CE: Umayyad Muslims conquer Jerusalem and begin cleaning up the Temple Mount.
692 CE: The Umayyads complete the construction of Dome of the Rock.
705 CE: The Umayyads build the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the site of a small Muslim prayer house at the edge of the Temple Mount.
1099: Christian crusaders led by Godfrey of Bouillon capture Jerusalem. They convert the Dome of the Rock into a church and Al Aqsa into a Templar headquarters.
1187: The Ayyubids, led by Saladin, take Jerusalem from the Christians and refurbish  the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa.
1517: The Ottomans conquer the holy land.
1917: British forces defeat the Turks in World War I. Palestinians appointed by Britain to the Supreme Muslim Council are given responsibility for administering the Temple Mount.
1948: The Israeli War of Independence. Jordan seizes eastern Jerusalem, including the Temple Mount. The Jordanian-run Islamic Waqf is given responsibility for overseeing the Temple Mount.
1967: Israel captures the Temple Mount in the Six Day War.
1996: In violation of the status quo, the Islamic Waqf begins converting an underground passage into a massive prayer hall called the Marwani mosque. Thousands of tons of dirt and rubble containing remnants of antiquities from the Temple period are dumped without archaeological supervision. The Waqf dismisses charges it is systematically destroying Jewish ties to the Temple Mount.
2017: Two Israeli police officers are killed by a terrorist who smuggled a gun onto the Temple Mount. Palestinians riot when Israel installs metal detectors, which are later removed.

Jewish ties to the Temple Mount in tradition
Tisha B'Av
Jews at the Western Wall on Tisha B’Av mourning the Temple’s destruction.
Jewish ties to the Temple Mount have been kept alive over the centuries through a number of Jewish practices, including:

Around the world, Jews pray facing Jerusalem.
In Jerusalem, Jews pray facing the Temple Mount.
In theory, Jews praying on the Temple Mount would face the Holy of Holies.
Jewish prayers three times a day include a plea for the Temple’s restoration.
A Jew seeing the ruins of the Temple is supposed to tear his clothing and say “Our house of holiness and glory in which our ancestors sang praise to You, and all that we hold precious has been destroyed.”
Jews fast and mourn the destruction of the Temples which both fell on Tisha B’Av.
The Passover seder and Yom Kippur prayers both end with the words, “Next year in rebuilt Jerusalem,” which refers to the Temple.
At Jewish weddings, the groom breaks a glass and quotes part of Psalm 137 about not forgetting Jerusalem and “may my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth if I do not set Jerusalem above my highest joy.”
As an additional sign of mourning, Jewish ties to the Temple Mount are underscored by many observant Jews leaving a small portion of their home unplastered and unpainted.
Despite the long-standing Jewish ties to the Temple Mount, many rabbinical authorities forbid Jews from entering the compound because laws of ritual purity still apply to specific areas.  The precise location of the Temple’s inner courtyards and the Holy of Holies are not certain because of different ways to understand the Temple Mount’s measurements described by the Talmud, and because the Temple Mount is significantly larger than it was when the Talmud was codified.

In recent years, some rabbinic opinions have argued that Jews may ascend and visit the areas of the plaza that are certainly not where the inner courtyards or Holy of Holies were because the laws of ritual purity do not apply to the entire Temple Mount. Some rabbis even encourage Jews to visit the hilltop plaza to actively maintain Jewish ties to the Temple Mount.

The details of these rulings and the issues they raise are beyond the scope of this article.

Temple Mount aerial view
An aerial view of the Temple Moiunt
* * *

Spurning Jewish ties to the Temple Mount helps the Palestinians undermine Jewish claims on Jerusalem and negate the very concept of Israel as a Jewish national homeland. That’s why Palestinians value organizations such as the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) passing resolutions insisting that Israel has no legal or historical claims on Jerusalem.

Because the Temple Mount goes to the very heart of core Jewish, Muslim and Christian narratives, it poses the greatest sticking point to future Israeli-Palestinian arrangements.

Featured image: CC0 Pixabay; star, crescent and cross via Wikimedia Commons; Second Temple via Wikimedia Commons; Tisha B’Av via Wikimedia Commons; aerial view via Wikimedia Commons;

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Post  Admin on Sun 02 Jun 2019, 4:45 pm

WATCH: Ancient maritime fortress found off Israel’s coast
June 2, 2019
An ancient fortress was discovered off the coast of Israel by maritime archaeologists. The site, mentioned in biblical texts, was built by a Hellenistic ruler during the period of the Hasmoneans.

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ISRAEL HISTORY - Page 2 Empty Passover and the Spanish Inquisition

Post  Admin on Tue 23 Apr 2019, 10:43 pm

Passover and the Spanish Inquisition
Apr 15, 2019  |  by Dr. Yvette Alt Miller
Passover and the Spanish Inquisition
Generations of secret Jews defied the Spanish Inquisition to celebrate Passover and other holidays.

Five centuries ago, the Jews of Spain were faced with an unimaginable choice: convert to Christianity or leave the country. When King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella united Spain under Catholic control, they celebrated by decreeing that Spain should be an entirely Christian country. As of August 11, 1492, no Jew could remain in the country. Any Jew who would be found in Spain after that date would be tortured to death.

Most of Spain’s Jews fled. August 11, 1492 coincided with the somber Jewish holiday Tisha B’Av, when Jews recall the destruction of the ancient Temples in Jerusalem. Added to these national tragedies was the expulsion from Spain. Hundreds of thousands of Jews lined the ports and harbors, embarking on boats headed for North Africa, for Turkey, for Italy and other points unknown. Many of these unfortunate Jews were tricked by unscrupulous captains; some were sold into slavery or even murdered once they left Spanish waters.

Some Jews remained, publicly embracing Christianity but continuing to practice Jewish rituals in secret. Doing so was to court death. Seeking to root out secret Jews, the Catholic Church established the Spanish Inquisition in 1480, tasked with interrogating, torturing and - if they determined that people were practicing Judaism in secret - burning Jews in public mass executions. Despite the promise of death by unimaginable torture, many Jews continued to cling to their Jewish tradition, observing Jewish holidays and eating kosher food as best as they could. They were known as conversos.

The brutal Inquisition authorities appealed to the public to observe their neighbors and be alert to any sign of Jewish practices. They asked household servants to report any suspicious behavior to church figures. Many of these testimonies have been collected and documented by the husband and wife team Dr. David M. Gitlitz and Dr. Linda Kay Davidson, both former professors at the University of Rhode Island.

In each city in which it was active, the Inquisition published a document called the Edict of Grace, which enumerated the offences that could mark someone as a secret Jew and have them hauled before the Inquisition and tortured. According to one local Edict, Jews were people who:

…(keep) the Sabbaths (by) cooking on...Fridays such food as is required for the Saturdays and on the latter eating the meat thus cooked on Friday as is the manner of the Jews...not eating pork, hare, rabbit, strangled birds...nor eels or other scaleless fish, as laid down in the Jewish law… Or who celebrate the Festival of unleavened bread (Passover), beginning by eating lettuce, celery or other bitter herbs on those days.

Ironically, as years went by and it became harder and harder for Spain’s secret Jews to transmit their heritage to their children, the Edict of Grace acted as a guide to some Jews, outlining what they should do if they wished to hold on to their Jewish heritage. Central to Jewish practice was preparing and eating special foods for Passover and holding secret Passover Seders.

In the annals of the Inquisition are testimonies of servants and neighbors accusing Jews of secretly celebrating Passover. They paint a heartbreaking picture of committed Jews who tried hard to follow the religion of their ancestors, and suffered terribly for their Jewish devotion.

Juan Sanches Exarch was tried by the Inquisition in the city of Teruel in October 1484. Even though Jews had not yet been expelled from Spain, many Jews faced pressure from local officials to convert to Christianity. Juan Sanches Exarch was seemingly one of these Jews who gave into repeated requests and publicly embraced Christianity but continued to maintain a Jewish lifestyle in secret.

Fifty-three articles laid out the charges against him; Passover observance featured prominently. “He celebrates the Passover, on that day eating matzah, celery, and lettuce as the Jews do” the Inquisition put forth. “He gets unleavened bread from the Jewish neighborhood on the Passover. He buys new dishes for the Passover. He does everything else the Jews do on Passover…. He washes his hands before praying (as is the custom at the Passover seder, and at other Jewish meal times).”

Juan Sahches Exarch faced a two year trial and in the end was found guilty; he was condemned to death in 1486.

In 1492, a high level advisor to King Joan II of Aragon, Pedro de la Caballeria, was questioned by the Inquisition and accused of being a secret Jew. According to another secret Jew who was forced to testify against him, Pedro de la Caballeria admitted that he maintained a Jewish lifestyle in secret. “Who hinders me, if I choose, from fasting on Yom Kippur and keeping (Jewish) festivals and all the rest? Now I have complete freedom to do as I like; those old days (of being restricted because he was a Jew) are gone.”

One of the ritual items that was associated with Pedro de la Caballeria was a dish favored by secret Jews: huevos haminados. This dish of eggs boiled with onion skins, olive oil and ashes, resulted in tinted eggs that had a flavor of onions, and were often eaten on Passover.

Another Passover dish embraced by secret Jews was Bunuelos, or dough made from matzah meal that’s fried in oil and then drizzled with honey. Many Sephardi Jews continue to make these Passover sweets today. Historians have uncovered a description from a Spanish woman named Margarita de Rivera who lived in Mexico in 1643, who described making bunuelos in secret. One hundred and fifty years after her ancestors were forced to hide their Jewishness, her family continued to make this classic Passover pastry.

Matzah was perhaps the most damning Passover foods that could bring Jews before the Inquisition. The Inquisition in the town of Almazan recorded several cases of secret Jews making matzah. A woman named Angelina, identified as the wife of Christoual de Leon of Almazan, was accused of making “the dough of flour and eggs, and formed some round, flat cakes with pepper and honey and oil” and baking these curious, flat breads in the Spring.

In 1505, also in Almaan, a Christian woman in the town named Olalla testified to the Inquisition that she sat behind one of her neighbors, a woman named Beatriz, in church, and observed that week after week, Beatriz would take the communion wafer in her mouth, then discreetly spit it out instead of eating it. During her trial, probably after being tortured, Beatriz admitted that she and a friend, identified only as the wife of Ruy Diaz Lainez, “made some cakes separately of another dough that had no leavening and they kneaded it with white wine and honey and clove and pepper, and they made about twenty of those and they kept a storage chest” out of sight of prying eyes.

Some conversos seem to have had the custom of adding finely ground dirt to their matzah dough, perhaps to imply that the Israelites had so little flour in Egypt that they had to add dust, or perhaps to illustrate that matzah is also known as bread of affliction. Whatever the reason for this curious addition, it comes up in Inquisition documents from the 1620s in the town of Ciudad Rodrigo, in Salamanca near Spain’s border with Portugal. A secret Jew named Isabel Nunez was accused of “making a Passover bread which they used to mix without leavening or salt, saying certain prayers over it”. Her friend Ana Lopez was accused of eating “Passover bread”. (Ana Lopez was acquitted and set free; tragically, it seems that Isabel Nunez was found guilty of being a secret Jew.)

For generations, Spanish Jewish families maintained their Jewish lifestyles under pain of death and against the greatest odds. Untold numbers were tortured and killed, burned to death and murdered. May the memories of the secret Jews who kept Passover under unimaginable circumstances and danger be a blessing, and may their memories inspire us today to celebrate Passover with joy and pride.

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Post  Admin on Sat 09 Feb 2019, 12:15 am

Top 7 Biblically Significant Archaeological Discoveries of 2018
Compiled & Edited by Christian Headlines Editorial
 Top 7 Biblically Significant Archaeological Discoveries of 2018
2018 was a big year for archeologists. On Christian Headlines alone, we covered almost 20 Biblically significant archeological discoveries. From potentially finding the location of the Ark of the Covenant to finding the oldest known manuscript of the Gospel of Mark, scientists have put their best feet forward in the quest to finding artifacts from way back.

Here are 7 of the most significant Biblical archaeological discoveries of 2018.

1. 1,500-year-old- Pool Discovered in Israel May Hold Biblical Significance

Fox News reported in February that a discovery was made at Ein Hanniya Park, Israel. Reportedly, the Israel Antiquities Authority discovered a system of Byzantine-era ancient pools. The group said that the pools appear to have been built around the fourth and sixth centuries A.D. The pools are thought to possibly be the site where Phillip baptized the Ethiopian eunuch in the book of Acts. 

2. Discovery of Ancient Israelite City Supports Biblical Account of King David

In May, archaeologists made strides in proving the existence of King David. Reportedly, many experts have doubted the biblical account of David, noting that there is no evidence suggesting that there was even civilization in the time David is said to have ruled. According to Breaking Israel News, Professor Avraham Faust, who led the archaeological dig, said that scientists really only started doubting David’s existence in the last 25 years. He said, “Until 25 years ago no one doubted that King David was a historical figure.” He continued, “In the last 25 years or so, however, David’s historicity, and especially the size of his kingdom, are hotly debated.”

All of that changed, however, when archaeologists discovered a large ancient city in Israel.

“The new discovery at Tel ‘Eton, located in the Judean Shephelah to the east of the Hebron hills, seems to suggest that the highland kingdom controlled larger areas than some scholars believe,” Faust told Breaking Israel News. While no artifacts were found relating directly to Kind David, this discovery did answer the question of the existence of civilization during the time of David.

3. ‘Oldest Manuscript’ of Gospel of Mark Discovered

At the end of May, Scientists were able to identify the age of an ancient fragment of the Gospel of Mark. The fragment was dated by the Egyptian Exploration society to the late second to early third century A.D, marking it as the oldest fragment of the gospel of Mark ever found. The fragment which retains brief passages from the Biblical book was the center of controversy in 2012 when news broke that the fragment could date to as far back as the first century. While the fragment was eventually dated to be 100 to 200 years older, it still became the oldest known manuscript of the Gospel of Mark.

4. Archeologists Discover Biblical Gate Related to 12 Tribes of Israel

In July, Archaeologists in Israel declared that they had discovered the entrance gate to a biblical city from the Old Testament called Zer. Zer, which was later called Bethsaida in the New Testament, was found in the Golan Heights area in Israel. The city is mentioned as the site to many of Jesus’ miracles throughout the Gospels. In Mark, Jesus healed a blind man in Bethsaida and in Luke Jesus fed 5,000 people there. Additionally, Bethsaida is said to be the home town of three important biblical figures, Andrew, Peter, and Philip. 

5. Archaeologists Discover 1,500-Year-Old Painting of Jesus Being Baptized

In November archeologists discovered a 1,500-year-old painting of Jesus being baptized. The painting, which scientists say contains the oldest known depiction in Israel of Jesus being baptized, was found inside of a church in the Shivta village, in Israel. According to the Antiquity journal, thus far this painting “is the only in situ baptism-of-Christ scene to date confidently to the pre-iconoclastic Holy Land.” In laymen’s terms, this is the only painting of Jesus being baptized that is in its original location and that dates to the 8thand 9thcenturies.

6. Have Archaeologists Uncovered Pontius Pilate’s Ring?

According to the Jerusalem Times, archaeologists discovered a 2,000-year-old ring with the phrase “of Pilate” inscribed on it. Scientists believe that the “stamped ring,” which dates back to Jesus’ time, may have belonged to the biblical figure who is best known for his part in the crucifixion of Jesus, Pontius Pilate. Pilate ruled in Rome as the governor of Judea from A.D. 26-26. The copper ring falls within that timeline dating between the first century B.C. and mid-first century A.D.

7. Explorer: Ark of the Covenant May Have Been Found

Perhaps the most sensationalized Biblical artifact of our time, the Ark of the Covenant may have possibly also been located this year. According to Bob Cornuke who is the president of the Biblical Archaeology Search and Exploration Institute (BASE), the Ark of the Covenant and the Ten Commandment tablets may have been found in a church in Ethiopia. St. Mary’s of Zion Church in Axum Ethiopia, which is guarded by a “Guardian of the Ark” is said to be the home of both of these ancient Biblical relics. While no one beside the Ark’s guardian would be allowed to see it, there is evidence that suggests that the Ark did indeed make its way to Ethiopia. St. Mary’s of Zion Church has now been investigated by both BASE and the Smithsonian Magazine, but according to the Guardian, man cannot lay eyes on the Ark or they will pollute to holy relic, so for now, the lost Ark will remain a mystery.

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Post  Admin on Sat 02 Feb 2019, 8:37 pm

The Story of David and Goliath Is Not Just A Story – It REALLY Happened!
By Phil Schneider -  January 31, 2019 2265 0
Archaeology is not just the science of the covered past. It is the fuel of the future. The story of David and Goliath is not just a relic of the past. It inspires us today. In general, people look at history as something that may or may not connect to our lives today. This is completely wrong when it comes to Israeli finds.
The Bible is literally covered up by the ground that we walk on today. So, anytime that a new discovery is made, it is as if another chapter in the Bible comes to life.
Archaeology: David's Israel made room for God
The Bible and Archaeology
“I can’t ignore the biblical text and I cannot ignore archaeology,” says Professor Yosef Garfinkle. Proof of life and events just as scripture describes them are right here in the archaeological discoveries. This clip really gives you food for thought.
David, the young shepherd who battled the giant Goliath – the leader of the Philistines, fought in the Elah valley. Today, tens of thousands of Jews live right outside the area and are rebuilding the Holy Land right next to the areas being dug up by archaeologists.

Life in Israel is not merely inspired by the Bible. It is the source of our very life here. It is also the best proof of the rights of the Jewish people to the Promised Land. From the roads that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob walked, to the palace of Solomon. to the place where David and Goliath battled, and even to the areas where God brought the walls of Jericho down – today, the Bible is an open book that anyone who visits can experience and walk in.

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Post  Admin on Sun 27 Jan 2019, 10:54 pm

Massive 1,500-year-old Cistern Set to Become Jerusalem’s Latest Attraction
Jan 25, 2019
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Israeli archaeologists discovered a huge, ancient cistern under a playground in Jerusalem and the municipality is determining how to turn the amazing discovery into the city’s next top tourist destination.
The Jerusalem Municipality began renovating a playground on Wednesday in the Katamon neighborhood, where a 1,500-year-old water cistern uncovered more than a decade ago might now become a national site.
Discovered in 2005 as a well-preserved relic, the cistern was approximately half the size of an Olympic-sized pool, according to documentation by now-retired Israel Antiquities Authority archaeologist Uzi Dahari and engineer Ofer Cohen.
Measuring 2,422 square feet in area, its maximum volume is around 300,000 gallons.

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Post  Admin on Fri 25 Jan 2019, 10:05 pm

Inheritance Laws in Ancient Israel
by Bruce Wells
In 1Kgs 21:3, Naboth says that he will not sell his “ancestral inheritance.” The implication is that Naboth inherited his vineyard (the one that King Ahab is asking for) from his father, who inherited it from his father, and so on. Even today, it can be hard to part with one’s childhood home. But Naboth is saying more than that.

Land was a family’s most important economic asset. It could be bought and sold, but inherited land was special. In the ancient Near East, if a family sold inherited land for its full price, ownership passed permanently into the hands of the buyer. If a family sold it for a lower price, due to economic hardship and the need to sell quickly, family members were generally allowed to redeem (repurchase) the land at the same or a similarly low price. It was important to give families the chance to keep their inheritance (see, for example, the story about Naomi’s land in Ruth 4).

It is difficult to paint a complete picture of family law in ancient Israel; the Hebrew Bible presents a variety of texts from different times that may be used to reconstruct this law, and it is uncertain whether the rules and concepts in these texts all functioned simultaneously. Several texts suggest that a man’s principal heirs were the sons born to him by his wife (or wives). Sons by other women (concubines, slaves, prostitutes) were not included (Judg 11:2). Daughters were provided a dowry in lieu of an inheritance share but could be granted possession of their father’s estate in the absence of sons. If they were, they were not allowed to marry outside their father’s clan or extended family (Num 27:5-11, Num 36:5-9), in order to keep all property within the clan. After daughters, according to Num 27:11, the next in line were the deceased’s brothers, followed by his paternal uncles, followed by “the nearest kinsman of his clan.”

Upon the father’s death, his heirs could divide the estate immediately, or they could keep it intact for a time, perhaps while waiting for a younger son to come of age. Special rules applied to brothers living on an undivided estate. For example, Deut 25:5-10 stipulates that if one brother married but died childless, another brother was to marry the widow and hope to impregnate her with a baby boy, who would then inherit the share that the deceased had been entitled to.

When it came time to divide, the father’s estate was apportioned into equal shares. Assigning specific shares to each heir was likely done by casting lots. Deut 21:17 suggests that typically the eldest son received two shares and other sons one each. A father could, by virtue of a testament, designate a younger son as the “firstborn” and reassign the right to a double share to him. He could not do so, however, if he was married to multiple women and had previously chosen to “hate” (probably meaning “demote”) the mother of the biologically oldest son. In this case, the oldest retained the status of firstborn (Deut 21:15-17).

Families who fell on hard times and had to sell inherited land retained the right to redeem it. But cunning investors found ways around this. Documents from the Late Bronze Age (c. 1550–1200 B.C.E.) site of Nuzi in Iraq, for instance, show that one particular businessman was adopted as a son by dozens of families in the area. The texts actually record discounted sales of land disguised as adoptions. People in dire straits sold their land to this man for a reduced price and adopted him into their family. In the eyes of the law, the land never left the family and thus was not eligible for redemption. Similar schemes may be the target of texts such as Mic 2:2, which condemn those who defraud others of their inheritance.

Scholars disagree as to whether Naboth is saying that he is not allowed to sell his vineyard or simply does not want to sell it. In either case, Ahab is not offering a reduced price. He wants a fair sale or trade. This would permanently place the vineyard in his possession and eliminate any opportunity for Naboth or his heirs to redeem the land, and thus Naboth insists that it stay in the family.

Bruce Wells, "Inheritance Laws in Ancient Israel", n.p. [cited 25 Jan 2019]. Online:

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Post  Admin on Wed 09 Jan 2019, 1:37 pm

Fate of Ark of the Covenant Revealed in Hebrew Text
By Owen Jarus, Live Science Contributor | January 7, 2014 09:07pm ET
Fate of Ark of the Covenant Revealed in Hebrew Text
This bas-relief image showing the Ark of the Covenant being carried is from the Auch Cathedral in France. A newly translated Hebrew text claims to reveal the locations of treasures from King Solomon's Temple and discusses the fate of the Ark itself.
Credit: Photo by I. Vassil, released into public domain through Wikimedia
A newly translated Hebrew text claims to reveal where treasures from King Solomon's temple were hidden and discusses the fate of the Ark of the Covenant itself.

But unlike the Indiana Jones movie "Raiders of the Lost Ark," the text leaves the exact location of the Ark unclear and states that it, and the other treasures, "shall not be revealed until the day of the coming of the Messiah son of David …" putting it out of reach of any would-be treasure seeker.

King Solomon's Temple, also called the First Temple, was plundered and torched by the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar II in the sixth century B.C., according to the Hebrew Bible. The Ark of the Covenant is a chest that, when originally built, was said to have held tablets containing the 10 commandments. It was housed in Solomon's Temple, a place that contained many different treasures. [Religious Mysteries: 8 Alleged Relics of Jesus]

The newly translated text, called "Treatise of the Vessels" (Massekhet Kelim in Hebrew), says the "treasures were concealed by a number of Levites and prophets," writes James Davila, a professor at the University of St. Andrews, in an article in the book "Old Testament Pseudepigrapha More Noncanonical Scriptures Volume 1" (William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2013).

"Some of these (treasures) were hidden in various locations in the Land of Israel and in Babylonia, while others were delivered into the hands of the angels Shamshiel, Michael, Gabriel and perhaps Sariel …" writes Davila in his article.

The treatise is similar in some ways to the metallic "Copper Scroll," one of the Dead Sea Scrolls found near the site of Qumran in the West Bank. The Copper Scroll also discusses the location of hidden treasure, although not from Solomon's Temple.

The Treatise of the Vessels (Massekhet Kelim) is recorded in the 1648 Hebrew book Emek Halachah, published in Amsterdam. In the book the Treatise is published as Chapter 11 (one of its two pages shown here). The two pages also contain material from other book chapters. 
The Treatise of the Vessels (Massekhet Kelim) is recorded in the 1648 Hebrew book Emek Halachah, published in Amsterdam. In the book the Treatise is published as Chapter 11 (one of its two pages shown here). The two pages also contain material from other book chapters.
Credit: Scanned images courtesy, they can also be seen here and here.
The treatise describes the treasures in an imaginative way. One part refers to "seventy-seven tables of gold, and their gold was from the walls of the Garden of Eden that was revealed to Solomon, and they radiated like the radiance of the sun and moon, which radiate at the height of the world."

The oldest confirmed example of the treatise, which survives to present day, is from a book published in Amsterdam in 1648 called "Emek Halachah." In 1876, a scholar named Adolph Jellinek published another copy of the text, which was virtually identical to the 1648 version. Davila is the first to translate the text fully into English.

A story of legends

The writer of the text likely was not trying to convey factual locations of the hidden treasures of Solomon's Temple, but rather was writing a work of fiction, based on different legends, Davila told LiveScience. [In Photos: Amazing Ruins of the Ancient World]

"The writer draws on traditional methods of scriptural exegesis [interpretation] to deduce where the treasures might have been hidden, but I think the writer was approaching the story as a piece of entertaining fiction, not any kind of real guide for finding the lost Temple treasures," he wrote in the email.

The structure of the story is confusing. In the prologue it states that Shimmur the Levite (he doesn't appear to be a biblical figure) and his companions hid the treasures, "but later on the text mentions the treasures being in the keeping of or hidden by Shamshiel and other angels," Davila said. "I suspect the author collected various legends without too much concern about making them consistent."

Similarities to the Copper Scroll

The Copper Scroll, which dates back around 1,900 years, and is made of copper, shows several "striking parallels" with the newly translated treatise, Davila said.

The treatise says that the treasures from Solomon's Temple were recorded "on a tablet of bronze," a metal like the Copper Scroll. Additionally, among other similarities, the Treatise of the Vessels and Copper Scroll both refer to "vessels" or "implements," including examples made of gold and silver.

These similarities could be a coincidence or part of a tradition of recording important information on metal.

"My guess is that whoever wrote the Treatise of Vessels came up with the same idea [of writing a treasure list on metal] coincidentally on their own, although it is not unthinkable that the writer knew of some ancient tradition or custom about inscribing important information on metal," wrote Davila in the email, noting that metal is a more durable material than parchment or papyrus.

An ongoing story

The study of the treatise is ongoing, and discoveries continue to be made. For instance, in the mid-20th century a copy of it (with some variations) was discovered and recorded in Beirut, Lebanon, at the end of a series of inscribed plates that record the Book of Ezekiel.

Those plates are now at the Yad Ben Zvi Institute in Israel, although the plates containing the treatise itself are now missing. Recent research has revealed, however, these plates were created in Syria at the turn of the 20th century, about 100 years ago, suggesting the treatise was being told in an elaborate way up until relatively modern times.

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Post  Admin on Thu 03 Jan 2019, 12:19 am

Judy Siegel-Itzkovich 3 hours ago Categories Inspiration
Grape Growers Have Learned Something Since the Time of Noah
The sun rises over Jewish vineyards in Samaria, the historical and Biblical central region of the ancient Land of Israel. (Credit: Seth Aronstam/Israel365 calendar)

Grapes have been cultivated for making wine since the time of Noah or even before. Although alcohol got the man of the Ark into trouble, wine indeed gladdens the heart of humankind and is a way for people to celebrate as long as they don’t overdo it and get intoxicated.

Growing grapes to make wine is a big industry in California, Israel and numerous other Mediterranean countries due to their climate. Most cultivated vineyards worldwide are located in semi‐arid and arid regions where drought is common and vines have to be irrigated.

There has been very limited information in the scientific literature about the effects of stress on the development of the adult grapevine system or on the implications of the plant’s ability to cope with drought.

Now, a new study published by scientists at Ariel University of Samaria and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem – published in the American Journal of Botany – has suggested a way to create higher-quality grapes and red wines. The growing season in Israel is from early spring to late summer.

Their article is titled “Water availability dynamics have long‐term effects on mature stem structure in Vitis vinifera.” This variety of Merlot grapes grow on a climbing vine that is of global economic importance.

The research was conducted by doctoral student Sarel Munitz, under the joint supervision of Dr. Yishai Netzer and Dr. Ilana Shtein of Ariel University and Hebrew University Prof. Amnon Schwartz. The team spent four years studying perennial vines and grapes grown in Kibbutz Hulda in central Israel. The vineyard was planted there in 1998.

It is relatively easy to get a large grape harvest that is considered poor for wine production – simply watering the vines a lot. But overwatering creates damage to the vine and the grape pulp.

When the vines get abundant water, the grapes are large and fat, but the wine will turn out to be relatively tasteless and flat, and the colors of the grape juice is pinking. Vines that undergo “thirst” – or “stress” – produce grapes with a better aroma and taste and make the wine better, the researchers wrote.

Their technique involves changing the natural anatomy of the vines so they suit the exact needs for creating the desired wine. Irrigation of the vines is increased during the early part of growing season and reduced at the end. This means that the plants are made to be “thirsty” in a controlled way, at the proper time, without harming the harvest  This increases the amount of grapes grown and improves the quality of the wine.

The big question is how much farmers should irrigate to create the right balance. The recommendation of the research team is to water the vines more at the beginning of the season and make them “thirstier” in the weeks before they are harvested.

It turns out that plants have “memory,” which means that plants recall what exists within their anatomy. The memory mechanism is deeply embedded in the diameter of the tubes, called xylem, that transport water from the soil to the leaves and the fruits. The vascular tissue that transports soluble organic compounds manufactured during photosynthesis– especially the sugar sucrose – to parts of the plant is called phloem. Both types of tubes are comprised of dead cells.

The plant actually spreads risks: On the one hand, it can produce wide tubes that allow transport of large amounts of water, but there is a risk of air bubbles entering and blocking them. If the tubes created by the plant are narrow, less water reaches the leaves and fruit, but air bubbles are much less likely to form – even under severe dry conditions. Both narrow and fat tubes are found in the same vine.

The technologies they developed makes it possible to control the amount of stress in the vine and measure and control on a daily basis the exact amount of water used for irrigation and how much each vine needs to “drink.”  The plant actually tells the farmer what its needs are to create high-quality wine and to prevent significant damage to the vine.

When the vines are watered generously, large, fat grapes are produced and the wine has a pinkish color. A plant that undergoes stress produces color, taste and aroma that give the wine uniqueness and quality. The balance between abundant water and thirst creates the ideal grapes for making wine.

“Our research can contribute to the understanding of mature stem xylem structure and how it is affected by drought stress in the long term” the Israeli researchers concluded. “This long‐term memory of xylem structure can be relevant for other woody plants, particularly in those in which xylem annual rings are hydraulically active for several years. High water availability during xylem formation period, results in wider vessels and increased hydraulic conductivity. This improved hydraulic system, even though favorable during periods of high water availability, is more prone to cavitation during drought periods.”

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Post  Admin on Fri 21 Dec 2018, 11:17 pm

Nir Hasson Dec 21, 2018 8:10 AM

In recent weeks, a small group of ultra-Orthodox Jews has been gathering alongside a locked iron gate on Nablus Road in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah. They pray and protest alongside the...

Another First Temple Weight, This One With Mirror Writing, Found in Jerusalem Sifting Project

This tiny stone weight found by the foundation stones of the Western Wall may have been used in the First Temple itself, if users were unfazed by its backwards engraving

By Ruth Schuster Nov 21, 2018

Graffiti of competently-drawn ships found in 2,000-year-old cistern in Israeli desert

'Suddenly I saw eyes': Jesus’ face discovered in ancient Israeli desert church

Archaeologists debunk theory that farming ruined our health

Bekas were used to weigh silver donations by the faithful to the Temple. A beka (half a shekel) weighs about 5.6 grams Eliyahu Yanai / City of David

Artifacts from the First Temple period are extremely rare, especially in Jerusalem. Yet now archaeologists report finding a second stone weight from that era that may well have been used in Solomon's Temple itself.

These stone weights, called bekas (singular – beka) were used on scales to ascertain the value of worshippers’ donations.

This second beka was found while sifting archaeological soil taken from the foundations of Robinson’s Arch at the Western Wall. This is the last remnant of the wall that had surrounded the Second Temple courtyard.

Archaeologist Eli Shukron directed the previous excavations on behalf of the Antiquities Authority, and tells Haaretz he found the first beka a few years ago in much the same spot.

Both the first and second wee weights are inscribed in ancient Hebrew script with the word beka, which pretty much decides what they were used for.

Both the first and second beka weights found in Jerusalem have the word “beka” engraved on them in ancient Hebrew script. But while the first was carved into the stone properly, from right to left, this “new” one is written backwards.

“Beka weights from the First Temple period are rare; however, this weight is even rarer because the inscription on it is written in mirror script. The letters are engraved from left to right instead of right to left,” says Shukron. “It can therefore be concluded that the artist who engraved the inscription on the weight specialized in engraving seals – since seals were always written in mirror script so that, once stamped, the inscription would appear in regular legible script.”

Shukron’s theory is that the beka maker was guilty of human error: The craftsman was used to making seals and used to writing in mirror script, so he did that on the weight too. Given the time it takes to carve letters finely into stone, one wonders how nobody noticed, or whether the first one evinced an early example of dyslexia and this one was “correct.”

Taxing for men

Jews in the era of the First Temple, which was supposedly built by King Solomon around 3,000 years ago, didn’t have coins (David and Solomon ostensibly reigned between roughly 1050 B.C.E. and 930 B.C.E.) The Jews would pay their “temple tax” in precious silver, Shukron tells Haaretz. Coins would only reach Israel in the Persian era of the land, in the fifth century B.C.E., he added.

Though women did make pilgrimages to the Temple in Jerusalem, they were exempt from this “tax,” adds linguist Elon Gilad.

“When the half-shekel tax was brought to the temple during the First Temple period, there were no coins so they used silver slivers,” says Shukron. “In order to calculate the weight of these silver pieces, they would put them on one side of the scales, and on the other side they placed the beka weight.”

The Temple would apparently use these donations for its maintenance, to buy animals for sacrifice, and so on.

King Hezekiah's own seal, found in 2015 in the City of David. Uriah Tadmor, courtesy of Eilat Mazar

The word beka comes from the verb meaning “to split” – i.e., it represented a fraction of a larger measure, in this case the biblical shekel, explains Gilad.

As explained in the Bible itself, beka weights were used in the First Temple to evaluate the half-shekel donation that Jews aged 20 years and up were expected to offer for the temple’s upkeep:

"This they shall give, every one that passeth among them that are numbered, half a shekel after the shekel of the sanctuary – the shekel is twenty gerahs – half a shekel for an offering to the Lord" (Exodus 30:13).

In case anybody remained unconvinced, the Bible continues:

"A beka a head, that is, half a shekel, after the shekel of the sanctuary, for every one that passed over to them that are numbered, from twenty years old and upward, for six hundred thousand and three thousand and five hundred and fifty men" (Exodus 38:26).

To be clear, the biblical shekel weighed 11.33 grams. The half-shekel, and therefore this stone beka, weighed half of that, or just over 5.5 grams.

The reason certifiable artifacts and remains from the First Temple period, in Jerusalem especially, are extremely rare is multiple. One issue is that stones from the homes and walls – and possibly the First Temple itself – were probably repurposed during the city’s many phases of destruction and rebuilding.

And from that, Shukron postulates, it seems that the artisans who carved the stone weights during the First Temple period were the same ones who made seals.

Among other momentous discoveries by the Emek Tzurim National Park sifting project is a seal mark that may well have been made by King Hezekiah (or on his behalf) 2,700 years ago. That had been discovered, in 2015, in excavations by the Temple Mount.

Another seal impression from exactly the same time was found last January, which renowned Jerusalem archaeologist Eilat Mazar, of Hebrew University, believes is engraved with the letters Yeshayahu NBY – meaning Isaiah the Prophet, who was quite the bugbear to Hezekiah back when. The seal is damaged, so part of the lettering seems to be missing. Not everybody buys that it had belonged to Isaiah, partly because the ancient sage would have needed a seal calling himself “Prophet.”

“This 3,000-year-old beka weight inscribed with ancient Hebrew was likely used in the First Temple, anchoring once again, the deep historical connection of the Jewish people to Jerusalem," said Doron Spielman, vice president of the City of David Foundation.

The City of David Foundation notes that the beka weight will be on display to the general public in Emek Tzurim National Park during Hanukkah.

The sifting was done in the national park under the auspices of the City of David Foundation.

Ruth Schuster

Haaretz Correspondent

What’s More Important, the Biblical King Hezekiah or Expanding Route 38?
A too-narrow road in central Israel bisects a First-Temple-era city that recovered from the devastation wreaked by Sennacherib, archaeologists discover, and the fight is on

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Post  Admin on Tue 11 Dec 2018, 10:46 pm
Archaeologists: We’ve located biblical city of Sodom
 December 10, 2018
Archaeologists: We’ve located biblical city of SodomThe destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah by John Martin, 1852 (Wikipedia)

Archaeologists believe they have found the ancient city of Sodom, whose destruction is described in the Bible. They say it was caused by a meteorite.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Archaeologists excavating the Bronze Age city of Tall el-Hammam in Jordan believe it to be the biblical city of Sodom, destroyed some 3,700 years ago.

According to the Bible, God obliterated the sinful cities of Sodom and Gomorrah and the plain upon which they stood by raining down on them “brimstone and fire.”

A report last Tuesday on the Universe Today website, which publishes space and astronomy news, quotes archaeologists as saying there are clear indications that a meteorite exploded in the air above what is now the Middle Ghor plain, wiping out a civilization that existed there for over 2,500 years.

Archaeologist Phillip Silvia of Trinity Southwest University presented the findings on November 15th at the annual meeting of the American Schools of Oriental Research. He and colleague Steven Collins say that the damage to the structures as well as to the 100-foot-thick and 50-feet-high walls around Tall el-Hammam was directional, which supports the theory of an immensely strong shock wave hitting the city from a mid-air explosion.

The huge magnitude of the blast destroyed an area of no less than 500 square kilometers. It is estimated to have been the equivalent of a 10-megaton nuclear warhead exploding about one kilometer above the ground.

A thick layer of ash that covers the site indicates that a fire had consumed the city. However, the discovery of a pottery shard with one side melted to glass shows that it was no petro-chemical blaze, perhaps set off by an earthquake, which was the prevailing theory as to what had destroyed the ancient city.

A study of the glass side of the shard shows that it had been exposed to a temperature of 8,000-12,000 degrees Celsius. In addition, the glass layer was only one millimeter thick, meaning that the concentrated burst of heat must have happened quickly, taking less than a few milliseconds.

Another proof that the city was destroyed by a meteorite explosion, the archaeologists say, is the discovery of a “melt rock” – three different rocks melted together, about a pound in weight and, like the shard, covered in glass. It, too, must have been exposed to intense heat, though for a few seconds longer than the clay piece.

The final proof that a meteorite had destroyed the city, according to the archaeologists, is the fact that the area – described in both the bible and historically as rich agriculturally – was not reinhabited for the next 700 years because the soil’s consistency had completely changed. Soil samples below and above the ash level were analyzed geochemically and found to contain three to four times the salt content allowing for the growth of wheat and barley.

The scientists theorize that the shock wave from the meteor blast spread a layer of salt from the nearby Dead Sea throughout the area, making the land agriculturally useless for centuries.

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Post  Admin on Fri 30 Nov 2018, 5:35 pm

Inscription confirms ancient ring belonged to Pontius Pilate, man who ordered Jesus’ crucifixion
Published time: 29 Nov, 2018 12:49
Edited time: 30 Nov, 2018 10:34
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Inscription confirms ancient ring belonged to Pontius Pilate, man who ordered Jesus’ crucifixion
Workers from the Israeli Antiquities Authority work in the Herodium fortress. File Photo: ©️ Global Look Press / Gil Cohen Magen
The name of Pontius Pilate, the Roman official who ordered the crucifixion of Jesus Christ according to Christian scripture, has been deciphered on a bronze ring discovered some 50 years ago near Bethlehem.
READ MORE: ‘Flying pastor’ swings off church ceiling to portray Jesus’ return (VIDEO)

The ancient ring was found in the late 1960s during an archaeological dig at the site of the Herodion fortress, built by Herod the king of Judea.

His name was deciphered on the ring after it, and thousands of other finds, were handed over to the team currently working on the historical site. Pilate was an infamous Roman governor of Jerusalem in the years 26 to 36 who also allegedly ran Jesus’ trial.

After a thorough cleansing, the ring was photographed using a special camera at the Israel Antiquities Authority Labs, revealing the crucial name. The stamping ring bears a picture of a wine vessel surrounded by Greek writing that translated into “Pilatus.”

Read more
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A stamping ring was also a hallmark of status in the Roman cavalry, to which Pilate belonged. Researchers believe it was either used by Pilate in his day-to-day work as governor or by his team to sign his name on official documents.

“I don’t know of any other Pilatus from the period and the ring shows he was a person of stature and wealth,” Professor Danny Schwartz told Haaretz.
Pilatus, the name linked to Pontius Pilate in the New Testament as the man who ordered Jesus’ crucifixion, was rare in Israel during that era, says Schwartz. It’s also not the first find at the site inscribed ‘Pilatus.’ In the 1960s, Hebrew University of Jerusalem Professor Gideon Forester Forster also unearthed a stone decorated with the name.

Herodian was built by King Herod and after his death it became a huge burial site, however Roman officials ruling over Judea used the upper tier as their administrative headquarters.
Research into the ring was led by Professor Shua Amurai-Stark and Malcha Hershkovitz. They published their findings in the new issue of the Israel Exploration Journal.

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Post  Admin on Sun 11 Nov 2018, 9:17 pm
Ancient ship, animal etchings found in Beersheba
November 7, 2018
Ancient ship, animal etchings found in Beersheba(Israel Hayom/Screenshot)
The 2,000-year-old illustrations of ships and animals were found in a huge water cistern at an archaeological dig.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

The Israel Antiquities Authority has discovered a Roman-era water cistern in the southern city of Beersheba decorated with drawings of several ships, a sailor and animals, Israel Hayom reported Thursday.

The reservoir, measuring about 5.5 meters round and 12 meters deep, had been plastered to keep water from escaping, which some artist or artists from long ago used as a canvas on which to trace images of over a dozen sailing vessels, among the other etchings.

1st-2nd Century
Dr. Davida Eisenberg-Dagan, an expert in engraving and rock art at the antiquities authority, who is in charge of the dig along with Avishai Levy-Hevroni, dated the find to the first or second century.

“As soon as we started cleaning away all the mud and sand that had collected and filled the pit, we saw lines etched in the walls, in the plaster,” she said. “We start looking, and suddenly identify a ship. We keep looking, and find more lines, another ship, and another. … Until we have thirteen ships – Roman ships.”

The etchings weren’t the work of children, Eisenberg-Dagan said, “They reflect a knowledge of a ship’s structure, there’s technical understanding here. … This is someone who really knew – maybe he worked on ships, did business or built [them].”

But they are not functional drawings, she noted, nor were they in a place where people would come appreciate the artwork. “It’s really just the urge of a person who wanted to draw, and this is the result,” she said.

The cistern was evidently used by a village that was also uncovered less than a kilometer away, she said.

The dig is taking place as part of the Beersheba municipality’s plan to establish a new neighborhood in the area.

The find will be cleaned, preserved, and opened to the public, joining other local attractions like the Tel Beersheba National Park, an archaeological site believed to be the remains of the biblical town where Abraham lived.

The dig was initiated and financed by the Beersheba Economic Development Company.

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Post  Admin on Thu 18 Oct 2018, 11:21 pm
What’s In A Mezuzah?
By ONE FOR ISRAEL (Messianic Jews In Israel)
Mezuzah is the Hebrew word for doorframe. It is also the name of the little ornament you often see attached to Jewish doorframes, and there is a powerful part of the Bible hidden inside every Mezuzah, known as the Shema.
“It’s wonderful when Gentiles say the Shema to us!” exclaimed a Jewish friend here in Israel. “It says “Hear, O Israel, the Lord YOUR God, the Lord is one”, she explained. “It’s as if it’s supposed to be said to us”.

Nearly every Jewish person is familiar with the first line of the Shema (shema means ‘Hear’ – the first word of the verse), but there is so much more to this important command in God’s Torah, or law.

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” Deuteronomy 6:4

“The Lord is one” bit seems straightforward enough for most Jewish people, but there is a wonderful treasure hidden in the Shema…

The verse (Deut 6:4) is written on a small bit of paper, rolled up and inserted in a “mezuzah” which is attached to every Jewish door frame (Almost every doorframe!) in accordance with the instruction in the verses following it to write it,

“…on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” (Deuteronomy 6:9)

Very often you will see the first letter of the Shema on the mezuzah. Shema means “Hear”, and the first letter is the “Sh” sound. It looks like this: ש.  It is also the first letter of Shaddai which is usually translated “Almighty” – El Shaddai means Almighty God. He is the God of the forefathers of Israel, and so the ש of Shaddai is usually written on the mezuzahs.

This letter is called “shin” and although it is one letter, it has three prongs, so to speak.

Three in one
Every Mezuzah quietly declares that our Lord is one, but with three persons united in a singular Godhead.

Equally the name of God (YHWH – יהוה) is mentioned three times:

“Hear O Israel, YHWH your God, YHWH is one, you shall love YHWH your God…”

And how about loving the Lord with all our heart, soul and might? Here is a challenge indeed. What does that look like? The Jewish religion is all about deed, rather than creed – doing rather than believing, as a way of honouring God in the best way they know how. Following the Torah. Obedience, doing all that is required.

But even though Yeshua says,“If you love me, you will keep my commandments”  in John 14:15, it is possible to obey with no love at all.

Heart, soul and might
Parallel to the command of loving God with all our heart, soul and might is this verse in Jeremiah 17:

“I the Lord search the heart

and test the mind, (the Hebrew for this word is literally “the kidneys” – the innermost parts, or the hidden motivations)

to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.”

God knows very well if our hearts and souls are in it – he searches our hearts, he tests our innermost thoughts, and he gives to us according to the fruit of our actions. This verse comes right after a wonderful passage on how we can keep God at the core of our lives, and avoid putting our love and trust anywhere else. How often do we find it easier to put our trust in human beings around us, who are visible, touchable, but fallible?

Immediately before this verse (verse 10) is a passage warning us not to trust in human beings but to keep our trust in God. Cursed is the man who trusts in man, Jeremiah says, and blessed is the man who trusts in God:

“Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the Lord. He is like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see any good come. He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness, in an uninhabited salt land.

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.”

What a contrast! When we trust in human beings instead of God himself, it does us no good, and we can’t even see the good that is there. But when we trust in God, even in dry times we don’t have to worry! We are plugged into the unstoppable, endless water of life. Jeremiah speaks a lot about this problem – God’s sorrow that the people of Israel had forsaken him; the the spring of living water, and had instead dug around elsewhere – hoping that their broken and useless water cisterns would do the trick.

Trusting in the wrong things
How had it come to that? The same way it happens in our hearts today –

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?”

Bemoans Jeremiah in verse 9, right before he tells us that God is searching our hearts and testing our minds. We keep moving away from God in our hearts, deceiving ourselves, and ending up putting our trust elsewhere before we even know it!

An advert just appeared in the newspaper here in Israel1, disguised as a proper article, saying that on the anniversary of the death of Rachel the matriarch (Isaac’s wife) a Kabbalist rabbi had performed a ceremony over hundreds of mezuzahs, imbuing them with special powers!

For the special price of 84 shekels in 24 easy payments (that’s ₪2016, $550) you can get salvation! Health! Miracles! Fertility! An ideal marriage partner! What a con.

These mezuzahs are (very expensive) lucky charms, and Jewish people are being tricked into trusting in them, instead of trusting in God for help and salvation.

It’s an extremely grievous situation.

No wonder God insisted that we needed to be reminded about what’s important, which is why he suggested keeping a reminder on the doorframes in the first place:

“And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” (Deuteronomy 7-9)

You could use the Shema to guide your prayers today for Israel. Take time to check in your heart and mind and action whether you are loving God first, and put things right with him where you have moved away from that spring of living water. Then pray the Shema over the people of Israel, praying that God would be their first and highest love, and that they would come to love the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit as one.

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Post  Admin on Wed 10 Oct 2018, 1:55 pm

Seal Of King Hezekiah And Of Isaiah Discovered
By ONE FOR ISRAEL (Messianic Jews In Israel)
The seal of King Hezekiah was recently discovered close to Hezekiah’s tunnel in the City of David, and earlier this year, yet another significant seal surfaced with what appeared to be the name of Isaiah the Prophet!

However, the seal was missing a piece and it is not clear whether it in fact was Isaiah the Prophet or another Isaiah. Experts are still arguing about it. However, we can say for sure that Isaiah was not only a contemporary of Hezekiah, but according to the Bible, the two men knew each other, met together, and Isaiah gave Hezekiah counsel. We can see this in Isaiah 38 and also in 2 Kings chapter 19:

Then Isaiah the son of Amoz sent to Hezekiah saying, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘Because you have prayed to Me about Sennacherib king of Assyria, I have heard you.’ (2 Kings 19:20)

According to Eilat Mazar, the fact that the two seals were found within ten feet of one another does “…seem to leave open the possibility that, despite the difficulties presented by the bulla’s damaged area, this may have been a seal impression of Isaiah the prophet, adviser to King Hezekiah.”[1] It’s true that the writing is indeed typical of eighth century BC Hebrew, and there is also strong evidence of the Biblical events of this era, according to Haaretz:

“During Hezekiah’s reign, the kingdom was invaded by King Sennacherib of Assyria, an event described in Isaiah 36-37 and corroborated by the extra-biblical account inscribed in the Annals of Sennacherib Prism, the Rassam Cylinder and also Histories, written by the 5th century B.C.E. Greek Herodotus”.

The article tells us that expert Alan Millard, professor of Hebrew and Semitic Languages at Liverpool University, “sees no reason to doubt that Isaiah was a real person who lived in the reigns of Sargon II, then Sennacherib – that being the Assyrian king who marched through Judah, conquering 46 of King Hezekiah’s fortified cities, but who mysteriously withdrew after reaching Jerusalem just as victory over the cowed Judahite king seemed assured.” [2]

Rather amazingly, the Israeli broadsheet also comments on the content of Isaiah’s prophetic writings, reporting that,

“Isaiah foretold a number of details about the coming of the Messiah.”

The secular newspaper proceeds to give a rundown of Isaiah’s Messianic prophecy to its Israeli audience! Here’s what they wrote:

“It is a paragraph by Isaiah that has become one of the most controversial passages in the Old Testament. As the King James Version translates Isaiah 7:14:

“Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign;
Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son”…

“Isaiah also foretold that the Messiah would be a descendant of David (Isaiah 11:1-5). He predicted that the Messiah would not be accepted by the majority of Israel and instead be a “stone of stumbling” to them (Isaiah 8:14,15). In the book of Isaiah, the Messiah prophetically says:

“My back I gave to the strikers
my face did not conceal from humiliating things and spit” (Isaiah 50:6).

“He even gave details of the Messiah’s death, foretelling:

“He will make his burial place even with the wicked ones,
and with the rich class in death” (Isaiah 53:9).

“Finally Isaiah spoke of the meaning of the Messiah’s death:

“The righteous one, my servant, will bring a righteous standing to many people;
and their errors he himself will bear” (Isaiah 53:8,11).

“Many Christians today identify the Messiah with Jesus Christ, and view Isaiah’s prophecies regarding the Messiah as fulfilled by the works and life of Jesus Christ.”[3]

Well amen to that. Whether or not that seal actually belonged to the prophet or not, the truth of the Scriptures is coming to light more and more all the time with every archaeological dig. Moreover, Isaiah’s words about the Messiah are still speaking to Israel today – even through the daily paper.


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Post  Admin on Thu 30 Aug 2018, 9:35 pm

Is This Where the Israelites Camped on Their Way to Canaan 3,200 Years Ago?
Stone structures found in the Jordan Valley wasteland may have been erected by the Israelites crossing, very slowly, into Canaan, archaeologists postulate
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How did ancient Israel come to be? Did the early Israelites reach Canaan from the eastern wilderness by crossing the Jordan River opposite Jericho, as the Book of Joshua says? Or did the Israelites originate in Canaan in the first place, as part of the indigenous population?
No archaeological evidence has ever been found of the migration of the Israelites from the wilderness of Sinai via the Jordan Valley to the fertile land of Canaan, as described in the Bible. Nor has evidence of the pitched battles the Israelites were said to have had, as described by the Prophet Joshua, with the locals, whether in Jericho or elsewhere.
It is not odd that a migrating people would not leave evidence behind. By definition, nomads travel light and don’t build permanent structures. Except that some of the Middle Eastern ones did exactly that – live in tents themselves, but make stone fencing for their beasts. Today’s Bedouin tend to do the same thing.
And now archaeologists are excavating strange ruins previously found in inhospitable parts of the Jordan Valley, hoping to prove or disprove the theory suggested by the late archaeologist Prof. Adam Zertal of Haifa University: That the stone structures found there were erected by the ancient Israelites as they slowly crossed into Canaan 3,200 years ago.

Interestingly, if the Israelites did build these structures, they may have done so not to shelter themselves but their livestock, says Prof. David Ben-Shlomo of Ariel University.

A horrible place to live

The Jordan Valley is a stretch along the Dead Sea Transform, the yawning crack in the earth formerly known as the Great Rift Valley. Stretching over 100 kilometers (62 miles) from the Dead Sea to the Sea of Galilee, the valley is long, narrow, deep – and hot and dry. One side of the valley is in Israel and the West Bank, the other in Jordan.

This is not an inviting place to live on a permanent basis. Temperatures in the Jordan Valley can easily reach 45 degrees Celsius (113 degrees Fahrenheit) in the summer and annual rainfall is wretched, at 100 to 200 millimeters (4 to 8 inches) a year.

Archaeologists therefore assumed that, given other options, people would not choose to settle in the Jordan Valley, except in spots fed by oases like Jericho – which is one of the oldest-known cities in the world. But north of it is precious little settled life, because the conditions are so nasty.

Yet a meticulous survey of 1,000 square miles of the western part of the valley, headed by Zertal and his team from 1978 onward, found the remains of hundreds of ancient settlements in the Jordan Valley. (One seems to be shaped like a foot, with toes and all.)

Of the hundreds, Zertal estimated that about 70 had been erected in the early Iron Age. That is, about 3,200 years ago, which is when the ancient Israelites were said to have been led by the Prophet Joshua from the wilderness to fertile Canaan, where summer temperatures were more likely to be in the 30s.

Khirbet el-Mastarah: Could have provided convenient place to rest for a whole people on the move The Jordan Valley Excavation Project
No signs of the builders’ identity have been found as yet. The only reasons to associate the structures in the bitterly inhospitable valley with the ancient Israelites are their location and the estimated timing of their erection.

But Ben-Shlomo and Ralph K. Hawkins of Averett University, Virginia, are continuing where Zertal left off: they are excavating the sites, hoping to find more clues to their provenance and use.

They began with a large and very strange settlement called Khirbet el Mastarah (which could be loosely translated as “hidden ruins”).

While today the only sign of life there is the occasional Bedouin shepherd passing by with their herd, Mastarah seems to have once housed a large Iron Age village, says Ben-Shlomo.

It is the oddity of the settlement’s location that begs thoughts about its founders.

A small structure excavated at Khirbet el-Mastarah with walls made of standing stones: Maybe it corralled the ancient Israelites' domestic animals The Jordan Valley Excavation Project
And how exactly does a significant village with stone houses square with the idea that the builders were a people on the move?

Strangely empty structures

The ancient mound of Jericho (Tell e-Sultan): It was built on a water source and there's precious little settlement in the arid wastes to the north of it in the Jordan Valley The Jordan Valley Excavation Project
Khirbet el Mastarah is 8 kilometers north of Jericho and 2 kilometers from the outlet of a spring named 'Uja (or 'Auja). The whole Jordan Valley area north of Jericho is pretty miserable, says Ben-Shlomo: No reason for people to have decided to spend their lives eking out a living there. So there were few “fixed” towns. Yet one was Mastarah.

The mysteries at Mastarah are multiple. One is that it wasn’t built by a spring, as far as we can tell, yet seems to have developed into a respectable hamlet, some 2.5 acres square.

An aerial view of an early Iron Age site in the Jordan Valley found by Prof. Adam Zertal, nicknamed ‘Sandal’ site due to the shape of its confining wall: A sign of the Israelite crossing into Canaan? The Jordan Valley Excavation Project
A second oddity is that no sign of human habitation was found inside the stone structures, with the exception of grain grinding stones that could have been placed there later, or kept there.

What few pottery sherds were found lay outside the structures – which is spectacularly unhelpful to archaeologists trying to date a site. “Maybe somebody came by 1,000 years later and left them there,” Ben-Shlomo points out.

The archaeologists are, therefore, tapping other advanced techniques to date the site: they sampled soil beneath the walls to test with optically stimulated luminescence analysis – a technology used to date ancient materials based on the buildup of electrons that get trapped over the years and are released by exposure to light – and expect to get the findings in some months.

In normal towns, broken pottery sherds are found inside the houses, not outside. Yet that anomaly could be explained in a number of ways.

A domestic structure at the site of Uja el-Foqa, near Khirbet el-Mastarah The Jordan Valley Excavation Project
The less likely possibility is theft over the generations since the town’s abandonment: robbing sites of antiquity goes back to, well, antiquity. However, Ben-Shlomo points out that thieves might steal whole pots but wouldn’t help themselves to fragments. Those would have remained behind.

A second possibility is that the pottery remains were washed away: a hot dry valley area is a recipe for flash flooding and the ruins had been on the surface, not buried under sand, the archaeologist notes.

A third possibility is that the structures were occupied by people for a short time, which fits with the theory of a migratory people taking a break for a decade or two.

A fourth possibility is that stone structures were for the animals, while the people themselves, as befits nomads, lived in tents.

The archaeologists hope to see whether the “homes” actually housed goats and the like by chemical analysis of the ground inside. Theoretically, if dung had accrued in them, the ground will, even thousands of years later, be richer in phosphorus.

There is precedence. Ancient and modern Near Eastern Bedouin, who tended to nomadic lifestyles, also seem to have lived in tents but to have housed their animals in stone compounds – to protect their precious livestock from rustlers.

But Mastarah’s key anomaly is where it was built. It nestles between a small hill to the south and the foothills in the northwest. It was built on a low spur 40 meters below sea level between two small tributaries of Wadi Nabiris, which is now dry.

In short, the settlement was topographically isolated. Its very name, Mastarah, means “hidden” in both Arabic and Hebrew.

Locating a new settlement not adjacent to a water source or a main land route and concealed from its surroundings is highly unusual. It could imply its inhabitants were a new population in the region, possibly hiding from a local hostile population.

The Jordan River, in the Jordan Valley, near the modern Abdallah Bridge: Away from water, the land is inhospitable The Jordan Valley Excavation Project
So it is possible that the ancient Israelites did come from the wilderness, did cross the Jordan Valley – and then stayed awhile, Ben-Shlomo explains. While the environs were not paradisal, at least there were not many people. The weary Israelites could rest, even for a generation or two, build up strength and then continue on.

Fortified city on a hilltop

Next year, the researchers plan to excavate the nearby site of ‘Uja el-Foqa, which lies on a prominent hill overlooking the Jericho Valley, from which the 'Uja spring can be controlled, Ben-Shlomo says.

The survey showed the site to be fortified, meaning it had strong syrrounding walls designed to drive any besieging enemy to despair.  It has been dated it to the Iron Age as well – around 1,000 to 586 or 587 B.C.E. It seems to have had at least two phases of occupation.

'Uja el-Foqa has dozens of structures, some up to two meters in height, as well as a casemate wall. The ancient town could reasonably have been a regional administrative center for the Kingdom of Judah, since it controls an important water source and is one of the only large fortified sites from this period in the region.

Based on its location, Zertal suspected that 'Uja el-Foqa was the biblical town of Ataroth, which is mentioned in the description of the Manasseh-Ephraim boundary in Joshua 16:5 (note, tellingly, that it is on a hilltop and the Hebrew word ateret means “crown”).

“We plan a large-scale excavation of the site and will try to examine the nature of the site, it inhabitants, and the date of its founding, and to determine whether it could also be linked to the early Israelite settlement of the region in biblical times,” Ben-Shlomo says.

Thus, the answer to the puzzle of early Israelite origins may yet remain hidden in the sands.

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Post  Admin on Mon 20 Aug 2018, 11:27 am

Mysterious 6,500-year-old Culture in Israel Was Brought by Migrants, Researchers Say
Genetic analysis shows ancient Galilean farmers warmly embraced blue-eyed, fair-skinned immigrants from Iran and Turkey in the late Copper Age
By Ariel David Aug 20, 2018
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Around 6,500 years ago, an advanced new culture surfaced in what is today Israel. Spectacular pottery, exquisite tools and enigmatic works of art appeared, seemingly out of nowhere. The culture would flourish for about 600 years during the late Copper Age, then disappear as inexplicably as it arose.

Secondary burial vessels with human features, over a meter in height and dating to about 6,500 years ago, found in Peki'in Cave yoav dothan
Now archaeologists believe they have deduced its origins: migrants from across the Middle East and Eurasia, who were actually warmly welcomed by local farmers.

At least one of these outsider peoples seems to have included blue-eyed, fair-skinned immigrants, according to a paper published Monday in the journal Nature Communications.

These conclusions are based on the analysis of DNA extracted from the bones of these nearly-forgotten people, found in a burial cave uncovered in the mid 1990s in Peki’in, a village in the Western Galilee.

Comparing their DNA to other samples from previous and later periods, and to samples from different regions, showed that the ancient ‘Peki'inese’ were an admixture between local populations and two additional groups: one from Anatolia or northern Mesopotamia, and one from Iran, the Nature paper says.

Eye-color and skin tone aren't controlled by single genes: they are genetically complex. But it can be said that gene variants associated with blue eye-color in Europeans, and light skin, appeared among these ancient immigrants, suggesting that baby blues were possibly even common among them.

Secondary burial vessel with two faces, Peki'in yoav dothan
In other words, the genome analysis doesn’t prove that blue-eyed migrants flocked in, but it strongly indicates as much.

If so, the newcomers would have struck an unusual figure among the Levantine farmers of the Copper Age (a period also known as the Chalcolithic), as blue eyes and light skin in the Middle East were even more uncommon back then than they are today.  

Despite their differences, the three groups appear to have mingled peacefully, says Israel Hershkovitz, a physical anthropologist from Tel Aviv University and co-author of the study.

Reconstructed secondary burial vessel with human features found in Chalcolithic-era burial cave at Peki'in, Israel yoav dothan
“These small groups of migrants were welcomed, and influenced the local culture to create something new that didn’t exist anywhere else, either here or in the north,” says Hershkovitz.

Buried twice in the Chalcolithic

In 1995, construction workers accidentally cut an opening into a natural cave in Peki’in (also spelled Peqi’in), and called in the archaeologists, who were astounded by what they found inside.

At least 600 people, including men women and children, had been interred in the cave, which was fairly small, just 17 by 8 meters. Their remains lined the floors and walls, some strewn around the cave, others collected in vases or beautiful pottery ossuaries that had been decorated with paint and haunting representations of human faces or animals.

Child burial at Peki'in, Israel, around 6,500 years ago Ariel David
Radiocarbon tests dated the bones to the late Chalcolithic, between 4,500 and 3,900 B.C.E., making this the largest burial from the period ever found in the Levant.

Among the dead were countless artifacts including ritual chalices, jewelry, flint tools and other items.

Looters had disturbed and smashed some of the remains, possibly in search for metal items, of which very few were found by archaeologists. But the cave had become naturally sealed after that and the bones and artifacts were covered in thick layers of limestone that preserved them like a time capsule.

The limestone layers also put a date on the thefts: they too happened thousands of years ago, at the end of the Copper Age.

Like other, smaller sites connected to this culture found across Israel, the Peki’in finds displayed some similarities with other Middle Eastern peoples of the period, but also some unique features.

Chief among these was the use of secondary burial: the body is left to decompose, after which the bones are collected and reinterred in a vase, box or other container.

Secondary burial vessel, possibly with human features or maybe depicting an owl, found in Chalcolithic-era burial cave at Peki'in, Israel Neri Bar-On
While the practice has been documented across the world at different times, it is quite rare to find it in the Middle East during the Chalcolithic, says Dina Shalem, an archaeologist for Kinneret College in the Galilee and the Israel Antiquities Authority, who participated in the original dig of the cave as well as the new DNA study.

“You can see the same kind of vessels, the same kind of art in other areas like in Jordanian sites and so on, but secondary burial has only been found in Israeli sites so far,” she tells Haaretz.

Secondary burial vessel with two faces, Peki'in yoav dothan
The use of ossuaries, rectangular boxes made of pottery or stone to store the bones, is also very unusual, and is only documented in Israel in two very distant and unrelated eras: in the late Chalcolithic – and in Jewish burials of the Second Temple period, more than 4,000 years later.

While some scholars, including Shalem, already suspected that some of the artistic traditions of the Chalcolithic Galileans had come from somewhere to the north of Israel, there was no hard proof.

“Every time we see a cultural change, the question arises: did they make it up themselves; did they copy the idea from somewhere else or did new people come and bring it?” says Hershkovitz. “Until today there were no tools that could answer this question, and that’s where the DNA comes in.”

Marks of love, not war

Extracting DNA from ancient bones buried in Middle East was no small accomplishment, as the region’s hot climate tends to destroy the fragile molecule over time, explains David Reich, a geneticist at Harvard medical school and one of the world’s top experts in researching the genetics of ancient people.

In their investigation, scientists were helped by the cool, stable conditions in the sealed Peki’in cave as well as the fortuitous 2015 discovery that the petrous bone (part of the human inner ear) contains up to 100 times more DNA than other bones, says Reich.

Secondary burial vessel with female features, found in Chalcolithic-era burial cave at Peki'in, Israel yoav dothan
Sampling mainly from this ear-bone, the researchers reconstructed the genome of 22 individuals from Peki’in, one of the largest sets of ancient genetic data from the region.

By comparing that data to bits and pieces of Neolithic and Chalcolithic DNA that had been collected previously across the Near East, the researchers concluded that the Peki’in people could trace 57 percent of their ancestry to local Neolithic groups, while 26 percent of their genome matched that of Anatolian Neolithic populations and 17 percent originated in the Iranian Chalcolithic.

Burial vessel found at Peki'in, Israel, showing human face and arms Neri Bar-On
Based on the results of the study, Shalem says it is possible that this three-way admixture may explain the development and use of secondary burial. Ethnographic studies indicate that this custom tends to be performed publicly, during seasonal ceremonies, and often serves to unify a community, she says.

The cave in Peki’in could have served as a cemetery for several villages in the Galilee. The villagers may have gathered there periodically for religious ceremonies that could have helped create a sense of unity between locals and newcomers, the archaeologist says.

But how do we know the admixture was the result of peaceful coexistence rather than war, conquest and enslavement by one group over the others? While the DNA doesn’t answer that question directly, there are various elements that point to a marriage of equals, notes Hila May, a second Tel Aviv University anthropologist involved in the study.

For one thing: The outsiders were a minority but evidently had an outsize impact on the local culture, so it is unlikely they were slaves.

Physical anthropologist Hila May next to a pile of bones and artifacts in the Peki'in cave Israel Hershkovitz
Also, the immigrants interbred with the locals and shared the same burial place, which suggests they were not conquerors or an exploitative foreign elite.

Finally, the anthropologists found no obvious signs of war or violence on the bones themselves. Though the researchers caution that a specific study on the pathologies and causes of death in Peki’in has not been done yet, when a war has taken place, the bodies tend to tell the tale.

Drama and extinction

The DNA analysis also offers clues to the ultimate fate of this population. Samples from Lebanon and Jordan dated to the early Bronze Age, the period immediately after the late Chalcolithic, show very little contribution from the DNA of the Peki’in people.

In other words, at some point around 3,900 B.C.E., this group of Chalcolithic Galileans went almost completely extinct.

This is consistent with what archaeologists see across the Levant during the transition between the Copper and Bronze Age: large-scale abandonment of settlements, reduced production of symbolic artifacts and sudden cultural changes, including the disappearance of secondary burial (until the Jews would revive it thousands of years later).

“It’s clear that at the end of the Chalcolithic there was some kind of drama happening in our region,” says Hershkovitz. The radical genetic transformations point to the arrival of new populations that replaced the previous culture in the area, he says.

Though they are long gone, the people of Peki’in stand as a testament to a much broader and crucial phenomenon that involved all of humanity at this early stage of civilization.

Ossuaries and other artifacts embedded in the flowstone over nearly 6000 years in the sealed Peki'in cave Hila May
During the Neolithic, when agriculture was first developing, human groups tended to be isolated and genetically diverse from each other, the study published in Nature Communications notes. Previous studies have shown that at the time, populations from Anatolia, Iran and the Levant displayed roughly the same level of genetic differentiation that Europeans and East Asians have today.

But by the time the Bronze Age rolls in, we see much less variation, already very close to what we have in the present, when genetic diversity within members of a same group is larger than across different human groups. So for example, notes Hershkovitz, today we find, on average, greater genetic diversity among two Caucasians than between Caucasians and blacks – which is why most scientists consider the concept of human races to be biologically baseless.

This all means that a global process of human admixture started sometime between the Neolithic and the Bronze Age – that is, during the Chalcolithic period – and the data from Peki’in offers us a clear window into those events.

The use of metals, which began in the Copper Age, may have played a major part in starting these transformations, as it forced human groups to travel farther and extend their trade routes to source rare and precious ores, says Reich, the Harvard geneticist.

“This was a period of profound population mixture and movement, and what we see in Peki’in is a microcosm of those movements,” he tells Haaretz. “They might have not survived to contribute much to later generations – but others certainly did.”

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Post  Admin on Wed 15 Aug 2018, 2:55 pm

Secret manuscript revealing Jesus’ teachings to his brother James re-writes The Bible
A SECRET manuscript which claims to detail Jesus Christ’s teachings to his brother James has been unearthed.
PUBLISHED: 11:11, Mon, Apr 16, 2018 | UPDATED: 11:35, Mon, Apr 16, 2018
jesusGETTY • PH
Secret manuscript revealing Jesus’ teachings to his brother James re-writes The Bible
Fragments of the forgotten heretical document have been discovered at the University of Oxford library by Biblical scholars from the University of Texas at Austin.
The fragments come from 13 leather-bound vellum codices which had been buried in Egypt and found in 1945.
The documents detail the ‘First Apocalypse of James’ in which Jesus passes on knowledge of Heaven and future events to his brother, or possible step-brother, James, including the death of the younger sibling.
However, the documents were “forbidden” by early Christians as they would have had to have been added to the New Testament which was not permitted 1,600 years ago when the text was originally written.
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The documents detail James' eventual death
Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria, in his “Easter letter of 367” that defined the 27-book New Testament: “No one may add to them, and nothing may be taken away from them.”
The manuscript is from an early Christian form known as Gnosticism which still remains a mystery to researchers.
The documents were not allowed to be added to the New Testament
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Study co-author Dr Geoffrey Smith, a scholar of Biblical Greek and Christian origins, said: “To say that we were excited once we realised what we had found is an understatement.
“We never suspected that Greek fragments of the First Apocalypse of James survived from antiquity. But there they were, right in front of us.
Discover how Archaeology can bring the Bible to life
Tue, March 7, 2017
These are the top biblical archaeology discoveries
Mona Lisa of the Galilee: 16 centuries after an earthquake destroyed the Roman city of Sepphoris, a mosaic portrait of an unnamed woman was discovered among the ruins DE AGOSTINI/GETTY IMAGES1 of 9
The Siloam Pool in Jesus’ Time: A rock-cut pool on the southern slope of the City of David, the original site of Jerusalem. The pool was fed by the waters of the Gihon Spring, carried there by two aqueducts
“Yahweh and His Asherah”: Painted sherds were discovered in the eastern Sinai desert, within the shattered fragments were an inscription that referred to “Yahweh of Samaria and his Asherah.” 
Stepped Stone Structure: Name given to the remains at a particular archaeological site on the eastern side of the City of David, the oldest part of Jerusalem
St. Peter’s House: More than 25 years ago, archaeologists discovered a simple first-century A.D. home in Capernaum that may have been inhabited by Jesus during his Galilean ministry
The Nag Hammadi Library: Two peasants discovered a 13-volume library of Coptic texts hidden beneath a large boulder near the town of Nag Hammadi in upper Egypt
Ashkelon Arched Gate: The oldest known monumental arch, found in southern Israel in 1992
“The text supplements the biblical account of Jesus’s life and ministry by allowing us access to conversations that purportedly took place between Jesus and James — secret teachings that allowed James to be a good teacher after Jesus’s death.”
Brent Landau, a lecturer in the UT Austin Department of Religious Studies, added: “The scribe has divided most of the text into syllables by using mid-dots. Such divisions are very uncommon in ancient manuscripts, but they do show up frequently in manuscripts that were used in educational contexts.”

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Post  Admin on Wed 15 Aug 2018, 2:47 pm

BIBLE BREAKTHROUGH: Lost city of Zer where Jesus fed masses UNCOVERED
ARCHAEOLOGISTS have uncovered the gates to a biblical city where it is believed that Jesus fed the masses.
PUBLISHED: 13:28, Mon, Jul 9, 2018 | UPDATED: 13:32, Mon, Jul 9, 2018
bible city
BIBLE BREAKTHROUGH: Lost city of Zer where Jesus fed masses UNCOVERED (Image: GETTY)
Experts excavating a site in Jerusalem are convinced they have found the gates to the ancient city of Zer – a site mentioned in the New Testament where Jesus Christ supposedly fed thousands with just five loaves of bread and two fish.

A team of 20 archaeologists say they have found a series of brick works which they believe are gates and date back to the First Temple period – 1000 BC to 586 BC.
The researchers add that the size, wealth and impressive fortifications indicate Zer – now in an area called Bethsaida – was a major city.
Lead archaeologist Dr Rami Arav said: “There are not many gates in this country from this period.
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“Bethsaida was the name of the city during the Second Temple period, but during the First Temple period it was the city of Zer.
“The fortified towns were Ziddim, Zer, Hammath, Rakkath, Kinnereth.”
Avi Lieberman, director of the Jordan Park in which Bethsaida is located, believes the discovery will lead to Christians from all over the world coming to visit the site.
He said: “The staff at the Jordan Park and the Golan Tourism are happy for the tens of thousands of visitors who visit the park every day.

Does the discovery give more evidence that the accounts of the Bible were true? (Image: GETTY)
“The wonderful park is also an impressive archaeological site. I amazed each time by the arrival of thousands of evangelical visitors to Bethsaida.
“I am confident that the latest discoveries will bring more visitors to the park from around the world and from Israel.”
The site has been under excavations by Dr Arav and his team for more than 30 years now.
Jesus Christ's burial place revealed for first time
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During that time, archaeologists have found coins, beads, jugs and house keys as well as a shield that belonged to a Roman soldier.
One of the most significant findings was one of a coin which dated back to 35 BC.

Biblical story PROOF: Ancient palace of King David DISCOVERED in historic find
ARCHAEOLOGISTS believe they have found a lost biblical city once belonging to King David – the supposed first monarch of all the Israelite tribes.
PUBLISHED: 13:53, Wed, May 2, 2018 | UPDATED: 13:57, Wed, May 2, 2018
Ancient palace of King David DISCOVERED in historic findPROFESSOR AVRAHAM FAUST

Ancient palace of King David DISCOVERED in historic find
Debate has raged for centuries as to whether King David actually was a real person.

However, a major discovery in Israel has archaeologists and biblical scholars thinking he was the real deal.

A team has spent the last decade digging at Tel Eton, in the Hebron hills of Israel, and have discovered what they believe to be ancient ruins of a castle-like home.
They discovered a large, four bedroom building which dates back to the 10th century BCE according to carbon dating.
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Secret manuscript revealing Jesus’ teachings to his brother James
king davidGETTY
King David
Lead excavator Professor Avraham Faust says the construction of a large home on top of what was a mound and at the same time when there was huge growth of the size of the city at the same time shows that an important event was happening – such as the establishment of the first monarch.
Dr Faust told Breaking Israel News: "We, of course, did not find any artefacts that said ‘King David’ or ‘King Solomon’ but we discovered site signs of a social transformation in the region which are consistent with a change from Canaanite culture to a Judean culture.
“Since it took place at a time we believed the Kingdom of David began to spread into this region, it is clear this building was part of the events in the Bible ascribed to the Kingdom of David.
"The structure was excavated, almost in its entirety, and was composed of a large courtyard with rooms on three sides.
Discover how Archaeology can bring the Bible to life
Tue, March 7, 2017
These are the top biblical archaeology discoveries
Mona Lisa of the Galilee: 16 centuries after an earthquake destroyed the Roman city of Sepphoris, a mosaic portrait of an unnamed woman was discovered among the ruins DE AGOSTINI/GETTY IMAGES1 of 9
The Siloam Pool in Jesus’ Time: A rock-cut pool on the southern slope of the City of David, the original site of Jerusalem. The pool was fed by the waters of the Gihon Spring, carried there by two aqueducts
“Yahweh and His Asherah”: Painted sherds were discovered in the eastern Sinai desert, within the shattered fragments were an inscription that referred to “Yahweh of Samaria and his Asherah.” 
Stepped Stone Structure: Name given to the remains at a particular archaeological site on the eastern side of the City of David, the oldest part of Jerusalem
St. Peter’s House: More than 25 years ago, archaeologists discovered a simple first-century A.D. home in Capernaum that may have been inhabited by Jesus during his Galilean ministry
"Hundreds of artefacts were unearthed within the debris, including a wide range of pottery vessels, loom weights, many metal objects, botanical remains, as well as many arrowheads, evidence of the battle which accompanied the conquest of the site by the Assyrians."
In the team’s findings published in the journal Radiocarbon, Prof Faust's team said: "The association with David is not based on direct archaeological evidence, but solely on circumstantial grounds.”
It adds: “If someone thinks that there was no king by the name of David, we should find another name to call the highland king in whose time the region was incorporated into the highland kingdom.”
Prophet Isaiah found? Archaeologists discover FIRST physical evidence

Prophet Isaiah found? Archaeologists discover FIRST physical evidence of biblical figure
ARCHAEOLOGISTS may have just found the first ever physical evidence of the prophet Isaiah – who is mentioned in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
PUBLISHED: 16:46, Thu, Mar 1, 2018 | UPDATED: 16:51, Thu, Mar 1, 2018
Prophet Isaiah found? Archaeologists discover FIRST physical evidence of biblical figure
The prophet Isaiah is said to have used his wisdom to help King Hezekiah protect the Kingdom of Judah from an Assyrian invasion.
Experts have now discovered a clay seal during an excavation in Jerusalem in the walled Temple Mount compound.
The small seal, which is about the size of a thumbnail, is broken and has been faded over millennia.
Researchers have been able to read the word “Yesha‘yahu”, the Hebrew name for Isaiah.
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isaiahEilat Mazar
The seal of Isaiah
This is followed by the word “Nvy” – a phrase that does not mean much on its own as it could be a surname.
But, the experts say in their paper published in Biblical Archaeological Review, if Nvy was once followed by “aleph”, before the seal was broken and eroded, then it would create the Hebrew word for prophet.
The team say that this would have acted as a signature - Isaiah the prophet.
Dr Mazar, an archaeologist from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, said: “We appear to have discovered a seal impression, which may have belonged to the prophet Isaiah, in a scientific, archaeological excavation.
Discover how Archaeology can bring the Bible to life
Tue, March 7, 2017
These are the top biblical archaeology discoveries
Mona Lisa of the Galilee: 16 centuries after an earthquake destroyed the Roman city of Sepphoris, a mosaic portrait of an unnamed woman was discovered among the ruins DE AGOSTINI/GETTY IMAGES1 of 9
The Siloam Pool in Jesus’ Time: A rock-cut pool on the southern slope of the City of David, the original site of Jerusalem. The pool was fed by the waters of the Gihon Spring, carried there by two aqueducts
“Yahweh and His Asherah”: Painted sherds were discovered in the eastern Sinai desert, within the shattered fragments were an inscription that referred to “Yahweh of Samaria and his Asherah.” 
Stepped Stone Structure: Name given to the remains at a particular archaeological site on the eastern side of the City of David, the oldest part of Jerusalem
St. Peter’s House: More than 25 years ago, archaeologists discovered a simple first-century A.D. home in Capernaum that may have been inhabited by Jesus during his Galilean ministry
The Nag Hammadi Library: Two peasants discovered a 13-volume library of Coptic texts hidden beneath a large boulder near the town of Nag Hammadi in upper Egypt
Ashkelon Arched Gate: The oldest known monumental arch, found in southern Israel in 1992
“We found the eighth-century B.C.E. seal mark that may have been made by the prophet Isaiah himself only 10 feet away from where we earlier discovered the highly-publicized bulla of King Hezekiah of Judah.

“Because the bulla has been slightly damaged at the end of the word Nvy, it is not known if it originally ended with the Hebrew letter aleph.
“The name of Isaiah, however, is clear.”
isaiahEilat Mazar
How the coin could have looked
Other clues the seal is the real deal is it dates back to the 7th century BCE when Isaiah reportedly lived.
It was also found near another seal which belonged to King Hezekiah, whose reign is documented in the Book of Isaiah.

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Post  Admin on Sat 11 Aug 2018, 6:46 pm

Advancing technology unearths 'lost city of ancient Israel'
Ilan Ben Zion July 23, 2018
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A military zone has long inhibited exploration of the ancient and massive site of Beit Lehi, but archaeologists are using technology to share its secrets with the world.
Ilan Ben ZionA researcher takes part in an exploration and documentation of the ancient city Beit Lehi in central Israel, July 2018.
A team of Israeli and American researchers is using cutting-edge technology to explore and document an obscure and inaccessible but increasingly significant archaeological site in central Israel.

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Utah Valley University (UVU) are expected to roll out in August a one-of-a-kind multimedia guide integrating 3D imaging and virtual reality to bring the ancient city of Beit Lehi, touted as “the lost city of ancient Israel,” to life. The digital guide to the site is slated to be launched next month.

Beit Lehi, also known as Beit Loya, lies 37 kilometers (23 miles) southwest of Jerusalem in the rolling limestone foothills of the Judean Mountains not far from the UNESCO World Heritage site at Beit Guvrin. A closed military zone encompasses the entirety of the archaeological site, severely limiting civilian access and preventing development.

The site, which extends over a few hilltops, was occupied intermittently from the Iron Age down through the Mamluk period — nearly 2,200 years — before being abandoned around 1400 A.D. The surface bears the remains of a medieval mosque and village and an earlier Byzantine church, but below are a series of underground chambers carved out of the soft limestone. These include a massive columbarium (dovecote) with over 1,000 niches for birds, making it possibly one of the largest in the world, as well as stables, quarries with gigantic support pillars and escape tunnels, all dating from the 3rd and 2nd centuries B.C. to the 2nd century A.D.

Archaeologists have found over 50 different inscriptions at various places around the site in Hebrew, Greek and Arabic, including a 6th century B.C. Hebrew inscription bearing the name of Jerusalem and the Israelite god Yahweh.

First excavated in the 1980s, Hebrew University archaeologist Oren Gutfeld has returned in recent years with colleagues from the Israel Antiquities Authority and UVU to continue exploring and documenting the site.

“This area is untouched by archaeology, but it’s a gold mine,” Gutfeld told Al-Monitor as his jeep rumbled over the rocky track leading to Beit Lehi. He estimates that only around 10-15% of the site has been excavated. “We don’t have any idea how big it is. That’s the question.”

The UVU team has aided Hebrew University archaeologists in mapping and imaging the site using technology used by engineers to measure and map bridges and roads. Lidar — a laser imaging detection and ranging device capable of making 20 million measurements in 12 minutes — is being used to create three-dimensional maps of Beit Lehi’s vast caverns and tunnels. Advanced 360-degree cameras take photographs that are stitched together to create a high-quality image of these massive spaces that can be used in virtual reality applications.

Aboveground, the UVU researchers have deployed drones to create high definition aerial images of the ancient city’s structures. They not only document the site but have also helped discover previously unknown buildings. Michael Harper, a professor of digital media at UVU, explained that by using a technique called photogrammetry, the aerial photos taken by drones create topographically “flat” images that make the concealed outlines of structures “pop” out of the tawny scrubland.

Aerial images captured by the drones also revealed a previously unknown Iron Age settlement dating back nearly 3,000 years. Gutfeld’s team has started to excavate another discovery: an enormous Hellenistic period cultic complex — at least 40 meters long and 45 meters wide — perhaps to the Idumean god Qos.

“People thought it was a small community, but now we know it was a large urban center,” Gutfeld said.

The remains of imported luxury goods from as far afield as Rhodes and a subterranean oil press “are not indicative of modest, sleepy villages,” said Michal Haber, an archaeologist with the Israel Antiquities Authority involved in the dig. Instead, Beit Lehi appears to have been a prosperous, interconnected town during the Hellenistic and Roman periods. “We feel that every [dig] season, there’s something new” that is discovered, Haber told Al-Monitor.

Michael Harper, a UVU professor of digital media who is heading the project, said that the various types of images being taken at the site by students from Utah are being used both for research and to create a multimedia guidebook and “interactive magazine” that provides users with information about Beit Lehi. The magazine integrates 3D images of artifacts found at the site, aerial photos and other types of media to let users explore and understand the site in a more comprehensive way than a rare visit would be able to.

The digital media element of the project is one of several opportunities for UVU students across multiple disciplines to participate in hands-on “engaged learning” and gain valuable experience, Harper said, from photography and publishing to graphic design.

The magazine, whose first issue is due online this fall, is expected to be updated annually and will include rolling updates about new finds and articles about different aspects of Beit Lehi’s history.
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Post  Admin on Tue 03 Jul 2018, 8:20 am

ISRAEL HISTORY - Page 2 Iz-szz10
Rare Coin Marking ‘Redemption of Zion’ Unearthed in Jerusalem
The Land of Israel constantly reveals hidden treasures, testifying to its rich history and the Jewish people’s deep and long-lasting ties to the land. This time, the discoveries have a seasonal significance as well.

By: United with Israel Staff

A rare bronze coin dating to the first century and minted during the fourth year of the Great Jewish Revolt against the Romans was recently discovered at the archaeological sifting project at Emek Zurim National Park in Jerusalem.

The source of the soil from which the coin was extracted is the City of David National Park in the heart of the Old City.

The coin, minted by Jews in the year 69 CE, right before the destruction of the Second Temple a year later, features the words “For the Redemption of Zion” in ancient Hebrew script, with an image of a goblet under the inscription.

On the other side of the coin is an image of the Four Species and the words “Year Four” – representing the fourth year of the Jewish rebellion against the Romans. Just a short time afterward, in the year 70 CE, the revolt was subdued by the 10th Legion and the Second Temple

From ‘Freedom’ to ‘Redemption’
“The Jews minted coins throughout the entire period of the revolt, but in the fourth year of the five-year rebellion, we see that instead of the words ‘Freedom for Zion,’ the coins were minted with the words ‘For the Redemption of Zion,” Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) archaeologist Eli Shukrun noted.

He explained that the difference between “freedom” and “redemption” expresses the change that took place “both in their mindset and in reality, at that time.”

“Coins that were minted in the second and third years of the revolt are plentiful and easier to find, but coins from the fourth year are much rarer,” he added.

The coin was found in soil extracted from an underground drainage canal at the City of David, which passed underneath Jerusalem’s main street at the end of the Second Temple period. According to the writings of Josephus Flavius and based on archaeological evidence, the last remaining Jewish rebels hid from the Romans in this canal.

Dropped from Someone’s Hand 2,000 Years Ago
“It is possible that this coin was in the pocket of one of the residents of Jerusalem who hid from the Romans in the tunnels underneath the city streets,” Shukrun said, “or perhaps it rolled into the drainage canal, dropped from the hand of someone walking down the streets of Jerusalem over 2,000 years ago.

The timing of the rare finding on Sunday was perfect. It occurred just as the Jewish nation began to commemorate the Three Weeks of Mourning on the fast of the 17th day of Tammuz on the Hebrew calendar, which corresponded with this past Sunday and is the date when Jerusalem’s walls were breached. The mourning period continues until the fast of the 9th of Av, the date that the First and Second Temples were destroyed.

The coins were discovered as part of the “Archaeological Experience” activity offered to the general public at the sifting project at Emek Zurim National Park. The activity invites participants of all ages to come and serve as archaeologists for the day. They sift through the artifact-rich soil from excavations held by the IAA at the City of David and throughout ancient Jerusalem and reveal Israel’s multi-faceted ties to the city.

Incidentally, despite vigorous attempts by historians, there has yet to be uncovered any evidence of any “Palestinian era” in the city.

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Post  Admin on Mon 18 Jun 2018, 9:54 pm

Britain condemns ‘anti-Israel bias’ at UN Human Rights Council
 June 18, 2018
Britain condemns ‘anti-Israel bias’ at UN Human Rights CouncilUK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson addresses the UN Human Rights Council (Magali Girardin/Keystone via AP)
British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said the UNHRC’s dedicated agenda item on Israel was “disproportionate and damaging to the cause of peace.”
By: AP 
British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson on Monday urged the UN Human Rights Council to reform its treatment of Israel.
But while he joined the United States in demanding an end to what has been been described as the body’s bias against the Jewish state, he urged the US not to pull out of the UNHRC.
Addressing the opening of the 38th council session, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson criticized the council’s controversial Agenda Item 7, a permanent fixture on the schedule exclusively devoted to discussing Israel’s purported rights abuses.
Speaking to the Human Rights Council, Johnson said that its dedicated agenda item on Israel was “disproportionate and damaging to the cause of peace.”
Johnson said: “But I stress that that does not mean that we in the UK are blind to the value of this council.”
Johnson said the council’s work on the Israel-Palestinian conflict could have value under the right conditions.
Diplomats have told The Associated Press that a US withdrawal from the 47-member council could come as early as Tuesday.
Washington, some European countries and Australia have sided with Israel in condemning Item 7 as prejudiced, noting that countries with worse rights records in recent years, like Syria, are spared such intense scrutiny.

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Post  Admin on Sat 16 Jun 2018, 2:12 pm

ISRAEL HISTORY - Page 2 Almana11
Tammuz: Forces of Nature
Jun 26, 2006
by Rebbetzin Tziporah Heller
Tammuz: Forces of Nature
What can happen when we see everything as being fully within our grasp and under our control.

This month is named after the ancient Babylonian sun god (Ezekiel 8:12–18). I can't say that if I were selecting names for Jewish months that this is the first one that would have come to mind. In fact, it seems the opposite of what the entire concept the Hebrew calendar is about. Each month offers us the opportunity for growth and renewal. Idol worship is pagan and limiting. Invoking the name of a central figure in a cult that worshipped the sun as the source of all energy seems somehow retrogressive. It takes us back to archaic prehistory before our forefather Abraham made sense of nature and realized that there is a Divine, hidden hand that gives it unity, elegance of form, and purpose.

Sun worship may be prehistoric, but it's still "in."
Sun worship may be prehistoric, but it is still "in." Although no one uses the term anymore (except the most avid vacationers), that doesn't change the fact that the way we often relate to nature is not that far removed from the way the pagan sun worshippers did. We still think in terms of nature having its own rules that work autonomously and never change. We use axioms such as "possible" and "impossible" as though nature isn't subordinate to any force beyond itself.

It isn't hard to see why. Nature, as epitomized by the sun, is quite an awesome force. The sun may be eons away from the earth, but anyone who ever had heavy-duty sunburn knows how irrelevant that fact is in the face of the enormous heat, energy and light that it generates. When we harness its energy for the good or the opposite, we feel that we have mastered forces far greater than our own. We cook up an abysmal admixture of nature worship and self-worship. We use it to destroy the planet we live on, the people with whom we share it, and our own spiritual integrity.

The astral sign of the month is Cancer, the crab, and it represents an approach to life. The early mystics would talk about how the heat of the long summer days would stick to us and envelope us with its ennui to the point that we'd feel we can't do anything without it forcing us to acknowledge its grip. Our reliance on science, technology, and nature without seeing God as their underlying Source, eats away at our souls, until we are consumed by the spell of empowerment that they cast. Even when we seek God, what we see is shaded by our inability to think in terms that are above and beyond the constraints of the physical world.

Seventeenth of Tammuz

Five tragedies took place in this month. Each one of them gives us a glimpse into the abyss, of what can happen to us when we see everything as being fully within our grasp and under our control.

The first and most well known of the tragedies that took place is the destruction of what is arguably the most precious object that any human being could ever possess – the Tablets of the Law, written in God's own Hand. What was the sequence of events that made this disaster inevitable?

God gave the Ten Commandments on the sixth of Sivan. On the seventh, Moses climbed up Mount Sinai to learn the details and multi-leveled meanings of the entire Torah. He told the people to anticipate his return 40 days hence. His intent was not to include the day that he ascended the mountain since it was not a full 24-hour day (in the Hebrew calendar a new day begins when the sun sets on the previous one). The people assumed that he meant to include the day that he began his journey. This tragic technical misunderstanding had far reaching consequences.

When dawn broke on the 16th of Tammuz, an entire nation held their breath waiting to receive the Tablets of the Law and to begin learning its truth. This was one of the most significant events that we could ever anticipate. We define truth as "the entire picture". By the nature of things, the only possible way to access truth comes from beyond the limitations of human intellect and experience.

We want to know God, but we prefer to make Him "small" rather than making us "big."
To understand what happened next we have to digress for a moment. The Torah was given to humans, and we humans are full of complexities and contradictions. We want to go beyond our borders but we also love control and familiarity. We want to know God, but we would prefer to make Him "smaller" rather than making ourselves "bigger."

Our ability to visualize beyond the moment that we live in makes us yearn for a better world, and aspire to be among those who make it happen. Envisioning potential inspires us to make sacrifices for what we believe in. The same ability to visualize beyond the moment can also make us see things through the prism of false pragmatism. We think we are just being realistic and predicting how things are likely to be, when we fall into the trap of "awfulizing." As our imagery grows more vivid, we are paralyzed with despair or fear. The images that we conjure up are the source of our worst moments of silent terror.

When our mental imagery is in tune with God's vision of reality, it can move us toward what is known as Divine inspiration, "ruach ha-kodesh". This can only happen when we are not blocking out His truth with our own agendas (which are so subtle that even we are not always aware of their existence). When our filters are on, it creates inner chaos. Our fears promote fantasy and dread. Since the source of the falsehood that we project lies within us, it is referred to in the Talmud as "the Satan" which literally means "the accuser". The accuser is, of course, someone very familiar to all of us; it is the embodiment of our inner world as only God can see it.

"The Satan showed them Moses, dead lying on a bier," the Talmud tells us.

When he failed to arrive at the moment they expected to see him, the image that they saw was the face of doom. They were leaderless. They were in a desert, heading towards the unknown. Their journey had been fueled by Moses' vision, his Divine inspiration, the miracles that he brought about. Nothing made sense anymore. It was impossible to survive in this environment for more than a few days at best. All of this is completely true – if you are a sun worshiper and you think that the only possibilities are by definition ones that co-exist in cozy harmony with the axioms provided by your ability to describe the physical rules that govern our world.

Three Reactions

The Jews in the desert responded to this crisis in three different ways.

One group of people, Egyptians camp-followers and others who wanted to share the spiritual adventure that the Jews were on but also wanted everything to "make sense" to them, used the crutch that they had leaned on throughout their entire history. If what God does is "too big" to make sense to them, they will cut Him down to size, and force Him to fit into their pantheon of gods who represent various forces.

They no doubt thought that they could harness energy, make it work for them, and get on with life without seeking anything beyond themselves and their set of axioms. They pressured Aaron to form a representation of their spiritual autonomy, a calf that symbolized both newness and youth that had the potential one day to be an ox, the strongest of all the domesticated animals. They envisioned themselves as empowered and talked themselves into believing that faith in a man-made symbol can actually evoke a spiritual force. In the era of rampant idol worship, this way of thinking "made sense."

Aaron did not realize how far this group had gone. He demanded that people give him their gold and jewelry, hoping that he would be able to buy time. Using occult forces, one of the idolators took over the job of creating a symbol, and made the fabled golden calf. It seemed alive, real, and they believed that they had succeeded in making symbol that had vast spiritual power (similar perhaps to the Japanese Shinoists in World War II who believed that their emperor was God incarnate and that their flag had actual energy).

Group Two

The second group was composed of born Jews and sincere converts. When they heard God proclaim, "Have no other gods before Me," something deep inside of them was touched. They wanted truth more than comfort, and the very thought of any form of idol worship, or any deed that would block them from knowing and serving God, was completely abhorrent to them.

If they were left to their own devices, they would have probably managed to hold out until Moses' return, and later confront him with their fears that his prophecy had failed him since he didn't keep his word. When he would have explained his mistake, the air would clear, and their journey towards Israel would have continued as planned.

But they were not in isolation. The first group influenced them, as did their own conscience. Both sides seemed flat and untrue. They took refuge in cynicism towards Aaron and the Levites for remaining true to their "dead" leader rather than "being responsible" and "taking control" and "being realistic," and simultaneously mocked the passionate idolaters and satirized their devotions.

Group Three

The third group was made up of people who realized that they were witnessing an entire nation betray everything that God had shown them. The plagues. The splitting of the sea. The Ten Commandments. The manna that came down from heaven. God had forced them to look beyond their limited horizons. The people in this third group would neither reject what their own eyes had seen, nor would they take refuge in making skepticism a replacement for truth. But they, too, were caught up in illusion – an illusion far more insidious than the others. Their illusion was that there was no hope. The Jewish people were doomed. There was no point in trying to turn things around. The people they loved were choking by a noose that they had placed around their own necks: they were irredeemable.

They were caught in the insidious illusion of no hope.
They gave into one of the worst illusions that we have; the illusion that the force of evil generated by sin is greater than the force of good that is generated by teshuva (return to God). They, too, attributed too much force to the golden calf. They should have seen it as precious metal twisted into an interesting form that holds attraction to people who don't know better.

When Moses came down from the mountain, he took in the entire situation as soon as he saw it. He acted swiftly, and allowed the Tablets (which in any case were so heavy that it required a miracle for him to hold them) to crash to the floor. The stone "body" of the Tablets shattered and the spiritual luminescence of their message flew back to their creator.

Was he right?

The Talmud tells us that there is no doubt about the matter. He was right! He did the equivalent of tearing up a marriage license before anyone could formally accuse a new bride of betraying her husband. If we could not rise above worshipping nature, submitting to the tyranny of human-conceived options and the possibility of destroying the authentic bond that we were promised – so be it! It is not as though we rejected the Tablets; we never had them to begin with. The tragedy was muted, which opened the way for forgiveness.

Echoes of the Day

Four other traumatic events happened later in history that force us to think about who we are and who we want to be. To one degree or another, each event is an echo of the tragedy that took place on the 17th of Tammuz.

The Romans placed an idol in the sanctuary of the Holy Temple.
No sacrilege could be more vulgar. The reason God allowed this to happen is that He wanted us to see where our chosen path would take us. By this time, we had lost our collective identity, and had buried our consciousness in endless in fighting. Each group sincerely believed in their own cause. Each thought that they had a moral right to rule. Each took God out of the picture as they attacked each other with ever increasing savagery. The Romans had been conducting their public life like this for years. They believed in control, nature and power. We had the opportunity to see where this road leads. The end of the trail was the horror of and desecration of the sanctuary.

The walls around Jerusalem were breached.
This is the date recorded in the Talmud as the beginning of the siege of Jerusalem. A breach in the wall was the beginning of the end. It could only happen when our faith was fragmented, and the divine protection that we had been given in the past was no longer something we could count on. What this means concretely is that if we wish to abandon our reliance on God and replace this with belief in ourselves or in nature, we will have to pay the price.

The daily offerings could no longer continue.
In the time of both Temples a consequence of the battle for Jerusalem was that there was no possibility to continue the service as it had been conducted for hundreds of years. The symbolic meaning of the sacrifices (which are called korban, that which makes close, in Hebrew) is that it is up to us to elevate the world to God, not to create illusions that dwarf Him to make the "fit" more comfortable.

The Romans burned a Torah scroll. They believed in the rules made by man, not those made by God.
Does this mean that the month of Tammuz is "a bad month"? Far from it. It is a month of challenge and confrontation. Without challenge, there is no growth. Without confrontation, there is no way to see things as they are.

On the third of Tammuz something happened that broke all the rules of nature. Joshua was leading the Jews in battle in Givon against their enemies, the Emorites. As the day drew to a close, the battle had not yet reached an absolute conclusion. For the moment the Jews seemed to be winning, but if the battle would reach its inevitable end as darkness came, there would be no decisive victory, and the next morning they would face off against an enemy who would come at them with renewed vigor. Each moment was precious.

A miracle happened. The sun didn't set. The day stretched on for 12 more hours.

The rules were broken, the battle was won, and at least for the moment, no one worshiped the sun, but only its holy, infinite, unknowable Maker.

Article 10 of 12 in the series Hebrew Months
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Consummate educator and internationally acclaimed speaker, Rebbetzin Tzipora Heller has been a full-time lecturer at Neve Yerushalayim College in Jerusalem since 1980, impacting the lives of thousands of women worldwide. She is the author of six popular books, including Here You Are, Battle Plans, and This Way Up. She recently launched a daily video program based on the timeless Jewish wisdom of "Duties of the Heart." Learn how to channel your emotions to experience every day with purpose, meaning, and joy at:

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Post  Admin on Mon 11 Jun 2018, 8:15 am

An Archaeological Mystery: Which King’s Sculpted Head was Found in Israel?
Scholars are certain the figure unearthed in northern Israel represents royalty but are less sure which king it symbolizes or which kingdom he may have ruled.
By: AP
An enigmatic sculpture of a king’s head dating back nearly 3,000 years has set off a modern-day mystery caper as scholars try to figure out whose face it depicts.
The 5-centimeter (2-inch) sculpture is an exceedingly rare example of figurative art from the Holy Land during the 9th century BCE — the period of the biblical kings. Exquisitely preserved but for a bit of missing beard, nothing quite like it has been found before.
While scholars are certain the stern bearded figure wearing a golden crown represents royalty, they are less sure which king it symbolizes, or which kingdom he may have ruled.
Archaeologists unearthed the diminutive figurine in 2017 during excavations at a site called Abel Beth Maacah, located just south of Israel’s border with Lebanon, near the modern-day town of Metula.
Israelites, Arameans or Phoenicians?
Nineteenth-century archaeologists identified the site, then home to a village called Abil al-Qamh, with the similarly named city mentioned in the Book of Kings.
Arabic names of places in Israel are, in many cases, the preservation of the original biblical name, which was slightly changed after the Muslim conquest.
During the 9th century BCE, the ancient town was situated in a liminal zone between three regional powers: the Aramean kingdom based in Damascus to the east, the Phoenician city of Tyre to the west, and the Israelite kingdom, with its capital in Samaria to the south.
Kings 1 15:20 mentions Abel Beth Maacah in a list of cities attacked by the Aramean King Ben Hadad in a campaign against the Israelite kingdom.
“This location is very important because it suggests that the site may have shifted hands between these polities, more likely between Aram-Damascus and Israel,” said Hebrew University archaeologist Naama Yahalom-Mack, who has headed the joint dig with California’s Azusa Pacific University since 2013.
Yahalom-Mack’s team was digging through the floor of a massive Iron Age structure in the summer of 2017 when a volunteer who arrived for the day struck pay dirt. The layer where the head was found dates to the 9th century BCE, the epoch associated with the rival biblical kingdoms of Israel and Judah.
In a rare move, archaeologists and curators at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem rushed to put the piece on public display. A detailed report is set for publication in the June edition of the journal Near Eastern Archaeology.
‘One of a Kind’ Discovery
Eran Arie, the Israel Museum’s curator of Iron Age and Persian archaeology, said the discovery was one of a kind. “In the Iron Age, if there’s any figurative art, and there largely isn’t, it’s of very low quality. And this is of exquisite quality.”
The royal figurine is made of faience, a glass-like material that was popular in jewelry and small human and animal figurines in ancient Egypt and the Near East.
“The color of the face is greenish because of this copper tint that we have in the silicate paste,” Yahalom-Mack said. But a crucial clue for identifying it as a Near Eastern monarch was its “very interesting hairdo,” she said.
The bearded figure’s hair is pulled back in thick locks that cover the ears, and is held in place by a striped diadem of gold. Its hairstyle looks similar to the way ancient Egyptians depicted neighboring Near Eastern peoples in art.
“The guy kind of represents the generic way Semitic people are described,” she said.
A ‘Hello from the Past’
Because Carbon-14 dating cannot give a more exact date for the statue’s creation other than sometime in the 9th century, the field of potential candidates is large. Yahalom-Mack posited it could be kings Ben Hadad or Hazael of Damascus, Ahab or Jehu of Israel, or Ithobaal of Tyre, all characters appearing in the biblical narrative.
“We’re only guessing here, it’s like a game,” she said. “It’s like a hello from the past, but we don’t know anything else about it.”
As scholars debate whether the head was a stand-alone piece or part of a larger statue, the Hebrew University team is set to restart digging this month at the spot where the mystery king’s head was found.

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