A Biblical-Era Farmstead Discovered

Jan. 11 2016

An archaeological excavation near the Israeli town of Rosh Ha’Ayin has uncovered a 2,700-year-old farmhouse, along with several more recent ruins. Ruth Shuster writes (with pictures and video):

A huge farmhouse from the First Temple period, an ornate Byzantine church built over 1,000 years later, and a lime kiln dated to the Ottoman era have been found . . . during an archaeological investigation ahead of building a new neighborhood.

The sprawling . . . farmhouse has no fewer than 24 rooms surrounding a central courtyard, which was a common structure in the Middle East. . . . It was so well preserved that some walls were still standing to a height of more than two meters after nearly three millennia.

The archaeologists also found two silver coins from a slightly later time, the 4th century BCE, . . . bearing the likenesses of the goddess Athena and the Athenian owl. Evidently this farmstead, like similar ones in the area, remained in use for centuries until the region was abandoned in the period of the Hellenistic conquests.

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More about: Ancient Israel, Archaeology, First Temple, Hellenism, History & Ideas

No, Israel Hasn’t Used Disproportionate Force against Hamas

Aug. 15 2018

Last week, Hamas and other terrorist organizations in Gaza launched nearly 200 rockets and mortars into Israel, in addition to the ongoing makeshift incendiary devices and sporadic sniper fire. Israel responded with an intensive round of airstrikes, which stopped the rockets. Typically, condemnations of the Jewish state’s use of “disproportionate force” followed; and typically, as Peter Lerner, a former IDF spokesman, explains, these were wholly inaccurate:

The IDF conducted, by its own admission, approximately 180 precision strikes. In the aftermath of those strikes the Hamas Ministry of Health announced that three people had been killed. One of the dead was [identified] as a Hamas terrorist. The two others were reported as civilians: Inas Abu Khmash, a twenty-three-year-old pregnant woman, and her eighteen-month daughter, Bayan. While their deaths are tragic, they are not an indication of a disproportionate response to Hamas’s bombardment of Israel’s southern communities. With . . . 28 Israelis who required medical assistance [and] 30 Iron Dome interceptions, I would argue the heart-rending Palestinian deaths indicate the exact opposite.

The precision strikes on Hamas’s assets with so few deaths show how deep and thorough is the planning process the IDF has put in place. . . . Proportionality in warfare, [however], is not a numbers game, as so many of the journalists I’ve worked with maintain. . . . Proportionality weighs the necessity of a military action against the anguish that the action might cause to civilians in the vicinity. . . . In the case of the last few days, it appears that even intended combatant deaths were [deemed] undesirable, due to their potential to increase the chances of war. . . .

The question that should be repeated is why indiscriminate rocket fire against Israeli civilians from behind Gazan civilians is accepted, underreported, and not condemned.

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More about: Gaza Strip, Hamas, IDF, Israel & Zionism, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict