A Coin Bearing the Image of Antiochus IV Found in Jerusalem

Dec. 20 2016

A coin recently discovered in the ancient citadel known as the Tower of David bears, on one side, a depiction of Antiochus IV Epiphanes of Syria. Known today as an arch-persecutor of the Jews and as the villain of the Hanukkah story, he was overthrown in the Maccabean revolt. Yori Yalon writes:

No one expected that decades after the excavations at the Tower of David citadel wrapped up, new discoveries would still be made on the museum grounds. During routine cleaning and maintenance work at the site, the chief conservator Orna Cohen noticed a metal object among the stones of the Hasmonean Wall inside the citadel. A careful examination revealed that it was a bronze prutah, a coin that was in use over 2,000 years ago. . . .

Officials from the Tower of David noted that while there is no date on the coin, “we know that these coins were minted in Acre, which in that time was called Ptolemais, apparently between 172 and 168 BCE.”

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More about: Archaeology, Hanukkah, History & Ideas, Maccabees

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