What an Ancient City’s Second Gate Tells Us about Biblical Israel

Jan. 11 2017

After seven years of excavations, a team of Israeli archaeologists has discovered a city that existed during the reign of King David; their findings suggest that he ruled over a kingdom larger and more sophisticated than many scholars have previously thought. Robin Ngo writes:

Overlooking the Elah Valley [where David battled Goliath], about twenty miles southwest of Jerusalem, lies . . . Khirbet Qeiyafa. . . . Among the incredible finds at Qeiyafa was a second city gate from the 10th century BCE; no other site from this period in Israel has more than one gate. . . .

The dig’s directors, Yosef Garfinkel and Saar Ganor, identify Khirbet Qeiyafa with the biblical Sha’arayim, [whose name is] Hebrew for “two gates” (Joshua 15:36; 1 Samuel 17:52; 1 Chronicles 4:31). The two monumental four-chambered city gates at Khirbet Qeiyafa are located on the western and southern sides of the site and measure approximately 35-feet wide and 42-feet deep into the city. The western gate controls access to the road [to] Philistia, while the southern one opens down to the Elah Valley that eventually connects to Jerusalem.

“Some scholars view King David’s kingdom as a simple agrarian society, sparsely inhabited, with no fortified cities, no administration, and no writing,” write Garfinkel, Ganor, and Joseph Baruch Silver. “These scholars find it very hard to accept the new discoveries at Qeiyafa, which have completely dismantled those hypotheses.”

Read more at Bible History Daily

More about: Archaeology, Hebrew Bible, History & Ideas, King David


Hamas Won’t Compromise with the Palestinian Authority, and Gazans Won’t Overthrow Hamas

July 24 2017

Since the terrorist organization Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip in 2007, much of Israeli strategy toward it has stemmed from the belief that, if sufficient pressure is applied, the territory’s residents will rise up against it. Yaakov Amidror argues this is unlikely to happen, and he also doubts that improved living conditions for ordinary Gazans would deter Hamas from terrorism or war:

The hardships experienced by the Strip’s residents, no matter how terrible, will not drive them to stage a coup to topple Hamas. The organization is entrenched in Gaza and is notorious for its brutality toward any sign of dissidence, and the Palestinians know there is no viable alternative waiting for an opportunity to [take over].

[Therefore], it is time everyone got used to the idea that Hamas is not about to relinquish its dominant position in the Gaza Strip, let alone concede to the Palestinian Authority’s President Mahmoud Abbas. . . . [Yet the] assumption is also baseless that if Gaza experiences economic stability and prosperity, Hamas would refrain from provoking hostilities. This misconception is based on the theory that Hamas operates by governmental norms and prioritizes the needs and welfare of its citizens. This logic does not apply to Hamas. . . .

[Hamas’s] priorities are to bolster its military power and cement its iron grip. This is why all the supplies Israel allows into Gaza on a daily basis to facilitate normal life have little chance of reaching the people. Hamas first and foremost takes care of its leaders and makes sure it has what it needs to sustain its terror-tunnel-digging enterprise and its weapon-production efforts. It then sees to the needs of its members, and then—and only then—what little is left is diverted to rehabilitation efforts that benefit the population.

This is why the argument that Israel is responsible for Gaza’s inability to recover from its plight is baseless. Hamas is the one that determines the priorities by which to allocate resources in the enclave, and the more construction materials that enter Gaza, the easier and faster it is for Hamas to restore its military capabilities. Should Israel sacrifice its own security on the altar of Gazans’ living conditions? I don’t think so.

Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Gaza Strip, Hamas, Israel & Zionism, Israeli Security