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

Israel’s Economy Thrives While the Middle East Disintegrates

Jan. 19 2018

Now that the data have come in from 2017, it is clear that the Israeli economy had another successful year, expanding at a rate higher than that of any other advanced country. Israel’s per-capita GDP also grew, placing it above those of France and Japan. Daniel Kryger notes some of the implications regarding the Jewish state’s place in the Middle East:

The contrast between first-world Israel and the surrounding third-world Arab states is larger today than ever before. Israel’s GDP per capita is almost twenty times the GDP per capita of impoverished Egypt and five times larger than semi-developed Lebanon.

Like any human project, Israel is a never-ending work in progress and much work remains to integrate ḥaredi Jews and Israeli Arabs into Israel’s knowledge economy. Properly addressing Israel’s high costs of living requires more economic and legislative reforms and breaking up inefficient oligopolies that keep the prices artificially high. However, by any standard, the reborn Jewish state is a remarkable success story. . . .

Much has changed since OPEC launched its oil embargo against the West after the failed Arab aggression against Israel in October 1973. Before the collapse of the pro-Arab Soviet empire, China and India had no official ties with Israel and many Western and Japanese companies avoided doing business with Israel. Collapsing oil prices have dramatically eroded the power of oil-producing countries. It has become obvious that the future belongs to those who innovate, not those who happen to sit on oil. Israel has today strong commercial ties with China and a thriving partnership with India. Business delegations from Jamaica to Japan are eager to do business with Israel and benefit from Israel’s expertise. . . .

[For its part], the boycott, divest, and sanction (BDS) movement may bully Jewish and pro-Israel students on Western campuses. However, in real life, BDS stands no chance of succeeding against Israel. The reason is simple: reborn Israel has . . . become too valuable a player in the global economy.

Read more at Mida

More about: BDS, Israel & Zionism, Israeli economy, Middle East, OPEC