Remnants of an Ancient Roman Road Discovered outside Jerusalem

March 14 2017

Excavating the area outside the Jerusalem suburb of Beit Shemesh, archaeologists have found traces of a 2,000-year-old road that once connected a Roman town with the area’s then-major highway, known as the Emperor’s Road. The Israel Antiquities Authority writes:

[The highway] connected the large settlements of Jerusalem and Eleutheropolis (now Beit Guvrin) [to the southwest]. The construction of the Emperor’s Road is thought to have taken place at the time of Emperor Hadrian’s visit to the country, circa 130 CE, or slightly thereafter, during the suppression of the Bar Kokhba revolt in 132-135 CE. The presence of a milestone bearing the name of the emperor Hadrian, previously discovered nearby, reinforces this hypothesis.

Coins were [also] discovered between the pavement stones: a coin from the second year of the Great Revolt [against Roman rule] (67 CE), a coin from the Umayyad period [the 7th and 8th centuries], a coin of the prefect of Judea, Pontius Pilate, dating to 29 CE, and a coin of King Agrippa I from 41 CE that was minted in Jerusalem.

Up until 2,000 years ago, most of the roads in the country were actually improvised trails. However, during the Roman period, as a result of military campaigns, the national and international road network started to be developed in an unprecedented manner. The Roman government was well aware of the importance of the roads for the proper running of the empire.

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More about: Ancient Israel, Ancient Rome, Archaeology

The Reasons for Prime Minister Netanyahu’s Staying Power

Nov. 20 2018

This week, Benjamin Netanyahu seems to have narrowly avoided the collapse of his governing coalition despite the fact that one party, Yisrael Beiteinu, withdrew and another, the Jewish Home, threatened to follow suit. Moreover, he kept the latter from defecting without conceding its leader’s demand to be appointed minister of defense. Even if the government were to collapse, resulting in early elections, Netanyahu would almost certainly win, writes Elliot Jager:

[Netanyahu’s] detractors think him Machiavellian, duplicitous, and smug—willing to do anything to stay in power. His supporters would not automatically disagree. Over 60 percent of Israelis tell pollsters that they will be voting for a party other than Likud—some supposing their favored party will join a Netanyahu-led coalition while others hoping against the odds that Likud can be ousted.

Opponents would [also] like to think the prime minister’s core voters are by definition illiberal, hawkish, and religiously inclined. However, the 30 percent of voters who plan to vote Likud reflect a broad segment of the population. . . .

Journalists who have observed Netanyahu over the years admire his fitness for office even if they disagree with his actions. A strategic thinker, Netanyahu’s scope of knowledge is both broad and deep. He is a voracious reader and a quick study. . . . Foreign leaders may not like what he says but cannot deny that he speaks with panache and authority. . . .

The prime minister or those around him are under multiple police investigations for possible fraud and moral turpitude. Under Israel’s system, the police investigate and can recommend that the attorney general issue an indictment. . . . Separately, Mrs. Netanyahu is in court for allegedly using public monies to pay for restaurant meals. . . . The veteran Jerusalem Post political reporter Gil Hoffman maintains that Israelis do not mind if Netanyahu appears a tad corrupt because they admire a politician who is nobody’s fool. Better to have a political figure who cannot be taken advantage of than one who is incorruptible but naïve.

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Read more at Jager File

More about: Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel & Zionism, Israeli politics