Clay Seals Provide Evidence of 8th-Century Israelite Refugees Coming to Jerusalem

Sept. 7 2017

Historians have long believed that, after the Assyrians destroyed the Northern Kingdom of Israel in 720 BCE, many of its residents fled to the Southern Kingdom of Judah and settled there. The recent discovery of clay seals (technically known as bullae) in Jerusalem—then the Judaean capital—provides evidence of this migration, as Amanda Borschel-Dan writes:

A new cache of First Temple bullae discovered in an excavation at Jerusalem’s City of David shows a mixture of names from the kingdoms of Israel and Judah used on official bureaucratic correspondence. . . The dozens of clay imprints were used on letters and documents which were bound by string and sealed by wet clay pressed with the sender’s mark or name. . . . Among the bullae [one] bears the name “Aḥiav ben Menaḥem” [both names used by kings of Israel and thus thought to be Israelite rather than Judaean]. . . .

According to [the excavation’s] co-director Ortal Chalaf, these Israelite names and other findings point to the possibility that after the destruction of Israel, refugees fled the Kingdom of Israel for the Kingdom of Judah, and settled in Jerusalem. . . . [T]he use of their names on official correspondence shows that these Israelites gained important roles in the Judaean administration.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Ancient Israel, Archaeology, Assyria, History & Ideas, Jerusalem

In Dealing with Iran, the U.S. Can Learn from Ronald Reagan

When Ronald Reagan arrived at the White House in 1981, the consensus was that, with regard to the Soviet Union, two responsible policy choices presented themselves: détente, or a return to the Truman-era policy of containment. Reagan, however, insisted that the USSR’s influence could not just be checked but rolled back, and without massive bloodshed. A decade later, the Soviet empire collapsed entirely. In crafting a policy toward the Islamic Republic today, David Ignatius urges the current president to draw on Reagan’s success:

A serious strategy to roll back Iran would begin with Syria. The U.S. would maintain the strong military position it has established east of the Euphrates and enhance its garrison at Tanf and other points in southern Syria. Trump’s public comments suggest, however, that he wants to pull these troops out, the sooner the better. This would all but assure continued Iranian power in Syria.

Iraq is another key pressure point. The victory of militant Iraqi nationalist Moqtada al-Sadr in [last week’s] elections should worry Tehran as much as Washington. Sadr has quietly developed good relations with Saudi Arabia, and his movement may offer the best chance of maintaining an Arab Iraq as opposed to a Persian-dominated one. But again, that’s assuming that Washington is serious about backing the Saudis in checking Iran’s regional ambitions. . . .

The Arabs, [however], want the U.S. (or Israel) to do the fighting this time. That’s a bad idea for America, for many reasons, but the biggest is that there’s no U.S. political support for a war against Iran. . . .

Rolling back an aggressive rival seems impossible, until someone dares to try it.

Read more at RealClear Politics

More about: Cold War, Iran, Politics & Current Affairs, Ronald Reagan, U.S. Foreign policy