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


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