Hebron Remained Jewish in the Second Temple Period

Oct. 10 2017

Since 2014, archaeologists have been excavating the site of an ancient settlement, dating to the 1st century BCE and located adjacent to the modern-day city of Hebron. The discovery of two mikvehs provides proof that this was a Jewish town. Bible History Daily reports:

Mentioned about 100 times in the Hebrew Bible, biblical Hebron held . . . the burial ground of the biblical patriarchs and matriarchs, was a fortified city when Moses sent spies to Canaan, and served as David’s first capital in the kingdom of Judah.

According to the ancient Jewish historian Josephus, during the First Jewish Revolt against Rome (66–70 CE), the Zealot leader Simeon Bar-Giora captured Hebron, but the Roman army under the command of the general (and later emperor) Vespasian then retook the Judean town and burned it to the ground. . . .

The site of Tel Hebron resides 3,000 feet above sea level in the Judean hill country, about twenty miles south of Jerusalem. Excavations [have] revealed four occupational phases at Hebron during the Second Temple period, from the time of the late Hasmoneans (ca. 100–37 BCE) to the Bar-Kokhba revolt (132–135 CE). Residential houses, pottery workshops, and wine and oil presses were [also] uncovered.

Read more at Bible History Daily

More about: Archaeology, Hebron, History & Ideas, Second Temple

Europe Has a Chance to Change Its Attitude toward Israel

Dec. 15 2017

In Europe earlier this week, Benjamin Netanyahu met with several officials and heads of state. Ahead of his visit, the former Italian parliamentarian Fiamma Nirenstein addressed a letter to these European leaders, urging them to reevaluate their attitudes toward the status of Jerusalem and the West Bank, the Israel-Palestinian peace process, the gravity of European anti-Semitism, and the threat posed by Hamas and Hizballah. In it she writes:

For years, the relationship between Europe and Israel has been strained. Europe tends to criticize Israel for simply defending itself against the continual threats and terrorist attacks it faces on all its borders and inside its cities. Europe too often disregards not only Israel’s most evident attempts to bring about peace—such as its disengagement from Gaza—but also chides it for its cautiousness when considering what solutions are risky and which will truly ensure the security of its citizens.

The EU has never recognized the dangers posed by Hamas and Hizballah, as well as by many other jihadist groups—some of which are backed by [the allegedly moderate] Fatah. The EU constantly blames Israel in its decisions, resolutions, papers and “non-papers,” letters, and appeals. Some of Europe’s most important figures insist that sanctions against the “territories” are necessary—a political stance that will certainly not bring about a solution to this conflict that . . . the Israelis would sincerely like to resolve. Israel has repeated many times that it is ready for direct negotiation without preconditions with the Palestinians. No answer has been received.

The European Union continues to put forth unrealistic solutions to the Israel-Palestinian issue, and the results have only aggravated the situation further. Such was the case in 2015 when it sanctioned Israeli companies and businesses in the territories over the Green Line, forcing them to close industrial centers that provided work to hundreds of Palestinians. The Europeans promoted the harmful idea that delegitimizing Israel can be accomplished through international pressure and that negotiations and direct talks with Israel can be avoided. . . .

[Meanwhile], Iran’s imperialist designs now touch all of Israel’s borders and put the entire world at risk of a disastrous war while Iran’s closest proxy, Hizballah, armed with hundreds of thousands of missiles, proudly presents the most explicit terrorist threat. Europe must confront these risks for the benefit of its citizens, first by placing Hizballah on its list of terrorist organizations and secondly, by reconsidering and revising its relationship with Iran.

Read more at Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

More about: Benjamin Netanyahu, Europe and Israel, European Union, Hizballah, Israel & Zionism, Israel diplomacy