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A Mother and Daughter Discover a Maccabean-Era Oil Lamp

Dec. 14 2017

Hiking in northern Israel last week, a mother and her daughter discovered a clay oil lamp that experts have dated approximately to the 2nd century BCE—around the time of the Maccabees’ revolt against Greek rule. Daniel Eisenbud reports:

While making their way through the mounds near the historic area by the Jordan River Valley one week ago, Hadas Goldberg-Kedar, age seven, and her mother, Ayelet, first noticed the well-preserved pottery vessel near the entrance to a porcupine cave. Ayelet assumed the relic was left by antiquities thieves and contacted the Israel Antiquities Authority’s Robbery Prevention Unit to report the find.

In short order, Nir Distelfeld, an inspector for the unit—which is dispersed throughout the country to prevent thieves from looting excavation sites—arrived and examined the lamp. [He] determined that the porcupine uncovered the rare find while digging its enclosure for the winter. . . .

“During this period, clay oil lamps began to be produced in formations: the upper and lower parts were produced separately and were then joined together,” said Einat Ambar-Armon [of the Israel Antiquities Authority]. “The new technique enabled the mass production of oil lamps, as well as the addition of a variety of decorations. In later periods, candles and other Jewish decorations sometimes appeared on the oil lamps.”

Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: Ancient Israel, Archaeology, Hanukkah, History & Ideas, Maccabees

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