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A Clay Seal from the 7th-Century-BCE Governor of Jerusalem

Last week, archaeologists presented the mayor of Jerusalem with an ancient clay seal, discovered on the Temple Mount and inscribed with the words, “belonging to the governor of the city.” Amanda Borschel-Dan explains its significance:

According to the site’s excavator Shlomit Weksler-Bdolah, “this is the first time that such an impression was found in an authorized excavation. It supports the biblical rendering of the existence of a governor of the city in Jerusalem 2,700 years ago.”

The minuscule clay seal impression . . . was found while researchers were examining the dust from a First Temple structure 100 meters northwest of the Western Wall at a site that the Israel Antiquities Authority has been excavating since 2005. The excavations have offered up insights into Jerusalem’s Second Temple and Roman periods, as well as a massive Iron Age [i.e., First Temple-period or earlier] four-room building where an eclectic collection of six other seals were uncovered, whose origins point to a thriving cosmopolitan center or settlement.

“The seal impression . . . served as some sort of logo, or as a tiny souvenir, which was sent on behalf of the governor of the city,” said Weksler-Bdolah, . . . [who explained] that the governor most likely functioned much like today’s mayor. The role is mentioned in the Hebrew Bible: in 2Kings, someone named Joshua is listed as the governor of the city in the days of King Hezekiah, and in 2Chronicles, Maaseiah is noted as governor of the city in the days of King Josiah.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Ancient Israel, Archaeology, History & Ideas, Jerusalem, Temple Mount

 

Putting Aside the Pious Lies about the Israel-Palestinian Conflict

Jan. 23 2018

In light of recent developments, including Mahmoud Abbas’s unusually frank speech to the Palestinian Liberation Organization’s leadership, Moshe Arens advocates jettisoning some frequently mouthed but clearly false assumptions about Israel’s situation, beginning with the idea that the U.S. should act as a neutral party in negotiations between Jerusalem and Ramallah. (Free registration may be required.)

The United States cannot be, and has never been, neutral in mediating the Israel-Palestinian conflict. It is the leader of the world’s democratic community of nations and cannot assume a neutral position between democratic Israel and the Palestinians, whether represented by an autocratic leadership that glorifies acts of terror or by Islamic fundamentalists who carry out acts of terror. . . .

In recent years the tectonic shifts in the Arab world, the lower price of oil, and the decreased importance attached to the Palestinian issue in much of the region, have essentially removed the main incentive the United States had in past years to stay involved in the conflict. . . .

Despite the conventional wisdom that the core issues—such as Jerusalem or the fate of Israeli settlements beyond the 1949 armistice lines—are the major stumbling blocks to an agreement, the issue for which there seems to be no solution in sight at the moment is making sure that any Israeli military withdrawal will not result in rockets being launched against Israel’s population centers from areas that are turned over to the Palestinians. . . .

Does that mean that Israel is left with a choice between a state with a Palestinian majority or an apartheid state, as claimed by Israel’s left? This imaginary dilemma is based on a deterministic theory of history, which disregards all other possible alternatives in the years to come, and on questionable demographic predictions. What the left is really saying is this: better rockets on Tel Aviv than a continuation of Israeli military control over Judea and Samaria. There is little support in Israel for that view.

Read more at Haaretz

More about: Israel & Zionism, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Mahmoud Abbas, Peace Process, US-Israel relations