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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

 

Being a Critic of Israel Means Never Having to Explain How It Should Defend Itself

April 23 2018

The ever-worsening situation of Jews in Europe, writes Bret Stephens, should serve as a reminder of the need for a Jewish state. Israel’s critics, he suggests, should reflect more deeply on that need:

Israel did not come into existence to serve as another showcase of the victimization of Jews. It exists to end the victimization of Jews.

That’s a point that Israel’s restless critics could stand to learn. On Friday, Palestinians in Gaza returned for the fourth time to the border fence with Israel, in protests promoted by Hamas. The explicit purpose of Hamas leaders is to breach the fence and march on Jerusalem. Israel cannot possibly allow this—doing so would create a precedent that would encourage similar protests, and more death, along all of Israel’s borders—and has repeatedly used deadly force to counter it.

The armchair corporals of Western punditry think this is excessive. It would be helpful if they could suggest alternative military tactics to an Israeli government dealing with an urgent crisis against an adversary sworn to its destruction. They don’t.

It would also be helpful if they could explain how they can insist on Israel’s retreat to the 1967 borders and then scold Israel when it defends those borders. They can’t. If the armchair corporals want to persist in demands for withdrawals that for 25 years have led to more Palestinian violence, not less, the least they can do is be ferocious in defense of Israel’s inarguable sovereignty. Somehow they almost never are. . . .

[T]o the extent that the diaspora’s objections [to Israeli policies] are prompted by the nonchalance of the supposedly nonvulnerable when it comes to Israel’s security choices, then the complaints are worse than feckless. They provide moral sustenance for Hamas in its efforts to win sympathy for its strategy of wanton aggression and reckless endangerment. And they foster the illusion that there’s some easy and morally stainless way by which Jews can exercise the responsibilities of political power.

Read more at New York Times

More about: Anti-Semitism, Gaza Strip, Israel & Zionism