Israeli Archaeologists Find a First Temple-Era Palace in the Judean Hills

After five years of excavations in the vicinity of Ein Ḥanyah—one of the largest springs in the Judean hills—the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) has announced some of the findings, which range from the first millennium BCE to the Byzantine period. Michael Bachner describes some of them:

The main find . . . was a fragment of a proto-Ionic column capital, an artistic element typical of structures and estates of the kings of the First Temple period. . . . Similar capitals have been found in the City of David in Jerusalem and at Ramat Raḥel, where one of the palaces of the kings of Judah was uncovered, . . . as well as in Samaria, Megiddo, and Ḥatsor, which were major cities in the ancient kingdom of Israel.

Archaeologists [conjectured] that the site at Ein Ḥanyah may have been a royal estate during the First Temple period. . . .

[A]nother significant find from that period was a rare silver coin, described as one of the most ancient discovered so far in the Jerusalem area. It is an ancient Greek drachma, [which experts say was] “minted in Ashdod by Greek rulers between 420 and 390 BCE.”

The site also has significance for the history of Christianity:

“We believe that some early Christian commentators identified Ein Ḥanyah as the site where the Ethiopian eunuch was baptized, as described in Acts 8:26-40,” said the IAA’s Jerusalem-district archaeologist, Yuval Baruch.

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Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Ancient Israel, Davidic monarchy, First Temple, History & Ideas, New Testament

Palestinian Leaders Fight Economic Growth

Jan. 15 2019

This month, a new shopping mall opened in northeastern Jerusalem, easily accessible to most of the city’s Arab residents. Rami Levy, the supermarket magnate who owns the mall, already employs some 2,000 Israeli Arabs and Palestinians at his other stores, and the mall will no doubt bring more jobs to Arab Jerusalemites. But the leaders of the Palestinian Authority (PA) are railing against it, and one newspaper calls its opening “an economic catastrophe [nakba].” Bassam Tawil writes:

For [the PA president] Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah officials . . . the image of Palestinians and Jews working in harmony is loathsome. . . . Instead of welcoming the inauguration of the shopping mall for providing job opportunities to dozens of Palestinians and lower prices [to consumers], Fatah officials are taking about an Israeli plan to “undermine” the Palestinian economy. . . . The hundreds of Palestinians who flooded the new mall on its first day, however, seem to disagree with the grim picture painted by [these officials]. . . .

The campaign of incitement against Levy’s shopping mall began several months ago, as it was being built, and has continued until today. Now that the campaign has failed to prevent the opening of the mall, Fatah and its followers have turned to outright threats and violence. The threats are being directed toward Palestinian shoppers and Palestinian merchants who rented space in the new mall. On the day the mall was opened, Palestinians threw a number of firebombs at the compound, [which] could have injured or killed Palestinians. The [bomb-throwers], who are believed to be affiliated with Fatah, would rather see their own people dead than having fun or buying attractively-priced products at an Israeli mall.

By spearheading this campaign of incitement and intimidation, Abbas’s Fatah is again showing its true colors. How is it possible to imagine that Abbas or any of his Fatah lieutenants would ever make peace with Israel when they cannot even tolerate the idea of Palestinians and Jews working together for a simple common good? If a Palestinian who buys Israeli milk is a traitor in the eyes of Fatah, it is not difficult to imagine the fate of any Palestinian who would dare to discuss compromise with Israel.

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Read more at Gatestone

More about: East Jerusalem, Israeli Arabs, Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian Authority, Palestinian economy