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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.

Read more at Times of Israel

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

Toward an Iran Policy That Looks at the Big Picture

On Monday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivered a speech outlining a new U.S. approach to the Islamic Republic. Ray Takeyh and Mark Dubowitz explain why it constitutes an important and much-needed rejection of past errors:

For too long, a peculiar consensus has suggested that it is possible to isolate the nuclear issue from all other areas of contention and resolve it in a satisfactory manner. The subsidiary [assumption] embedded in this logic is that despite the bluster of Iran’s rulers, it is governed by cautious men, who if offered sufficient incentives and soothing language would respond with pragmatism. No one embraced this notion more ardently than the former secretary of state, John Kerry, who crafted an accord whose deficiencies are apparent to all but the most hardened partisans. . . .

A regime as dangerous as the Iranian one requires no less than a comprehensive strategy to counter it. This means exploiting all of its vulnerabilities, increasing the costs of its foreign adventures, draining its economy, and aiding our allies. Most importantly, the United States must find a way of connecting itself to domestic opposition that continuously haunts the mullahs.

Washington should no longer settle for an arms-control agreement that paves Iran’s path to a bomb but rather a restrictive accord that ends its nuclear aspirations. The United States should not implore its allies to share the Middle East with Iran, as Barack Obama did, but partner with them in defeating the clerical imperialists. And most importantly, the United States should never forget that its most indispensable ally is the Iranian people.

Read more at Foreign Policy

More about: Iran, Iran nuclear program, Mike Pompeo, U.S. Foreign policy