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

 

To Israel’s Leading Strategist, Strength, Not Concessions, Has Brought a Measure of Calm

Aug. 14 2018

Following a long and distinguished career in the IDF, Yaakov Amidror served as Israel’s national-security adviser from 2011 to 2013. He speaks with Armin Rosen about the threats from Gaza, Hizballah, and Iran:

For Israel’s entire existence, would-be peacemakers have argued that the key to regional harmony is the reduction of the Jewish state’s hard power through territorial withdrawals and/or the legitimization of the country’s non-state enemies. In Amidror’s view, reality has thoroughly debunked this line of reasoning.

Amidror believes peace—or calm, at least—came as a result of Israeli muscle. Israel proved to its former enemies in the Sunni Arab world that it’s powerful enough to fill the vacuum left by America’s exit from the region and to stand up to Iran on the rest of the Middle East’s behalf. “The stronger Israel is, the more the ability of Arab countries to cooperate [with it] grows,” Amidror explained. On the whole, Amidror said he’s “very optimistic. I remember the threat that we faced when we were young. We fought the Six-Day War and I remember the Yom Kippur War, and I see what we are facing today. We have only one-and-a-half problems. One problem is Iran, and the half-problem is Hizballah.” . . .

In all likelihood the next Israeli-Iranian confrontation will be a clash with Amidror’s half-threat: the Lebanese Shiite militant group Hizballah, Iran’s most effective proxy in the Middle East and perhaps the best armed non-state military force on earth. . . . “We should neutralize the military capability of Hizballah,” [in the event of war], he said. “We should not destroy the organization as a political tool. If the Shiites want these people to represent them, it’s their problem.” . . .

“It will be a very nasty war,” Amidror said. “A very, very nasty war.” Hizballah will fire “thousands and thousands” of long-range missiles of improved precision, speed, and range at Israeli population centers, a bombardment larger than Israel’s various layers of missile defense will be able to neutralize in full. . . . This will, [however], be a blow Israel can withstand. “Israelis will be killed, no question,” Amidror said. “But it’s not going to be catastrophic.”

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More about: Hizballah, Iran, Israel & Zionism, Israeli Security, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Lebanon