Rededicating a Two-Thousand-Year-Old Synagogue in the Golan

Oct. 12 2018

On Monday, Benjamin Netanyahu arrived in the Golan village of Ein Keshatot to celebrate the completion of a fifteen-year project to restore the ancient synagogue there; it is now open to the public. Zachary Keyser writes:

The synagogue, with its ornately carved basalt Torah ark, was built in the 1st century CE but extensively renovated some 500 years later. The building, which collapsed in the catastrophic earthquake of 749 CE, measured almost 60 feet long by 43 feet wide, and is calculated to have been nearly 40 feet high. That impressive size made it one of the biggest of the 30 ancient synagogues discovered in the Golan Heights.

Several factors indicate the wealth of this Jewish village during the Byzantine era. The [nearby] springs supported a flax and textile industry, while the twin olive presses produced oil for export. The villagers’ wealth was displayed in their elaborate synagogue. . . .

Unlike other synagogues in the Golan which have an opening on the south oriented to Jerusalem, the door to the [this one] is set in the east wall. The opening is slightly asymmetric, and researchers assume the door was placed off-center to highlight the ark.

Among the archaeological findings was a cache of bronze and gold coins stored under the synagogue’s stone floor. Archaeologists used those coins to determine the synagogue was [renovated] during the reign of Justinian I, who ruled the Eastern Roman empire from 527 to 565 CE.

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More about: Archaeology, Benjamin Netanyahu, Golan Heights, History & Ideas, Synagogue

Nikki Haley Succeeded at the UN Because She Saw It for What It Is

Oct. 15 2018

Last week, Nikki Haley announced that she will be stepping down as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations at the end of the year. When President Trump appointed her to the position, she had behind her a successful tenure as governor of South Carolina, but no prior experience in foreign policy. This, writes Seth Lispky, turned out to have been her greatest asset:

What a contrast [Haley provided] to the string of ambassadors who fell on their faces in the swamp of Turtle Bay. That’s particularly true of the two envoys under President Barack Obama. [The] “experienced” hands who came before her proceeded to fail. Their key misconception was the notion that the United Nations is part of the solution to the world’s thorniest problems. Its charter was a vast treaty designed by diplomats to achieve “peace,” “security,” and “harmony.”

What hogwash.

Haley, by contrast, may have come in without experience—but that meant she also lacked for illusions. What a difference when someone knows that they’re in a viper pit—that the UN is itself the problem. And has the gumption to say so.

This became apparent the instant Haley opened her first press conference, [in which she said of the UN’s obsessive fixation on condemning the Jewish state]: “I am here to say the United States will not turn a blind eye to this anymore. I am here to underscore the ironclad support of the United States for Israel. . . . I am here to emphasize that the United States is determined to stand up to the UN’s anti-Israel bias.”

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More about: Nikki Haley, U.S. Foreign policy, United Nations, US-Israel relations