Living the Good Life at the Copper Mines of Ancient Israel

A few years ago, scholars described life at an ancient copper mine in what is now Jordan as “hell on earth.” But recent research at a similar site in the Negev shows that at least one class of workers enjoyed all the creature comforts of the time. Hershel Shanks explains:

The better class . . . apparently ate like visitors at a first-class spa! The diet varied. There was fish from the Red Sea (nearly 20 miles away) and catfish from the Mediterranean Sea (125 miles away). The diners then polished it off with grapes and pistachios, also from the Mediterranean area.

All this was found on what is known as “Slaves’ Hill,” in apparent reference to the miners who worked and lived there. But this was clearly not the whole picture. In the words of researchers Lidar Sapir-Hen and Erez Ben-Yosef, “These new observations . . . stand in contrast to the common perception that workers in mining areas were [uniformly] a low-class, poorly paid labor force engaged in the arduous work of mining and smelting.”

Read more at Bible History Daily

More about: Ancient Israel, Archaeology, Food, History & Ideas, Jordan, Negev

To Save Gaza, the U.S. Needs a Strategy to Restrain Iran

Since the outbreak of war on October 7, America has given Israel much support, and also much advice. Seth Cropsey argues that some of that advice hasn’t been especially good:

American demands for “restraint” and a “lighter footprint” provide significant elements of Hamas’s command structure, including Yahya Sinwar, the architect of 10/7, a far greater chance of surviving and preserving the organization’s capabilities. Its threat will persist to some extent in any case, since it has significant assets in Lebanon and is poised to enter into a full-fledged partnership with Hizballah that would give it access to Lebanon’s Palestinian refugee camps for recruitment and to Iranian-supported ratlines into Jordan and Syria.

Turning to the aftermath of the war, Cropsey observes that it will take a different kind of involvement for the U.S. to get the outcomes it desires, namely an alternative to Israeli and to Hamas rule in Gaza that comes with buy-in from its Arab allies:

The only way that Gaza can be governed in a sustainable and stable manner is through the participation of Arab states, and in particular the Gulf Arabs, and the only power that can deliver their participation is the United States. A grand bargain is impossible unless the U.S. exerts enough leverage to induce one.

Militarily speaking, the U.S. has shown no desire seriously to curb Iranian power. It has persistently signaled a desire to avoid escalation. . . . The Gulf Arabs understand this. They have no desire to engage in serious strategic dialogue with Washington and Jerusalem over Iran strategy, since Washington does not have an Iran strategy.

Gaza’s fate is a small part of a much broader strategic struggle. Unless this is recognized, any diplomatic master plan will degenerate into a diplomatic parlor game.

Read more at National Review

More about: Gaza War 2023, Iran, U.S. Foreign policy