Archaeologists have uncovered a handful of synagogues from the talmudic period (ca. 70 – 600 CE), mostly in the northern parts of Israel. Some of these synagogues contain elaborate mosaics, with representations of various religious symbols and objects, as well as biblical scenes. Surprisingly, some also have depictions of the signs of the zodiac and, in at least two cases, of a pagan deity. Mike Rogoff analyzes various theories of why this was not seen as a violation of the Second Commandment (which seems to prohibit making any “graven image” or “likeness” of terrestrial or celestial bodies), and puts forth his own conclusions (free registration required):
What Are Pagan Deities Doing on the Floors of Ancient Synagogues?
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How the Abraham Accords Can Ease the Israel-Palestinian Conflict
According to numerous critics, many of whom have positions at prestigious think tanks and publications, the normalization agreements the Jewish state reached with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain constituted an abandonment of the Palestinians. Peter Berkowitz argues that, to the contrary, the Abraham Accords can help to improve the lot of the Palestinians, and to reduce the intensity of their conflict with Israel: