Herod’s Contribution to Judean Architecture

Herod, the client of Rome who ruled Judea from 37 to 4 BCE, was both a brutal king and an enthusiastic builder, and his ambitious architectural projects can be found throughout Israel. Orit Peleg-Barkat explains his impact on Judean architecture:

While the Hasmoneans, Herod’s predecessors, made only restricted use of classical architectural decoration in their palaces at Jericho and elsewhere, Herod made much more extensive use of it. . . . The new forms of decorations that Herod introduced into the local architecture were mostly of particularly Roman origin, such as the stucco ceilings in the “coffer-style” and the console cornice. Other changes, such as Herod’s increased reliance on the Corinthian rather than the Doric order preferred by the Hasmoneans—probably reflecting [the contemporary Roman emperor] Augustus’ choice of the Corinthian order as representing the new Roman taste—also manifest strong Roman influence. . . .

However, the Roman influence on Herod’s architecture went deeper than what was sufficient to satisfy his Roman patrons. Building techniques, such as the use of underwater concrete for the harbor of Caesarea, . . . were introduced by Herod into local architecture, providing some of the first examples of such Roman traits in the East. This makes Herod a trendsetter. . . .

Herod’s decorative program had an impact . . . on the tastes of many of his subjects; the architectural decoration in cities such as Jerusalem demonstrates how the innovations introduced by Herod to the local architecture were embraced by the elites of those cities.

Read more at ASOR

More about: Ancient Israel, Ancient Rome, Architecture, Herod, History & Ideas, Jewish architecture

How to Turn Palestinian Public Opinion Away from Terror

The Palestinian human-rights activist Bassem Eid, responding to the latest survey results of the Palestinian public, writes:

Not coincidentally, support for Hamas is much higher in the West Bank—misgoverned by Hamas’s archrivals, the secular nationalist Fatah, which rules the Palestinian Authority (PA)—than in Gaza, whose population is being actively brutalized by Hamas. Popular support for violence persists despite the devastating impact that following radical leaders and ideologies has historically had on the Palestinian people, as poignantly summed up by Israel’s Abba Eban when he quipped that Arabs, including the Palestinians, “never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.”

Just as worrying is the role of propaganda and misinformation, which are not unique to the Palestinian context but are pernicious there due to the high stakes involved. Misinformation campaigns, often fueled by Hamas and its allies, have painted violent terrorism as the only path to dignity and rights for Palestinians. Palestinian schoolbooks and public media are rife with anti-Semitic and jihadist content. Hamas’s allies in the West have matched Hamas’s genocidal rhetoric with an equally exterminationist call for the de-normalization and destruction of Israel.

It’s crucial to consider successful examples of de-radicalization from other regional contexts. After September 11, 2001, Saudi Arabia implemented a comprehensive de-radicalization program aimed at rehabilitating extremists through education, psychological intervention, and social reintegration. This program has had successes and offers valuable lessons that could be adapted to the Palestinian context.

Rather than pressure Israel to make concessions, Eid argues, the international community should be pressuring Palestinian leaders—including Fatah—to remove incitement from curricula and stop providing financial rewards to terrorists.

Read more at Newsweek

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Palestinian public opinion