A Biblical-Era Farmstead Discovered

Jan. 11 2016

An archaeological excavation near the Israeli town of Rosh Ha’Ayin has uncovered a 2,700-year-old farmhouse, along with several more recent ruins. Ruth Shuster writes (with pictures and video):

A huge farmhouse from the First Temple period, an ornate Byzantine church built over 1,000 years later, and a lime kiln dated to the Ottoman era have been found . . . during an archaeological investigation ahead of building a new neighborhood.

The sprawling . . . farmhouse has no fewer than 24 rooms surrounding a central courtyard, which was a common structure in the Middle East. . . . It was so well preserved that some walls were still standing to a height of more than two meters after nearly three millennia.

The archaeologists also found two silver coins from a slightly later time, the 4th century BCE, . . . bearing the likenesses of the goddess Athena and the Athenian owl. Evidently this farmstead, like similar ones in the area, remained in use for centuries until the region was abandoned in the period of the Hellenistic conquests.

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Read more at Haaretz

More about: Ancient Israel, Archaeology, First Temple, Hellenism, History & Ideas

 

Reforms to Israel’s Judiciary Must Be Carefully Calibrated

The central topic of debate in Israel now is the new coalition government’s proposed reforms of the nation’s judiciary and unwritten constitution. Peter Berkowitz agrees that reform is necessary, but that “the proper scope and pace of reform, however, are open to debate and must be carefully calibrated.”

In particular, Berkowitz argues,

to preserve political cohesiveness, substantial changes to the structure of the Israeli regime must earn support that extends beyond these partisan divisions.

In a deft analysis of the conservative spirit in Israel, bestselling author Micah Goodman warns in the Hebrew language newspaper Makor Rishon that unintended consequences flowing from the constitutional counterrevolution are likely to intensify political instability. When a center-left coalition returns to power, Goodman points out, it may well repeal through a simple majority vote the major changes Netanyahu’s right-wing coalition seeks to enact. Or it may use the legislature’s expanded powers, say, to ram through laws that impair the religious liberty of the ultra-Orthodox. Either way, in a torn nation, constitutional counterrevolution amplifies division.

Conservatives make a compelling case that balance must be restored to the separation of powers in Israel. A prudent concern for the need to harmonize Israel’s free, democratic, and Jewish character counsels deliberation in the pursuit of necessary constitutional reform.

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Read more at RealClearPolitics

More about: Israel & Zionism, Israeli Judicial Reform