Archaeologists Find What Could Have Been One of King Solomon’s Palaces

In the ancient city of Gezer, located 30 kilometers northwest of Jerusalem, a palatial complex has been discovered from the 10th century BCE. Philippe Bohstrom explains its significance:

The monumental building dates to . . . the era associated with King Solomon, who is famed for bringing wealth and stability to the newly-united kingdom of Israel. The American archaeological team also found a layer featuring Philistine pottery, lending credence to the biblical account of [Philistines] living in the city until being vanquished by King David.

The complex features a large central courtyard, like contemporary palace-like buildings found throughout the southern Levant, including at Ḥatzor and Megiddo. Though there’s no telling who ruled from there, if anybody did, the edifice is significantly larger than the size of ordinary houses of the time. . . .

The excavation team calls the building “Solomon’s Palace” because of the biblical tradition of Solomon building grand structures at Ḥatzor, Megiddo, and Gezer (1 Kings 9:15). . . .

Archaeologists had assumed that once they cleared the massive stones left behind from the destruction, they would find storerooms filled with artifacts. To their dismay, most of the rooms were empty. “It appears that everything was cleaned out before the destruction. Perhaps they knew of the impending attack and removed most of the objects,” says Steve Ortiz, [one of the excavation’s directors].

Read more at Haaretz

More about: Ancient Israel, Archaeology, History & Ideas, King Solomon, Philistines

Iran’s Program of Subversion and Propaganda in the Caucasus

In the past week, Iranian proxies and clients have attacked Israel from the West Bank, Gaza, Lebanon, and Yemen. Iran also has substantial military assets in Iraq and Syria—countries over which it exercises a great deal of control—which could launch significant attacks on Israel as well. Tehran, in addition, has stretched its influence northward into both Azerbaijan and Armenia. While Israel has diplomatic relations with both of these rival nations, its relationship with Baku is closer and involves significant military and security collaboration, some of which is directed against Iran. Alexander Grinberg writes:

Iran exploits ethnic and religious factors in both Armenia and Azerbaijan to further its interests. . . . In Armenia, Iran attempts to tarnish the legitimacy of the elected government and exploit the church’s nationalist position and tensions between it and the Armenian government; in Azerbaijan, the Iranian regime employs outright terrorist methods similar to its support for terrorist proxies in the Middle East [in order to] undermine the regime.

Huseyniyyun (Islamic Resistance Movement of Azerbaijan) is a terrorist militia made up of ethnic Azeris and designed to fight against Azerbaijan. It was established by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps . . . in the image of other pro-Iranian militias. . . . Currently, Huseyniyyun is not actively engaged in terrorist activities as Iran prefers more subtle methods of subversion. The organization serves as a mouthpiece of the Iranian regime on various Telegram channels in the Azeri language. The main impact of Huseyniyyun is that it helps spread Iranian propaganda in Azerbaijan.

The Iranian regime fears the end of hostilities between Armenia and Azerbaijan because this would limit its options for disruption. Iranian outlets are replete with anti-Semitic paranoia against Azerbaijan, accusing the country of awarding its territory to Zionists and NATO. . . . Likewise, it is noteworthy that Armenian nationalists reiterate hideous anti-Semitic tropes that are identical to those spouted by the Iranians and Palestinians. Moreover, leading Iranian analysts have no qualms about openly praising [sympathetic] Armenian clergy together with terrorist Iran-funded Azeri movements for working toward Iranian goals.

Read more at Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security

More about: Azerbaijan, Iran, Israeli Security