Evidence Discovered of an Ancient Jewish Presence in the Jordanian City of Abila

Sept. 22 2016

During the period of Roman rule, there was a significant Jewish population, dating back to biblical times, east of the Jordan River. Archaeologists have now uncovered a trace of the Jews of the ancient city of Abila, located south of the Yarmouk River, near Jordan’s border with Syria. Philippe Bohstrom writes:

A menorah carved on a stone block, found in a 1,400-year-old Byzantine church in Abila, Jordan is the first tangible evidence of a Jewish presence in the ancient Hellenistic city. . . .

[I]n 36 years of excavations at Tel al-Abila, also known as Seleucia, no traces of Jews living in this Roman trading hub had been found before. The depiction of the seven-branched menorah, with a branching three-legged base, was found on a stone in the second tier of a wall, near the floor, while excavating a Byzantine church from the 6th or 7th century CE. . . .

The stone block with the menorah carving was almost certainly . . . repurposed from another structure, probably a synagogue. Since it was not found in its original site, the date of the menorah cannot be ascertained. But it has to predate the construction of the church.

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Read more at Haaretz

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


For the Time Being, Palestinians Are Best Off under “Occupation”

Nov. 18 2019

Many who profess concern for the Palestinians agree that Israel ought to abandon its presence in the West Bank—which remains controlled by Jerusalem, even as most of its Arab residents live under the governance of the Palestinian Authority (PA). But, writes Evelyn Gordon, the Gaza Strip, from which Israel withdrew completely, provides a clear demonstration why West Bank Palestinians are beneficiaries of the status quo:

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Read more at JNS

More about: Gaza Strip, Palestinian Authority, Palestinian economy, West Bank