Pieces of the Second Temple’s Floors Found in Jerusalem

Archaeologists recently announced the discovery of hundreds of fragments of tile they believe once covered the floors of the Second Temple, most likely installed during the reign of King Herod in the 1st century BCE. Ilan Ben Zion writes:

The bits and pieces of 2,000-year-old marble flooring were found in fill removed from the contested holy site in the late 1990s when the Islamic Waqf, the institution overseeing the al-Aqsa Mosque compound on the Temple Mount, carried out excavations as part of the construction of a subterranean mosque in an area known as Solomon’s Stables.

Since operations began in 2004 to recover artifacts from the tens of thousands of tons of dirt dumped outside the Old City, the Temple Mount Sifting Project has found some 600 colored-stone floor-tile fragments that the organization’s director contends came from [renovations made by] King Herod. . . .

“This type of flooring, called opus sectile, Latin for ‘cut work,’ was very expensive and considered to be far more prestigious than mosaic tiled floors,” said Frankie Snyder, an expert on ancient Herodian-style flooring who works with the Temple Mount Sifting Project. She noted that opus sectile floors only appeared in Israel during Herod’s reign.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Al-Aqsa Mosque, Archaeology, Herod, History & Ideas, Second Temple, Temple Mount

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