Ancient Israelites Could Carve in Ivory, Too

In the 1920s and 1930s, archaeologists discovered elaborate carvings in ivory, dating to the 8th or 9th centuries BCE, near the city of Samaria, once the capital of the northern kingdom of Israel. New research upends long-standing assumptions about how the carvings got there. Bible History Daily reports:

In excellent condition, the ivories depict scenes of exotic wildlife and flora, mythological creatures, foreign deities, and much more. . . . When the Samaria ivories were first excavated, they were immediately explained as Phoenician products and therefore considered foreign to their discovery site. However, there is currently no archaeological evidence to indicate that the Samaria ivories were, in fact, Phoenician. Recently some scholars have challenged the long-accepted assumption about the ivories’ origins. . . .

[More recent] discoveries suggest that there was a local tradition of wood, bone, and ivory carving of inlays (decorative materials inserted in something else), featuring recurring themes, during both the Bronze and Iron Ages in the southern Levant. The early interpretation of categorizing the Samaria ivories as Phoenician has impacted the subsequent discovery of other southern Levantine ivory artifacts. The [presumptive association of] any such ivory find with the Phoenicians has caused the region’s local ivory tradition to be overlooked.

Read more at Bible History Daily

More about: Ancient Israel, Archaeology, History & Ideas, Phoenicia, Samaria

Hizballah Is Learning Israel’s Weak Spots

On Tuesday, a Hizballah drone attack injured three people in northern Israel. The next day, another attack, targeting an IDF base, injured eighteen people, six of them seriously, in Arab al-Amshe, also in the north. This second attack involved the simultaneous use of drones carrying explosives and guided antitank missiles. In both cases, the defensive systems that performed so successfully last weekend failed to stop the drones and missiles. Ron Ben-Yishai has a straightforward explanation as to why: the Lebanon-backed terrorist group is getting better at evading Israel defenses. He explains the three basis systems used to pilot these unmanned aircraft, and their practical effects:

These systems allow drones to act similarly to fighter jets, using “dead zones”—areas not visible to radar or other optical detection—to approach targets. They fly low initially, then ascend just before crashing and detonating on the target. The terrain of southern Lebanon is particularly conducive to such attacks.

But this requires skills that the terror group has honed over months of fighting against Israel. The latest attacks involved a large drone capable of carrying over 50 kg (110 lbs.) of explosives. The terrorists have likely analyzed Israel’s alert and interception systems, recognizing that shooting down their drones requires early detection to allow sufficient time for launching interceptors.

The IDF tries to detect any incoming drones on its radar, as it had done prior to the war. Despite Hizballah’s learning curve, the IDF’s technological edge offers an advantage. However, the military must recognize that any measure it takes is quickly observed and analyzed, and even the most effective defenses can be incomplete. The terrain near the Lebanon-Israel border continues to pose a challenge, necessitating technological solutions and significant financial investment.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Hizballah, Iron Dome, Israeli Security