Archaeologists Brew Biblical Beer with Ancient Yeast

Although wine seems to be the alcoholic beverage of choice in the Bible, residents of the Land of Israel have produced beer for at least five millennia. Not satisfied with excavating and studying ancient breweries, researchers have now recreated one of their products. Robin Ngo writes:

Scholars from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA), Tel Aviv University, and Bar-Ilan University isolated, extracted, and sequenced yeast cells from ancient beer and mead jugs unearthed in excavations around Israel. The vessel fragments came from Ein-Besor in the Negev desert and a dig at ha-Masger Street in Tel Aviv, two early Bronze Age IB (ca. 3100 BCE) sites where there was an Egyptian presence; from an Iron Age (ca. 850 BCE) [brewery] at the Philistine site of Tell es-Safi/Gath; and from an early Persian period (5th-century BCE) layer at Ramat Raḥel, situated between Jerusalem and Bethlehem. In all, the researchers were able to experiment with six yeast strains extracted from 21 vessels.

“These jars date back to the reign of Egyptian pharaoh Narmer, to the Aramean king Hazael, and to the prophet Nehemiah, who, according to the Bible, governed Judea under Persian rule,” explained an IAA press release. . . .

“This ancient yeast allowed us to create beer that lets us know what ancient Philistine and Egyptian beer tasted like,” said the Hebrew University scholar Ronen Hazan, one of the [researchers]. “By the way, the beer isn’t bad. Aside from the gimmick of drinking beer from the time of Pharaoh, this research is extremely important to the field of experimental archaeology—a field that seeks to reconstruct the past.”

Read more at Bible History Daily

More about: Alcohol, Ancient Egypt, Ancient Israel, Archaeology, Nehemiah

An Israeli Buffer Zone in the Gaza Strip Doesn’t Violate International Law

 The IDF announced on Thursday that it is safe for residents to return to some of the towns and villages near the Gaza Strip that have been abandoned since October 7. Yet on the same day, rocket sirens sounded in one of those communities, Kibbutz Mefalsim. To help ensure security in the area, Israel is considering the creation of a buffer zone within the Strip that would be closed to Palestinian civilians and buildings. The U.S. has indicated, however, that it would not look favorably on such a step.

Avraham Shalev explains why it’s necessary:

The creation of a security buffer along the Gaza-Israel border serves the purpose of destroying Hamas’s infrastructure and eliminating the threat to Israel. . . . Some Palestinian structures are practically on the border, and only several hundred yards away from Israeli communities such as Kfar Aza, Kerem Shalom, and Sderot. The Palestinian terrorists that carried out the murderous October 7 attacks crossed into Israel from many of these border-adjacent areas. Hamas officials have already vowed that “we will do this again and again. The al-Aqsa Flood [the October 7th massacre] is just the first time, and there will be a second, a third, a fourth.”

In 2018 and 2019, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad organized mass marches towards the Israeli border with the goal of breaking into Israel. Billed by Palestinians as “the Great March of Return,” its name reveals its purpose—invasion. Although the marches were supposedly non-violent, they featured largescale attacks on Israeli forces as well as arson and damage to Israeli agriculture and civilian communities. Moreover, the October 7 massacre was made possible by Hamas’s prepositioning military hardware along the border under false cover of civilian activity. The security perimeter is intended to prevent a reprise of these events.

Shalev goes on to dismantle the arguments put forth about why international law prohibits Israel from creating the buffer zone. He notes:

By way of comparison, following the defeat of Nazi Germany, France occupied the Saar [River Valley] directly until 1947 and then indirectly until reintegration with Germany in 1957, and the Allied occupation of Berlin continued until the reunification of Germany in 1990. The Allies maintained their occupation long after the fall of the Nazi regime, due to the threat of Soviet invasion and conquest of West Berlin, and by extension Western Europe.

Read more at Kohelet

More about: Gaza Strip, Gaza War 2023, International Law, Israeli Security