A Submerged Ancient Greek Fortress on Israel’s Coast

Mentioned in the book of Joshua, the ancient city of Dor was located near a natural harbor about twenty miles south of modern-day Haifa. In the mid-5th century BCE, the Athenian navy took it over as a convenient Mediterranean base of operations. Archaeologists are now engaged in exploring a fortress built by the Seleucids—the Hellenistic dynasty that ruled the area after the death of Alexander the Great—which is now entirely submerged in water. Edward Whelan writes:

Once [the fortress] was two stories high and . . . measured 60 by 120 feet. Some stones have wooden post holes that may have been used for wooden platforms upon which catapults were placed. We know much about the turbulent history of Tel Dor from the books of Maccabees. It appears that the fortress was built by Diodotus Tryphon, who acted as regent for a young Seleucid king before declaring himself ruler in 142 BCE, around the time the Greeks and the Jewish Hasmonean kingdom were battling for control of what is now Israel.

[Diodotus] was one of the three rulers who vied for control of the area in a series of bloody wars, the others being Demetrius Nicator [who also claimed the Seleucid throne] and Jonathan Apphus, ruler of Judea. Details of these battles are found in the book of Maccabees and portray Diodotus Tryphon as a cruel and treacherous ruler. . . .

Some missiles believed to be slingshots and arrowheads have been found that date back to Demetrius’ siege of Dor and some bear the marking “victory over Tryphon.” . . .

Tel Dor was [later] occupied by the Romans, but the fortress did not stand long because of storms and rising sea levels. By the 1st century CE, much of the fortress was underneath the waves of the bay.

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Read more at Ancient Origins

More about: Ancient Greece, Ancient Israel, Archaeology, Hasmoneans

Condemning Terrorism in Jerusalem—and Efforts to Stop It

Jan. 30 2023

On Friday night, a Palestinian opened fire at a group of Israelis standing outside a Jerusalem synagogue, killing seven and wounding several others. The day before, the IDF had been drawn into a gunfight in the West Bank city of Jenin while trying to arrest members of a terrorist cell. Of the nine Palestinians killed in the raid, only one appears to have been a noncombatant. Lahav Harkov compares the responses to the two events, beginning with the more recent:

President Joe Biden called Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to denounce the attack, offer his condolences, and express his commitment to Israel’s security. Other leaders released supportive statements as well. Governments across Europe condemned the attack. Turkey’s foreign ministry did the same, as did Israel’s Abraham Accords partners the UAE and Bahrain. Even Saudi Arabia released a statement against the killing of civilians in Jerusalem.

It feels wrong to criticize those statements. . . . But the condemnations should be full-throated, not spoken out of one side of the mouth while the other is wishy-washy about what it takes to stave off terrorism. These very same leaders and ministries were tsk-tsking at Israel for doing just that only a day before the attacks in Jerusalem.

The context didn’t seem to matter to some countries that are friendly to Israel. It didn’t matter that Israel was trying to stop jihadists from attacking civilians; it didn’t matter that IDF soldiers were attacked on the way.

It’s very easy for some to be sad when Jews are murdered. Yet, at the same time, so many of them are uncomfortable with Jews asserting themselves, protecting themselves, arming themselves against the bloodthirsty horde that would hand out bonbons to celebrate their deaths. It’s a reminder of how important it is that we do just that, and how essential the state of Israel is.

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Read more at Lahav’s Newsletter

More about: Jerusalem, Palestinian terror