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


A Lesson from Moshe Dayan for Israel’s Syria Policy

Dec. 11 2019

In the 1950s, Jerusalem tasked Moshe Dayan with combating the Palestinian guerrillas—known as fedayeen—who infiltrated Israel’s borders from Sinai, Gaza, and Jordan to attack soldiers or civilians and destroy crops. When simple retaliation, although tactically effective, proved insufficient to deter further attacks, Dayan developed a more sophisticated long-term strategy of using attrition to Israel’s advantage. Gershon Hacohen argues that the Jewish state can learn much from Dayan’s approach in combating the Iranian presence in Syria—especially since the IDF cannot simply launch an all-out offensive to clear Syria of Iranian forces:

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Read more at BESA Center

More about: Iran, Israeli Security, Moshe Dayan, Palestinian terror, Syria