Digging in the Golan for New Testament History, Archaeologists Find a Ruin from the Time of King David

June 25 2019

Experts are currently at odds about the location of the ancient city of Bethsaida, mentioned frequently in the New Testament as being somewhere in northern Israel. Now the team excavating one of two possible sites for Bethsaida has made an intriguing discovery: a city gate from the 11th century BCE that suggests that this was also the more ancient city of Zer, known from the Hebrew Bible. James Rogers writes:

“There are not too many monumental discoveries dating from the reign of King David,” Rami Arav, an associate professor at the University of Nebraska and the Bethsaida excavation director [stated]. “This is absolutely a significant contribution to biblical archaeology and biblical studies.”

Arav explained that Bethsaida/Zer was founded in the 11th century BCE as a pre-planned city and the capital of the biblical kingdom of Geshur. “The city included a marketplace, granary, city walls, city gate, a high place in the city gate, and a cobblestone courtyard in front of the gate,” he said.

The city was destroyed in 920 BCE. “Since this is the period of time of King David and since the Bible [states] that King David married Maachah the daughter of Talmai the king of Geshur, it is reasonable [to conjecture] that King David walked on these very cobblestones when he visited the city,” Arav added. An ancient stele, or monumental stone slab, was discovered adjacent to the gate’s tower. The stele depicts the moon-god worshipped by the ancient Aramean people.

According to the Bible, Geshur was an independent kingdom in David’s time, but was later conquered by King Hazael of Aram.

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More about: Ancient Israel, Archaeology, Golan Heights, Hebrew Bible, King David, New Testament

The Evidence of BDS Anti-Semitism Speaks for Itself

Oct. 18 2019

Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs recently released a lengthy report titled Behind the Mask, documenting the varieties of naked anti-Semitic rhetoric and imagery employed by the movement to boycott, divest from, and sanction the Jewish state (BDS). Drawn largely but not exclusively from Internet sources, its examples range from a tweet by a member of Students for Justice in Palestine (the “world would be soooo much better without jews man”), to an enormous inflated pig bearing a star of David and floating behind the stage as the rock musician Roger Waters performs, to accusations by an influential anti-Israel blogger that Israel is poisoning Palestinian wells. Cary Nelson sums up the report’s conclusions and their implications, all of which give the lie to the disingenuous claim that critics of BDS are trying to brand “legitimate criticism of Israel” as anti-Semitic.

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More about: Anti-Semitism, BDS, Roger Waters, Social media