New Evidence Suggests Pontius Pilate Built a Road for Jewish Pilgrims

Oct. 24 2019

Built in Jerusalem’s City of David during the Second Temple period, the so-called “Pilgrimage Road” led from the Siloam pool to the Temple Mount. In a recent study of the coins found beneath the road, archaeologists have dated it to the tenure of Pontius Pilate—who, according to the New Testament, presided over the trial of Jesus—as the Roman governor of Judea, from roughly 26 to 37 CE. JNS reports:

According to Donald Ariel, an archaeologist and coin expert with the Israel Antiquities Authority, “Dating coins is very exact. As some coins have the year in which they were minted on them, what that means is that if a coin with a date on it is found beneath the street, the street had to be built in the same year or [in the year] after that coin had been minted.” . . .

He suggested the possibility that Pilate had the street built to reduce tensions between the Romans and the Jewish population. Although “we can’t know for sure,” he said, “these reasons do find support in the historical documents.”

Although the excavation of the road began more than a century ago following its discovery in 1894 by British archaeologists, in the past six years Israeli archaeologists from the Israel Antiquities Authority and Tel Aviv University uncovered 350 meters of the road as well as artifacts such as coins, cooking pots, complete stone and clay tools, rare glass items, a dais used for public announcements, and parts of arrows and catapults.

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Read more at JNS

More about: Ancient Israel, Archaeology, Jerusalem, New Testament, Second Temple

Reforms to Israel’s Judiciary Must Be Carefully Calibrated

The central topic of debate in Israel now is the new coalition government’s proposed reforms of the nation’s judiciary and unwritten constitution. Peter Berkowitz agrees that reform is necessary, but that “the proper scope and pace of reform, however, are open to debate and must be carefully calibrated.”

In particular, Berkowitz argues,

to preserve political cohesiveness, substantial changes to the structure of the Israeli regime must earn support that extends beyond these partisan divisions.

In a deft analysis of the conservative spirit in Israel, bestselling author Micah Goodman warns in the Hebrew language newspaper Makor Rishon that unintended consequences flowing from the constitutional counterrevolution are likely to intensify political instability. When a center-left coalition returns to power, Goodman points out, it may well repeal through a simple majority vote the major changes Netanyahu’s right-wing coalition seeks to enact. Or it may use the legislature’s expanded powers, say, to ram through laws that impair the religious liberty of the ultra-Orthodox. Either way, in a torn nation, constitutional counterrevolution amplifies division.

Conservatives make a compelling case that balance must be restored to the separation of powers in Israel. A prudent concern for the need to harmonize Israel’s free, democratic, and Jewish character counsels deliberation in the pursuit of necessary constitutional reform.

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Read more at RealClearPolitics

More about: Israel & Zionism, Israeli Judicial Reform