An Ancient Pagan Waterspout Discovered in Northern Israel

In Tractate Avodah Zarah, the Talmud forbids drinking from water fountains decorated with graven images of deities. Archaeologists recently found just such a faucet near the ancient Galilean town of Tzippori, writes Amanda Borschel-Dan:

The [anthropomorphized] lion spout . . . measures 6 by 5 inches. Its gaping mouth leaves room for a pipe two centimeters in diameter, from which water would have splashed in a drinking fountain or bathhouse. It is formed from marble, likely imported from Turkey. . . . Ornately decorated drain spouts were usually formed into the images of animal heads or characters from mythology. They were in use from the Hellenistic era through the Roman and early Byzantine era as common architectural elements.

The archaeological site Tzippori, also known by its Greek name Sepphoris, is most known for its famous “Mona Lisa of the Galilee” mosaic. The Western Galilee city was a major home to a flourishing mixed pagan, Christian, and Jewish community during the 4th through 7th centuries CE. The settlement’s vast system of aqueducts and cisterns dates to the 1st and 2nd centuries and was in use until the 7th or 8th.

After the Jewish Revolt and destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, many sages moved north and by the 3rd century CE it was the seat of Rabbi Judah the Prince, where he began compiling the Mishnah.

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Ancient Israel, Archaeology, Galilee, Paganism, Talmud

Terror Returns to Israel

Nov. 28 2022

On Wednesday, a double bombing in Jerusalem left two dead, and many others injured—an attack the likes of which has not been seen since 2016. In a Jenin hospital, meanwhile, armed Palestinians removed an Israeli who had been injured in a car accident, reportedly murdering him in the process, and held his body hostage for two days. All this comes as a year that has seen numerous stabbings, shootings, and other terrorist attacks is drawing to a close. Yaakov Lappin comments:

Unlike the individual or small groups of terrorists who, acting on radical ideology and incitement to violence, picked up a gun, a knife, or embarked on a car-ramming attack, this time a better organized terrorist cell detonated two bombs—apparently by remote control—at bus stops in the capital. Police and the Shin Bet have exhausted their immediate physical searches, and the hunt for the perpetrators will now move to the intelligence front.

It is too soon to know who, or which organization, conducted the attack, but it is possible to note that in recent years, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) has taken a lead in remote-control-bombing terrorism. Last week, a car bomb that likely contained explosives detonated by remote control was discovered by the Israel Defense Forces in Samaria, after it caught fire prematurely. In August 2019, a PFLP cell detonated a remote-control bomb in Dolev, seventeen miles northwest of Jerusalem, killing a seventeen-year-old Israeli girl and seriously wounding her father and brother. Members of that terror cell were later arrested.

With the Palestinian Authority (PA) losing its grip in parts of Samaria to armed terror gangs, and the image of the PA at an all-time low among Palestinians, in no small part due to corruption, nepotism, and its violation of human rights . . . the current situation does not look promising.

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Read more at JNS

More about: Israeli Security, Jerusalem, Palestinian terror