Centuries-Old Jewish Gravestones Discovered at an Austrian Castle

June 26 2020

Recent renovations at the Austrian castle of Ebenfurth have uncovered 28 17th-century headstones from a Jewish cemetery, along with fragments of others. Jewish Heritage Europe reports:

The matsevot [gravestones] were discovered early this year. They had been used in the foundations of a wall built against the Ottoman invasion in 1683 at the Ebenfurth castle, about 30 miles south of Vienna on the border between Lower Austria and Burgenland, [i.e., in the northeastern part of the country].

“It is undoubtedly a sensational find,” wrote Johannes Reiss, the director of the Austrian Jewish Museum in nearby Eisenstadt, on the museum’s blog. He wrote that all the gravestones and fragments with legible dates dated from between 1622 and 1669. The oldest is the gravestone of one Eliezer, son of Abraham Moses, who died on 8 Tevet 5383 (Sunday, December 11, 1622).

Reiss wrote that, between 1652 and 1671, Ebenfurth was the largest of 48 Jewish communities in Lower Austria; by 1669 Jews made up 20 to 30 percent of the town’s population. But the community was expelled in 1671, and it wasn’t until nearly 200 years later, after 1867, that a few Jews settled there again.

Read more at Jewish Heritage Europe

More about: Austria, Austrian Jewry, Jewish cemeteries

The U.S. Is Trying to Seduce Israel into Accepting a Bad Deal with Iran. Israel Should Say No

Last week, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) released its quarterly report on the Iranian nuclear program. According to an analysis by the Institute for Science and International Security, the Islamic Republic can now produce enough weapons-grade uranium to manufacture “five nuclear weapons in one month, seven in two months, and a total of eight in three months.” The IAEA also has reason to believe that Tehran has further nuclear capabilities that it has successfully hidden from inspectors. David M. Weinberg is concerned about Washington’s response:

Believe it or not, the Biden administration apparently is once again offering the mullahs of Tehran a sweetheart deal: the release of $10 billion or more in frozen Iranian assets and clemency for Iran’s near-breakout nuclear advances of recent years, in exchange for Iranian release of American hostages and warmed-over pious Iranian pledges to freeze the Shiite atomic-bomb program.

This month, intelligence photos showed Iran again digging tunnels at its Natanz nuclear site—supposedly deep enough to withstand an American or Israeli military strike. This tells us that Iran has something to hide, a clear sign that it has not given up on its quest for a nuclear bomb.

Meanwhile, Antony Blinken today completes a three-day visit to Saudi Arabia, where he is reportedly pressing the kingdom to enter the Abraham Accords. This is no coincidence, for reasons Weinberg explains:

Washington expects Israeli acquiescence in the emerging U.S. surrender to Iran in exchange for a series of other things important to Israel. These include U.S. backing for Israel against escalated Palestinian assaults expected this fall in UN forums, toning down U.S. criticism regarding settlement and security matters (at a time when the IDF is going to have to intensify its anti-terrorist operations in Judea and Samaria), an easing of U.S. pressures on Israel in connection with domestic matters (like judicial reform), a warm Washington visit for Prime Minister Netanyahu (which is not just a political concession but is rather critical to Israel’s overall deterrent posture), and most of all, significant American moves towards reconciliation with Saudi Arabia (which is critical to driving a breakthrough in Israeli-Saudi ties).

[But] even an expensive package of U.S. “concessions” to Saudi Arabia will not truly compensate for U.S. capitulation to Iran (something we know from experience will only embolden the hegemonic ambitions of the mullahs). And this capitulation will make it more difficult for the Saudis to embrace Israel publicly.

Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Antony Blinken, Iran nuclear program, Israeli Security, Saudi Arabia, U.S.-Israel relationship