An Ancient Greek Inscription Paints a Portrait of One of the Forgotten Jewish Communities of Asia Minor

In the early centuries of the Common Era, there were Greek-speaking Jewish communities scattered across the western and southern areas of what is now Turkey. They left few records behind them, and are now known primarily from references in the New Testament. But discovery of a marble block with a Greek inscription—likely once part of a synagogue—in the ancient city of Aphrodisias in western Anatolia offers rare contemporary evidence of one such community. Carl Rusmussen writes:

The marble block [bears] a list of over 120 donors to a synagogue and is composed of three categories of names. . . . First come men who have distinctly Biblical names or names favored by Jews, such as Benjamin, Judas, Joseph, Jacob, Samuel, Zachary, and names such as Amantios (loving), Eusabatios (the good Sabbath).

The second portion of the list is headed with the word theosebeis (“God-fearers”) who are Gentiles who have chosen a strong affiliation with Judaism but who are not themselves Jews. They have traditional Greco-Roman names such as Alexandros or Eutychos.

Several members of the local city council head the list of God-fearers, and ten of the Jews and seventeen of the God-fearers list their professions. They are all tradesmen who range from food-providers to painters to leatherworkers to sculptors and builders. The pillar probably stood outside the local synagogue and is a striking testimony to the proud place of the Jewish community in the city.

The third category of donors comprises proselytes, i.e., recent converts to Judaism.

Read more at Holy Land Photos

More about: ancient Judaism, Archaeology, Conversion, Synagogues

Hizballah Is Learning Israel’s Weak Spots

On Tuesday, a Hizballah drone attack injured three people in northern Israel. The next day, another attack, targeting an IDF base, injured eighteen people, six of them seriously, in Arab al-Amshe, also in the north. This second attack involved the simultaneous use of drones carrying explosives and guided antitank missiles. In both cases, the defensive systems that performed so successfully last weekend failed to stop the drones and missiles. Ron Ben-Yishai has a straightforward explanation as to why: the Lebanon-backed terrorist group is getting better at evading Israel defenses. He explains the three basis systems used to pilot these unmanned aircraft, and their practical effects:

These systems allow drones to act similarly to fighter jets, using “dead zones”—areas not visible to radar or other optical detection—to approach targets. They fly low initially, then ascend just before crashing and detonating on the target. The terrain of southern Lebanon is particularly conducive to such attacks.

But this requires skills that the terror group has honed over months of fighting against Israel. The latest attacks involved a large drone capable of carrying over 50 kg (110 lbs.) of explosives. The terrorists have likely analyzed Israel’s alert and interception systems, recognizing that shooting down their drones requires early detection to allow sufficient time for launching interceptors.

The IDF tries to detect any incoming drones on its radar, as it had done prior to the war. Despite Hizballah’s learning curve, the IDF’s technological edge offers an advantage. However, the military must recognize that any measure it takes is quickly observed and analyzed, and even the most effective defenses can be incomplete. The terrain near the Lebanon-Israel border continues to pose a challenge, necessitating technological solutions and significant financial investment.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Hizballah, Iron Dome, Israeli Security