Ancient Rock Carvings Shed Light on the Early Inhabitants of the Land of Israel

July 17 2020

New research has uncovered 4,200-year-old murals in the Golan Heights. According to the Bible’s chronology, these predate Abraham—who would have lived around the middle of the 2nd millennium BCE—by several hundred years. Yori Yalon writes:

The carvings were identified on ancient graves constructed from boulders, known as dolmens, that date back some 4,200 years, and appear to point to the existence of a mysterious civilization of builders that existed in northern Israel over four millennia ago. [Some] carvings depict horned animals such as ibexes, antelope, and wild cattle. At another dolmen, the top stone was designed to resemble a human face, and a third features carvings of geometric shapes.

Most researchers believe that the enormous stone structures were built in the Middle Bronze Age, 4,000-5,000 years ago. Hundreds have been studied throughout the Golan and Galilee areas.

[The archaeologist Uri Berger, coauthor of a recent study of the carvings, commented]: “Thus far, many dolmens have been found in Israel and neighboring countries, but we knew virtually nothing about this civilization of super-builders, other than the remains of the enormous structures they left behind as testimony of their existence. The cave carvings offer us the first glimpse of the culture behind the construction of the dolmens.”

Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Abraham, Ancient Near East, Archaeology, Golan Heights

How Israel Can Break the Cycle of Wars in Gaza

Last month saw yet another round of fighting between the Jewish state and Gaza-based terrorist groups. This time, it was Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) that began the conflict; in other cases, it was Hamas, which rules the territory. Such outbreaks have been numerous in the years since 2009, and although the details have varied somewhat, Israel has not yet found a way to stop them, or to save the residents of the southwestern part of the country from the constant threat of rocket fire. Yossi Kuperwasser argues that a combination of military, economic, and diplomatic pressure might present an alternative solution:

In Gaza, Jerusalem plays a key role in developing the rules that determine what the parties can and cannot do. Such rules are designed to give the Israelis the ability to deter attacks, defend territory, maintain intelligence dominance, and win decisively. These rules assure Hamas that its rule over Gaza will not be challenged and that, in between the rounds of escalation, it will be allowed to continue its military buildup, as the Israelis seldom strike first, and the government’s responses to Hamas’s limited attacks are always measured and proportionate.

The flaws in such an approach are clear: it grants Hamas the ability to develop its offensive capabilities, increase its political power, and condemn Israelis—especially those living within range of the Gaza Strip—to persistent threats from Hamas terrorists.

A far more effective [goal] would be to rid Israel of Hamas’s threat by disarming it, prohibiting its rearmament, and demonstrating conclusively that threatening Israel is indisputably against its interests. Achieving this goal will not be easy, but with proper preparation, it may be feasible at the appropriate time.

Revisiting the rule according to which Jerusalem remains tacitly committed to not ending Hamas rule in Gaza is key for changing the dynamics of this conflict. So long as Hamas knows that the Israelis will not attempt to uproot it from Gaza, it can continue arming itself and conducting periodic attacks knowing the price it will pay may be heavy—especially if Jerusalem changes the other rules mentioned—but not existential.

Read more at Middle East Quarterly

More about: Gaza Strip, Hamas, Israeli Security, Palestinian Islamic Jihad