Archaeologists Find Evidence of Ancient Israel’s Incense Road

From the 4th century BCE through the 3rd century CE, a major trade route brought frankincense, myrrh, and other products from Yemen across the Arabian Peninsula to the ancient city of Petra (now in Jordan), and then westward, via the Negev desert, to the Gaza coast, where they could be exported across the Mediterranean. At the time there were four major Negev cities located along it. Archaeologists have recently found remnants of this ancient road, as Rosella Tercatin writes:

[M]ost scholars believed for many decades that the road and its structures, including some milestones, were to be associated with the Nabateans, a people who emerged in the last centuries of the first millennia BCE and settled, among other areas, in the Negev. However, the Latin inscriptions uncovered in the recently identified “lost section” of the route were found to be from the later Roman period, [specifically from the reigns] of the emperors Pertinax (2nd century CE) and Severus (late 2nd to early 3rd centuries CE).

Chaim Ben David, [one of the scholars who identified the milestones] had already suggested that “the milestones in the desert areas of the Negev and southern Jordan . . . were erected on the initiative of the Roman provincial governor, using the labor of army units, without involving the local population at least for maintenance as was usual in the more densely populated parts of the province.”

Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: Ancient Israel, Ancient Rome, Archaeology, Negev


While Israel Is Distracted on Two Fronts, Iran Is on the Verge of Building Nuclear Weapons

Iran recently announced its plans to install over 1,000 new advanced centrifuges at its Fordow nuclear facility. Once they are up and running, the Institute for Science and International Security assesses, Fordow will be able to produce enough highly enriched uranium for three nuclear bombs in a mere ten days. The U.S. has remained indifferent. Jacob Nagel writes:

For more than two decades, Iran has continued its efforts to enhance its nuclear-weapons capability—mainly by enriching uranium—causing Israel and the world to concentrate on the fissile material. The International Atomic Energy Agency recently confirmed that Iran has a huge stockpile of uranium enriched to 60 percent, as well as more enriched to 20 percent, and the IAEA board of governors adopted the E3 (France, Germany, UK) proposed resolution to censure Iran for the violations and lack of cooperation with the agency. The Biden administration tried to block it, but joined the resolution when it understood its efforts to block it had failed.

To clarify, enrichment of uranium above 20 percent is unnecessary for most civilian purposes, and transforming 20-percent-enriched uranium to the 90-percent-enriched product necessary for producing weapons is a relatively small step. Washington’s reluctance even to express concern about this development appears to stem from an unwillingness to acknowledge the failures of President Obama’s nuclear policy. Worse, writes Nagel, it is turning a blind eye to efforts at weaponization. But Israel has no such luxury:

Israel must adopt a totally new approach, concentrating mainly on two main efforts: [halting] Iran’s weaponization actions and weakening the regime hoping it will lead to its replacement. Israel should continue the fight against Iran’s enrichment facilities (especially against the new deep underground facility being built near Natanz) and uranium stockpiles, but it should not be the only goal, and for sure not the priority.

The biggest danger threatening Israel’s existence remains the nuclear program. It would be better to confront this threat with Washington, but Israel also must be fully prepared to do it alone.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Iran nuclear program, Israeli Security, Joseph Biden, U.S. Foreign policy