A Nine-Year-Old Boy Discovers a Bead from the Era of the First Temple in Jerusalem

The Temple Mount Sifting Project allows non-specialists of all ages to aid archaeologists in the gargantuan task of sorting through large piles of soil displaced from the area of Judaism’s holiest site. After suspending operations for some time due to the coronavirus, it recently resumed, which led a Jerusalem schoolboy named Binyamin Milt to discover a gold bead that the experts at first dismissed as a modern object. Later, it was shown to Gabriel Barkay, one of the project’s directors:

When [Barkay] held the bead, his first response was: “I recognize this type of bead!” and he recalled that he found several similar items when excavating burial systems from the First Temple period in Katef Hinom [in Jerusalem]. There the beads were made of silver, but were identical in shape and in their manufacturing method, called granulation. Beads of this type were also found in several other sites over the country, and the layers in which they were found were dated to various periods, from the 13th century BCE [the putative era of the Exodus] up to the 4th century BCE [the early Second Temple period], with the overwhelming majority dating to the Iron Age (12th-6th centuries BCE). Several similar beads made of gold were also found [at other Iron Age sites in Israel].

The bead is roughly cylindrical, with a hole at its center. Its diameter measures 6mm and its height 4mm, and it is built of four layers each made of tiny gold balls adhered one to another in a flower shape. Gold being a precious metal which does not tarnish or rust, the bead’s state of preservation is excellent, and it looks as if it had been manufactured just yesterday.

The archaeologists believe the bead might have been used as some sort of amulet—or been a decoration on a priestly vestment.

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Read more at Temple Mount Sifting Project

More about: Ancient Israel, Archaeology, First Temple, Temple Mount

 

Reforms to Israel’s Judiciary Must Be Carefully Calibrated

The central topic of debate in Israel now is the new coalition government’s proposed reforms of the nation’s judiciary and unwritten constitution. Peter Berkowitz agrees that reform is necessary, but that “the proper scope and pace of reform, however, are open to debate and must be carefully calibrated.”

In particular, Berkowitz argues,

to preserve political cohesiveness, substantial changes to the structure of the Israeli regime must earn support that extends beyond these partisan divisions.

In a deft analysis of the conservative spirit in Israel, bestselling author Micah Goodman warns in the Hebrew language newspaper Makor Rishon that unintended consequences flowing from the constitutional counterrevolution are likely to intensify political instability. When a center-left coalition returns to power, Goodman points out, it may well repeal through a simple majority vote the major changes Netanyahu’s right-wing coalition seeks to enact. Or it may use the legislature’s expanded powers, say, to ram through laws that impair the religious liberty of the ultra-Orthodox. Either way, in a torn nation, constitutional counterrevolution amplifies division.

Conservatives make a compelling case that balance must be restored to the separation of powers in Israel. A prudent concern for the need to harmonize Israel’s free, democratic, and Jewish character counsels deliberation in the pursuit of necessary constitutional reform.

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Read more at RealClearPolitics

More about: Israel & Zionism, Israeli Judicial Reform