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.

Read more at Temple Mount Sifting Project

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


When It Comes to Peace with Israel, Many Saudis Have Religious Concerns

Sept. 22 2023

While roughly a third of Saudis are willing to cooperate with the Jewish state in matters of technology and commerce, far fewer are willing to allow Israeli teams to compete within the kingdom—let alone support diplomatic normalization. These are just a few results of a recent, detailed, and professional opinion survey—a rarity in Saudi Arabia—that has much bearing on current negotiations involving Washington, Jerusalem, and Riyadh. David Pollock notes some others:

When asked about possible factors “in considering whether or not Saudi Arabia should establish official relations with Israel,” the Saudi public opts first for an Islamic—rather than a specifically Saudi—agenda: almost half (46 percent) say it would be “important” to obtain “new Israeli guarantees of Muslim rights at al-Aqsa Mosque and al-Haram al-Sharif [i.e., the Temple Mount] in Jerusalem.” Prioritizing this issue is significantly more popular than any other option offered. . . .

This popular focus on religion is in line with responses to other controversial questions in the survey. Exactly the same percentage, for example, feel “strongly” that “our country should cut off all relations with any other country where anybody hurts the Quran.”

By comparison, Palestinian aspirations come in second place in Saudi popular perceptions of a deal with Israel. Thirty-six percent of the Saudi public say it would be “important” to obtain “new steps toward political rights and better economic opportunities for the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.” Far behind these drivers in popular attitudes, surprisingly, are hypothetical American contributions to a Saudi-Israel deal—even though these have reportedly been under heavy discussion at the official level in recent months.

Therefore, based on this analysis of these new survey findings, all three governments involved in a possible trilateral U.S.-Saudi-Israel deal would be well advised to pay at least as much attention to its religious dimension as to its political, security, and economic ones.

Read more at Washington Institute for Near East Policy

More about: Islam, Israel-Arab relations, Saudi Arabia, Temple Mount