Israel’s Stunning Ancient Mosaics

Jan. 21 2021

Archaeologists have discovered some 7,000 mosaics, many of which have great historical and artistic value, in the borders of the Jewish state. While no small number have been found in synagogues, others have been found in a churches, Roman villas, and other structures. Naama Barak writes:

The art of [making] mosaics arrived in the Land of Israel from Rome around the time of Herod the Great 2,000 years ago. They were continuously created [there] through the 11th century, leaving us with documentation of Roman, Byzantine, and early Arab culture in the area.

Despite [their] great variety, many of the mosaics shared similar qualities, patterns, and styles over the centuries—so much so that in many cases it’s not possible to date the mosaics based only on the artwork. Archaeologists must make use of the surrounding digs and inscriptions to determine their age.

“There are many mosaics with geometrical patterns that get repeated for hundreds of years. You can recognize the same style of mosaic that moves on from a synagogue to a church and then to a public building. It’s the same sort of composition that transfers to different buildings,” Jacques Neguer, [the head of the Israel Antiquities Authority’s art conservation department], says. This repetition and transfer of style makes sense, he notes, since mosaic artistry was probably a profession passed down generations in families.

Pictures of nine mosaics, three of which are from synagogues, can be found at the link below.

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Read more at Israel21c

More about: Ancient Israel, Archaeology, Art history, Mosaics, Synagogues

Why Is Iran Acquiring Property in Venezuela?

In June Tehran and Caracas concluded a major twenty-year cooperation treaty. One of its many provisions—kept secret until recently—was the transfer of 4,000 square miles of Venezuelan land to Iranian control. Although the territory is ostensibly for agricultural use, Lawrence Franklin suspects the Islamic Republic might have other plans:

Hizballah already runs paramilitary training centers in restricted sections of Venezuela’s Margarita Island, a tourist area northeast of the country’s mainland. The terrorist group has considerable support from some of Venezuela’s prominent Lebanese clans such as the Nasr al-Din family, who reportedly facilitated Iran’s penetration of Margarita Island. . . . The Maduro regime has apparently been so welcoming to Iranian intelligence agents that some of Hizballah’s long-established Latin American network at the tri-border nexus of Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay has been overtaken by Hizballah activities on Venezuela’s Margarita Island.

Iran’s alliance with Venezuela most importantly provides Tehran with opportunities to target U.S. interests in Latin America and potentially the southern United States. Iran, along with the Chinese Communist Party, is in the process of strengthening Venezuela’s military against the U.S., for instance by deliveries of military drones, which are also considered a threat by Colombia.

While air and seaborne arms deliveries are high-profile evidence of Iran’s ties with Venezuela, Tehran’s cooperation with Venezuelan intelligence agencies, although less visible, is also intense. The Islamic Republic’s support for Hizballah terrorist operations is pervasive throughout Latin America. Hizballah recruits from Venezuela’s ten-million-strong Lebanese diaspora. Iran and Hizballah cooperate in training of intelligence agents and in developing sources who reside in Venezuela and Colombia, as well as in the tri-border region of Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina.

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Read more at Gatestone

More about: Iran, Latin America, Venezuela