A 1,600-Year-Old Mosaic Unearthed in Northern Israel

According to the Talmud, Rabbi Yoḥanan ben Zakkai convinced the Roman emperor to spare “Yavneh and its sages” before destroying Jerusalem in 70 CE. As a result, this city in the Galilee became for a time the major center of Jewish intellectual life. Archaeologists recently discovered a Byzantine-era mosaic there, JNS reports:

The flooring, which dates back to the . . . 4th or 5th century CE, was unearthed during large-scale excavations launched ahead of the development of a new neighborhood in the ancient city. The Israel Antiquities Authority archaeologists Elie Haddad and Hagit Torgë said that though they initially believed the flooring to be “simple white mosaic paving belonging to yet another industrial installation,” [but] once they treated it with a special acid to remove its patina coat, “a colorful mosaic carpet was revealed, ornamented with geometric motifs.”

They assessed that the well-preserved flooring “may have been part of a splendid residential building in a wealthy neighborhood adjacent to the industrial zone.”

Read more at JNS

More about: Ancient Israel, Archaeology, Galilee

The IDF’s First Investigation of Its Conduct on October 7 Is Out

For several months, the Israel Defense Forces has been investigating its own actions on and preparedness for October 7, with an eye to understanding its failures. The first of what are expected to be many reports stemming from this investigation was released yesterday, and it showed a series of colossal strategic and tactical errors surrounding the battle at Kibbutz Be’eri, writes Emanuel Fabian. The probe, he reports, was led by Maj. Gen. (res.) Mickey Edelstein.

Edelstein and his team—none of whom had any involvement in the events themselves, according to the IDF—spent hundreds of hours investigating the onslaught and battle at Be’eri, reviewing every possible source of information, from residents’ WhatsApp messages to both Israeli and Hamas radio communications, as well as surveillance videos, aerial footage, interviews of survivors and those who fought, plus visits to the scene.

There will be a series of further reports issued this summer.

IDF chief Halevi in a statement issued alongside the probe said that while this was just the first investigation into the onslaught, which does not reflect the entire picture of October 7, it “clearly illustrates the magnitude of the failure and the dimensions of the disaster that befell the residents of the south who protected their families with their bodies for many hours, and the IDF was not there to protect them.” . . .

The IDF hopes to present all battle investigations by the end of August.

The IDF’s probes are strictly limited to its own conduct. For a broader look at what went wrong, Israel will have to wait for a formal state commission of inquiry to be appointed—which happens to be the subject of this month’s featured essay in Mosaic.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Gaza War 2023, IDF, Israel & Zionism, October 7