The Walls of Jerusalem, Discovered in Time for the Anniversary of Their Destruction

July 15 2021

In 586 BCE, after a protracted siege, the Babylonians broke through the walls of Jerusalem and destroyed the city, along with the First Temple. Archaeologists recently announced the discovery of a portion of those walls, writes Amanda Borschel-Dan:

According to 2Kings 25:10, “The entire Chaldean [Babylonian] force that was with the chief of the guard tore down the walls around Jerusalem.” But this newly found extant section of the eastern city wall, connected to two previously excavated and documented sections, means that potentially the entire length of the eastern border was not in fact torn down by the conquering Babylonians.

With this discovery, archaeologists are now able to reconstruct the run of the wall that encircled the ancient kingdom of Judah’s capital on the eve of its destruction, which is commemorated by the Jewish holiday of Tisha B’Av on Sunday.

The new eastern section connects with two other previously discovered adjacent wall sections found in the 1960s by the British archaeologist Kathleen Kenyon and in the 1970s by Yigal Shiloh. By connecting the dots on the map, there is now an almost continuous 656-foot-long fortified wall on the eastern slope of the City of David facing the Kidron Valley.

The fortification wall was constructed in the late 8th century or early 7th BCE. . . Whether the fortifications were built before the earlier siege of the Assyrians in 701 BCE or later is still unclear.

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Read more at Times of Israel

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

Don’t Let Iran Go Nuclear

Sept. 29 2022

In an interview on Sunday, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan stated that the Biden administration remains committed to nuclear negotiations with the Islamic Republic, even as it pursues its brutal crackdown on the protests that have swept the country. Robert Satloff argues not only that it is foolish to pursue the renewal of the 2015 nuclear deal, but also that the White House’s current approach is failing on its own terms:

[The] nuclear threat is much worse today than it was when President Biden took office. Oddly, Washington hasn’t really done much about it. On the diplomatic front, the administration has sweetened its offer to entice Iran into a new nuclear deal. While it quite rightly held firm on Iran’s demand to remove the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps from an official list of “foreign terrorist organizations,” Washington has given ground on many other items.

On the nuclear side of the agreement, the United States has purportedly agreed to allow Iran to keep, in storage, thousands of advanced centrifuges it has made contrary to the terms of the original deal. . . . And on economic matters, the new deal purportedly gives Iran immediate access to a certain amount of blocked assets, before it even exports most of its massive stockpile of enriched uranium for safekeeping in a third country. . . . Even with these added incentives, Iran is still holding out on an agreement. Indeed, according to the most recent reports, Tehran has actually hardened its position.

Regardless of the exact reason why, the menacing reality is that Iran’s nuclear program is galloping ahead—and the United States is doing very little about it. . . . The result has been a stunning passivity in U.S. policy toward the Iran nuclear issue.

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Read more at Washington Institute for Near East Policy

More about: Iran nuclear deal, Joseph Biden, U.S. Foreign policy