A Hasmonean Coin and a Two-Millennia-Old Mikveh Point to a Lost Judean Village

Last month, Israeli archaeologists discovered some important artifacts in the town of Itamar in Samaria. The most important, a silver coin from era of the Hasmoneans—the priestly dynasty, established by Judah the Maccabee, who ruled an independent Judea from about 140 to 37 BCE. Efrat Forsher writes:

The coin was minted in the city of Tyre in modern-day Lebanon, . . . in the time of Seleucid king Demetrius II and the high priest John Hyrcanus.

The excavation has also revealed a Second Temple-era stone structure; a sealed cistern that had never been opened, which contained tools and vessels assessed to be some 2,000 years old, including cooking pots; as well as an olive press, a mikveh, and a bronze Roman coin minted in Nablus (Shechem) in the middle of the 3rd century CE. The coin is imprinted with an image of Mount Gerizim, [the site of ritual described in the books of Deuteronomy and Joshua].

According to researchers, the finds indicate the former presence of a rural community that reached its peak between the end of the Second Temple and Roman periods.

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Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Ancient Israel, Archaeology, Hasmoneans, Mikveh

 

As Vladimir Putin Sidles Up to the Mullahs, the Threat to the U.S. and Israel Grows

On Tuesday, Russia launched an Iranian surveillance satellite into space, which the Islamic Republic will undoubtedly use to increase the precision of its military operations against its enemies. The launch is one of many indications that the longstanding alliance between Moscow and Tehran has been growing stronger and deeper since the Kremlin’s escalation in Ukraine in February. Nicholas Carl, Kitaneh Fitzpatrick, and Katherine Lawlor write:

Presidents Vladimir Putin and Ebrahim Raisi have spoken at least four times since the invasion began—more than either individual has engaged most other world leaders. Putin visited Tehran in July 2022, marking his first foreign travel outside the territory of the former Soviet Union since the war began. These interactions reflect a deepening and potentially more balanced relationship wherein Russia is no longer the dominant party. This partnership will likely challenge U.S. and allied interests in Europe, the Middle East, and around the globe.

Tehran has traditionally sought to purchase military technologies from Moscow rather than the inverse. The Kremlin fielding Iranian drones in Ukraine will showcase these platforms to other potential international buyers, further benefitting Iran. Furthermore, Russia has previously tried to limit Iranian influence in Syria but is now enabling its expansion.

Deepening Russo-Iranian ties will almost certainly threaten U.S. and allied interests in Europe, the Middle East, and around the globe. Iranian material support to Russia may help the Kremlin achieve some of its military objectives in Ukraine and eastern Europe. Russian support of Iran’s nascent military space program and air force could improve Iranian targeting and increase the threat it poses to the U.S. and its partners in the Middle East. Growing Iranian control and influence in Syria will enable the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps [to use its forces in that country] to threaten U.S. military bases in the Middle East and our regional partners, such as Israel and Turkey, more effectively. Finally, Moscow and Tehran will likely leverage their deepening economic ties to mitigate U.S. sanctions.

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Read more at Critical Threats

More about: Iran, Israeli Security, Russia, U.S. Security, Vladimir Putin