For the First Time, Remains of a Crusader Encampment Found in Israel

The most significant impact of the Crusades on Jewish history likely came in the form of the orgies of violence they unleashed on Jewish communities in France, England, and Germany. But in the 12th and 13th centuries these attempts to reclaim Christian holy sites from Muslim rule led to the establishment of European kingdoms in the Land of Israel, at a time when the Jewish community there was at its nadir. Near the Tzippori Springs, in the Galilee region, archaeologists have for the first time discovered the remnants of a Crusader camp. Rossella Tercatin writes:

For a certain period, [the Crusaders] placed Jerusalem under Christian rule, a period documented by a vast corpus of historical sources as well as massive structures such as castles and fortresses left by the Crusaders in the region. However, very little remains to testify moments of transitions, such as battles and encampments. In recent years, while workers were expanding Route 79 that connects the coast with Nazareth, the Israel Antiquities Authority archaeologists Nimrod Getzov and Ianir Milevski . . . conducted the required salvage excavation [and discovered the encampment].

According to chronicles from the time, the Christian army was stationed in the area of the Tzippori Springs for around two months before the crucial battle that allowed the troops led by Sultan Saladin to reconquer much of the region, including Jerusalem.

The archaeologists unearthed hundreds of metal artifacts, and were able to study their relations to the landscape. . . . The majority of artifacts the archaeologists uncovered were horseshoe nails, both of a local type and of a more sophisticated European type, which were prevalent closer to the springs.

Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: Archaeology, Crusades, Middle Ages

Hamas’s Hostage Diplomacy

Ron Ben-Yishai explains Hamas’s current calculations:

Strategically speaking, Hamas is hoping to add more and more days to the pause currently in effect, setting a new reality in stone, one which will convince the United States to get Israel to end the war. At the same time, they still have most of the hostages hidden in every underground crevice they could find, and hope to exchange those with as many Hamas and Islamic Jihad prisoners currently in Israeli prisons, planning on “revitalizing” their terrorist inclinations to even the odds against the seemingly unstoppable Israeli war machine.

Chances are that if pressured to do so by Qatar and Egypt, they will release men over 60 with the same “three-for-one” deal they’ve had in place so far, but when Israeli soldiers are all they have left to exchange, they are unlikely to extend the arrangement, instead insisting that for every IDF soldier released, thousands of their people would be set free.

In one of his last speeches prior to October 7, the Gaza-based Hamas chief Yahya Sinwar said, “remember the number one, one, one, one.” While he did not elaborate, it is believed he meant he wants 1,111 Hamas terrorists held in Israel released for every Israeli soldier, and those words came out of his mouth before he could even believe he would be able to abduct Israelis in the hundreds. This added leverage is likely to get him to aim for the release for all prisoners from Israeli facilities, not just some or even most.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Israeli Security