Renovating One of the Oldest Parts of Jerusalem, and Getting a Better Understanding of the City’s Story

Despite its name, the Tower of David—the citadel locater near the Jaffa Gate of Jerusalem’s Old City—has little connection to King David. Much of it was constructed during the Hasmonean and Herodian periods (i.e., the 1st and 2nd centuries BCE), although the oldest structures date as far back the 8th century BCE. Since the 1980s, it has also been home to a museum that is now undergoing renovations, meant to reflect the newest advances in conservation. Ruth Marks Eglash writes:

As with any construction project inside Jerusalem’s ancient walls, it is the secrets hidden below the ground, beneath more recent layers, that often present the most unpleasant surprises. The biggest surprise for archaeologists took place at the location of what will soon be a sparkling new entrance pavilion to the museum. . . . As machines began removing dirt from the area, which originally served as a Crusader moat, they realized that beneath the massive Jerusalem stones that form the walls of the Old City there were no solid foundations.

While this discovery temporarily halted the construction, with engineers brought in to secure the stone, the break gave archaeologists a chance to re-explore 500-year-old Ottoman architecture and building methods.

Although the site was excavated by British archaeologists nearly 100 years ago, . . . they relied on classic archaeological methods to date the structure. With updated technology, including the use of carbon dating . . . archaeologists will be able to create a more accurate timeline for Jerusalem.

Read more at Jewish Insider

More about: Archaeology, Jerusalem, Museums


What Is the Biden Administration Thinking?

In the aftermath of the rescue of four Israeli hostages on Friday, John Podhoretz observes some “clarifying moments.” The third strikes me as the most important:

Clarifying Moment #3 came with the news that the Biden administration is still calling for negotiations leading to a ceasefire after, by my count, the seventh rejection of the same by Hamas since Bibi Netanyahu’s secret offer a couple of weeks ago. Secretary of State Blinken, a man who cannot say no, including when someone suggests it would be smart for him to play high-school guitar while Ukraine burns, will be back in the region for the eighth time to urge Hamas to accept the deal. Why is this clarifying? Because it now suggests, here and for all time, that the Biden team is stupid.

Supposedly the carrot the [White House] is dangling in the region is a tripartite security deal with Saudi Arabia and Israel. Which would, of course, be a good thing. But like the stupid people they are now proving to be, they seem not to understand the very thing that led the Saudis to view Israel as a potential ally more than a decade ago: the idea that Israel means business and does what it must to survive and built itself a tech sector the Saudis want to learn from. Allowing Hamas to survive, which is implicitly part of the big American deal, will not lead to normalization. The Saudis do not want an Iranian vassal state in Palestine. Their entire foreign-policy purpose is to counter Iran. I know that. You know that. Everybody in the world knows that. Even Tony Blinken’s guitar is gently weeping at his dangling a carrot to Israel and Saudi Arabia that neither wants, needs, nor will accept.

Read more at Commentary

More about: Antony Blinken, Gaza War 2023, Joseph Biden, Saudi Arabia, U.S.-Israel relationship