Incantation Bowls and Biblical-Era Furniture Found in the Hands of Illegal Antiquities Dealers

March 8 2022

In a raid on a home in Jerusalem, Israeli officials discovered hundreds of ancient artifacts, ranging from coins to Babylonian bowls used to restrain demons. Amanda Borschel-Dan writes:

The three “magic” bowls were created in the 5th-7th centuries CE in present-day Iraq. They are among some 3,000 that have been discovered to date, which were used by Jews and non-Jews alike during this era.

The Tel Aviv University professor Matthew Morgenstern, an expert in Jewish Babylonian Aramaic and Classical Mandaic who has photographed hundreds of incantation bowls and has published academic articles on them extensively, told the Times of Israel that such bowls were written in several Babylonian Aramaic dialects and placed protectively around the house for its protection, upside down to trap the demons or evil entities. Some even have “addresses” on the back telling the owner where to put them, he said.

“The Jewish bowls draw heavily on Jewish tradition, cite [biblical] verses, and even contain the earliest written attestations we have for Jewish texts like the Mishnah or benedictions,” said Morgenstern.

Additional rare finds discovered in the Jerusalem home include rare and valuable ivory furniture inlays that were common in the 9th and 8th centuries BCE and have been uncovered at sites including Tel Megiddo and in Samaria.

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Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Ancient Israel, Archaeology, Babylonian Jewry, Magic

Iran’s Responsibility for West Bank Terror

On Friday, a Palestinian stabbed an Israeli police officer and was then shot by another officer after trying to grab his rifle. Commenting on the many similar instances of West Bank-based terror during the past several months, Amit Saar, a senior IDF intelligence officer, predicted that the violence will likely grow worse in the coming year. Yoni Ben Menachem explains the Islamic Republic’s role in fueling this wave of terrorism:

The escape of six terrorists from Gilboa prison in September 2021 was the catalyst for the establishment of new terrorist groups in the northern West Bank, according to senior Islamic Jihad officials. The initiative to establish new armed groups was undertaken by Palestinian Islamic Jihad in coordination with Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, implementing the strategy of Qassem Suleimani—the commander of the Quds Force of the Revolutionary Guards who was assassinated in Iraq by the U.S.—of using proxies to achieve the goals of expansion of the Iranian regime.

After arming Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza, Iran moved in the last year to support the new terrorist groups in the northern West Bank. Iran has been pouring money into the Islamic Jihad organization, which began to establish new armed groups under the name of “Battalions,” which also include terrorists from other organizations such as Fatah, Hamas, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. First, the “Jenin Battalion” was established in the city of Jenin, followed the “Nablus Battalion.”

Despite large-scale arrest operation by the IDF and the Shin Bet in the West Bank, Islamic Jihad continues to form new terrorist groups, including the “Tulkarem Battalion,” the “Tubas Battalion,” and the “Balata Battalion” in the Balata refugee camp.

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Read more at Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

More about: Iran, Israeli Security, Palestinian terror, West Bank