Turkey Returns an Ancient Jerusalem Artifact to Israel

March 21 2022

In the wake of the recent summit between the Israeli and Turkish presidents, Ankara has agreed to relinquish to the Jewish state a fragment from the wall of a subterranean Jerusalem tunnel. Known as the Siloam inscription, the text on the fragment is dated by most scholars to the 8th century BCE, the time of the prophet Isaiah. The artifact is currently housed at the Istanbul Archaeology Museum. Batya Jerenberg writes:

Israel has wanted the Siloam inscription back for years, as it [supports] a biblical account of the building of a water tunnel in Jerusalem in King Hezekiah’s time, 2,700 years ago. As described in both the books of Kings and Chronicles, the king—afraid of a siege on Jerusalem by the Assyrians—ordered that a tunnel be dug from the pool of Siloam outside the city walls in order to bring the water source into the capital.

Written in paleo-Hebrew on the wall of approximately the midpoint of the tunnel, the inscription describes how the excavators, working from both ends simultaneously, heard each other’s voices and cut through the last bit of rock between them so that the water could flow into Jerusalem.

According to an Israeli official, . . . in exchange for the inscription, Israel will give Turkey a religiously important item from its history, probably an ancient candelabra from the Ottoman period.

The museum also has another ancient caption from Jerusalem, known as the Temple Warning Inscription. Etched on the balustrade of the Second Temple, the tablet cautions pagan visitors not to proceed any further towards the Jewish holy site, on penalty of death.

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Read more at World Israel News

More about: Ancient Israel, Archaeology, Hezekiah, Turkey

Salman Rushdie and the Western Apologists for Those Who Wish Him Dead

Aug. 17 2022

Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder and supreme leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, issued a fatwa (religious ruling) in 1989 calling for believers to murder the novelist Salman Rushdie due to the content of his novel, The Satanic Verses. Over the years, two of the book’s translators have been stabbed—one fatally—and numerous others have been injured or killed in attempts to follow the ayatollah’s writ. Last week, an American Shiite Muslim came closer than his many predecessors to killing Rushdie, stabbing him multiple times and leaving him in critical condition. Graeme Wood comments on those intellectuals in the West who have exuded sympathy for the stabbers:

In 1989, the reaction to the fatwa was split three ways: some supported it; some opposed it; and some opposed it, to be sure, but still wanted everyone to know how bad Rushdie and his novel were. This last faction, Team To Be Sure, took the West to task for elevating this troublesome man and his insulting book, whose devilry could have been averted had others been more attuned to the sensibilities of the offended.

The fumes are still rising off of this last group. The former president Jimmy Carter was, at the time of the original fatwa, the most prominent American to suggest that the crime of murder should be balanced against Rushdie’s crime of blasphemy. The ayatollah’s death sentence “caused writers and public officials in Western nations to become almost exclusively preoccupied with the author’s rights,” Carter wrote in an op-ed for the New York Times. Well, yes. Carter did not only say that many Muslims were offended and wished violence on Rushdie; that was simply a matter of fact, reported frequently in the news pages. He took to the op-ed page to add his view that these fanatics had a point. “While Rushdie’s First Amendment freedoms are important,” he wrote, “we have tended to promote him and his book with little acknowledgment that it is a direct insult to those millions of Moslems whose sacred beliefs have been violated.” Never mind that millions of Muslims take no offense at all, and are insulted by the implication that they should.

Over the past two decades, our culture has been Carterized. We have conceded moral authority to howling mobs, and the louder the howls, the more we have agreed that the howls were worth heeding. The novelist Hanif Kureishi has said that “nobody would have the [courage]” to write The Satanic Verses today. More precisely, nobody would publish it, because sensitivity readers would notice the theological delicacy of the book’s title and plot. The ayatollahs have trained them well, and social-media disasters of recent years have reinforced the lesson: don’t publish books that get you criticized, either by semiliterate fanatics on the other side of the world or by semiliterate fanatics on this one.

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Read more at Atlantic

More about: Ayatollah Khomeini, Freedom of Speech, Iran, Islamism, Jimmy Carter