The Mysterious Menorah Carving in the Ancient City of Ephesus

April 21 2022

Located in modern Turkey, Ephesus was once the cultural and economic capital of the Roman empire in Asia Minor. It was also home to the Celsus Library—the third-largest in the Roman world. At some point during its history, Judith Sudilovsky reports, “someone carved a graffiti image of a menorah into one of the steps of the library’s marble staircase.” Since its discovery in the early 20th century, archaeologists and other scholars have been attempting to trace the origins and meaning of the carving.

The local Turkish tour guide Hasan Gulday, who has worked with Israeli and Jewish tourists and writes on his website about the menorahs in Ephesus, points out that another menorah graffito was etched next to the so-called brothel building in Ephesus. The most important carving of a menorah in Ephesus, however, is under the Mezaeus and Mithridates Gate, built by two Persian-Jewish freed slaves, and dedicated to the Roman emperor [Augustus] who had been their former master, Gulday said.

“Jews were considered important for business and trade due to their high literacy rate at a time when only 3 percent of the general population was literate,” said Gulday.

A cosmopolitan city, ancient Ephesus had an established and flourishing Jewish community whose presence was documented from the 1st century BCE by Josephus, among others. . . .The Jews of Ephesus, who were Roman citizens, were exempt from military service, and had the right to have someone take care of their dietary needs in the market assuring them which products were kosher. . . . According to the Roman census, 10 percent of the population of Ephesus was Jewish, and they later had the right to collect taxes for the rebuilt Temple in Jerusalem, which was very unusual.

Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: Ancient Near East, Archaeology, Menorah, Turkish Jewry

American Aid to Lebanon Is a Gift to Iran

For many years, Lebanon has been a de-facto satellite of Tehran, which exerts control via its local proxy militia, Hizballah. The problem with the U.S. policy toward the country, according to Tony Badran, is that it pretends this is not the case, and continues to support the government in Beirut as if it were a bulwark against, rather than a pawn of, the Islamic Republic:

So obsessed is the Biden administration with the dubious art of using taxpayer dollars to underwrite the Lebanese pseudo-state run by the terrorist group Hizballah that it has spent its two years in office coming up with legally questionable schemes to pay the salaries of the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), setting new precedents in the abuse of U.S. foreign security-assistance programs. In January, the administration rolled out its program to provide direct salary payments, in cash, to both the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) and the Internal Security Forces (ISF).

The scale of U.S. financing of Lebanon’s Hizballah-dominated military apparatus cannot be understated: around 100,000 Lebanese are now getting cash stipends courtesy of the American taxpayer to spend in Hizballah-land. . . . This is hardly an accident. For U.S. policymakers, synergy between the LAF/ISF and Hizballah is baked into their policy, which is predicated on fostering and building up a common anti-Israel posture that joins Lebanon’s so-called “state institutions” with the country’s dominant terror group.

The implicit meaning of the U.S. bureaucratic mantra that U.S. assistance aims to “undermine Hizballah’s narrative that its weapons are necessary to defend Lebanon” is precisely that the LAF/ISF and the Lebanese terror group are jointly competing to achieve the same goals—namely, defending Lebanon from Israel.

Read more at Tablet

More about: Hizballah, Iran, Israeli Security, Lebanon, U.S. Foreign policy