Israeli Archaeologists Return an Elaborate Mosaic to Its Home

In 1996, a routine excavation in the city of Lod uncovered a portion of an elaborate mosaic from the 3rd or 4th century CE. Archaeologists came across other sections in the ensuing years and, after extensive restoration efforts, have recently returned it to its original location, where a special museum has been built to house it. Amanda Borschel-Dan, who calls it “one of the most beautiful treasures of Roman-era Holy Land,” writes:

Made up of several panels, the Lod mosaic is some seventeen meters long and nine meters wide—approximately 180 square meters in area (some 1,940 square feet). Among the colorful illustrations found on the mosaic are boats with oars, and animals including elephants, lions, birds, fish, and crustaceans. There are also plant life and flowers, vases, and geometric patterns.

The combination of mosaics, artifacts, and architectural evidence such as frescos from the late-3rd and early 4th-century Roman period uncovered in the excavations provides evidence of Mediterranean luxury that characterized the Roman empire, said the Israel Antiquities Authority archaeologist Amir Gorzalczany, who directed one of the excavations following the discovery of a new section.

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Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Ancient Israel, Ancient Rome, Archaeology, Mosaics

 

Why Is Iran Acquiring Property in Venezuela?

In June Tehran and Caracas concluded a major twenty-year cooperation treaty. One of its many provisions—kept secret until recently—was the transfer of 4,000 square miles of Venezuelan land to Iranian control. Although the territory is ostensibly for agricultural use, Lawrence Franklin suspects the Islamic Republic might have other plans:

Hizballah already runs paramilitary training centers in restricted sections of Venezuela’s Margarita Island, a tourist area northeast of the country’s mainland. The terrorist group has considerable support from some of Venezuela’s prominent Lebanese clans such as the Nasr al-Din family, who reportedly facilitated Iran’s penetration of Margarita Island. . . . The Maduro regime has apparently been so welcoming to Iranian intelligence agents that some of Hizballah’s long-established Latin American network at the tri-border nexus of Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay has been overtaken by Hizballah activities on Venezuela’s Margarita Island.

Iran’s alliance with Venezuela most importantly provides Tehran with opportunities to target U.S. interests in Latin America and potentially the southern United States. Iran, along with the Chinese Communist Party, is in the process of strengthening Venezuela’s military against the U.S., for instance by deliveries of military drones, which are also considered a threat by Colombia.

While air and seaborne arms deliveries are high-profile evidence of Iran’s ties with Venezuela, Tehran’s cooperation with Venezuelan intelligence agencies, although less visible, is also intense. The Islamic Republic’s support for Hizballah terrorist operations is pervasive throughout Latin America. Hizballah recruits from Venezuela’s ten-million-strong Lebanese diaspora. Iran and Hizballah cooperate in training of intelligence agents and in developing sources who reside in Venezuela and Colombia, as well as in the tri-border region of Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina.

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Read more at Gatestone

More about: Iran, Latin America, Venezuela