One Scholar Believes He Has Deciphered One of Jerusalem’s Most Ancient Inscriptions. Another Has His Doubts

In 2010, Israeli archaeologists uncovered a stone tablet in the oldest part of Jerusalem, which they believe dates to the middle of the 2nd millennium BCE. Gershon Galil, a professor at the University of Haifa, recently announced that he deciphered writing on the tablet in an ancient language related to Hebrew. According to Galil, the inscription contains a curse that was likely the work of “sophisticated magicians” who held “voodoo ceremonies.” Christopher Rollston, a leading authority on ancient Semitic inscriptions, is skeptical:

I am far from convinced that this is an “inscription.” In fact, one could make an entirely plausible case that these are not letters but repetitive decorative motifs and striations.

Here is Galil’s translation of it: “Cursed, cursed, you will surely die; Cursed, cursed, you will surely die; Governor of the City, you will surely die; Cursed, you will surely die; Cursed, you will surely die; Cursed, you will surely die.”

Although it is perhaps possible that there is some sort of “inscription” here, these readings and translation of Galil’s are not at all convincing. . . . But Galil’s assertion about this putative inscription’s importance pales in comparison with some of the rest of his claims.

According to Galil, “the new inscription proves that Jerusalem was not only a fortified city, but also a very important cultural and cultic center.” I too believe that Jerusalem was an important center at this time, and I believe that Jerusalem was fortified during the 2nd millennium BCE (the period from which this “inscription” putatively hails). However, according to Galil’s own readings, this inscription does not mention any city or its fortifications! So . . . even if someone were to embrace Galil’s readings, the “inscription” cannot carry the freight with which he is saddling it.

Read more at Zwinglius Redivivus

More about: Ancient Israel, Archaeology, Canaanites, Jerusalem

Hamas’s Hostage Diplomacy

Ron Ben-Yishai explains Hamas’s current calculations:

Strategically speaking, Hamas is hoping to add more and more days to the pause currently in effect, setting a new reality in stone, one which will convince the United States to get Israel to end the war. At the same time, they still have most of the hostages hidden in every underground crevice they could find, and hope to exchange those with as many Hamas and Islamic Jihad prisoners currently in Israeli prisons, planning on “revitalizing” their terrorist inclinations to even the odds against the seemingly unstoppable Israeli war machine.

Chances are that if pressured to do so by Qatar and Egypt, they will release men over 60 with the same “three-for-one” deal they’ve had in place so far, but when Israeli soldiers are all they have left to exchange, they are unlikely to extend the arrangement, instead insisting that for every IDF soldier released, thousands of their people would be set free.

In one of his last speeches prior to October 7, the Gaza-based Hamas chief Yahya Sinwar said, “remember the number one, one, one, one.” While he did not elaborate, it is believed he meant he wants 1,111 Hamas terrorists held in Israel released for every Israeli soldier, and those words came out of his mouth before he could even believe he would be able to abduct Israelis in the hundreds. This added leverage is likely to get him to aim for the release for all prisoners from Israeli facilities, not just some or even most.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Israeli Security