The Oldest Known Depictions of the Bible’s Great Heroines Found in the Galilee

In 2011, Israeli archaeologists discovered the remains of a 5th-century synagogue in the ancient Galilean village of Huqoq. In the ensuing years, they have been at work carefully excavating its elaborate mosaics, which display biblical and post-biblical scenery. The Times of Israel reports on the latest artwork to come to light:

The mosaics depict the biblical story in the book of Judges in which the prophetess Deborah told the Israelite military leader Barak to mobilize the troops of Naftali and Zebulun to fight against Canaan, whose forces were led by Sisera. Barak said he would only go to battle if Deborah joined him, and Deborah in turn prophesied that a woman would defeat Sisera’s army. Sisera, fleeing [defeat at the hands of the Israelites], sought refuge in the tent of Yael, who drove a tent peg through his head, killing him.

“This is the first depiction of this episode and the first time we’ve seen a depiction of the biblical heroines Deborah and Yael in ancient Jewish art,” [the excavation’s director Jodi] Magness said in a statement. . . . “Looking at the book of Joshua, chapter 19, we can see how the story might have had special resonance for the Jewish community at Huqoq, as it is described as taking place in the same geographical region—the territory of the tribes of Naftali and Zebulun.”

The team working at the ancient synagogue, which was built in the late 4th or early 5th century CE, also uncovered a mosaic depicting vases holding sprouting vines with four animals eating clusters of grapes: a hare, a fox, a leopard, and a wild boar.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Ancient Israel, Archaeology, Book of Judges, Deborah, Galilee, Mosaics, Synagogues

Why Saturday Was a Resounding Defeat for Iran

Yaakov Lappin provides a concise and useful overview of what transpired on Saturday. For him, the bottom line is this:

Iran and its jihadist Middle Eastern axis sustained a resounding strategic defeat. . . . The fact that 99 percent of the threats were intercepted means that a central pillar of Iranian force projection—its missile and UAV arsenals—has been proven to be no match for Israel’s air force, for its multilayered air-defense system, or for regional cooperation with allies.

Iran must now await Israel’s retaliation, and unlike Israel, Iranian air defenses are by comparison limited in scope. After its own failure on Sunday, Iran now relies almost exclusively on Hizballah for an ability to threaten Israel.

And even as Iran continues to work on developing newer and deadlier missiles, the IDF is staying a few steps ahead:

Israel is expecting its Iron Beam laser-interception system, which can shoot down rockets, mortars, and UAVs, to become operational soon, and is developing an interceptor (Sky Sonic) for Iran’s future hypersonic missile (Fattah), which is in development.

The Iron Beam will change the situation in a crucial way. Israell’s defensive response on Saturday reportedly cost it around $1 billion. While Iron Beam may have to be used in concert with other systems, it is far cheaper and doesn’t run the risk of running out of ammunition.

Read more at JNS

More about: Hizballah, Iran, Iron Dome, Israeli Security, Israeli technology