Talmudic-Era Artifacts Discovered in the Ancient Seat of Jewish Worship

According to the Hebrew Bible, the Israelites set up the Tabernacle—a portable sanctuary they had constructed at the foot of Mount Sinai—in the city of Shiloh, about 20 miles north of Jerusalem, not long after entering the Promised Land. Shiloh remained the main center of Jewish worship for most of the period preceding King David, who relocated the Tabernacle to Jerusalem, where it would later be replaced by the Temple. In the 20th century, archaeologists identified the ancient city’s remains, which dated back to the second millennium BCE. Hanan Greenwood reports on more recent discoveries:

A century after the first archaeological excavations at the site of ancient Shiloh, . . . a new dig has unearthed a number of rare finds, including five intact jugs that date back some 2,000 years to the time of the Talmud. The jugs were in a row, underneath a floor, most likely to keep their contents cool. Their location is also likely what kept the vessels intact.

The Mateh Binyamin Regional Council, which operates the Shiloh antiquities site, said that the dig was attempting to determine the location of the ancient wall and the entrance to the city. Workers dug a trench on the edge of the southern tel (mound) and exposed layers from all the periods of history when the site was active, from the Bronze Age to the Ottoman Empire. The Canaanite wall itself was first uncovered by a group of Danish archaeologists 100 years ago.

The excavation also turned up a number of coins, a key apparently used to unlock a chest, and even wooden dice identical in shape to dice used today.

Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Ancient Israel, Archaeology, Hebrew Bible

Why Egypt Fears an Israeli Victory in Gaza

While the current Egyptian president, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, has never been friendly to Hamas, his government has objected strenuously to the Israeli campaign in the southernmost part of the Gaza Strip. Haisam Hassanein explains why:

Cairo has long been playing a double game, holding Hamas terrorists near while simultaneously trying to appear helpful to the United States and Israel. Israel taking control of Rafah threatens Egypt’s ability to exploit the chaos in Gaza, both to generate profits for regime insiders and so Cairo can pose as an indispensable mediator and preserve access to U.S. money and arms.

Egyptian security officials have looked the other way while Hamas and other Palestinian militants dug tunnels on the Egyptian-Gaza border. That gave Cairo the ability to use the situation in Gaza as a tool for regional influence and to ensure Egypt’s role in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict would not be eclipsed by regional competitors such as Qatar and Turkey.

Some elements close to the Sisi regime have benefited from Hamas control over Gaza and the Rafah crossing. Media reports indicate an Egyptian company run by one of Sisi’s close allies is making hundreds of millions of dollars by taxing Gazans fleeing the current conflict.

Moreover, writes Judith Miller, the Gaza war has been a godsend to the entire Egyptian economy, which was in dire straits last fall. Since October 7, the International Monetary Fund has given the country a much-needed injection of cash, since the U.S. and other Western countries believe it is a necessary intermediary and stabilizing force. Cairo therefore sees the continuation of the war, rather than an Israeli victory, as most desirable. Hassanein concludes:

Adding to its financial incentive, the Sisi regime views the Rafah crossing as a crucial card in preserving Cairo’s regional standing. Holding it increases Egypt’s relevance to countries that want to send aid to the Palestinians and ensures Washington stays quiet about Egypt’s gross human-rights violations so it can maintain a stable flow of U.S. assistance and weaponry. . . . No serious effort to turn the page on Hamas will yield the desired results without cutting this umbilical cord between the Sisi regime and Hamas.

Read more at Washington Examiner

More about: Egypt, Gaza War 2023, U.S. Foreign policy