A Piece of Ancient Ammunition with a Greek Inscription, Possibly Used in Fighting the Maccabees

At an excavation in the town of Yavneh in central Israel, archaeologists found a lead slingshot “bullet” with the Greek inscription “victory for Heracles and Hauron.” Experts have suggested that it might be a relic from the revolt against the Syrian Greeks that Hanukkah commemorates. Michael Bachner writes:

The Israel Antiquities Authority said in a statement that the sling bullet found in Yavne’s major archaeological site is 1.7 inches long and around 2,200 years old. Its age places it around the time of the battles between the Seleucid army and the Hasmoneans, who were seeking to prevent the Hellenization of the Jews.

The researchers, however, acknowledged that it isn’t known in what context the slingshot was used, and that there was no conclusive evidence that it even belonged to a Greek soldier. “The tiny lead sling bullets, announcing the imminent victory of the gods of pagan Yavne, is tangible evidence of a fierce battle that took place in Yavne at that time,” they added.

According to Yulia Ustinova of Ben Gurion University, who deciphered the inscription, “the pair of gods Hauron and Heracles were considered the divine patrons of Yavne during the Hellenistic period. The inscription on a sling bullet is the first archaeological evidence of the two guardians of Yavne, discovered inside Yavne itself. Until today, the pair was only known from an inscription on the Greek island of Delos.”

Ustinova said the inscription wasn’t a simple call for the deities’ help, but “a threat directed towards adversaries.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Ancient Israel, Archaeology, Maccabees

To Save Gaza, the U.S. Needs a Strategy to Restrain Iran

Since the outbreak of war on October 7, America has given Israel much support, and also much advice. Seth Cropsey argues that some of that advice hasn’t been especially good:

American demands for “restraint” and a “lighter footprint” provide significant elements of Hamas’s command structure, including Yahya Sinwar, the architect of 10/7, a far greater chance of surviving and preserving the organization’s capabilities. Its threat will persist to some extent in any case, since it has significant assets in Lebanon and is poised to enter into a full-fledged partnership with Hizballah that would give it access to Lebanon’s Palestinian refugee camps for recruitment and to Iranian-supported ratlines into Jordan and Syria.

Turning to the aftermath of the war, Cropsey observes that it will take a different kind of involvement for the U.S. to get the outcomes it desires, namely an alternative to Israeli and to Hamas rule in Gaza that comes with buy-in from its Arab allies:

The only way that Gaza can be governed in a sustainable and stable manner is through the participation of Arab states, and in particular the Gulf Arabs, and the only power that can deliver their participation is the United States. A grand bargain is impossible unless the U.S. exerts enough leverage to induce one.

Militarily speaking, the U.S. has shown no desire seriously to curb Iranian power. It has persistently signaled a desire to avoid escalation. . . . The Gulf Arabs understand this. They have no desire to engage in serious strategic dialogue with Washington and Jerusalem over Iran strategy, since Washington does not have an Iran strategy.

Gaza’s fate is a small part of a much broader strategic struggle. Unless this is recognized, any diplomatic master plan will degenerate into a diplomatic parlor game.

Read more at National Review

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