A Second Temple-Era Ledger Found in Jerusalem

Sifting through dirt and debris discarded during a 19th-century excavation, a team of archaeologists have discovered a brief 2,000-year-old inscription, which is significant because of its very ordinariness. Amanda Borschel-Dan writes:

A broken chalkstone inscribed with seven rows of mundane text . . . appears to be a merchant’s accounting record that lists names, measures, and numbers. “The more we find inscriptions from daily life—versus monumental, state-sponsored texts—the more I think that there were many who knew to read and write during this period, especially simple instructions such as found in this inscription,” [the Bar Ilan University epigrapher] Esther Eshel told the Times of Israel on Wednesday.

The few words were carved in a simple cursive script using a sharp tool such as a nail into a flat chalkstone slab that was likely taken from an ossuary lid. It is written in a recognized formulaic pattern for similar ledgers. For example, one of the more complete lines includes the final letters of the name “Shimon”—a popular Second Temple name—followed by the Hebrew letter mem, which stands for a measure or economic value.

Although the stone is broken, it joins other examples of inscribed ossuary lids that were discovered dating to the same time range to which Eshel dates the letters based on their shape—from the 1st century BCE to the 1st century CE. It is, however, the first of its kind that was discovered within the confines of ancient Jerusalem.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Ancient Israel, Archaeology, Jerusalem

Hizballah Is Learning Israel’s Weak Spots

On Tuesday, a Hizballah drone attack injured three people in northern Israel. The next day, another attack, targeting an IDF base, injured eighteen people, six of them seriously, in Arab al-Amshe, also in the north. This second attack involved the simultaneous use of drones carrying explosives and guided antitank missiles. In both cases, the defensive systems that performed so successfully last weekend failed to stop the drones and missiles. Ron Ben-Yishai has a straightforward explanation as to why: the Lebanon-backed terrorist group is getting better at evading Israel defenses. He explains the three basis systems used to pilot these unmanned aircraft, and their practical effects:

These systems allow drones to act similarly to fighter jets, using “dead zones”—areas not visible to radar or other optical detection—to approach targets. They fly low initially, then ascend just before crashing and detonating on the target. The terrain of southern Lebanon is particularly conducive to such attacks.

But this requires skills that the terror group has honed over months of fighting against Israel. The latest attacks involved a large drone capable of carrying over 50 kg (110 lbs.) of explosives. The terrorists have likely analyzed Israel’s alert and interception systems, recognizing that shooting down their drones requires early detection to allow sufficient time for launching interceptors.

The IDF tries to detect any incoming drones on its radar, as it had done prior to the war. Despite Hizballah’s learning curve, the IDF’s technological edge offers an advantage. However, the military must recognize that any measure it takes is quickly observed and analyzed, and even the most effective defenses can be incomplete. The terrain near the Lebanon-Israel border continues to pose a challenge, necessitating technological solutions and significant financial investment.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Hizballah, Iron Dome, Israeli Security