A Massive Ancient Aqueduct Sheds Light on the History of Hellenistic Jerusalem

Archaeologists recently uncovered a 1,000-foot segment of a two-millennium-old aqueduct in Israel’s capital—the longest continuous section found to date. The Jerusalem Post reports:

The Israel Antiquities Authority excavation directors Ofer Shyam and Ruth Cohen note that the Jerusalem aqueduct was built to meet the ancient city’s growing water demands. “In the late days of the Second Temple, the city of Jerusalem grew significantly. The Temple had been rebuilt and the water that flowed in conduits and cisterns was no longer sufficient for the thousands of pilgrims and residents,” they explain. “Water needed to be brought to the city from a distance.”

So, in order to meet Jerusalem’s growing need for water, the Hasmoneans, and then King Herod, built two aqueducts to Jerusalem. One of the aqueducts, “the upper aqueduct” channeled water to the upper city, what is presently the Jewish and Armenian Quarters of the Old City. The other, “the lower aqueduct,” brought water to the Temple.

Shyam and Cohen describe these aqueducts as being “among the largest and most complex water systems in the Land of Israel—and indeed, in the ancient world.” The aqueducts were remarkable feats of engineering, each traversing the roughly ten kilometers from Bethlehem Springs, where the water originated, to Jerusalem.

Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: Ancient Israel, Archaeology, Hasmoneans, Herod, 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