A Rare Amulet May Be a Relic of the Assyrian Invasion of the Kingdom of Israel

At the bottom of a mountaintop in the Lower Galilee, once home to the city known as Tel Rekhesh, an Israeli hiker recently found a biblical-era amulet with a depiction of a scarab. Gavriel Fiske reports:

The scarab, made from reddish-brown carnelian stone, is estimated to be 2,800 years old and of Assyrian or Babylonian origin. The front is carved in the shape of a beetle, and the back has engravings that depict a griffon or a winged horse, a common motif of the Ancient Near East.

During the 6th and 7th centuries BCE, “a large citadel stood at the top of the mount, where bathing facilities, halls, and ritual chambers were found from the period of Assyrian rule. This rule, as we know, was responsible for the destruction of the kingdom of Israel” in the First Temple period, the Israel Antiquities Authority archaeologist Yitzhak Paz explained.

The scarab is likely from this period of Assyrian control and “may indicate the presence of Assyrian (or perhaps Babylonian) officials at Tel Rekhesh during this period,” Paz added. If the scarab can be conclusively dated and this connection proven, it will be a discovery of “great significance,” he said.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Ancient Israel, Archaeology, Assyria


While Israel Is Distracted on Two Fronts, Iran Is on the Verge of Building Nuclear Weapons

Iran recently announced its plans to install over 1,000 new advanced centrifuges at its Fordow nuclear facility. Once they are up and running, the Institute for Science and International Security assesses, Fordow will be able to produce enough highly enriched uranium for three nuclear bombs in a mere ten days. The U.S. has remained indifferent. Jacob Nagel writes:

For more than two decades, Iran has continued its efforts to enhance its nuclear-weapons capability—mainly by enriching uranium—causing Israel and the world to concentrate on the fissile material. The International Atomic Energy Agency recently confirmed that Iran has a huge stockpile of uranium enriched to 60 percent, as well as more enriched to 20 percent, and the IAEA board of governors adopted the E3 (France, Germany, UK) proposed resolution to censure Iran for the violations and lack of cooperation with the agency. The Biden administration tried to block it, but joined the resolution when it understood its efforts to block it had failed.

To clarify, enrichment of uranium above 20 percent is unnecessary for most civilian purposes, and transforming 20-percent-enriched uranium to the 90-percent-enriched product necessary for producing weapons is a relatively small step. Washington’s reluctance even to express concern about this development appears to stem from an unwillingness to acknowledge the failures of President Obama’s nuclear policy. Worse, writes Nagel, it is turning a blind eye to efforts at weaponization. But Israel has no such luxury:

Israel must adopt a totally new approach, concentrating mainly on two main efforts: [halting] Iran’s weaponization actions and weakening the regime hoping it will lead to its replacement. Israel should continue the fight against Iran’s enrichment facilities (especially against the new deep underground facility being built near Natanz) and uranium stockpiles, but it should not be the only goal, and for sure not the priority.

The biggest danger threatening Israel’s existence remains the nuclear program. It would be better to confront this threat with Washington, but Israel also must be fully prepared to do it alone.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Iran nuclear program, Israeli Security, Joseph Biden, U.S. Foreign policy