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

An Israeli Buffer Zone in the Gaza Strip Doesn’t Violate International Law

 The IDF announced on Thursday that it is safe for residents to return to some of the towns and villages near the Gaza Strip that have been abandoned since October 7. Yet on the same day, rocket sirens sounded in one of those communities, Kibbutz Mefalsim. To help ensure security in the area, Israel is considering the creation of a buffer zone within the Strip that would be closed to Palestinian civilians and buildings. The U.S. has indicated, however, that it would not look favorably on such a step.

Avraham Shalev explains why it’s necessary:

The creation of a security buffer along the Gaza-Israel border serves the purpose of destroying Hamas’s infrastructure and eliminating the threat to Israel. . . . Some Palestinian structures are practically on the border, and only several hundred yards away from Israeli communities such as Kfar Aza, Kerem Shalom, and Sderot. The Palestinian terrorists that carried out the murderous October 7 attacks crossed into Israel from many of these border-adjacent areas. Hamas officials have already vowed that “we will do this again and again. The al-Aqsa Flood [the October 7th massacre] is just the first time, and there will be a second, a third, a fourth.”

In 2018 and 2019, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad organized mass marches towards the Israeli border with the goal of breaking into Israel. Billed by Palestinians as “the Great March of Return,” its name reveals its purpose—invasion. Although the marches were supposedly non-violent, they featured largescale attacks on Israeli forces as well as arson and damage to Israeli agriculture and civilian communities. Moreover, the October 7 massacre was made possible by Hamas’s prepositioning military hardware along the border under false cover of civilian activity. The security perimeter is intended to prevent a reprise of these events.

Shalev goes on to dismantle the arguments put forth about why international law prohibits Israel from creating the buffer zone. He notes:

By way of comparison, following the defeat of Nazi Germany, France occupied the Saar [River Valley] directly until 1947 and then indirectly until reintegration with Germany in 1957, and the Allied occupation of Berlin continued until the reunification of Germany in 1990. The Allies maintained their occupation long after the fall of the Nazi regime, due to the threat of Soviet invasion and conquest of West Berlin, and by extension Western Europe.

Read more at Kohelet

More about: Gaza Strip, Gaza War 2023, International Law, Israeli Security