What a Miniature Gold Ring Tells Us about the Boundaries of Ancient Jerusalem

Since 2007, archaeologists have been exploring the nuermous treasures found underneath what was once the Givati parking lot, located on the outskirts of the Old City of Jerusalem. Judy Siegel-Itzkovich reports on the recent discovery there of a gold ring set with a precious stone, likely designed for a child:

“It is an unusual and deeply moving find; not one that we discover every day,” the archaeological team said. The red precious stone was apparently a garnet, and the gold is a very refined material that was very well-preserved. . . . Stylistically, it reflects the common fashion of the Persian and early Hellenistic periods, dating from the late-4th to early 3rd century BCE and onwards. In that period, people began to prefer gold with set stones rather than decorated gold.

The Givati parking lot excavation finds are beginning to paint a new picture of the nature and stature of Jerusalem’s inhabitants in the early Hellenistic period. In the past, researchers found only a few structures and finds from this era, so most scholars assumed that Jerusalem was then a small town limited to the top of the southeastern slope (the City of David), and with relatively very few resources. However, these new findings suggest a different story. . . . They revealed that the structures being unearthed now consist of an entire neighborhood.

Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: Ancient Israel, Archaeology, Jerusalem

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