A 1,600-Year-Old Menorah Bracelet Discovered in Northern Israel

Archaeologists digging near Mount Carmel have discovered a fragment of a glass bracelet bearing an inscription of a seven-branched menorah. The artifact was found in what appears to been an industrial area within a town that existed in the 4th and 5th centuries B.C.E. Daniel Eisenbud writes:

The researchers . . . believe the bracelet was embossed with the decoration while the glass was still hot. “Stamped impressions of two menorahs survived on the small fragment that was found—one  a plain seven-branched menorah, of which only the surface of the menorah is visible, and the other one consisting of a seven-branched menorah with flames depicted above its branches,” they said.

According to Yael Gorin-Rosen, . . . “bracelets and pendants made of glass that are decorated with symbols of a menorah or lion or different images of gods and animals are known during these periods in Israel, Lebanon, and Syria. So far, three fragments of bracelets with menorah decorations have been discovered in archaeological excavations in the country: in an excavation at Bab el-Hawa in the northern Golan Heights, at Banias, and another bracelet that was discovered years ago in the excavations at Shiqmona, Haifa.”

Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: Ancient Israel, Archaeology, Menorah

Recognizing a Palestinian State Won’t Help Palestinians, or Even Make Palestinian Statehood More Likely

While Shira Efron and Michael Koplow are more sanguine about the possibility of a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict, and more critical of Israel’s policies in the West Bank, than I am, I found much worth considering in their recent article on the condition of the Palestinian Authority (PA). Particularly perceptive are their comments on the drive to grant diplomatic recognition to a fictive Palestinian state, a step taken by nine countries in the past few months, and almost as many in total as recognize Israel.

Efron and Koplow argue that this move isn’t a mere empty gesture, but one that would actually make things worse, while providing “no tangible benefits for Palestinians.”

In areas under its direct control—Areas A and B of the West Bank, comprising 40 percent of the territory—the PA struggles severely to provide services, livelihoods, and dignity to inhabitants. This is only partly due to its budgetary woes; it has also never established a properly functioning West Bank economy. President Mahmoud Abbas, who will turn ninety next year, administers the PA almost exclusively by executive decrees, with little transparency or oversight. Security is a particular problem, as militants from different factions now openly defy the underfunded and undermotivated PA security forces in cities such as Jenin, Nablus, and Tulkarm.

Turning the Palestinian Authority (PA) from a transitional authority into a permanent state with the stroke of a pen will not make [its] litany of problems go away. The risk that the state of Palestine would become a failed state is very real given the PA’s dysfunctional, insolvent status and its dearth of public legitimacy. Further declines in its ability to provide social services and maintain law and order could yield a situation in which warlords and gangs become de-facto rulers in some areas of the West Bank.

Otherwise, any steps toward realizing two states will be fanciful, built atop a crumbling foundation—and likely to help turn the West Bank into a third front in the current war.

Read more at Foreign Affairs

More about: Palestinian Authority, Palestinian statehood