Herod’s Royal Entryway and Burying Ground

Archaeologists have discovered a grand entryway, consisting of a series of massive arches, at King Herod’s hilltop fortress of Herodium in the Judean desert. And there are additional, unexpected finds, writes Tamar Pileggi:

[D]uring the excavations, it became increasingly evident that the corridor and expansive arched entryway was never used. The corridor was back-filled and the entryway was built over. The archaeologists suspect that midway through its construction, Herod—known for the large construction projects undertaken during his reign—decided to build a royal burial monument for himself before his death instead. . . .

The arched corridor also revealed hidden tunnels dug on the site by the Jewish fighters during the Bar Kokhba revolt, about 120 years after Herod’s death. The hidden tunnels, supported by wooden beams, exit the fortress through secret openings in the corridor, and were likely used by Jewish rebels who waged an unsuccessful fight against the Roman occupation of Judea in 132-136 CE.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Ancient Israel, Archaeology, Herod, Simon bar Kokhba


The Diplomatic Goals of Benjamin Netanyahu’s Visit to the U.S.

Yesterday, the Israeli prime minister arrived in the U.S., and he plans to address a joint session of Congress on Wednesday, but it remains uncertain whether he will meet with President Biden. Nonetheless, Amit Yagur urges Benjamin Netanyahu to use the trip for ordinary as well as public diplomacy—“assuming,” Yagur writes, “there is someone to talk to in the politically turbulent U.S.” He argues that the first priority should be discussing how to keep Iran from getting nuclear weapons. But there are other issues to tackle as well:

From the American perspective, as long as Hamas is not the official ruler in the Gaza Strip, any solution agreed upon is good. For Israel, however, it is quite clear that if Hamas remains a legitimate power factor, even if it does not head the leadership in Gaza, sooner or later, Gaza will reach the Hizballah model in Lebanon. To clarify, this means that Hamas is the actual ruler of the Strip, and sooner or later, we will see a [return] of its military capabilities as well as its actual control over the population. . . .

The UN aid organization UNRWA . . . served as a platform for Hamas terrorist elements to establish, disguise, and use UN infrastructure for terrorism. This is beside the fact that UNRWA essentially perpetuates the conflict rather than helps resolve it. How do we remove the UN and UNRWA from the “day after” equation? Can the American aid organization USAID step into UNRWA’s shoes, and what assistance can the U.S. provide to Israel in re-freezing donor-country contributions to UNRWA?

Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: Benjamin Netanyahu, Gaza War 2023, U.S.-Israel relationship