What Did the Temple Mount Look Like during the Reign of Herod?

The Second Temple was built in Jerusalem by returnees from Babylonian exile around 516 BCE. Some 500 years later, King Herod undertook a program of large-scale renovations and expansions, which included the still-standing Western Wall. As part of a series of depictions of the Mount throughout ancient times, the archaeologist Leen Ritmeyer has created drawings of the results. He writes:

Herod extended the Hasmonean Temple Mount in three directions: north, west, and south. At the northwest corner he built the Antonia Fortress and in the south, the magnificent Royal Stoa. In 19 BCE [he] began the most ambitious building project of his life, the rebuilding of the Temple and the Temple Mount in lavish style. . . . Today’s Temple Mount boundaries still reflect this enlargement.

Read more at Ritmeyer Archaeological Design

More about: Ancient Israel, Archaeology, Herod, Jerusalem, Second Temple, Temple Mount


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