Posts Tagged ‘Jerusalem Post’

Finding King David’s Palace

July 22, 2013

I think I will move on to something completely different from recent events in Florida and the scoundrels who are taking advantage of them. In Israel, archaeologists have been excavating the ruins of a palace believe to date from the time of King David. I read about this fascinating story in the Jerusalem Post.

Maybe they will find David's sligshot

Maybe they will find David’s slingshot

A joint excavation led by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Israel Antiquities Authorities discovered two of the largest structures ever uncovered from the Kingdom of Judea, the Israel Antiquities Authorities announced on Thursday.

Researchers Prof. Yossi Garfinkel and Saar Ganor identified one of the structures as a palace of King David, while the other as a large storage structure for the kingdom.

The excavation, which lasted seven years, gives evidence to state building and administrative organization during the time of King David.

According to Garfinkel and Ganor, “The ruins are the best example to date of the uncovered fortress city of King David,” giving researchers a step up in understanding the origins of the kingdom of Judah.

“This is indisputable proof of the existence of a central authority in Judah during the time of King David,” the archaeologists said.

Until now, no palaces were clearly attributable to the early tenth century BC. According to the archeologists, the site, named ‘Khirbet Qeiyafa’, was probably destroyed in a battle against the Philistines in 980 BC.

Recent excavations at Khirbet Qeiyafa, the first early Judean city to be dated by 14C, clearly indicate a well planned fortified city in Judah as early as the late 11th-early 10th centuries BC. This new data has far reaching implication for archaeology, history and biblical studies.

Khirbet Qeiyafa is located 30 km southwest of Jerusalem, on the summit of a hill that borders the Elah Valley on the north. This is a key strategic location in the biblical Kingdom of Judah, on the main road from Philistia and the Coastal Plain to Jerusalem and Hebron in the hill country. The city was constructed on bedrock, 2.3 hectares in area, surrounded by massive fortifications of megalithic stones. Five seasons of excavation were carried out in 2007-2011, five areas of the site (Areas A-E) were examined, and nearly 20% of the city has been uncovered. The expedition excavated 200 m of the city wall, two gates, a pillar building and 10 houses. In this area one of the world’s most famous battles took place, the battle between David and Goliath.

Such urban planning has not been found at any Canaanite or Philistine city, nor in the northern Kingdom of Israel, but is a typical feature of city planning in Judean cities: Beersheba, Tell Beit Mirsim, Tell en-Nasbeh and Tell Beth-Shemesh. Khirbet Qeiyafa is the earliest known example of this city plan and indicates that this pattern had already been developed by the time of King David.

The city came to an end in a sudden destruction, as indicated by hundreds of pottery vessels, stone utensils and metal objects left on the floors of the houses. Very rich assemblages of pottery, stone tools and metal objects were found, as well as many cultic objects, scarabs, seals and the most famous Khirbet Qeiyafa ostracon, an inscription written with ink on a pottery sherd. The recent excavations also revealed fragments of a special alabaster stone imported from Egypt.

Around the perimeter of the palace were rooms in which various installations were found – evidence of a metal industry, special pottery vessels and fragments of alabaster vessels that were imported from Egypt, archaeologists said.

A pillared building 15 meters long by 6 meters wide was exposed in the north of the city, which was used as an administrative storeroom, they said.

The importance of the discovery of the biblical city led the Israel Antiquities Authority in collaboration with the Natural Parks Authority to reject a proposal to build a new neighborhood close to the site, declaring the area and its surroundings a national park.

There are many historians who believe King David to be a legendary figure and that he either did not exist at all, or his accomplishments in the Old Testament are very much exaggerated. Denying David’s existence would seem to be an extreme and untenable position given that there was a dynasty ruling in Judah that claimed descent from David. Someone had to have founded the dynasty. The eleventh and tenth centuries BC in the Middle East are something of a dark age since there are few reliable records of that time. If it were not for the Bible, we probably would have no records of David at all.

This discovery does not prove that David existed or that the records in the Bible are accurate, but it does indicate that there was something like a centralized state in the region at about the time in which David is believed to have lived. It will be interesting to see what develops from their work.

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Plus Ca Change

January 20, 2012

It really is depressing to consider how things never seem to really change, despite all of the changes the world has been through over the past century. It never seems to be the good things that stay the same. Rather it seems that the worst in human nature is the most resistant to positive change no matter how hard we try. A case in point is this article in the Jerusalem Post by Aaron D. Rubinger concerning the resurgence of European antisemitism.

Over the course of 2 months, I visited Jewish communities in the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, France, Belgium and the UK and interviewed dozens of Jewish leaders as well as “laymen” – both Jews and non-Jews. While attempting to determine the seriousness of contemporary European Anti-Semitism, I experienced what I would term “déjà Jew” – the peculiar sense that we, the members of Jewish people, are reliving an experience from the past; that we have somehow time-traveled and are now re-experiencing  occurrences that are all too familiar.

From the mid-1930s to early 1940s, Jews who recognized that they were no longer safe in Europe anxiously sought refuge abroad. Sylvain Zenouda, the co-founder and current vice president of the Bureau National de Vigilance Contre l”Antisèmitism—an organization which monitors and documents anti-Semitism in France—told me that educated young Jews in France with the financial means to do so have either fled the country or are making plans to flee. Again?

80 years ago, our people were being verbally abused and brutally assaulted in public places. And now it seems to be happening all over again. Viviane Teitelbaum, a minister in the Brussels Regional Parliament, related an incident that occurred this past November involving a 13-year old Jewish girl in Brussels. The girl was brutally assaulted at her school, resulting in her hospitalization for multiple injuries including a concussion. The attackers were not members of the Third Reich’s SS, but a group of female Muslim students at the same school. The ringleader pronounced her to be a “filthy Jew!” Apparently, in the weeks prior to the attack, the girl’s father had approached the authorities and the school with complaints that there had been threats made by fellow classmates against his daughter.  Upon hearing that his concerns were simply brushed aside, I immediately thought of Yogi Berra’s famous gaff: “This is like déjà vu all over again!”

2 generations ago, some Jews sought to protect themselves by masquerading as Aryans. In an interview conducted in November, a Parisian mother related how the fear of being physically attacked by Muslim extremist thugs means that it is “not rare at all today” for French Jewish students to attempt to pass themselves off as Muslim – with some even going as far as to fast on Ramadan. One case in point was a Jewish girl of North African descent who for years was successful in this deception, until finally she was “exposed” when Muslim girls caught her eating matzah in the bathroom during Pesah. After her classmates beat her viciously, they invited their male Muslim friends to their school to participate in a gang rape.

Now, I know that most, if not all, of the attacks on Jews in Europe are by the growing numbers of Muslim immigrants. But, I also know perfectly well that if the authorities in France and elsewhere were seriously interested in stopping such incidents, they would be stopped. But that would take courage and it is a lot easier to look the other way.

 

Back to the Future

May 30, 2011

Here we go again. From the Jerusalem Post. They’re forming a Nazi Party in Egypt. The story doesn’t say how large this party is, only that they were underground during the Mubarrak administration and are now out in the open and growing rapidly. Their Facebook pages have some 70 followers

The newspaper said it could not verify the report, but said it found two Facebook pages that appeared recently under the title of “the Egyptian Nazi Party,” which have so far attracted 70 followers.

Members are “increasing at an unexpected rate, and several people came to ask about the nature of the party and its plans,” the report said.

The party has a one-year plan to develop Egypt – unlike the “marginalized liberal parties, which are like dead bodies,” a source was quoted as saying.

The idea to start it came after some fundamentalist-religious waves emerged, which, according to the source, created a state of chaos, and led to the burning of churches, the destruction of shrines and assaults on unarmed civilians.

Responding to the report, Dr. Mordechai Kedar, of Bar-Ilan University’s Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, said Egypt was going through a highly turbulent period, adding that all manner of bizarre individuals were launching Facebook groups and attracting members.

Historically, he said, the German Nazi party saw three attempts to copy it in the Arab world in the 1930s in Lebanon, Iraq and Egypt. The Egyptian party of that time was led by former president Anwar Sadat, who went on to sign a peace treaty with Israel in 1979.

 

This isn’t really that surprising. There were links between the Nazis and various Arab nationalist groups during World War II and Hitler has been something of a hero in that part of the world for killing so many Jews. When you consider how chaotic the political situation in Egypt is at the moment, there are all sorts of movements coming out from the woodwork. I don’t think anyone can tell what kind of government Egypt will have in five years, but I doubt any developments will be good for Israel.

 

 


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