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July 29, 2016 / 23 Tammuz, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Herod’

Illegal Antiquities Trader Busted in Jerusalem Raid

Wednesday, June 15th, 2016

by Michael Zeff

A souvenir shop in the Mamilla Mall near Jerusalem’s Old City was raided by officers of the Israel Antiquities Authority’s (IAA) Tuesday night after it was discovered that the store served as a front for illegal antiquities trading. The raid yielded a treasure trove of close to a thousand items of questionable provenance. Bronze arrowheads thousands of years old, coins minted 2,000 years ago during the days of King Herod, Hasmonean rulers, and even Alexander the Great, and special vessels for storing perfumes.

“The souvenir shop, which did not have an antiquities sales license, had been under surveillance for a while,” Dr. Eitan Klein, who supervises the antiquities trade for the IAA, told TPS, adding, “During the second stage of the investigation, our agents posed as collectors and tourists, and purchased undocumented ancient artifacts from the shop. Finally, last night we raided the place and seized all the illegal antiquities. This operation is part of a broader enforcement of new laws and regulations governing the Israeli antiquities trade.”

According to the IAA, these regulations and the subsequent law enforcement activities are designed to prevent antiquities dealers from laundering illegal artifacts that are the product of antiquities robbery, the illicit excavation for profit of archaeological sites.

“Laundering artifacts means taking antiquities obtained through robbery, and inserting them into merchants’ commercial inventory in order to pass them off as legal and sell them. We estimate that today about 90% of undocumented and unregulated artifacts originate in robbery and looting,” Klein explained.

A salesperson at the store in question, Mamilla Souvenir’s (sic), denied all the allegations, telling TPS that “all our goods are clean. I’m sure the matter will be cleared in the next few days.” However, according to the IAA, an indictment will soon be filed against the shop’s owner, who was unavailable to comment.

“Antiquities robbers and the unlicensed antiquities dealers will very quickly come to understand that they have no one to sell the stolen antiquities to and, in the absence of demand, the plundering of antiquities in Israel will be greatly reduced,” predicted the head of IAA’s Antiquities Robbery Prevention Unit, Amir Ganor.

The Tazpit News Agency

Analysis: MK Yehuda Glick Just Keeps On Glicking

Tuesday, May 31st, 2016

For a newly appointed Member of Knesset, American-born Yehuda Glick (Likud) is not exactly keeping his head down in the back benches. Since before his swearing-in, Glick has been engaged in a seemingly endless monologue, over his Facebook page and through the media, about his belief system and political agenda, which—to everyone’s surprise—is much more liberal and centrist than one would have expected from a “rightwing extremist,” the tag the media had tied to his big toe.

So he started posting very mainstream, rational, even slightly left-leaning messages, including his shock at the behavior of that IDF soldier who shot and killed a terrorist who was already lying on the ground. That statement made him some favorable headlines, and soon enough he became a kind of pet-rightwinger, sharing his views on everything to the amusement of the readers everywhere.

Yehuda Glick is a serious man, despite his disheveled red hair and rumpled suits. He has been a consistent voice in favor of Jewish presence on the Temple Mount, and almost paid for it with his life when an Arab terrorist tried to assassinate him at point-blank. But he should probably be more careful when he gives interviews to, say Ha’aretz, spewing what sounds like radical observations without the benefit of historic or scholarly context. It’s difficult to overestimate the ignorance of the average Israeli leftwing reader of traditional Jewish sources, and so one probably should refrain from making the following observation:

“The Kotel is important to me just like the whole Old City is important to me,” Glick told Ha’aretz on Tuesday. “There’s no difference between the Western Wall and the eastern wall, the southern and northern walls. The Kotel is important to me because millions of Jews raise their eyes to it. But the Temple Mount is the only holy site. The Kotel doesn’t have that. It is a heaven and earth kind of difference. It’s like your parking garage is important to you, but you won’t compare your parking garage to your bedroom. So I’m not comparing the Kotel to a parking garage, but it does not have the same holiness as the Temple Mount.”

The fact is, Glick is absolutely right. The Temple Mount is where two Jewish temples have stood, while the Kotel was a supporting wall built by King Herod around the year zero, during the renovations of the Temple. As someone who shares Glick’s love for the Temple Mount, I understand his frustration when he looks down on the multitudes gathered like working ants by the Kotel, when all they have to do is walk up twenty yards and with their sheer numbers break through the police barricades, the Arab threats, everything, and stand in an earth-changing Amidah prayer where it counts.

I would venture that very few of Glick’s readers in Ha’aretz Tuesday understood that this is what he meant. Because this is what he said further on in the interview: “This is a place that causes harm, because people think it’s a holy place, and they think it’s a substitute for the Temple Mount. People come to the Kotel and feel they’ve reached the summit. It’s not a summit, it’s nothing. People are enjoying the substitute, which in my eyes is a desecration of God.”

Again, Glick is not so far from the truth, although he does step on the toes of literally millions of good Jews who have flocked to the Kotel over the centuries, and especially since 1967. And next, to the delight of the left, Glick outright condemns good Jews who pray at the Kotel:

“God said that He chose one place and people come and say, ‘that’s not true, we decided You picked a different place.’ It’s almost tantamount to the sin of the gold calf, when the whole nation said, ‘This is your god, Israel.’ It’s a huge desecration of God. … It’s almost similar to if the Zionists had gone to Uganda despite the fact that God said the Land of Israel.”

And so, in three paragraphs, MK Yehuda Glick removed his covers of a liberal democrat, protector of fallen terrorists and lover of every person, and revealed the raging fundamentalist within, unable to contain his ire at the multitudes who just won’t listen.

The fact is, Yehuda Glick is not that kind of a fundamentalist, although he is willful and persistent. He is kind and sweet, and probably the best representative the lovers of the Temple Mount have found in many years. Former MK Moshe Feiglin was also a persistent advocate for Jewish ascent to the Temple Mount, but his style is too precise and restrained to appeal to the masses the way Glick has been doing.

Glick should beware, though, of his newly acquired power, and avoid delivering to the unschooled messages they cannot truly comprehend. By telling the Ha’aretz readers that the Kotel is just like the gold calf (he said no such thing, but I’ll bet you, that’s what they took away) he did not advance the cause of Jewish redemption. Let’s hope he didn’t harm it much.

David Israel

Serious Damage to Solomon’s Pools Still Neglected by Palestinian Authority

Tuesday, May 10th, 2016

One of the largest and most impressive architectural projects ever built by King Herod in the Second Temple era — the reservoir that fed water to the Second Jewish Holy Temple of Jerusalem — is falling apart.

But because it is under the control of the Palestinian Authority, making repairs to the archaeological wonder called “Solomon’s Pools” is not as simple as it seems.

The site comprises a three-part water reservoir located in the southern section of what is known today as the Arab village of Al Khader, just south of Bethlehem.

The site is therefore located in “Area A” of the Palestinian Authority and completely under its control; as a result, one must coordinate a visit there with the Israeli army.

The main pool is 16 meters deep and 170 meters long, and it was barely half a century ago when local residents stopped using the pool for agricultural irrigation. Before the 1967 Six Day War, residents of eastern Jerusalem were drawing water from the pools as well.

The three large reservoirs, partly hewn into the bedrock and partly built, have a total capacity of well over a quarter of a million cubic meters of water.

They were part of a complex ancient water system built more than 2,000 years ago by the Romans and King Herod. The system provided water to the city and the Second Jewish Holy Temple of Jerusalem – as well as to the desert fortress and town of Herodium.

The pools at that time were fed by two aqueducts, and by several springs in the surrounding countryside, in addition to rain water. Three other aqueducts brought the water from the reservoirs out to Jerusalem and to the Herodium. Remnants of all five aqueducts have been found by archaeologists.

Tour guide Ben Tropper told the Ynet news site that it was unclear whether the initial damage to the pool – a badly damaged wall – had resulted from the harsh weather or neglect.

However, if the damage is not fixed, soon, the reservoir may soon be beyond repair, because the main pool may collapse from the force of the water. The broken section of the wall is approximately 20 meters wide, Tropper explained. This means there is a strong possibility an avalanche could destroy the site.

Concerned citizens have asked the Palestinian Authority to repair and restore the site – or to allow Israel to do it instead.

Hana Levi Julian

Unique 65-Foot Long Entrance Discovered at Herodian Hilltop Palace

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

Archaeologists have discovered a monumental 65-foot long by 20-foot wide entryway to the Herodian Hilltop Palace at the Herodium National Park.

The unique complex was uncovered by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Institute of Archaeology during excavations by The Herodium Expedition in Memory of Ehud Netzer over the past year, as part of a project to develop the site for tourism.

The main feature of the entryway is an impressive corridor with a complex system of arches spanning its width on three separate levels. These arches buttressed the corridor’s massive side-walls, allowing the King and his entourage direct passage into the Palace Courtyard. Thanks to the supporting arches, the corridor has been preserved to a height of 65 feet..

Hebrew University archaeologists Roi Porat, Yaakov Kalman and Rachel Chachy suggest that the corridor was built as part of Herod’s plan to turn Herodium into a massive artificial volcano-shaped hill, a vast and impressive monument designed to commemorate the architect-King.

Surprisingly, during the course of the excavations, it became evident that the arched corridor was never actually in use, as prior to its completion it became redundant. This appears to have happened when Herod, aware of his impending death, decided to convert the whole hilltop complex into a massive memorial mound, a royal burial monument on an epic scale.

Whatever the case, the corridor was back-filled during the construction of the massive artificial hill at the end of Herod’s reign. The upper section of a new monumental stairway stretching from the hill’s base to its peak, constructed during the course of this building phase, appears to have been built over it.

The excavators point out that not only was the arched corridor covered over in the course of the construction of the hill-monument, but also were all the structures earlier built by Herod on the hill’s slopes, including the Royal Theater uncovered by the expedition in 2008.

The only edifice not covered over was the splendid mausoleum-style structure, identified by Netzer, now deceased, and the expedition as Herod’s burial-place. Together with the monumental cone-shaped hill, this constituted the unique Herodian Royal burial-complex.

During the course of the current excavations, the original impressive Palace vestibule, blocked when the corridor became redundant, was also exposed. This entry-room, decorated with splendid painted frescoes, had a magnificent entryway leading into it, and offered evidence of the rebel occupation during the Great Revolt (66-71 CE), including Jewish Revolt coinage and crude temporary structures.

In addition, the excavations in the arched corridor also turned up impressive evidence from the Bar Kokhba Revolt period (132-135/6 CE): hidden tunnels dug on the site by the rebels as part of the guerilla warfare they waged against the Romans.

Supported in part by wooden beams, these tunnels exited from the hilltop fortress by way of the corridor’s walls, through openings hidden in the corridor. One of the tunnels revealed a well-preserved construction of 20 or so cypress-wood branches, arranged in a cross-weave pattern to support the tunnel’s roof.

In the future, according to Mr. Shaul Goldstein, Director of Israel’s Nature and Parks Authority, the excavation of the arched corridor will allow visitors direct access to the Herodium hilltop palace-fortress, in the same way that Herod entered it two thousand years ago.

There are also plans to provide tourists direct access from the structures on the slope, the Royal Theater and the Mausoleum, via the earlier monumental stairway, to the hilltop Palace.

Unique palace entry complex discovered at Herodian Hilltop Palace by Hebrew University archaeologists.

Entranceway at Herodian Hilltop Palace.

Aerial view of Herodian.

Aerial view of Herodian.

archaeology herdo aerial viet tazpit aerial

Jewish Press Staff

Archaeologists Inaugurate King Solomon’s Coronation Site

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

In a secret ceremony held Tuesday, officials inaugurated the  site of King Solomon’s coronation in the City of David.

The massive Canaanite fortress, built some 3,800 years ago, protects the Biblical Gihon Spring by allowing access to the water solely through a western entrance from within the city.

In the Book of Samuel (Shmuel) II, Chapter V, King David conquered the Zion Fortress from the Jebusite king and his men. Archaeologists believe it is possible they have discovered the fortress referred to in the Biblical passage, entered by King David’s soldiers as they conquered Jerusalem from the Jebusites.

At the beginning of the Book of Kings I, the prophet Nathan and Tzadok HaKohen describe the coronation of King Solomon as having taken place “on Gihon.” Researchers believe the ceremony took place at the heart of the Spring House, over the gushing Gihon Spring.

“When we open the Bible and read about King Solomon who was crowned here, on the Gihon Spring, today you can come and see that this is where it all started,” said Oriya Desberg, director of development at the City of David.

It took archaeologists 15 years to uncover the structure in one of the most complex and digs ever undertaken in the State of Israel.

The Spring House is a massive Canaanite fortress built in the 18th century BCE and is the largest such structure ever uncovered from the pre-Herodian period.

The archaeological dig from which the fortress emerged was led by Haifa University’s Professor Ronny Reich and Eli Shukron of the Israel Antiquities Authority.

“In order to protect the water source, they built not only the tower, but also a fortified passageway that allowed the city residents a safe access to the water source,” explained archaeologist G. Uziel. The passageway continued to operate until the end of the Iron Age, the archaeologist said, “and it was only when the First Temple was destroyed that the fortress collapsed into ruins and was no longer used.”

The walls  – 23 feet (seven meters) thick – were built with stones that are about ten feet (two to three meters) wide, and no mechanical tools were used in the construction.

Hana Levi Julian

PA Archaeological Thief Caught Red-Handed Digging Up Artifacts

Sunday, November 17th, 2013

Israel’s Antiquities Authority IAA) has caught a Palestinian Authority Arab thief red-handed while digging up ancient artifacts in the Jerusalem Hills.

The IAA’s theft-prevention unit told Tazpit News Agency that the robber, from the village of Hussan in Gush Etzion, was caught trying to dig up and steal artifacts at the “Bohan Ruins.”

Earlier the same day, an inspector of the Nature Reserves Authority and the IAA chased away a gang of robbers from the “Toora Ruins” in the Nahal Soreq area, west of Jerusalem. Artifacts from the Second Temple-era of Herod and Hashmonean times are located there, and the thieves caused extensive and irreversible damage to the sites by reckless digging.

Information acquired by the theft detention unit enabled officials to set up a lookout and spot the gang while it was hiding in nearby bush.

During the day, the gang had proceeded on foot to the Bohan Ruins, the location of a village from the Byzantine period and where a church stood as its center. The gang, which had brought along sleeping bags and food, then worked under the cover of dark and at one point reached only a few feet from the theft-prevention unit.

One of the robbers was caught red-handed looking for artifacts with an advanced tool for locating metal objects, particularly ancient coins. The suspect was remanded in a Jerusalem court, and prosecutors are preparing indictments,

Dr. Eitan Klein, deputy director of theft-prevention unit, said, “The gang, in its greed for money, caused damage to a large number of archaeological sites in the Jerusalem Hills, including destruction of pieces of our historic puzzle. The Jerusalem Hills, and Nahal Soreq in particular, are rich in archaeological artifacts that are evidence of varied cultures and the history of Israel, and two of these sites were damaged over the weekend,”

IAA spokesmen also told Tazpit News Agency, that the Antiquities Authority is investing resources to protect the inheritance of the Land of Israel and emphasized that digging in archaeological sites without permission is a serious crime that can land culprits In prison or up to five years.

The IAA said it hopes that the arrest will help put an end to the latest wave of thievery of Israel’s ancient history.

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/pa-archaeological-robber-caught-red-handed-digging-up-artifacts/2013/11/17/

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