Photo Credit: Fight for Every Dunam Forum
The archaeological site of Joshua’s altar.

Joshua’s Altar is an archeological site dating to the Iron Age I, located on Mount Ebal in Samaria. It was discovered in 1980 by Israeli archaeologist Adam Zertal who dug the site for eight seasons and concluded that it was Joshua’s Altar as featured in the Book of Joshua 8:30-32:

At that time Joshua built an altar to the Eternal, the God of Israel, on Mount Ebal, as Moses, the servant of God, had commanded the Israelites—as is written in the Torah of Moses —an altar of unhewn stone upon which no iron had been wielded. They offered on it burnt offerings to God, and brought shlamim sacrifices (which may be consumed by the person who brings them – DI). And there, on the stones, he inscribed a copy of the Torah that Moses had written for the Israelites.

Zertal’s conclusions were debated throughout the 1980s, and its association with the great general remains in dispute to this day, but not its being an authentic archaeological site deserving preservation.


See also: Ancient Hebrew Amulet Discovered at Joshua’s Altar in Samaria

Tablet with God’s Name, Biblical Curse, Discovered on ‘Curse Mount’ Ebal in Samaria

Enter the Palestinian Authority. In January this year, the Fight for Every Dunam Forum (Dunam was the Ottoman unit of area, equivalent to 0.247 acres) released official PA documents that revealed blueprints for dozens of lots planned for the top of Mt. Ebal. The homes in those lots would stand on top of the archaeological remains and be a suburb of the nearby city of Shechem (Report: PA Constructing Illegal Settlement in and around Joshua’s Altar).

FEDF warned that “according to the plans, most of the area of the site is going to be razed and turned to gravel, and even the parts that will remain intact will also be destroyed in a short time and become completely out of Israeli control following the construction of the neighborhood that will swallow them up.”

Mind you, this infuriatingly barbaric project is being run with the enthusiastic support of the Civil Administration in the Territories, which conducted dozens of demolitions of Jewish outposts in the area, most recently last summer, when they evacuated a farm belonging to Yedidia Meshulami from Itamar. After the evacuation of the farm, the IDF placed an iron gate at the entrance to the ridge to prevent new Jews from entering.

A few months later, the PA began paving a main road in the nearby village and looted several dozen truckloads of altar stones and other precious archaeological remains that were crushed and used to pave the road. It was reminiscent of the Jordanian officials who used Jewish gravestones to pave the walkways in the Mount of Olives Jewish cemetery before 1967.

Meanwhile, the PA Arabs, energized by the evacuation of the farm, began a massive takeover of the rest of the ridge, including paving more roads, laying out electricity infrastructure, and establishing many agricultural plots.

When he became aware of the clandestine PA Arab plan, Defense Minister Yoav Galant announced that he ordered the IDF to guard the site (Gallant Pledges to Protect Joshua’s Altar Archaeological Site at Mount Ebal from PA Damage), but on Sunday it became apparent that PA workers had begun breaking through an initial path as part of the construction plan for the site. Where was the Civil Administration, you may wonder? Read all about it in this morning’s Jewish Press: Gallant’s Thugs Demolish Yitzhar Observation Area in Memory of Teen Terror Victim Rina Shnerb.

Moshe Gutman, chairman of Shomarim al-HaNetzach (Guardians of Eternity), said: “Gallant promised to guard the altar and reneged. The Palestinians recognized Israel’s weakness and decided to destroy Israel’s most valuable heritage asset in Samaria. If the state does not come to its senses now, the altar and its surroundings will be destroyed and lost forever. I call on the prime minister and the ministers of the Israeli government to deal with the issue immediately, otherwise, the altar will be destroyed.”

If I were a betting man, I’d say the odds are 1 in 5 that the Netanyahu Government will act firmly to halt PA construction at Joshua’s altar. After all, every Israeli government, including 6 Netanyahu governments, has been sitting on their hands while Arabs are destroying Solomon’s altar. You know, the one right above the Kotel?


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