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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The UN dismisses Jewish history because we do

On Monday, archeologist Eilat Mazar (pictured) made a momentous announcement.
Ancient stone fortifications that were recently uncovered outside the walls of Jerusalem's Old City date back some 3,000 years to the time of King Solomon and support the biblical narrative about the era, according to archeologist Dr. Eilat Mazar, who spoke to a group of reporters at the site on Monday.

If the age of the wall is correct, the finding would be an indication that Jerusalem was home to a strong central government that had the resources and manpower needed to build massive fortifications in the 10th century BCE.

"It's the most significant construction we have from First Temple days in Israel," Mazar said on Monday. "And it means that at that time, the 10th century, in Jerusalem there was a regime capable of carrying out such construction."

The section of the city wall revealed, which is 70 meters long and six meters high, is located in the area known as the Ophel, between the City of David and the southern wall of the Temple Mount.

An inner gatehouse for access into the royal quarter of the city was uncovered in the city wall complex, along with a royal structure adjacent to the gatehouse and a corner tower that overlooks a substantial section of the adjacent Kidron Valley.


"The city wall that has been uncovered testifies to a ruling presence," Mazar said. "Its strength and form of construction indicate a high level of engineering, and the city wall is at the eastern end of the Ophel area in a high, strategic location atop the western slope of the Kidron Valley.

"A comparison of this latest finding with city walls and gates from the period of the First Temple, as well as pottery found at the site, enable us to postulate, with a great degree of assurance, that the wall that has been revealed is that which was built by King Solomon in Jerusalem in the latter part of the tenth century BCE," she continued.

"This is the first time that a structure from that time has been found that may correlate with written descriptions of Solomon's building in Jerusalem," she added.

"The Bible tells us that Solomon built - with the assistance of the Phoenicians, who were outstanding builders - the Temple and his new palace and surrounded them with a city, most probably connected to the more ancient wall of the City of David."

Mazar specifically cited the third chapter of Kings I, which includes the words "until he [Solomon] had made an end of building his own house, and the house of the Lord, and the wall of Jerusalem round about."
At Contentions, Jonathan Tobin gushes that Mazar's findings make ancient Jewish ties to Jerusalem 'plain.'
The greatest threat to the hopes of those who think parts of Jerusalem should be off limits to Jews comes not when Jewish-owned buildings go up in the city, but rather when Jews start digging into the ground of East Jerusalem. Because the more the history of the city is uncovered, the less credible becomes the charge that Jews are alien colonists in what the media sometimes wrongly refers to as “traditionally Palestinian” or “Arab” Jerusalem.

That’s the upshot from the release of an amazing archeological dig conducted just outside of Jerusalem’s Old City.


The significance of this extraordinary find is that it provides new proof of the existence and power of the Davidic monarchy, the Israelite state that it led, and the more than 3,000-year-old Jewish presence in Jerusalem. These new discoveries, along with those of a previous dig in a different area of the city of David, contradict contrary Palestinian claims that the Jews have no claim to the area. They also debunk the assertions of some Israeli archeologists who have sought to portray the kingdom of David and Solomon as an insignificant tribal group and not the regional empire that the bible speaks about. Indeed, Mazar believes that the strength and the form of construction required to build these structures correlates with biblical passages that speak of Solomon’s building of a royal palace and of the Temple with the assistance of master builders from Phoenicia (modern day Lebanon). Moreover, contrary to those who speak of the Jewish presence in the city as a passing phase in ancient times, the discovery of Jewish seals, which speak directly of an Israelite state, proves that what Mazar has found are not the remains of a Jebusite fort conquered by the Jews but rather of a great city built by David and his son Solomon.

While finding ancient Jewish artifacts as well as the traces of Solomon’s city in Jerusalem may seem nothing out of the ordinary, for the last century and a half, a great many academics and intellectuals have attempted to put down the existence of the ancient Jewish kingdom — which has always served as a symbol of Jewish nationhood — as a religiously-inspired fiction. This deconstruction of both biblical literature and history has sought to undermine the very idea of the historical truth about ancient Israel as well as the notion that Jewish nationhood had its roots in the past. This has been put to use by anti-Zionists and Arabs who have thought that if they could destroy the idea of King David’s existence as a historic figure, they could delegitimize modern Israel. Thus, Palestinian propagandists and the Palestinian Authority itself, which has steadfastly denied any Jewish connection to the Old City, the Temple Mount, or even the Western Wall, have copied revisionist scholarly work doubting Jewish history and incorporated that work into their negotiating position about the city’s future. The Muslim religious authority that controls the site of the Temple Mount has vandalized the area, destroying a treasure trove of antiquities in the ancient place because they fear that any find that betrays the Jewish origins of the place will undermine their fallacious claims that seek to portray Jews as foreign occupiers in their own ancient capital.
What Tobin leaves unmentioned is that the denial of the Jewish connection to Jerusalem, and the efforts to construct Muslim holy sites atop Jewish ones, fits with Islam's narrative of itself as the only true religion, which narrative has led to the attempt to usurp not only Jewish holy sites, but also Christian, Hindu and pagan holy sites, among others.

By the way, there are more pictures of the dig here.

The government of Israel made another momentous announcement on Sunday. The cabinet unanimously approved Prime Minister Netanyahu's 'heritage plan,' which aims to connect Israelis to their natural, cultural and religious history. At the behest of Shas, which many here regard as an anti-Zionist party because it is ultra-Orthodox, Prime Minister Netanyahu added Rachel's Tomb in Bethlehem and the Machpeila Cave in Hebron to the list of protected sites. That riled up Israel's chattering classes:
Minutes prior to the cabinet meeting, Netanyahu announced that in response to pressure from Shas, he was adding two places to the provisional list of heritage sites: the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron and Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem.

Prior to his announcement, no sites that were located on land expected by many to be transferred to the Palestinians in a future peace agreement were included on the list.

“Our existence here in our country depends not only on the IDF’s might and our technological and economic resilience. It is anchored, first and foremost, in the store of knowledge and the national sentiment we will bestow upon the coming generations, in our ability to justify our connection to the land, to ourselves and to others,” Netanyahu said at the start of the cabinet meeting, held on the 90th anniversary of the fall of national hero Joseph Trumpeldor at Tel Hai.

Netanyahu said development of the heritage plan will be coordinated by Cabinet Secretary Zvi Hauser and will involve 12 government ministries. It will be implemented over the next five years at an estimated cost of NIS 600 million. NIS 400m. of this will come from the state and NIS 200m. from external agencies like the Jewish Agency and the Jewish National Fund.

“I believe that this project is of national importance at the highest level and that at least some of the sites are world cultural assets of high international importance,” Netanyahu said.

“A crisis in values is threatening our collective identity. A new generation of Israelis, for whom the Zionist experience is foreign, take their lives here for granted and is being raised in an environment of cultural shallowness with dwindling knowledge and spirituality. Zionism for them lacks charm and vitality,” Hauser wrote in the 50-page outline of the Heritage Plan.

“Success in the values arena begins with the ability to tell the story of the link between the nation and the land.”
You would think, given that mandate, that it would not have taken last minute grandstanding by Shas (which has shown for the second time in three months that it is a Zionist party par excellence - recall that it was Shas that forced Netanyahu to agree to hundreds of housing starts in Judea and Samaria just before the 'settlement freeze' was implemented) to convince the government to include what are arguably Judaism's second and third holiest sites on the list. But you would have been wrong. The 'crisis that threatens our collective identity,' believes the government, can somehow by resolved while ignoring our connection to 'land expected by many to be transferred to the Palestinians in a future peace agreement.' Huh?

Given the callousness with which our own government treats our connection to the land of Israel, I suppose we should not be surprised that the United Nations Coordinator for the 'Middle East peace process' has as little respect for the Jewish connection to the land of Israel as our government does.
"These sites are in occupied Palestinian territory and are of historical and religious significance not only to Judaism but also to Islam, and to Christianity as well," said Robert Serry in a statement Monday. "I urge Israel not to take any steps on the ground which undermine trust or could prejudice negotiations, the resumption of which should be the highest shared priority of all who seek peace."

Serry called for "restraint and calm,"adding that he would like to see "more positive steps by Israel to enable Palestinian development and state-building in the area and throughout the West Bank, reflecting a genuine commitment to the two state solution."

Earlier Monday in Hebron, a crowd of Palestinian youths pelted IDF soldiers with stones and empty bottles, drawing tear gas and stun grenades.

Hebron merchants shuttered their stores to protest of Sunday's heritage plan decision, and some 100 youths burned tires and threw stones and bottles at IDF troops in the city. The IDF said a soldier was lightly wounded, while Palestinians said three protesters suffered from tear gas inhalation.
Here's Tobin again.
Serry went out of his way to condemn the recently announced National Heritage Plan announced by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu because two ancient Jewish religious shrines were included in the list of sites to be preserved and protected. Serry objected to the inclusion of Rachel’s Tomb outside Bethlehem and the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron in the list of essential places in Jewish history, because the two are in the West Bank and thus, in his view, “occupied Palestinian territory.” The fact that they are located on land that is subject to dispute between the two parties is of no interest to the UN official who, despite his status as a peace mediator, is ready to dictate where the borders of a putative Palestinian state must be. But Serry’s argument is not merely one of borders, because in the same statement he claimed that the sites “are of historical and religious significance not only to Judaism but also to Islam, and to Christianity as well.”

It is true that Christians and Muslims have an intrinsic interest in any biblical site. And since Muslims, like Jews, consider Abraham to be one of their patriarchs, they have a religious stake in the Cave of the Patriarchs. But Muslims have never been willing to share this most ancient of Jewish shrines with other faiths. Throughout the history of Muslim control of the land of Israel, through the Ottoman era and even during the time of British rule, Jews were forbidden to enter the cave and were, instead, constrained to ascend no higher than the seventh step of the entrance to the sacred place. Jewish prayer inside the cave only resumed in June 1967, after the Israeli conquest of Hebron, after which the two religions have shared the place despite the history of tension and bloodshed in the Hebron area.

As for Rachel’s Tomb, it is simply a lie to consider it anything but a Jewish synagogue. No faith but Judaism has ever held worship services in the place or considered it a shrine. Recent Palestinian propaganda that has attempted to portray it as some sort of a Muslim site are of recent invention.

But much like the history of the Western Wall in Jerusalem, where Jews were forbidden even to visit while it was under Muslim sovereignty from 1949 to 1967 during Jordan’s illegal occupation of East Jerusalem, the only thing that has guaranteed Jewish access to both the Hebron and Bethlehem sites has been Israel’s control of these areas. Moreover, and this is a crucial point, the only time in the history of Jerusalem or Bethlehem or Hebron that these religious sites have been kept free and open to all visitors of all faiths has been the 42 years since the Six-Day War. Netanyahu’s Heritage Plan is no threat to other faiths, because only Israel is committed to religious freedom and the protection of all religious shrines.
Some of you may recall how four months ago, I told the story of how Rachel's tomb remained in Area C (full Israeli civil and military control) under the Oslo Accords, and was not transferred to Area A (full Arab civil and military control). It's a story that bears repeating. "
During the Rabin administration, Kever Rachel was slated to fall into 'Area A', that is, under full Arab civil and military control. Upon seeing this, Knesset Member Chanan Porat [National Religious Party. CiJ] decided that he must speak with Rabin in the hopes of changing his mind. As Chanan Porat was walking to Rabin's office, Knesset Member Rabbi Menachem Porush [United Torah Judaism. CiJ] asked Porat where he was going. Hearing that Porat was about to fight for Kever Rachel, Porush asked to join in the meeting. At Rabin's office, Chanan Porat was diligently explaining the ins and outs of the security situation at Kever Rachel and making rational arguments that did not seem to move Rabin.

"Suddenly Rabin looked at Porush and saw that he was crying. Porush held Rabin's hands and with tears streaming down his face, said: 'Yitzchak, it's Mamma Rachel, Mamma Rachel.' At that moment Rabin's heart opened, and he altered the map so that Kever Rachel would remain in Jewish hands."
On Monday, Menachem Porush, of blessed memory was buried here in Jerusalem. He was 93 years old. Thousands of Jerusalemites came out to pay their respects. Unfortunately, Porush's former party (now United Torah Judaism) and that of Chanan Porat (now the Jewish Home) died with Porush. They have shriveled into meaninglessness because they have forgotten what they stand for. They have left it to Shas and one other party that is outside the coalition to advocate for the Jewish connection to the land of Israel.

Something is seriously wrong.


At 4:46 PM, Blogger nomatter said...

Every Jew denies this?

To place the Antisemitic UN on the same parallel with those who made major mistakes is completely false.

I have a good friend whose son while in the IDF came an inch of dying in Hevron. Ask me, I think all sons of Israel should do military service but they don't.

Mistakes are made but when push comes to shove the land of Israel belongs to all Jews. If a secular Jew spends months walking the streets of Hevron guarding the lives of those around them, there is something much deeper and holier then the Jewish history not only the UN tries to distort and destroy but much of the Christian world.

We continue to give US politicians more forgiveness then our own.

We need to be kinder to each other for when all is said and done, we are the only friends we have. (even with flaws!!)

At 11:15 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Secular Zionism is all but dead. The Jews will be able to live in Israel only if they remember G-d. If they forget Him, they will perish from the Land. Its not an unconditional bequest to the Jewish people: G-d's fulfillment of His promise is formulated as "If... then." When the Jewish people finally believe the Land Of Israel is His suzerainty and not theirs to give away, will they then securely dwell in it.

Jews dismiss their allegiance to G-d to their own peril.


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