Israel

Ancient mug workshop found near site of Jesus wine miracle

Israeli archeologists on Thursday unveiled a 2,000-year-old workshop for making stone vessels similar to those Jesus is believed to have used to miraculously turn water into wine. Located near the Galilee village of Reineh in northern Israel, the site is walking distance from Cana, the site of a wedding where the Gospel of John says Jesus performed the miracle, his first. The workshop and an adjoining quarry were discovered by chance during the construction of an access road for a new sports centre, excavation director Yonatan Adler said. Since the discovery two months ago, Adler and his team have uncovered fragments of chalkstone mugs and bowls along with thousands of cylindrical chalk cores discarded in the process of hollowing out the vessels with a lathe. They are typical of a period from the second half of the first century BC to the middle of the first century AD. Jews of the period used stoneware for reasons of religious observance, Adler said. “According to ancient Jewish ritual law, vessels made of pottery are easily made impure and must be broken. Stone, on the other hand, was thought to be a material which can never become ritually impure,” he said. That practice was noted in John’s New Testament account of the Cana wedding, which described larger vessels: “There were set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews.” “So far at this site we haven’t found production of these large jars,” Adler said. “But presumably the stone jars that would have been used at Cana would have been produced at a site like this, probably in the area.” He said that prior to the Reineh excavation two similar sites had been excavated, both near Jerusalem. “What’s exciting here is that for the first time we have physical evidence of production of stone vessels here in Galilee,” he said. “There has always been a question amongst scholars regarding the nature of Judaism in Galilee,” something particularly important when studying early Christianity, he said. “The question is, who are these people that are living in Galilee?”

Fascinating!!   🙂

12th Dead Sea Scrolls cave discovered in Israel

Researchers have discovered a new cave in Israel that they say once held Dead Sea Scrolls, making it just the 12th such cave of its kind found. The find is thus a milestone, according to the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The cave was looted long before the archeologists excavated it, but inside they found telltale signs that scrolls had been there: broken storage jars and lids on its edges and in a tunnel in the back. “This exciting excavation is the closest we’ve come to discovering new Dead Sea scrolls in 60 years. Until now, it was accepted that Dead Sea scrolls were found only in 11 caves at Qumran, but now there is no doubt that this is the 12th cave,” Oren Gutfeld, an archaeologist at the Hebrew University’s Institute of Archaeology and director of the excavation, said in a statement. “Although at the end of the day no scroll was found, and instead we ‘only’ found a piece of parchment rolled up in a jug that was being processed for writing, the findings indicate beyond any doubt that the cave contained scrolls that were stolen.” Archaeologists also found a string that would have tied the scrolls, as well as pottery, flint blades, and arrowheads. “The findings include the jars in which the scrolls and their covering were hidden, a leather strap for binding the scroll, a cloth that wrapped the scrolls, tendons and pieces of skin connecting fragments, and more,” Gutfeld added. A professor and students from Liberty University in Virginia also helped with the research. The team also found the iron remnants of pickaxes in the cave. The Hebrew University of Jerusalem said that it was looted by Bedouins in the 1950s. “The important discovery of another scroll cave attests to the fact that a lot of work remains to be done in the Judean Desert and finds of huge importance are still waiting to be discovered,” Israel Hasson, Director-General of the Israel Antiquities Authority, said in the statement. “We are in a race against time as antiquities thieves steal heritage assets worldwide for financial gain.”

Fascinating!!   🙂

Editorial: Obama’s Shameful Parting Shot at Israel

In a parting, spiteful shot at Israel, the Obama administration permitted a U.N. Security Council resolution to pass that seeks to permanently change the international legal status of so-called Israeli “settlements” in Jerusalem and the disputed West Bank. Departing from almost 50 years of bipartisan American precedent — and from the administration’s own past practice — the Obama administration abstained from a vote for the resolution demanding that Israel “cease all settlement activities” and declaring that all existing settlements were in “flagrant violation” of international law. Just yesterday the resolution appeared dead, as Egypt, the resolution’s original sponsor, withdrew it under pressure from the incoming Trump administration. The president-elect took the unusual step of injecting himself into a U.N. controversy before taking office precisely because the Obama foreign-policy team was broadcasting its intent to abstain. Incredibly, however, four nations with precisely zero security interests at stake in the Middle East — New Zealand, Malaysia, Venezuela, and Senegal — revived the resolution and forced a vote. The administration’s fecklessness has harmed Israel, endangers ordinary Israelis, and hurts the elusive quest for an enduring peace. Moreover, the Trump administration is powerless to revoke the resolution: It would have to introduce and pass a new resolution, and either Russia or China would be sure to veto it. Thus, Israel will find itself at the bargaining table in any future peace negotiation with Palestinian territorial demands backed by the U.N.’s most powerful body. By declaring that settlements — including “settlements” in Israel’s capital — violate international law, the resolution purports to carve into stone the armistice lines that existed at the end of Israel’s war for independence. Yet these lines didn’t become lawful permanent borders precisely because hostile Arab nations specifically refused to recognize the existing battle lines as Israel’s border, specifically declined to create a Palestinian state, and instead maintained a posture of armed hostility to Israel. Indeed, since the West Bank hasn’t been part of a sovereign nation since the fall of the Ottoman Empire, the so-called occupied territories aren’t truly “occupied” under international law. They’re more accurately termed “disputed” territories, with the precise resolution of the dispute to be negotiated by the relevant parties. There are implications for ordinary Israelis as well. If an Israeli lives in a suburb of Jerusalem, is he or she now a criminal? Can he be arrested and tried in activist courts in Europe or in international legal tribunals? Radical U.N. action will only harden Palestinian intransigence and worsen already rising anti-Semitism (thinly disguised as anti-Zionism) on the international left. To put this radical resolution in context, under its terms, it is now an alleged violation of international law that the Western Wall remains in Israeli hands. It’s difficult to interpret the Obama administration’s actions as anything other than a parting shot at Israel and its prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. The Obama administration’s frustrations with the Netanyahu government are well known, but now was hardly the time to break with almost 50 years of American policy, and frustration or spite were hardly sufficient reasons. As Trump said in his statement, if there is to be peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians, “it will only come through direct negotiations between the parties and not through the imposition of terms by the United Nations.” The world will soon move on from Barack Obama, but he’s doing his best to extend his legacy of failure and appeasement. The Palestinians deserved a rebuke. Instead they received a gift. Our closest Middle Eastern ally will pay the price.

Agreed!!  Obama is such a petty man.  This was essentially him giving Bibi the finger and sayin, “nanny nanny boo boo!”..and it is the regular folks in Israel who will pay the price for Obama’s pettiness.  Ironically, it is Bibi that may benefit from this, as he will be emboldened to fight back against the brazenly anti-Semitic United Nations.  The editors over at National Review were responsible for that spot on op/ed.

Underwater Hebrew tablet reveals Biblical-era ruler of Judea

A stone slab found off the coast of Israel has finally revealed the name of the ruler during one of the most iconic moments in Jewish history: the Bar Kokhba revolt. The slab dates to the second century A.D., a bloody time in Jewish history when a fiery leader named Simon bar Kokhba led a failed revolt against Roman rulers . The huge chunk of stone was found at an underwater site called Tel Dor, located about 18 miles south of the city of Haifa. The area once housed the Biblical city of Dor, which was occupied until the fourth century. Over the last 70 years, the site has yielded a treasure trove of pottery , anchors and other artifacts from ancient Israel. Ehud Arkin-Shalev and Michelle Kreiser, researchers from the Coastal Archaeology Laboratory at the University of Haifa, uncovered the giant slab while looking in the water of the Dor Nature Reserve. The inscription was clearly visible, even beneath the water, the researchers said. The team eventually decided to bring the slab out of the water, to prevent damage to the inscription. Researchers discovered that the massive, 1,300-lb. slab had seven lines of ancient Greek inscribed upon it. “The stone probably formed the base of a sculpture from the Roman period. As far as we know, this is the longest inscription found underwater in Israel,” Assaf Yasur-Landau, the University of Haifa archaeologist who led the excavation, said in a statement. Although the researchers have not completely deciphered the text, they have already made two discoveries: The inscription identified the Roman prefect in charge of Judea as Gargilius Antiques. Though researchers had found one other inscription bearing this name, that artifact did not mention the region Antiques ruled. In addition, the inscription confirms the name of the province involved in the revolt as Judea, which, until now, no inscription immediately preceding the Bar Kokhba revolt had stated, the researchers said. The inscription dates from a tumultuous time in Jewish history. The second temple was destroyed in A.D. 70, and around A.D. 132, tensions simmering between the Roman rulers of the province and the Jewish inhabitants boiled over once again. At that point, the Jewish leader Simon bar Kokhba led a revolt against the Romans. During the four years of fighting, both sides sustained heavy casualties, and many Jews were ultimately sold into slavery or scattered. “Immediately after the Bar Kokhba revolt, the Romans decided to abolish the province of Judea and to obliterate any mention of its name. The province was united with Syria to form a single province called Syria-Palestine,” Yasur-Landau said. “So what we have here is an inscription dated to just before Judea ceased to exist as a province under that name. Of the two inscriptions mentioning the name Judea, this is the latest, of course. Because such findings are so rare, it is unlikely that we will find many later inscriptions including the name Judea,”

Fascinating!! 🙂

Ancient city gate and shrine from Hebrew Bible uncovered

An ancient city gate and shrine that King Hezekiah ordered to be destroyed during the eighth century B.C., according to the Hebrew Bible, are seeing the light of day following an excavation in Israel, archaeologists reported. The so-called gate-shrine is likely evidence of actions taken by King Hezekiah, the 12th king of Judea, to abolish idols, according to the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA). Hezekiah’s father, Ahaz, was known as a godless man, and as soon as Hezekiah ascended the throne, he ordered the destruction of all of the false idols (objects, other deities or animals that people worshipped) in the kingdom, according to Chabad.org, a website on Judaism. In the Hebrew Bible, a verse explains how “He [Hezekiah] removed the high places, smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles [associated with a sacred goddess]…” (II Kings 18:4), the IAA said. The gate is located in the ancient city of Tel Lachish within an 80-by-80-foot six-chambered area, with three chambers on each side and the city’s main street passing between them, the IAA said. The northern section of the gate was unearthed decades ago by an expedition led by archaeologists from the United Kingdom and Tel Aviv University. The latest excavation, which took place from January to March 2016, focused on uncovering the entire gate, the IAA said. The excavation was no small task, as the gate is the largest one in Israel dating back to the First Temple period, a time when the kingdom used the temple built by King Solomon, the IAA said. “The size of the gate is consistent with the historical and archaeological knowledge we possess,” Sa’ar Ganor, an excavation director with the Israel Antiquities Authority, said in a statement. According to biblical narrative, “everything took place” at the gates of the ancient city of Tel Lachish, where the gate-shrine was originally built, the IAA said. High-ranking people — including city elders, judges, governors, kings and officials — would sit on the benches by the city gate, and “these benches were found in our excavation,” Ganor said. Moreover, the new discovery illustrates “how biblical tales that are known to us become historical and archaeological stories” as research progresses, said Ze’ev Elkin, who serves as minister of Jerusalem affairs and heritage and environmental protection as well as a member of the Knesset, the Israeli parliament.

Fascinating!!  To see a video about this discovery, and read the rest of the article, click on the text above.    🙂

Congress Investigating Obama Admin-Funded Campaign to Unseat Israeli PM

Congress on Friday launched a wide-ranging probe into a secret Obama administration-funded campaign to unseat Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, according to information exclusively obtained by the Washington Free Beacon. The probe comes on the heels of an internal government report determining that the State Department provided hundreds of thousands to an organization that plotted to unseat Netanyahu in the country’s 2015 election. Obama administration officials were found to have deleted emails from State Department accounts containing information about its relationship with OneVoice, the non-profit group that led the effort. OneVoice, which was awarded $465,000 in U.S. grants through 2014, has been under congressional investigation since 2015, when it was first accused of funneling some of that money to partisan political groups looking to unseat Netanyahu. This type of behavior by non-profit groups is prohibited under U.S. tax law. A group of nine leading lawmakers led by Sen. David Perdue (R., Ga.) are now formally petitioning the State Department to come clean about the effort and provide answers about how U.S. taxpayer dollars were permitted to be spent on an organization working against the elected leader of America’s closest Middle East ally…

Indeed!   Just more corruption and cover up by Obama and his administration..  To read the rest of this article, click on the text above..

State Department sent taxpayer money to group that attempted to oust Israel’s Netanyahu

The U.S. State Department sent nearly $350,000 to an advocacy group that worked to oust Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, according to a Senate report released Tuesday. OneVoice Movement, a group that supported peace negotiations between Israeli and Palestinian factions, received grants from the State Department during a 14-month period ending in November 2014, according to the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations report. Shortly after the U.S. grants ended, OneVoice merged with an Israeli group Victory 15, which launched a political campaign in Israel with a goal to elect “anyone but Bibi,” a nickname for Netanyahu. The chairman of the committee, Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, claims that means that U.S. money was involved in foreign politics. “The United States should not be engaged in that kind of activity with taxpayer dollars,” he said. “What it did probably was to make it even more difficult to come together after the election and continue to build on the relationship between Israel and the United States.” According to the report, the State Department grants helped OneVoice build its political infrastructure, including voter contact lists and professionally trained organizers. It also included expanding social media platforms intended to support peace negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians. The Senate subcommittee said Tuesday no evidence was found that OneVoice spent the grant money to influence the 2015 Israeli election, but found in its report that “despite OneVoice’s previous political activism in the 2013 Israeli election, the [State] Department failed to take any steps to guard against the risk that OneVoice could engage in political activities using State-funded grassroots campaign infrastructure after the grant period.” The report also said the State Department was unable to produce all the documents the subcommittee requested because it failed to retain complete email records.

Gee.. Imagine that..  The State Dept lost emails requested by Congress..   Just more corruption by this Obama administration..and more fraud, waste, and abuse of our hard-earned tax dollars by this out-of-control federal government.