Lonely Man of Cake

May 7, 2007

BREAKING: Herod’s Tomb Discovered

Filed under: Academia,Archaeology,History,Israel,Judaism — lonelymanofcake @ 10:49 pm

UPDATE: Hebrew University press release.

Archaeologist Ehud Netzer of Hebrew University will announce tomorrow morning that he has, after a quest which lasted over 30 years, discovered the location of Herod’s tomb. Apparently, Herod is entombed at the Herodium, “a fortified palace built by Herod some 12 kilometers south of Jerusalem,” confirming the location noted by the historian Flavius Josephus some 2000 years ago.

The Herodium, or Herodion, is a wonderful archaeological site which is unfortunately visited rarely because of its remote location in the territories. I had the fortune of visiting two years ago. A picture from that visit below:



February 15, 2007

Temple Mount Excavation Video

Two videos of note regarding what’s really going on at the Mugrabi Bridge:

Biblical Dates

Filed under: Academia,Archaeology,Culinary,History,Israel,Judaism,Religion — lonelymanofcake @ 10:43 am

This post is not about patriarchal pick-up lines.  (Hey, I, uh, noticed how nicely you were, uh, giving water to your camels…)

A researcher has managed to plant a 2000 year-old (!) date seed found at Masada.  Soon we will find out whether ancient Judean dates, referred to in the Bible as דבש (=honey), are as sweet as claimed.

February 12, 2007

Weekend Story Updates and Commentary

Filed under: Academia,Archaeology,Better Hasbarah,Israel,Judaism,Religion,Temple Mount — lonelymanofcake @ 9:23 am

As some of my recent posts deal with unfolding events, here are some developments which transpired over the weekend:

  • Jerusalem mayor Uri Lupolianski decided to contravene the order of PM Olmert and Defense Minister Peretz to continue work on the Mugrabi Bridge by issuing an injunction late last night to suspend work until further notice. This was an ill-thought out move by a persona who has little–if any–experience in the diplomatic realm, and will no doubt serve to reinforce the the idea of the efficacy of violent protestations and threats by Palestinians and members of the Arab world at large. Lupolianski’s decision also serves to undermine the idea of Israel’s sovereignty over the Mugrabi Bridge area. This is yet another instance where the facts on the ground–which to any objective observer should have been in Israel’s favor–were rendered irrelevant by Israel’s pathetic PR machine. Israel still doesn’t understand that even if its actions are just, it is still more important to bombard the media with prescient talking points than to let the press reach its own conclusions, which are usually dictated by parties not friendly to Israel’s interests.
  • Professor Ariel Toaff of Bar-Ilan University who, as we already noted, wrote a book apparently corroborating the truth of the blood libels, will be summoned by the president of Bar-Ilan to explain his research and conclusions. Again, I haven’t read the book (which to the extent that I am aware, was written in Italian), nor can we use the newspaper coverage to get an accurate picture of the general research. At the same time, however, Toaff acknowledges in his interviews that his conclusions derive from confessions produced by leaders of the Jewish community after being tortured in the aftermath of the murder of Simon of Trent and the libelous attribution of the murder to a Jewish cult. Toaff gives full credence to these confessions, despite their having been induced by weeks of torture, and despite the renunciation of the historicity of the blood libel and the sainthood on Simon of Trent by the Second Vatican Council in 1965. Toaff will have to contend not only with irate Jewish community leaders and smug anti-Semites who feel that he has brought them vindication, but also with the Catholic Church!

February 9, 2007

Riots at Temple Mount

Filed under: Archaeology,Army,Israel,Religion,Temple Mount — lonelymanofcake @ 11:25 am

As expected, the afternoon prayers at Al-Aqsa were followed by rock throwing, which invited the response of the Israeli Police and the evacuation of the Western Wall.

The justification of the violent response nothwithstanding, I just wish the rioters knew that they were being lied to.

February 8, 2007

The Truth About the Temple Mount Excavations

Filed under: Archaeology,Better Hasbarah,Israel,Religion,Temple Mount — lonelymanofcake @ 10:28 pm

Everyone is up in arms about Israel’s purported excavations “on” the Temple Mount (see, e.g., here, here, here, and here). There have been calls for a new Intifada, catalyzed apparently by Israel’s construction project.

So what, exactly, are the Israelis doing? Take a look at the below image:
Temple Mount Diagram

GREEN represents the Temple Mount and surrounding area under complete control of the Waqf.
ORANGE represents the Western Wall.
RED represents the Mugrabi Bridge which is under complete Israeli control as stipulated in the post Six Day War provisions with the Waqf.

Moshe Dayan, having decided to cede control of the Temple Mount to the Waqf, despite Israel’s having secured its territory in 1967, nonetheless wished to maintain an entrance on the Israeli side, be it for security reasons or for non-Muslim worshippers who wished to access the Temple Mount from Israel. This entrance was by way of a bridge (RED) to the Mugrabi Gate. This bridge is completely outside of the premises of the Temple Mount.

Why is Israel excavating under the site of the bridge? In order to make sure that no antiquities will be harmed when laying the infrastructure for the new, more structurally sound, Mugrabi Bridge. The original bridge had been damaged in an earthquake and subsequent snowstorm and was declared unsafe by engineers. The new temporary bridge impinged on the women’s section at the Western Wall, significantly reducing it in size.

Is there reason for controversy? Israeli archaeologists are up in arms as the pylons which support the bridge are being built in what it apparently an archaeology “rich” area. The pre-construction excavations currently underway are meant to uncover and remove artifacts which might have otherwise been destroyed by the building. But it is the Israelis who have the right to protest the digging, as it is taking place on Israeli sovereign soil, albeit with the intention of the preservation of priceless antiquities.

This is to be contrasted with continued unmonitored excavations by the Waqf at the Temple Mount which have rendered untold damage to both invaluable antiquities and evidence of the Jewish temples. Israel did not use this violation of the 1967 Protection of Holy Places laws as an excuse for violence, nor was the religious outcry against this desecration anything close to the recent protests against the fabrication of Israel’s damage.

A small group of dedicated archaeologists and volunteers founded the Committee for the Prevention of Destruction of Antiquities on the Temple Mount to protest the Waqf’s ongoing excavations and to sift through the truckloads of rubble generated for items of archaeological significance (pictures here).

So what can you do?
1. Tell the truth to as many people as you can.
2. Check out this page from the Committee for the Prevention of Destruction of Antiquities on the Temple Mount’s website.

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