During the week covered by this review, we received 8 articles on the following subjects:
Status of Holy Sites
HaPeles, June 14, 2015
This article is a summary of an interview with former US President George W. Bush.
One of the questions asked was whether it is possible to defeat the Islamic State (IS) without using ground forces. To this, Bush replied that his own personal opinion is that “ground forces were necessary in Iraq, leading to his decision to increase the US forces there.” Another question was on the subject of US support of Israel. Bush replied that US support for Israel is still strong, for various reasons, and that although he himself “considers Israel to be important faith-wise,” he supported Israel during his presidency as a “democratic partner.”
Status of Holy Sites
Kol Israel, June 12, 2015
This article details some of the history of the contested David’s tomb/Cenacle structure on Mount Zion. It states that there is “no unequivocal answer” regarding the authenticity of the site, as two sites were known during the Second Temple period as the location of David’s tomb, both of which were lost after the destruction of Jerusalem; the tradition placing David’s tomb on Mount Zion is some 1,000 years old.
This site enters the public eye from time to time; the most recent controversy began during the time leading up to Pope Francis’ 2014 visit to Israel, when rumors surfaced that the Vatican was about to receive control of the entire structure. Both the Israeli government and the Vatican have since denied the allegations, but radical Jewish groups are still determined to prevent any Christian celebration whatever on the site.
Chashmal VeAnashim, May 31, 2015
A new exhibition on 3,500 years of Jewish history – “comprised of light beams, smoke, and glass” – is now on display in the Western Wall tunnels. The sculptures are laid out in linear fashion, reminiscent of Roman milestones, and are accompanied by a soundtrack with narration, stories, and music.
The project was designed by “museum designer” Eliav Nachlieli and the Program 1 team, together with the glass artist Jeremy Langford.
Haaretz, June 12, 2015
Of particular note in this Haaretz list of current museum exhibitions are the Bible Lands Museum’s By the Rivers of Babylon, on Jewish life in Babylon during the exile; the Israel Museum’s Rembrandt from Amsterdam and Jerusalem, which includes the magnificent painting of the prophet Jeremiah lamenting the destruction of Jerusalem, and The Architecture of the Shrine of the Book; and Yad VaShem’s Children in the Holocaust: Stars without a Heaven.
Shabbat BeShivto, May 29, 2015
This article surveys the ancient water system northeast of the Temple Mount, and particularly the Strouthion pool, built to collect rainwater from the moat defending the Antonia fortress and the water system leading to it. The pool was roofed during the time of Emperor Hadrian, with a marketplace on the roof. Archaeologists surmise that pilgrims would camp around the pool if accommodation in Jerusalem was scarce during their visit.
Teva HaDvarim, June 12, 2015
This article details the discovery of part of the Hasmonean-built aqueduct that brought water to Jerusalem, which was recently uncovered in the Umm-Tuba neighborhood near Har Homa as part of the excavation for a new sewer pipe to the neighborhood (see previous reviews). The aqueduct’s point of origin is south of Bethlehem, and it spanned some 21 kilometers. The recent finding has been documented and covered, but other parts have been left open to the public, especially in the vicinity of the Sherover Promenade and Sultan’s Pool.
The aqueduct is part of the “lower aqueduct” that was still in intermittent use until some 100 years ago, when a new water system running on electricity was laid (the Herodian-built “upper aqueduct” brought water from the same place to Hezekiah’s Pool).
Israel Post, June 17; Israel Hayom, June 18, 2015
Shards of a clay pitcher bearing the inscription “Eshba’al ben-Bada” – who is mentioned in the Bible – were recently discovered in the Elah Valley. “This is an amazing artifact and a very important discovery,” said Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, speaking to the archaeologists who discovered it.