During the week covered by this review, we received 11 articles on the following subjects:
Jewish Attitudes Concerning Jesus
The Jerusalem Post, March 20, The Jerusalem Post, March 21, Haaretz, March 23, Israel Hayom, March 24, 2017
David Be’eri has been selected as one of the recipients of this year’s Israel Prize. This selection has caused controversy, as he is the head of the right-wing NGO Elad. Be’eri has been involved in renovating the City of David, transforming the Silwan parking lot into an archaeological site, and legally purchasing Arab property in East Jerusalem to facilitate Jews moving into the area.
Those who oppose the selection of Be’eri, such as the left-wing NGO Emek Shaveh, say Elad “…is a thinly veiled mechanism to change facts on the ground and Judaize east Jerusalem.” Further, they claim selecting Be’eri to receive the prize enables the politicization of archaeology to continue. Emek Shaveh is also filing a court petition regarding the Religious Services Ministry’s recognition of the Western Wall tunnels as a site sacred only to Judaism, saying that as a legally appointed ministerial committee did not either make the recognition or approve the excavations there.
Those who support the selection, such as archaeologist Dr. Gabriel Barkay of the Temple Mount Sifting Project, call Be’eri a pioneer who has rescued the historic site and helped it become an important tourist attraction. Barkay added that the City of David was the core of ancient Jerusalem, predating Muslims and Christians, and that Be’eri is maintaining historical integrity. Other supporters see Be’eri’s activities as a welcome reminder that “…all of Jerusalem is ours,” in light of the Temple Mount not being in Jewish hands, and the current political battles by “helpless politicians” unwilling to fight to move embassies to Jerusalem.
The Jerusalem Post, March 23, 2017
On Wednesday, March 22, an inauguration ceremony took place at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher after nine months of renovation. Thousands of pilgrims and clergy, Christian and Muslim, were present from around the world. “We wanted to come to Jerusalem to see the place that unites all the religions,” said Shynar Jakiyeva of Kazakhstan, who came to see the unveiling with her sister and cousin. “We came to respect the prophet Jesus,” said the leader of a group of 50 Muslims from India. Custos Francesco Patton stated that he sees the project as a beginning for the restoration of the relationship between the Roman Catholics, Greek Orthodox and Armenian Orthodox.
The project reportedly cost $3.5 million and was carried out by a fifty–person team from Greece. It is the first renovation of the site since 1810.
The Jerusalem Post, March 22, Yediot Yerushalayim, March 24, 2017
Jerusalem’s Mayor Nir Barkat recently led six foreign ambassadors on a tour of the City of David. The article stated this was “part of Israel’s campaign against pending [UNESCO] resolutions on Jerusalem which are expected to ignore Jewish ties to the Temple Mount.” Barkat, together with David Be’eri, director and founder of the City of David Foundation and Carmel Shama Hacohen, Israel’s ambassador to UNESCO, showed the attendees the many findings on the site. “These findings strongly contradict UNESCO’s claims that deny the historical connection between the Jewish people and the Christian world to the Land of Israel,” said Barkat.
US Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and James Lankford (R-OK), have also recently visited the City of David. In October, Rubio opposed the UNESCO resolution by calling upon then-US president Barack Obama, and former secretary of state John Kerry to condemn it. After their tour, Lankford said, “(I was) particularly moved, and grateful to the people involved in the long, hard work of exposing this important history.”
Jewish Attitudes Concerning Jesus
Haaretz, March 24, 2017
In this article, Father David Neuhaus, vicar for the Latin Patriarch, commented on the use of the word “Yeshu” in the Israel Museum’s exhibition on Jesus in Israeli and Jewish art entitled Behold the Man. Neuhaus points out that although the history of the word has been debated, it carries a derogatory meaning. Many Christian communities wish to repair the wrongs of history and demonstrate “…a new Christian theory that honors the Jews and Judaism,” recognizing the shared heritage of Jews and Christians. Neuhaus invited all those who welcome the change “…to recognize this by returning to the Nazarene his real name, Yeshua.”
Maariv, The Jerusalem Post, March 20, 2017
A rare cache of nine bronze coins was found in an Israel Antiquities Authority salvage dig near Ein Hemed during the work to widen Highway 1. The coins, dated to the Byzantine period, appear to have been placed in a leather bag and hidden in a wall niche when the residents left fearing the Persian Sassanid invasion (614 CE). The coins, minted in today’s Turkey, bear the images of emperors Justinian, Maurice and Phocas. The structure containing the coins is part of a larger site containing a vineyard and a church, situated along the main road to Jerusalem.
Haaretz, March 21, 2017
Archaeologists in Rome have recently discovered the remains of a second Arch of Titus between the bleachers of the Circus Maximus, less than one kilometer from the famous arch on Palatine Hill. Domitian built both arches around 82 CE, and Marialetizia Buonfiglio, the archaeologist leading the dig, speculated that he did so to counteract setbacks in the empire such as the mysterious circumstances of Titus’ death in 81 CE, the fire in Rome in 80CE, and Pompeii’s destruction by Vesuvius in 79 CE.
The massive triple arch would have been 17 meters wide and more than 10 meters tall, thus much larger than the single arch on the Palatine. It was decorated with a bronze statue of Titus driving a four-horse chariot, and would have been a major landmark for visitors. Buonfiglio said, “The arch on the Palatine was a monument to Titus, marking his post-mortem deification, and the arch in the circus was a triumphal arch, marking his victory over the Jews.” Neither the dedication inscription or any significant decorations have been preserved, but the inscription is quoted in a ninth-century pilgrim’s chronicle, and describes how Titus subdued the Jewish people and destroyed Jerusalem, which was “…something no one else before had even attempted to do, much less failed at.” The arch appears, therefore, to have been in relatively good shape until the early Middle Ages, and may have been damaged by an earthquake in 847, which also destroyed part of the nearby Colosseum.