During the week covered by this review, we received 11 articles on the following subjects:
HaModia, August 8, 2017
The Beit Torah synagogue in Colorado Springs, Colorado was desecrated by an individual or group who painted antisemitic hate speech and swastikas on the building, its sign and various cars and houses in the vicinity. The Jewish community was shocked and saddened by the incident. One noted, “Over the past two years, such things have become worrisomely common.” Non-Jewish residents living near the synagogue unsuccessfully attempted to remove the graffiti from the building.
Gal-Gefen, August 10, 2017
A group of Christian Evangelical volunteers from Friends of Israel (FOI) recently spent time at the Kaplan Medical Center in Rehovot where they performed a variety of tasks both inside the building and on its grounds. One volunteer, returning to serve at Kaplan for a third time, renewed his marriage proposal to his fiancée, who was also in the group.
Dr. Carlos Grossman, head of the medical center, affirmed the essential contribution made by the volunteers, noting, “They also become true ambassadors both of Israel and of Kaplan… I am very proud of the close connection [with FOI].”
Yedioth Ahronoth, August 10, 2017
Sandra Salomon, the niece of Sakhar Habash, one of the Fatah founders, decided to become a Christian after realizing how Muslim society treats women. Her sister “put her out of the house” when Salomon told her family of her conversion. After her divorce, Salomon moved to Toronto with their son and continues to live there. Salomon became exposed to Jewish history through reading the Bible. “Long before Muhammad and Islam, there were Jews here. The power of the truth changed me,” says Salomon.
She has been spending time in Ramallah recently, cautiously but without fear. Salomon stated she doesn’t believe in the two-state solution, but instead believes that Palestinians should be an equal minority under Israeli sovereignty. She said, “Rather than wanting peace the Palestinian people sanctify the intifada.” Salomon noted that Palestinians youths who carry out terrorist attacks were “…already murdered by their education.”
Israel Hayom, Haaretz (Hebrew and English), The Jerusalem Post, August 7, 2017
These articles report on how a dig led by Dr. Mordechai Aviam for the Kinneret Institute for Galilean Archaeology at the Bethsaida Valley Nature Reserve may have located the lost city of Julias, home to Jesus’ disciples Peter, Andrew, and Philip. The first reason for this is a previously unknown layer of remains at the site, comprised of potsherds and coins from the first through third centuries C.E. Of note is a Roman bathhouse, with a mosaic floor and other characteristics not common for a village, testifying to urban culture. This layer is particularly intriguing as scholars previously thought that the site was first settled in the Byzantine period, says Aviam. The second reason in favor of this site being that of Julias is that scholarship had assumed till recently that the level of the Sea of Galilee during this period stood at 209 meters below sea level. However, the site of the current dig stands at 211 meters below sea level, and the newly discovered remains do not show signs of submersion.
Josephus Flavius mentions in Antiquities of the Jews that Philip Herod, son of Herod the Great, transformed Bethsaida into a Roman polis called Julias. Aviam led the dig jointly with Prof. Steven Notley of Nyack College in New York.
Israel Hayom, The Jerusalem Post, Iton Shacharit, August 11, 2017
An Israel Antiquities Authority dig in Reina in the Galilee has uncovered a rare Second Temple-era workshop for objects made of soft chalkstone. The dig revealed thousands of stone cores, apparently workshop waste, as well as cups and bowl fragments. Those on the dig also found an artificially hewn tunnel with chisel marks on its walls, where the chalkstone for the workshop was produced. Dig leader Dr. Yonatan Adler of the University of Ariel said that the site shows how important ritual purity was for the Jews of the Galilee, as stone objects were considered to not take on impurity and the usual practice of the period was to have clay tableware and storage vessels. One of the articles finds it intriguing that the water turned to wine mentioned in the book of John was held in six stone jars, and speculates that they may have been of local manufacture.
The site was revealed during preparations the Reina municipality was making to build a sports hall in the village. It is the fourth of its kind to have been discovered.
Haaretz, August 11, 2017
Alexei Juditsky, researching the “enigmatic” Qumran Cave 4 Scroll 124 for the Hebrew Language Academy’s historical dictionary project, has deciphered an additional letter in a rare version of Hebrew script. Juditsky told Haaretz that he deciphered the letter following his wife’s suggestion to compare the scroll’s vocabulary with its related Biblical passage. He also said that the script’s presence in Qumran proves that the community was not isolated from the outside world, as this writing style has been found in other places in Israel as well.