During the week covered by this review, we received 14 articles on the following subjects:
Haaretz, September 6, 2022; Maariv, September 6, 2022; Harish Betnufa, September 9, 2022
The Israel Antiquities Authority announced that for the first time, in an ongoing City of David excavation, archaeologists have discovered evidence that the rank of Jerusalem among Near Eastern capital cities during the First Temple period might have been higher than previously believed. In the nearby Emek Tsurim National Park, 1,500 fragments of ivory, one of the most prestigious and luxurious materials of the ancient world, were found. The excavation director, Prof. Yuval Gadot of Tel Aviv University said in an interview that, “now, for the first time, Jerusalem joins these capitals. We were already aware of Jerusalem’s importance and centrality in the region in the First Temple period, but the new finds illustrate how important it was and places it in the same league as the capitals of Assyria and Israel. The discovery of the ivories is a step forward in understanding the political and economic status of the city as part of global administration and economy.”
Yedioth Ahronoth, September 6, 2022
Russian archeologists at Astrakhan State University have completed excavations in the Kamyzyaksky District, where they claim to have found Atil, the lost capital of the Khazar Khaganate, a Turkic kingdom located on the Eurasian steppes during the Medieval age, between the 7th and 11th centuries. The Khazar Kingdom was situated on the silk road, a main global trade route, making it an important trade hub. Archeologists discovered thousands of unique artifacts that suggest that the site may indeed be the kingdom’s lost capital. One of the findings was a drawing of what appears to be a menorah. According to some Muslim and Jewish sources, the Khazars, or at least some of them, converted to Judaism in a series of mass conversions. The scope of these conversions, their dates, and the reasons behind them remain a mystery even today.
Haaretz, September 8, 2022; Maariv, September 8, 2022; Hamevaser, September 8, 2022
A letter written in ancient Hebrew dating back to the First Temple period was recently returned to Israel. Archaeologists dated it to the same period as two other documents in the Israel Antiquities Authority’s Dead Sea Scrolls collection. The script on the extremely rare, ripped document starts with “To Ishmael send…” hinting that it is a fragment of a letter. It was probably found in the Judean Desert caves. According to a press release, Prof. Shmuel Ahituv, an ancient Hebrew script scholar, found a photograph of the rare and unknown document, which led to a joint operation by the Israel Antiquities Authority, the Culture and Sport Ministry and the Jerusalem Affairs and Heritage Ministry to find it. The document was traced to a man in Montana, USA, who agreed to part with it after visiting the Israel Antiquities Authority Judean Desert Scroll Department’s Conservation Laboratory in Jerusalem. He explained that it was given to his mother, a devout Christian, on a visit to Jerusalem in 1965, by a well-known antiquities dealer. Dr. Joe Uziel, Director of the Israel Antiquities Authority Judean Desert Scrolls Unit, said: “Each new document sheds further light on the literacy and the administration of the First Temple period.”
Yad L’Achim has released a video warning IDF soldiers of “missionary soldiers and officers wearing a mask of deceit and lies to conceal their true identity” who were “drafted after receiving special training on how to preach Christianity in the army.” According to Yad L’Achim, the need for the cautionary film became evident after they revealed the existence of an “evangelical combat order for the messianic soldier,” that was put out by the Tzofen organization, that “explains to members of the Messianic Jews cult how to preach Christianity to soldiers.”
Shacharit, September 6, 2022; Kol Hair Bnei Brak, September 7, 2022; Mazav Haruach, September 9, 2022
As mentioned in previous reviews, Yad L’Achim announced that they have persuaded a “senior Israeli missionary” to returns to Judaism. The man in question, Adam Ayish, explained in an interview how he became a member of a Messianic congregation after “they sold him a lie and a fraud,” when he was young and confused. He claimed that he started questioning the Messianic faith after watching anti-Missionary videos and talking to Yad L’Achim activists. He further claimed that when he tried to approach his pastors about his doubts, they instructed him never to speak to religious Jews who understand Christianity. Last week, Rabbi Binyamin Vulcan, head of counter-missionary activity at Yad L’Achim, took Adam to the Rabbis of Safed who blessed him with kind words, after which he laid tefillin for the first time in 10 years.