The Bible Teaching Ministry of David Hocking
“The Word of our God shall stand forever” Isaiah 40:8

Archive for February, 2008


Thursday, February 28th, 2008

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is in Japan and conferred with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice about the situation in Israel. He spoke very pointedly about the situation while the US Secretary of State urged restraint. Here’s what happened:

by Hillel Fendel

Roni Yihye, 47, a father of four, is the man who was killed by a Kassam rocket in Sapir College Wednesday. He was from Moshav Bitcha, a moshav (agricultural community) located near Ofakim. Yihye was mortally wounded when a rocket landed near him in the Sapir College parking lot. He died of his wounds shortly afterwards. A second man was wounded in the attack. Yihye underwent a kidney transplant several years ago, after he quit working as a cement truck driver due to a kidney ailment. A neighbor told Maariv/NRG that Yihye was attending a course given by the National Insurance Institute in Sapir College when the rocket struck next to him.

Avner Mori, who heads the Mechavim Regional Council, said that Yihye was “a quiet and modest person whom I saw at the synagogue every morning. This is a sad day for the moshav and the regional council. We will do everything to aid the bereaved family.” The Sapir College management expressed its condolences to Yihye’s family and wished the people hurt in the attack a speedy recovery.

15 people were hospitalized at Ashkelon’s Barzilai hospital following a large scale Kassam attack launched by Hamas terrorists in Gaza. One rocket landed near the Carlsberg beer factory and hit a power line. This, in turn, caused intermittent local blackouts. All in all, Gaza terrorists’ violence against civilians hurt 49 people today: two suffered light injuries and 47 others suffered emotional shock.

Israel was bombarded with close to 30 rockets between 3:00 and 4:30 PM, and another four hit the Ashkelon area around 6 PM. One of the latter landed in an open area just outside Barzilai Hospital in Ashkelon, north of Gaza, and several people were treated for shock. Electricity in parts of the city was knocked out for short periods by the rockets.
At least one other person was hurt by shrapnel in the attack on Sapir College. A total of 15 Sderot residents were treated in Ashkelon’s Barzilai Hospital for shock, including five for serious trauma.

In the midst of the Kassam bombardment, the Israel Air Force announced that it had successfully hit a rocket-launching cell. PA sources report that in a second Israeli attack in Gaza City, one person was killed. In the last Kassam rocket wave, three rockets slammed into a college in the Sderot area. The young student is the 12th death caused by Kassams in Israel, following the killing of three Israelis in Sderot – Shir’el Friedman, Chai Shalom, and Oshri Oz – in the space of one week last May.


The attacks follow a successful Israel Air Force counter-terrorism attack on a bus carrying Hamas terrorists in Gaza this morning; five terrorist trainers, including a leading Hamas terrorist, were killed and several were injured. Hamas took credit for firing 16 Kassams at Israel this afternoon. It broadcast photos from Sderot, boasting that the scenes were reminiscent of a terror attack and saying that this was the answer to those in the Palestinian Authority who felt that the Kassams were unnecessary.

The rocket bombardment began with three waves of attacks at 3 PM, when the “Color Red” rocket warning alert was sounded in Sderot and environs. Eleven rockets were fired, one of which slammed into a chicken processing plant in Sderot, and others fell in the vicinity of the town. Though the rocket slammed into the factory’s dining room, causing very heavy damage – dozens of workers had left the dining room shortly before the rocket hit – no one was directly hurt by shrapnel. Several victims were treated for shock. This is at least the third time the poultry plant has been hit by a Kassam rocket. In November 2006, Yaakov Yaakobov was killed when a rocket hit the factory, and last month, a fire was started when a Kassam hit the plant. Around 3:30 PM, yet another Kassam rocket was fired at Israel, landing in the Eshkol region of the western Negev. No casualties or damage were reported. In two other waves of attacks by 4:30, another ten rockets were fired at Israel, slamming into Sderot, S’dot Negev, and adjoining areas. A house in Sderot suffered a direct hit, with no reported injuries. Earlier in the day, two Kassams were fired at the western Negev, causing no damage.

(Editor’s Note: It is obvious that Israel’s so-called “peace partners” have no desire for peace whatsoever and are still committed to the destruction of the State of Israel. To draw Israel into a regional war is the goal at present, and in the process, destroy the 60th Anniversary Celebrations planned for 2008. The LORD GOD of Israel is still in control of the future and His prophetic plans will be accomplished! Time will tell what all of this will mean for the entire world!)


Thursday, February 28th, 2008

In spite of all the attempts of the current US Administration to say that President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority is a “moderate” and a “man of peace” – Abbas has come out publicly and stated his involvement in all the terror attacks against Israeli citizens.


Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday violated the Palestinian Authority’s primary peace obligation on Thursday when he told a Jordanian newspaper that violence and open warfare remain options for the Palestinians to achieve their goals.

In the so-called “Oslo Accords” that Israel signed with the Palestinians under the auspices of US President Bill Clinton, Yasser Arafat, Mahmoud Abbas and the various Palestinian groups loyal to them pledged to forever abandon violence in the pursuit of a sovereign Palestinian Arab state.

But in his interview with Jordan’s Al-Duster daily newspaper, Abbas revealed that while he “does not support a return to armed struggle at this point in time… at a later date, this could be an option for the Palestinian people.”

Abbas went on to boast that he was one of the first to lead Arab terrorism against Israel in an organized fashion.

Referencing the period when his Palestine Liberation Organization, or PLO, occupied southern Lebanon, Abbas reminisced that it was he and Arafat who had taught organized terrorism to other groups throughout the region and the world.

During the late 1970s and early 1980s, terrorist groups from around the Middle East, Japan, Italy, Spain and Ireland sent operatives to PLO camps in Lebanon to receive instruction in bomb-making, airline hijacking and other terrorist methods.

One of the recipients of that training, Abbas said with pride, was Lebanon’s Hizballah terrorist militia.


Tuesday, February 26th, 2008

Michael Freund writes about the seriousness of the Palestinian Authority’s possession and use of the Orient House in Jerusalem (Jerusalem Post).

Another day, another affront. For all the talk of peace and reconciliation, the Palestinians seem to be keeping themselves quite busy these days by finding ways to undercut, undermine, and even insult Israel and its sovereignty.

On Monday, Israel Radio reported that Mahmoud Abbas’ Palestinian Authority has chosen to defy the law, which bars it from operating in Jerusalem, by reopening the Orient House.

The century-old structure, which a decade ago came to embody our neighbors’ attempts to gain a political foothold in Israel’s capital, was closed down by the police in 2001 after it had become a hotbed of illicit Palestinian activity.

But now the Orient House is apparently playing host once again to official Palestinian functions, such as diplomatic meetings. As its Web site states, “the Orient House aspires to develop Arab East Jerusalem as the capital of the emerging Palestinian state.”

This is nothing less than a clear Palestinian slap in the face to the Israeli government, which only recently reaffirmed the ban on PA activity in Jerusalem, something to which the Palestinians themselves had agreed in the Oslo Accords.

More importantly, though, it is a slap in the face to the people of Israel, the overwhelming majority of whom cherish Jerusalem and are against re-dividing the Holy City. And that is precisely why the Palestinians are doing it. They understand the power that symbols have to influence, shape and yes, even to alter reality.

Indeed, for years our foes have been methodically focusing on Israel’s icons, doing their utmost to tear them down – both literally and figuratively – as a means of advancing their agenda.

Take, for example, Joseph’s Tomb in Shechem (Nablus), the resting place of the Biblical figure revered in Jewish tradition as “Yosef HaTzaddik,” or “Joseph the righteous.” It was nearly eight and a half years ago that a Palestinian mob seized control over the tomb, ransacking the Jewish holy site and setting it ablaze. Despite repeated promises to restore it over the years, the Palestinians wantonly desecrated it at will, dumping garbage on its grounds and periodically setting it on fire.

Last month, dozens of Knesset members from a broad range of parties wrote a joint letter to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert demanding that Joseph’s Tomb be repaired. “The tombstone is completely shattered, and the holy site is desecrated in an appalling manner, the likes of which we have not seen in Israel or anywhere else in the world,” they wrote.

The premier duly conveyed the request to the Palestinians earlier this month, and their response was not long in coming: last week, they reportedly vandalized the tomb and set fire to it again. This kind of outrage can not be allowed to pass quietly. It would be a grave error for Israel to ignore the Palestinians’ wanton attempts to assault the national symbols and collective heritage of the Jewish people and the State of Israel. And yet that is what our leaders seem only too happy to do. Time after time, they choose to ignore the Palestinian onslaught, which of course only invites still further abuse. Thus, the government has largely stood by and watched as the Palestinian-controlled Muslim Wakf digs up the Temple Mount in broad daylight and destroys priceless Jewish religious and archaeological relics.

There are other examples as well. Two months ago, Palestinians desecrated the tombs of the Biblical Joshua, his father Nun, and Caleb ben Yefuneh, all of which are located in the Samarian village of Kifel Haress, near Ariel. The gravesites, which Jewish pilgrims have visited for centuries, were reportedly smeared with animal and human feces and covered with garbage. The vandals also painted Nazi symbols and anti-Semitic slogans on the holy sites. Yet this disgraceful act was also allowed to pass unanswered.

It is time for Israel to stop looking the other way whenever the Palestinians assail everything we hold dear. If it is a war of symbols they want, then Israel should not hesitate to respond. A good place to start would be to tear down the Orient House in Jerusalem, raze the site, and close it once and for all.

Similarly, the Muslim Wakf must be held accountable for the damage that it causes to the Temple Mount, site of the ancient Jewish temple. If the Wakf is unwilling to cooperate, their authority can and should be taken away.

We simply can not afford to allow the Palestinians to continue to spit in our faces, and then call it rain.

Our foes understand well the importance of symbols. They realize that despite their name, symbols are not merely symbolic, but have substantive value too.

The question is, when will we?


Thursday, February 21st, 2008

At the Jerusalem Conference this week, some amazing news was given concerning the long-standing desire of the US Congress to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem!

Former Israeli Consul General to the US, Yoram Ettinger, revealed at the Jerusalem Conference that Israel prevented a move that would have relocated the US Embassy to Jerusalem.

“The US Senate was ready to do away with the waiver that allows the President to defer the moving of the embassy to Jerusalem,” Ettinger said during a round-table discussion at the Jerusalem Conference. “There were over 80 senators – enough to override any [presidential] veto.”

It was the Israeli government, Ettinger said, who intervened on behalf of leaving the Embassy in Tel Aviv. “The problem is that both houses of Congress have been firmer on Jerusalem than any Israeli government since 1993.”

Ettinger did not elaborate which Israeli government it was that told Congress to stand down.

The US Congress overwhelmingly approved the Jerusalem Embassy Relocation Act in 1995, mandating that the Embassy be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem by May 1999 and that the US recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Currently, all the nations with which Israel has diplomatic relations refuse to recognize Israel’s Basic Law designating Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish State.

Former US President Bill Clinton, who promised in both of his presidential campaigns to move the Embassy, signed successive six-month security waivers, thus passing on the “hot potato” to his successor.

During the 2000 election campaign, US President George W. Bush pledged that if he was elected, he would “begin the process” of moving the Embassy to Jerusalem on his “first day in office.” He has not done so, however – invoking the waver for the 13th time on December 12, 2007.

After the failed Camp David talks in July 2000, Clinton suggested in an interview with Israeli television that he was considering moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem. “I have always wanted to do it. I’ve always thought it was the right thing to do. But I didn’t want to do anything to undermine the peace process … But it’s something that I have taken under review now because of the recent events,” Clinton told the Israeli public. In reaction, Hizbullah terror chief Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah threatened the US that he would “turn your embassy into rubble and return your diplomats in coffins.”

“Israel’s first Prime Minister, David Ben Gurion defied the UN, the US and Europe by building on the Green Line in Jerusalem,” Ettinger said. “His successor Levi Eshkol decided to build satellite neighborhoods, knowing full well that they included Arab neighborhoods within the future municipal boundaries.

The true demographic threat in Jerusalem is the freezing of Jewish building and the limitations placed on the natural growth of the capital by diplomatic initiatives, Ettinger explained. “Eshkol realized that unless you expand the border of Jerusalem, including Arab neighborhoods – you wont have the area required to allow Jerusalem to expand. Without building to the east, it is impossible to reverse the trend of Jewish emigration from the capital.”



Thursday, February 21st, 2008

The Jerusalem Conference this week is bringing out strong feelings and words about the terrible situation Israel has created by the government’s compromise and obsession with having peace with their hostile enemies. Morton Klein of the Zionist Organization of America had these words to say at the conference about the supposedly “peace partner” they have in the Palestinian Authority’s leader, Mahmoud Abbas:

by Leah Morse

“Mahmoud Abbas is a fraud and not interested in peace,” said Morton Klein, President of the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), in an interview with Arutz Sheva at the fifth annual Jerusalem Conference. “He is just trying to get as much as he can through negotiations that he could not get through any sort of war.”

Klein explained that Abbas is not a moderate, as much of the Israeli and Western world believes, and his actions even in the past few weeks are evidence of this. When George Habash, a notorious terrorist, was killed, Abbas called for three days of mourning and to fly all the flags at half-mast. Also, he recently approved the new official “Fatah” poster, which shows all of Israel as “Palestine” and includes a rifle and an oversized picture of Yasser Arafat. Abbas is also a “career Holocaust denier,” Klein notes, who has written his PhD thesis and an entire book on the topic. He also glorifies suicide bombers and until recently, praised Hamas.

“It is astonishing to me that the Israeli media, the American media, George W. Bush, Ehud Olmert – all ignore all this … believing that if you give him a state, maybe things will be okay, maybe he’ll revert to being totally decent.” Klein believes that President Bush is actually appeasing Abbas and is trying to send a message to the Arab world that he is not against Muslim culture. The Israeli government tries the peaceful route mostly because of pressure from Europe and America, but fails to appreciate that Congress would support them if they refused to negotiate with the Palestinians.

In a recent press conference with Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Sayam Fayad, Klein asked him how he could claim to be moderate when his actions suggest otherwise. Fayad could only say that his government sometimes did things that are not consistent with their goals. “In other words,” said Klein, “he had no answer.”

Klein, who has a personal relationship with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, has asked him these questions. But he says Olmert supports the establishment of a Palestinian state, and is willing “to expel seventy thousand Jews.” Klein objects, saying that “statehood and sovereignty does not resolve the problem,” citing Iran and North Korea as examples. “A Palestinian state will make things worse, not better, and too few people understand that reality.”

Israelis and Americans are being mislead by their governments and are not being educated about the true nature of Abbas and his “moderate” government. Mr. Klein, who visits (mostly Conservative and Reform) synagogues across America, says that once he explains the facts, these American Jews realized the negotiations process makes no sense. “I have tremendous confidence in American Jews,” said Klein, citing a recent poll which found that 81% of American Jews do not believe that the goal of the PA is to have a state.

Kleins explains that “if the Palestinians wanted peace, the incitement in the textbooks, in the newspapers and TV that promote hatred and murder against Jews and Israelis would have ended.” They would not be calling for the release of terrorists from prison. “Their goal is Israel’s destruction and that is why nothing has worked and nothing will work…until they transform this society.”

The ZOA will be opening a new office in Israel next week. The new Jerusalem office will open February 24 at 9 AM with a news conference at the Begin Center.

Jeff Daube will be Director of the new Israel office. The aims of the ZOA in Israel are to educate MKs and Cabinet members, promote legislation to strengthen Zionist and Jewish identity, host and address Birthright groups, meet visiting US officials and students, monitor anti-Jewish bias on Israeli campuses and track the activities of radical groups such as the International Solidarity Movement (ISM).


Tuesday, February 19th, 2008

by Hillel Fendel

Fidel Castro has stepped down after nearly a half-century as leader of Cuba. His anti-Israel stance, both diplomatically and militarily, was pronounced.

Castro, 81, seized national power in 1959, aided by his brother and designated successor, Raul, aged 76. Already then, his Nazi-like tactics were noticed by many of the estimated 20,000 Jews then in Cuba.

In college in the 1940s, he was said to have walked around the campus with a copy of Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf under his arm. His first attempt at seizing power, in July 1953, was an attack on an isolated outpost of the Cuban army, in which 100 people were killed. It was reminiscent of Hitler’s attack on the War Ministry in Munich in 1924, both were seemingly amateurish, and both made their perpetrators national figures.

When he finally took over Cuba several years later, Castro stabilized his rule by summary executions and eliminations, and with a total take-over of the media. In addition, he created the Nazi-like Committees for the Defense of the Revolution, assigned to spy on and control neighborhood residents, as well as the Young Pioneers, in imitation of the infamous Hitler Youth.

Though the Cuban Jewish community numbered as high as 30,000 in the 1950’s, by 1967 only about 2,000 were left. This number has now dwindled to well under 1,000.

Castro led Cuba along a clearly anti-Israel path, both diplomatically and militarily. After the Six-Day War in 1967, Cuba’s ambassador in the United Nations called it an “armed aggression against the Arab people… by a most treacherous… surprise attack in the Nazi manner.”

A year earlier, the Tri-Continental Conference in Havana, featuring revolutionaries and terrorists from around the world, passed a resolution calling for the breaking of all treaties with Israel and for its expulsion from all international organizations. Later in 1966, Castro opened more than a dozen guerrilla training camps under the direction of a KGB officer, in which budding Palestinian terrorists were trained.

In October 1973, during the Yom Kippur war, not only did Castro break diplomatic relations with Israel, but he deployed thousands of Cuban soldiers, including helicopter pilots and tank crews, to fight alongside the Syrians. The next year, Castro gave the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) an expropriated Jewish community center in Havana – and awarded the visiting Yasser Arafat with Cuba’s highest award, the Bay of Pigs Medal.

Evidence of Cuban training of Palestinian terrorists continued to surface throughout the 1970’s and the ensuing decades. In 1975, Cuba sided with the UN majority that called Zionism “a form of racism” – and in 1991, when the UN finally repealed the resolution, Cuba voted against the repeal.

In 1982, it was the Cuban Embassy in Beirut that served as Arafat’s headquarters during Israel’s Peace for Galilee War in southern Lebanon.


Tuesday, February 19th, 2008

by Nissan Ratzlav-Katz

Major-General Mohammad Ali Jafari, the commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards said on Monday that Israel would soon be destroyed by the “hands of Hizbullah.”

Jafari’s prediction appears in a letter he wrote to Hassan Nasrallah, leader of the Lebanese terrorist group Hizbullah. Jafari was offering condolences to Nasrallah in the wake of last week’s death of Hizbullah mastermind and arch-terrorist Imad Mughinyeh.
“In the near future, we will witness the destruction of the cancerous existence of Israel by the powerful and competent hands of the Hizbullah combatants,” Jafari’s note said. “Undoubtedly the martyrdom of this sincere fighter [Mughniyeh] will strengthen the determination of all revolutionary and combatant Muslims, particularly his comrades, in confrontation with the Zionist regime.”

Mughniyeh was killed in a car bombing in Damascus, Syria last week. Israel has been credited with the elimination of the wanted terrorist, who was responsible for several major international terrorist attacks on Israeli, American and Jewish targets. No confirmation has been forthcoming from Jerusalem. US President George Bush commented only that “the world is a better place” without Mughniyeh in it.

Following the assassination, Israel raised alert levels at its embassies around the world, with military forces increasing security along the country’s northern border and around key installations. In the US, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security advised state and local law enforcement authorities to be on alert for potential attacks by Hizbullah on Jewish communities or other targets within the US.

Speaking on Lebanese television earlier this week, Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Siniora warned against a confrontation with Israel. “The Lebanese people should not be dragged to war again. We all saw what happened in the past and I believe nobody wants it to happen again,” he said. Press TV quoted Siniora as saying, “Lebanon has no interest in open war with Israel because it will lead to a confrontation between the country and international community and therefore Lebanon and Hizbullah will suffer.”

On Tuesday, during a state visit to London, Siniora made sure to place Lebanon firmly in the anti-Israel camp. His country wants good relations with every country in the world, he said, except for Israel, “our only enemy.” Furthermore, he charged, the growing internal strife in Lebanon between pro- and anti-Syrian groups only serves Israel’s interests. The Lebanese premier said his country wants “good relations” with Syria and Iran, “but relations must be based on mutual respect.”

Siniora is expected to visit France and Germany later in the week.


Sunday, February 17th, 2008

by Ezra HaLevi

An earthquake shook Israel at 12:37 PM Friday. The only damage reported in Israel was on the Temple Mount and near Shechem (Nablus).

The earthquake measured 5.3 on the Richter scale; its epicenter was located in northeastern Lebanon. Earlier last week an earthquake measuring 4.1 was felt in northern Israel, also originating from Lebanon, near its northern city of Tyre.

A large hole opened up on the Temple Mount during the earthquake, which was soon covered by officials from the Wakf Islamic Authority that administers the mosques built atop Judaism’s holiest site.

The only other reported damage in the Holy Land was incurred between Palestinian Authority-controlled Shechem (Nablus) and Jenin, where an old home collapsed, blocking the main road to the village of Khufin. The village is not far from the site of the Biblical Joseph’s Tomb, which was set ablaze by Muslim vandals last week.

At least five people were injured and two homes were destroyed in southern Lebanon as a result of Friday’s quake.

Wakf officials tried to blame Israel for the 6-foot by 5-foot hole, which is about three feet deep, claiming it was caused by Israel, which it accuses of tunneling beneath the Temple Mount. They demanded an end to all Israeli excavations in the area.

Though several excavation projects are taking place around the Western Wall Plaza, none of them entail tunneling past the wall itself and beneath the mount. The Wakf’s official position is that there was never a Jewish Temple on the Temple Mount and has gone to great efforts to erase archaeological evidence of Judaism’s historical ties to the site.

Western Wall Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz issued a statement rejecting the Muslim claims. “These are mendacious reports without a grain of truth,” he said, adding that work in the Temple Mount compound would be contrary to Jewish law. “Such claims are a desecration and cause hatred and incitement for no reason whatsoever,” Rabbi Rabinowitz said. He stressed that work on the Rambam (Mughrabi) Gate ramp to the Temple Mount is vital for the safety of those who visit the Western Wall and called on the authorities to finish the work speedily.


Friday, February 15th, 2008

STATE DEPARTMENT OUTRAGE (reported by One Jerusalem)

The United States State Department, under the direction of Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, is seriously considering siding with Palestinian terrorists in a case that would overturn court judgments in favor of American families that have suffered deaths caused by Palestinian terrorists.

Yes, you read that right.

Secretary of State Rice is directly involved in this outrage. The Palestinian Authority, represented by its President and Prime Minister, asked Secretary Rice to help them escape United States court decisions that instructed them to pay monetary damages to the families of the victims of terrorism.

Secretary Rice’s first intervention in this matter gave life to the campaign to escape justice by the Palestinian Authority.

Leslye Knox the mother of six children who became a widow in 2002 when her husband was murdered by Palestinian terrorists while singing at a Bar Mitzvah in Hadera, Israel, is flabbergasted by the State Department intervention: She said, “Now here are the wrongdoers, they come to the government and say, ‘Hey, help us.’ Its hard to see why the government listens to them. It makes me feel like, ‘Who is on my side?’ ”

One expert lawyer commenting on this case said,

“If the State Department tips the scales of justice against the victims in order to support adjudicated terrorists, the war on terrorism will be seen throughout the world as a farce.”

We could not say it better ourselves.


Wednesday, February 13th, 2008


Jerusalem, February 6, 2008: A black stone seal, bearing the name “Shlomit” has been found in the Area G section of the third phase of the City of David excavations. The unexpected find was reported on the front page of the Jerusalem Post on January 17, and was then thought to bear the name “Temech.” Further scholarly review convinced Dr Mazar that the reading of the name be inverted to read “Shlomit.” The seal may have belonged to Shlomit, the daughter of Zerubbabel, mentioned in 1 Chronicles 3:19. Zerubbabel was a grandson of Judean King Jehoachin and a leader of the first band of Jews returning from the Babylonian captivity. He helped lay the foundation of the Second Temple in Jerusalem.

The magnificent seal was found in stratified layers of debris uncovered for the first time by Dr. Eilat Mazar on behalf of the Shalem Center and The Ir David Foundation and conducted under the academic auspices of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

The seal is elliptical, 2.1 x 1.8 cm. On the surface is a scene engraved with two bearded priests standing on either side of an incense alter with their hands raised forward in a position of worship. On top of the altar appears a crescent moon, the symbol of the god Sin, the chief Babylonian god. Under this scene, inscribed are the Hebrew letters, ת מ ש (“Shlomit”). From the seal impression, the name appears as a mirror image which is a known phenomenon from other seals of this period. It is likely that the seal was bought in Babylon and made commercially by a local craftsman who engraved a common and popular cultic scene. Therefore, a large smooth space on the bottom of the seal was designated for a name to be added, be it long or short. The cultic scene relates in origin to the Babylonian cosmic chief god Sin who was viewed as “the king of the gods in heaven and on earth”, and seems not to have disturbed the Jews who used it on their own seal.

The discovery occurred under a tower, which was built during the time of Nehemiah and which Dr. Mazar found in a state of disrepair and ready to collapse. Dr. Mazar and her team dismantled the tower methodologically in order to reconstruct it, and excavated the layers that were sealed for centuries by the tower’s construction. Both the tower and the city wall that is adjacent to it were erected very quickly along the eastern ridge of the top of the City of David as part of the reconstruction of the walls of Jerusalem initiated by Nehemiah in the 5th century BCE. The Persian King Artaxerxes I (465 – 424 BCE) awarded Nehemiah the position of Governor of Judah in order to return to Jerusalem and repair the walls that were left in ruins after the destruction of the First Temple.

The Book of Nehemiah describes in detail the construction process whereby Nehemiah proved his high skill in organization by putting many groups of builders alongside each other working on consecutive segments along the whole length of the wall. They worked quickly in order to complete the work as soon as possible while under the threat of hostility and harassment from many surrounding enemies. The renovation of the city wall and its gates were completed within an amazingly short time, 52 days only. More than anything else, the construction enterprise that Nehemiah organized became a symbol for the determination and motivation of the returning Jewish exiles to rebuild the walls and gates of Jerusalem in spite of threatening conditions: “They which builded on the wall, and they that bare burdens, with those that laded, every one with one of his hands wrought in the work, and with the other hand held a weapon.” [Nehemiah 4:17] These are the children of the province, that went up out of the captivity, of those that had been carried away, whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried away, and came again to Jerusalem and to Judah, every one unto his city.” [Nehemiah 7:6]

Web Site Designed and Hosted by Ceronex