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Government archeologists will soon begin unearthing the grave of Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi, a famous Talmudic rabbi. This is one of the very few graves of famous Jews of antiquity which is clearly marked with his name and not in doubt.

The dig will be conducted for the pure sake of archeological curiosity, and will certainly provoke mass protests from haredim Jews who decry the tomb’s desecration.

The Palestinian and Jordanian governments have demanded that Canada seize the Dead Sea Scrolls, which are now on loan at Toronto’s museum. The scrolls were indeed discovered in what was at the time Jordan, and would become Palestine.

Britain and France hold in their museums immense treasures from their former colonies, but Israel must abide by the imagined international law.

And, indeed, she has abided: after Peres signed a peace treaty with Jordan, Israel returned to Jordan some extremely important Jewish artifacts, including manuscripts.

The University of Haifa has deciphered the most ancient Hebrew writing, which pushes the date of Jewish writing abilities back to 400 years before the previous estimate. The 10th century BCE inscription on potsherd closely parallels the biblical commandment to provide justice to widows and orphans.

The text is nothing short of astonishing:

You shall not do [it], but worship the [Lord].
Judge the slave and the widow, Judge the orphan
[and] the stranger. Plead for the infant, plead for the poor [and]
the widow. Rehabilitate … at the hands of the king.
Protect the poor [and] the slave, support the stranger.

Religion, thus, seems to have been a major issue for Jews already three thousand years ago. Slaves had full access to courtsóa thing unheard of even 29 centuries lateróand there is no indication in the text that they were only Jewish slaves. Justice, as the Torah enjoins us, has indeed always been a major value among Jews.

Jews had full sovereignty on this Land around 1,000 BCEóso much that they recognized and accorded benevolent treatment to strangers. At that time, Jews were ruled by monarchs, contrary to the claims by biblical minimalists of the fictitious nature of the Chronicles.

Shall we give this land to the Palestinians?

Jordan has filed a claim for the Dead Sea Scrolls with UNESCO. The claim is based on the fact that Israel seized the scrolls from an East Jerusalem museum during the Six-Day War.

Though Jordan occupied East jerusalem illegally from 1948 to 1967, and thus has no legitimate claim to the scrolls, a Palestinian claim for them would be very strong. If East Jerusalem falls to a Palestinian state, Israel will have to transfer the scrolls to our Arab enemies.

In the mayhem of peace negotiations everyone would likely forget to obtain a Palestinian agreement to transfer the scrolls to Israel.

The Israeli government has published an inconspicuous list of Jewish cultural monuments under state protection. Among other curiosities, the list includes the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron and Rachel’s Tomb near Bethlehem, which are under Arab control.

It remains to be seen whether the list is a polite nod to the right-wingers or a first step toward Israel retaking significant areas.

For our purposes, it does not matter whether Rachel is indeed buried at the site. It is enough that the government is acting on purported Jewish values.

Hebrew University archeologists have unearthed the palace structures and royal jars to the south of Jerusalem’s Old City. According to the Road Map, this place ‘rightfully’ belongs to Palestinian Arabs.

The White House has criticized the Israeli government for daring to call the tombs of the patriarchs Jewish national heritage. According to our friends from Washington, the biblical patriarchs actually fall under Palestinian sovereignty.

The Palestinians supported US diplomacy by hurling stones at Israeli police in Hebron. The PA has declared that Abbas won’t conduct peace talks with Netanyahu, who steals “Palestinian sacramentals.” The Jewish patriarchs would be surprised to know that they have become holy to Palestinian Arabs. Netanyahu, nevertheless, continues to prop up the PA with IDF operations and tax transfers.

Israel’s president has embarked on a damage-control operation by meeting the UN coordinator, a lowly figure who should not be able to get near the president of any self-respecting state.

Jewish heritage sitesNasrallah has condemned foreign Arabs for remaining silent while the Palestinians fight for Jewish heritage sites. This is not exactly true; the Arab media are in an uproar.

Muslims consider the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron to be their holy site. Until 1967, Jews were banned from the building, and could only ascend the first seven steps toward it. In 1967, Moshe Dayan gave the keys back to the Arabs.

There is no room for compromise for the Jews either: Orthodox Jews believe in the site’s sanctity, and secular nationalists object to being humiliated by Arabs.

In matters of national pride, there is no room for holy sites to be treated like condominiums.

A study on Jewish populations published in the American Journal of Human Genetics shows that the genomes of Middle Eastern and European Jews diverged 2,500 years ago – at the time of the first exile.

Western wallArcheologists scored a major discovery near the Western Wall: several seals from the First Temple era, one of them with the name of Mathathyahu written on it. These seals date to around the time of our war with the Babylonians.

More than two thousand years later, we again face the prospect of war with Iran and Iraq.

Clay bullaIsraeli archeologists unearthed a clay bulla in Hebrew bearing the name of Beit Lehem, the town of Bethlehem. The bulla dates to the First Temple period.

According to the Oslo agreements, Bethlehem is a town in Palestine.

In response to a petition to stop Muslim work on the Temple Mount that is damaging Jewish religious artifacts, police claimed that they maintain presence at the Temple Mount and that the works are supervised by the Antiques Authority. That the Authority chose not to comment suggests the contrary, as indeed everyone knows.

Tellingly, the Attorney General has demanded that Israeli law be applied at the Temple Mount with ’special sensitivity.’

Past coverage: history
19.04 Olmert to attend ceremony of repatriating Meir Feinsteinís Bible British guard saved in 1947
23.04 Anti-Defamation League's Abraham Foxman reprints his book under Kahane's title
08.05 King Herodís tomb found in pre-1967 Arab lands
03.07 Muslim mobs saved Israeli archeology
13.07 Archeologists confirm Jeremiah
31.08 Arabs find the Second Temple remains, destroy them
21.09 Archeologist Quislings present secret brief to Israeli Supreme Court
22.10 Islamic barbarians break into the First Temple layer
04.11 PMO approves monument to the Ottoman soldiers
17.11 Turkey: Israel destroys Muslim artifacts
01.12 Nehemiah was right
18.01 Archeologists confirm the Bible account
29.02 Seal with Hebrew name found in Jerusalem
22.06 60 years since the murder of the Altalena
30.06 Pupils will learn about Herzl
02.08 King Zedekiah minister's seal found in the City of David
07.10 Orthodox Christians baptize King David
04.11 Rabin was killed 13 years ago
23.02 East Jerusalem, huh
13.04 Fatah claims Dead Sea Scrolls