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Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Iranian news: "No evidence of historic Jews in Jerusalem" (updated)

The always fascinating Iranian news agency IRNA reports:

Renowned Zionist archeologist Israel Wanklestein claimed Monday despite Israel’s claims there is absolutely no historic proof for presence of Jews in Jerusalem (occupied Holy Qods) in the past.

According to IRNA Audiovisual Monitoring Service, the Qods-Press News Agency which has quoted the Israeli archeologist has further reiterated:

Wankelstein who is considered as the father of archeology in occupied Palestine further stressed that the Jewish archeologists have thus far presented no historic proof for some stories quoted in the Old Testament on deportation of the Jews from the city, and their wandering in Sinai Desert, or victory of Joshua the son of Nunn in war against the Canaanites.

The Jewish archeologist focusing on Solomon’s Temple issue, said, “There is absolutely no historic proof over the existence of that temple where Israel says it is located.”
They are referring to Israel Finkelstein, a Tel Aviv University archaeologist who is known to be critical about the accuracy of Biblical history.

The story they are quoting comes from Middle East Monitor (MEMO), a UK-based Islamist-oriented news site. MEMO, in turn, claims that they got this information from an interview Finkelstein gave to The Jerusalem Post.

I cannot find any such interview in the Jerusalem Post.

However, I found an article about an interview with Finkelstein from last year in Biblical Archaeology Review. According to that article, Finkelstein - despite his skepticism - admits that Solomon built the Temple in Jerusalem.


Meanwhile, in Jerusalem, a stone was found with an engraved image of a menorah, along with a sword and scabbard that belonged to a Roman soldier.

And then there's this.

UPDATE:
Finkelstein, skepticism and all, writes pretty much the opposite of what Iran claims in this piece in The Forward:

Contrary to Palestinian claims, there is a scholarly consensus that the Temple Mount was indeed the location of the two Temples. Orthodox Jewish and Muslim sensitivities, however, have prevented modern archaeological work on the Temple Mount, which for the past 1,300 years has been the site of two Islamic holy places, the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock. Archaeological attention has therefore been diverted to the ridge to its south, where remains dating from the Bronze and Iron Ages were detected as early as the mid-19th century.

From the outset of modern exploration, the City of David produced exciting discoveries. Truly thrilling finds include the Siloam Inscription, a late-8th-century BCE Hebrew inscription that commemorates the hewing of a water tunnel under the ridge. Other important recent discoveries are the Pool of Siloam, dating from the Roman period, and the monumental street that connected it with the Temple Mount — places that were frequented by thousands during the three pilgrimage festivals each year.