Thursday, July 08, 2021

  • Thursday, July 08, 2021
  • Elder of Ziyon



The Israel Antiquities Authority unveiled a hugely impressive building that seems to have been a place for important pilgrims to Jerusalem to dine and meet city officials 2000 years ago.

“This is, without doubt, one of the most magnificent public buildings from the Second Temple period that has ever been uncovered outside the Temple Mount walls in Jerusalem,” said excavation director Dr. Shlomit Weksler-Bdolach in an IAA press release on Thursday.

Built circa 20 CE, the Roman-era structure stood off a main drag leading to the Temple Mount and was used as a triclinium, or dining room, for notable members of society on their way to worship, according to the IAA release. Originally constructed with an ornate water fountain and decorative Corinthian capitals, the striking edifice underwent a series of structural changes in its 50 years of use prior to the 70 CE destruction of the Second Temple, Weksler-Bdolach told The Times of Israel.

The massive structure will soon be open to the public as part of the Western Wall Tunnels Tour, which has been rejigged to create different paths and experiences, based on several new routes that cut through thousands of years of history, through today’s modern use of part of the tunnels as prayer and event halls.

What archaeologists do know is that during its 50 years of occupation, said Weksler-Bdolach, the large public structure was separated into three different spaces, the fountain was taken out of use, and what appears to be a ritual bath or mikveh was added, just prior to the destruction of Jerusalem.

Despite the clear Roman influence in the structure’s architecture, Jerusalem at this time was still a culturally Jewish city, said Weksler-Bdolach. The decorations discovered in the spaces — a sculpted cornice bearing pilasters (flat supporting pillars) — didn’t include graven images, banned by the Torah.

She said the hall was likely used by city, versus Temple, officials who wanted to impress their guests.

“Visitors to the site can now envisage the opulence of the place: the two side chambers served as ornate reception rooms and between them was a magnificent fountain with water gushing out from lead pipes incorporated in the midst of the Corinthian capitals protruding from the wall,” said Weksler-Bdolach in the press release.
The photos are impressive.




And the ritual bath that is there proves that this was a Jewish building.




But one person isn't impressed.

Daniel Seidemann, critic of Israel who specializes in Jerusalem history, shrugs this off with a quote from former deputy mayor of Jerusalem Meron Benvenisti who himself wanted to replace the Jewish state with a binational state:

“Unplanned, and costing both human life and many millions of sheqels, a vast network of tunnels were created which allow for a visit to subterranean Jerusalem, that extends from what has become known as the City of David to the northern ramparts of the Old City. This underground city weaves a fabricated narrative – a Disneyland, really – that is designed to expunge thousands of years of non-Jewish history and create a purportedly direct link between the Second Temple Period until today. In this manner sewage ditches and moldy cellars are transformed into sacred sites and fabricated historical Jewish sites, with those who traverse it not encountering the embarrassing reality that reveals an Old City and Temple Mount teeming with Palestinians, in which the “city square” [as it appears in Naomi Shemer’s iconic song, “Jerusalem of Gold”] is once again devoid of Arabs.”
Meron Benvenisti, The Dream of the White Sabra, [Hebrew] Jerusalem,
2005, p. 253 (translation by the author – D.S)
Whatever the merits of Benvenisti's criticisms of these digs were in 2005, the sheer amount of findings since then done by eminent archaeologists prove many times over the Jewish history of the city. This finding in particular cannot be brushed aside as a "moldy cellar."

Also, it is clearly false to say that the Israel Antiquities Authority is trying to erase non-Jewish history. The number of Islamic sites preserved by the IAA and the State of Israel in Jerusalem proves this.

Any new findings that strengthen the link between today's Jews and our ancestors must be fought tooth and nail by today's Israel haters. Seidemann is no fool, and he knows Jerusalem history quite well, but his antipathy to the Government of Israel prompts him to tweet such nonsense. 

In the end, it is hard to find much daylight between people like him who dismiss such an important site from Jewish history and the antisemites who deny Jewish history altogether.











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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون



This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 14 years and 30,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.

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