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A Millennia-Old Tomb Sheds Light on Pre-Biblical Canaan

March 15 2018

Archaeologists have recently discovered a richly appointed burial chamber, thought to be 3,600 years old, in the ancient fortress city of Megiddo—known in the New Testament as Armageddon. Philippe Bohstrom writes:

The extraordinary discovery . . . has stunned archaeologists, not only for the array of wealth found in the tomb but also for the potential insight it may provide into the royal dynasty that ruled this powerful center before its conquest by Egypt in the early 15th century BCE. . . . The chamber contained the undisturbed remains of three individuals—a child between the ages of eight and ten, a woman in her mid-thirties, and a man aged between forty and sixty—adorned with gold and silver jewelry including rings, brooches, bracelets, and pins. The male body was discovered wearing a gold necklace and had been crowned with a gold diadem, and all of the objects demonstrate a high level of skill and artistry. . . .

The grave goods point to the cosmopolitan nature of Megiddo at the time and the treasures it reaped from its location on the major trade routes of the eastern Mediterranean. Along with jewelry, the tomb contained ceramic vessels from Cyprus and stone jars that may have been imported from Egypt. The rich adornment of the tomb’s inhabitants appears to indicate a complex and highly stratified society, in which an exceptionally wealthy and powerful elite had been elevated above most of Megiddo’s society. . . .

Currently a broad DNA study is being carried out on many individuals unearthed at Megiddo—those from the “royal” tomb as well as those who received less elaborate burials in other domestic areas of the site. The ancient DNA results could for the first time reveal whether the common inhabitants of the Canaanite city-state were of the same background as the elite. “These studies have the potential to revolutionize what we know about the population of Canaan,” said [the excavation’s director, Israel] Finkelstein, “before the rise of the world of the Bible.”

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Read more at National Geographic

More about: Archaeology, Canaanites, History & Ideas

Germany’s Bid to Keep Israel off the UN Security Council

March 21 2018

The Jewish state has never held a temporary seat on the United Nations Security Council. For the first 50 years of its existence, it was denied membership in any of the UN’s regional groups, which control candidacies for these rotating seats. Then it was finally admitted to the Western European and Others Group, which promptly agreed to wait another twenty years before approving Jerusalem for a Security Council candidacy. Now, Benny Avni notes, Germany is poised to block action:

As a good-faith gesture, the Western European and Others Group promised Israel that it and Belgium would run uncontested for the two open 2019-20 [Security Council] seats. Then, in 2016, Germany announced it would also run—even though it already served as a council member [multiple times, including] as recently as 2011-12. . . . [U]nless Belgium yields, Israel’s hopes for UN respect seem doomed for now—and maybe for the foreseeable future.

Why? Diplomats have been telling me Israel violates too many Security Council resolutions to be a member—as in the one passed during the last weeks of Barack Obama’s presidency, which marked Jewish holy sites as occupied Palestinian territory. But is building a porch in [the West Bank town of] Ma’ale Adumim really such a huge threat to world peace?

How about, then, a report released last week by UN experts on the Security Council’s North Korea sanctions? It found Germany violated a council ban on sparkling wines, exporting $151,840 worth of bubbly and other luxury goods to Kim Jong Un’s cronies. Or how about, as the Jerusalem Post’s Benjamin Weinthal reports, German companies exporting to Iran banned materials that were later used in chemical attacks in Syria?

Never mind. Germany (and Belgium) will surely benefit from the UN’s habit of magnifying Israel’s violations beyond all proportion. Thus, Israel’s petition to join the most prestigious UN club will likely be rejected, thanks to a late entry by a shameless [and] cynical German power play against the Jewish state.

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Read more at New York Post

More about: Germany, Israel & Zionism, Israeli-German relations, United Nations