A Hellenistic-era golden earring, discovered in the Givati Parking Lot in the City of David National Park. (photo from IAA courtesy Ashernet)
A Hellenistic-era golden earring, featuring ornamentation of a horned animal, was discovered in the Givati Parking Lot in the City of David National Park encircling the Old City walls. The discovery was made during archeological digs carried out by the Israel Antiquities Authority and Tel Aviv University. According to the researchers, “It is unclear whether the gold earring was worn by a man or a woman, nor do we know their cultural or religious identity, but we can say for certain that whoever wore this earring definitely belonged to Jerusalem’s upper class. This can be determined by the proximity to the Temple Mount and the Temple, which was functional at the time, as well as the quality of the gold piece of jewelry.”
Dr. Yinon Shivtiel, left, and Dr. Danny Syon inside the cave where large wine jars, a cooking pot and other pottery more than 2,000 years old were salvaged two weeks ago in a joint operation of the Sefad Academic College, the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA), the Israel Cave Research Centre and the Israel Cave Explorers Club. (photo by IAA from Ashernet)
In 2017, Dr. Yinon Shivtiel, a speleologist and senior lecturer at Sefad, conducted a survey in Western Galilee, aided by the Israel Nature and Parks Authority, to locate caves that served as shelters and hiding places. He discovered a cave high on a sheer cliff, under an overhang, which contained ancient pottery vessels. “As a first impression,” said Dr. Danny Syon, senior archeologist with the IAA, “the finds seem to date to the Hellenistic period: between the third and first centuries BCE…. We assume that whoever hid here escaped some violent event that occurred in the area. Perhaps by dating the vessels more closely, we shall be able to tie them to a known historic event. It is mind-boggling how the vessels were carried to the cave, which is extremely difficult to access. Maybe an easier way that once existed disappeared over time?”
Feeding time for the giraffes in Ramat Gan Safari Park on June 21, which was World Giraffe Day. (photo from Ashernet)
It is no coincidence that the day to raise public awareness of the tallest animal on earth takes place on the longest day of the year, at least in the northern hemisphere. In the world, there are nine sub-species of giraffes, all of which are categorized as endangered. Seven giraffes live in the Safari Park: Denisa, Daniela, Dikla, Diana, Dedi, Anton and Dadon. This year, Denisa, the Dutch-born giraffe who came to the safari when she was just 2 years old, broke a record when she passed the age of 28, becoming the oldest giraffe in any zoo.
Some of the terror weapons found by Israel Security Agency (ISA) personnel. (photos by ISA via Ashernet)
In recent months, the ISA, Israel Defence Forces and Israel Police have uncovered a large and active terrorist infrastructure that operated in the Nablus area on the West Bank from October 2017 until late April 2018, when more than 20 members of the group were detained by Israeli security forces. Most of the group’s members belonged to Hamas; some had extensive experience in terrorist operations, including the production of explosives. ISA investigations found that the group intended to carry out several attacks in various Israeli cities. Among the items seized were improvised explosive devices, including one weighing 10 kilograms; materials for the production of explosives; weapons; and instructions for the manufacture of bombs and explosive materials.
The new exhibit at Yad Vashem features artworks, artifacts, diaries, letters and testimonies that illustrate how Jews yearned for Eretz Israel during and immediately following the Shoah, from 1933-1948. (photo from Ashernet)
“I see a sign that we will meet each other face-to-face in our land, our homeland, Eretz Israel,” wrote 10-year-old Eliezer Rudnik in 1937 to his aunts who had immigrated to Palestine.
The letter, written in Hebrew, is surrounded by his parents’ writing, in Yiddish, as there was a lack of paper. Aryeh and Sarah Rudnik and their son, Eliezer, were the only Jews living in the Ukrainian village of Kosmaczow – they were shot and killed by Nazis in 1942. Eliezer’s letter is just one of the hundreds of items now on display at Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Centre, in a new exhibition, They Say There is a Land: Longing for Eretz Israel during the Holocaust.
The exhibit, which opened May 30 in the Auditorium Exhibitions Hall of Yad Vashem’s Museums Complex, features artworks, artifacts, diaries, letters and testimonies collected by Yad Vashem over the years, all of which illustrate how Jews yearned for Eretz Israel during and immediately following the Shoah, from 1933-1948. It is divided into three sections.
The first section presents how Jews viewed their connection to and longing for the Land of Israel during the rise of the Nazi party to power in Germany, until the outbreak of the Second World War. It was during this period that Jews searched for asylum in various countries, including Eretz Israel.
The second section focuses on the years 1940-1944, from the period of the ghettos to extermination. During this stage, Jewish communities in Europe dwindled and, under their daily struggle for survival, many Jews found themselves distanced from Eretz Israel to the point of disengagement; however, their hearts’ yearning for the land remained.
The third and final section focuses on the period immediately after the Holocaust – the displaced persons camps in Europe and the detention camps in Cyprus, and the establishment of the state of Israel. At this time, many survivors felt that only in Israel would they be able to regain their stature and build a full Jewish communal and personal life.
“The longing for Zion and the Land of Israel has been a cornerstone of Jewish identity for generations, manifested in many different forms,” Yad Vashem chairman Avner Shalev said at the exhibition’s opening. “While the Zionist movement was not embraced by the majority of Jews in Europe during the Nazi rise to power, through the course of the Holocaust and in its aftermath, it became increasingly popular. This exhibition portrays the ways in which Jews before, during and after the Shoah expressed their dreams for a brighter future in the Land of Israel, and their fervent hope to rebuild their lives here.”
The exhibition’s title is that of a well-known poem written by Hebrew poet Shaul Tchernichovsky in 1923 in Berlin. The poem brings up existential questions that characterized the Jewish people’s struggle in the interwar period, as well as the forces of dream versus reality, and hope versus despair.
In the ancient city of Gath, now Tell es-Safi, an international team of archeologists has uncovered the earliest example of the use of a bridle bit with an equid in the Near East.(photo from Ashernet)
“The use of a bridle bit on a donkey during this period is surprising, since it was commonly assumed that donkeys were controlled with nose rings, as depicted in Mesopotamian art,” said Bar-Ilan University’s Prof. Aren Maeir, who has led the Tell es-Safi/Gath Archeological Project since its inception more than 20 years ago. Evidence of the bit was derived from the skeleton of an ancient donkey dating to the Early Bronze Age III (approximately 2700 BCE). The donkey is one of four that were found buried under neighbourhood houses, indicating the importance of the donkey in this society. Studies of the dental isotopes from this particular donkey (with the bit) demonstrate that it was born and raised in Egypt and brought to the site only in the last few months of its life, before it was sacrificed and buried beneath the floor of the house as it was being rebuilt. The research has been funded by the Canadian Social Science and Humanities Research Council, with additional funds from BIU and the University of Manitoba; the researchers come from BIU, U of M, University of Saskatchewan, Ariel University and Grand Valley State University; their findings were published in the May 16 edition of the journal PLOS ONE.
A section of Jerusalem’s Old City, near the Jaffa Gate, is illuminated with a greeting to welcome the establishment of the new Paraguayan embassy. On May 22, the municipality welcomed the establishment of the third embassy in the capital – the United States and Guatemala moved their embassies to Jerusalem earlier in the month. The next country to make the move to the capital is thought to be Honduras.
In Jerusalem on Sunday, May 13, which was Jerusalem Day, there was a strong feeling of anticipation, as Israelis waited for Monday’s opening in the city of the new American embassy. Other countries are expected to follow the United States’ lead, starting with Guatemala, which opened its embassy in Jerusalem two days later, and Paraguay.
Cyclists met some of the audience in Safra Square during the opening ceremony May 4. (photo from Ashernet)
The night of May 4 saw a spectacular ceremony to welcome the scores of participants and visitors to Israel to mark the opening of the Giro d’Italia cycling race. This year, the three-week race started in Jerusalem with a time trial. Cyclists from around the world then raced from Haifa to Tel Aviv, then from Beersheva to Eilat, across the Negev Desert. On Sunday, the teams flew by special aircraft, with all their gear, to Sicily to continue with the race on Tuesday. This is the first time that such a prestigious world-class sporting event has been organized in Israel. The three most important cycling events in the world are, in order of importance: Tour de France, Giro d’Italia and La Vuelta (Spain).
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu addressed a special meeting of the Israeli cabinet in Independence Hall in Tel Aviv on April 20 in honour of the 70th anniversary of the proclamation of the modern state by Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion. Plans are to restore Independence Hall and turn it into a museum, where the Declaration of Independence will be displayed publicly for the first time. The document is currently stored at the State Archive in Jerusalem.