Tag Archives: Ronny Reich

Elad and The Manipulation of Facts in Silwan

An interesting essay today over on Art Info which contains this usefully instructive paragraph which so nicely encapsulates what Elad is all about:

A 2006 report by Ir Amim, a left-wing advocacy group focused on Jerusalem, described one instance in which Dr. Eilat Mazar, an archaeologist working at a dig funded by Elad, claimed to have found the pipe that David’s warriors traveled through when they conquered the city. This was despite the fact that many scholars — including Ronny Reich, an archaeologist at Haifa University who worked at the same site — were skeptical that David or Solomon had ever been there. On another occasion, Reich uncovered a Byzantine water pit and was instructed by Elad to present it as the cistern of Malkijah, the pit Jeremiah was thrown into by the son of Zedekiah, the king of Judah, according to the Old Testament. For weeks, the attribution was listed on the website and echoed by tour guides, even though Reich himself said that it was “nonsense.”

More scathing:

A Google search of the group’s founder, David Be’eri, leads to multiple stories about the day he passed through Silwan in a silver four-door sedan and was confronted by Palestinian youths throwing stones. He struck two of them with his car and drove off, later claiming he had felt he was in danger and was trying to flee. Though both boys avoided serious injury, the incident was broadcast on Al Jazeera as well as Israeli television, and in numerous clips on YouTube.

It’s hard to imagine how an organization whose leader is best known for running over Palestinian children with his car could invite itself into archaeology, a field in which professionals pride themselve in being almost tediously objective. In recent years, however, Elad has managed to do just that, funding public education projects in Silwan that would make viewers believe that politics was not Elad’s concern.

And then this:

Because of the drama of archaeology in Jerusalem, in addition to the sizable funds it provides for research areas like Silwan, researchers like Reich have frequently found themselves forced to answer difficult questions about cooperating with Elad. Israel Finkelstein, a professor of archaeology at TAU who is involved in the work at Silwan and is described among colleagues as “center-left,” gave a notably guarded answer when I asked him if he had qualms about doing archaeological work in which Elad was involved. “I have always kept distance from politics, so I am not going to answer this question,” he wrote in an email. “My only interest is to better understand archaeology and history. In order to make things clear, let me add that: 1) the Tel Aviv University dig will be carried out as a joint venture with the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA); no other body will be involved in the dig; 2) Tel Aviv University and its Institute of Archaeology work according to law.”

I have absolutely no doubt whatsoever that if Israel Finkelstein is involved everything done will be on the level.  Even if Elad attempts to exert influence.  Finkelstein is not the sort of person who can be pushed around.  This, I know.

And then this:

Rafael Greenberg, another professor of archaeology at TAU who has stood out for his opposition to the university’s involvement in Silwan, regularly expressed concerns about Elad’s involvement to his colleague Ronny Reich, who, recently, has become the head of the IAA’s archaeological council. “Whenever I told them he was being used by the settlers,” he told ARTINFO, “He’d say, ‘No, I’m using them.’”

Speaking over the phone last week, Greenberg repeated his feelings about Elad’s presence in the area, as well as the public relations concerns of TAU’s involvement. Part of what made him want to speak reporters, as it turned out, was how unconvincing he thought TAU’s message will be to Palestinian Silwanis, whose anxieties about losing their home might overlap with anxieties about being evicted from history. “No amount of spin or declarative sentences saying ‘we’re not being part of it,’ is going to change that, unless they actively dissociate themselves from that project,” he said. “It has to be a completely new concept, in order to carry out an excavation that is not associated with the settlers, with the Israeli view of history.”

Plus loads more which those interested in the subject will surely wish to read. I’ll only suggest, in conclusion, that Elad is agenda driven and that’s as plain as the nose on my face.

What’s Ronnie Reich’s Connection to Elad?

via Ha'areta

Archaeologist Ronny Reich has spent years excavating the City of David in East Jerusalem, and has found evidence that threatens the historical reputations of Herod and Hezekiah. He says politics and religion have never interested him, so what’s his connection with the right-wing Elad association, which operates the site?

So asks Ha’aretz.

Reich has written a book,

… which describes the history of excavations at City of David from the 19th century through the present, Reich avoids addressing the political and ideological questions aroused by the excavations there. At the same time, however, he doesn’t hesitate to settle a few professional and political scores with colleagues in the world of archaeology.

For instance

Reich generally seeks to avoid confrontation with political rivals, preferring to focus on archaeology. The exception is Prof. Rafi Greenberg of Tel Aviv University. Greenberg heads a group of critical archaeologists called Emek Shaveh, which has frequently taken Elad and Reich to task for exploiting archaeology for political ends. Reich retorts that Greenberg’s activity has caused the dismissal of the Palestinian laborers working at the dig. On this subject, he concurs with Elad’s view that until the leftists came to Silwan, peaceful coexistence prevailed there.

“All through the years I’ve made one demand of Elad, and that is that the workers be from Silwan,” says Reich. “I believe that whoever has the misfortune to live in an antiquities site ought to be able to profit from it. But when they ‏[Emek Shaveh‏] started up, there was pressure through the mukhtar, through Hamas. The only thing I want to know is if he [Greenberg‏] gave them ‏[the workers‏] a good explanation. I think they deserve it.”

Prof. Greenberg declined to comment.

It’s a very long article but one very much worth reading fully.

Herod Didn’t Finish That Wall After All- Again

I’m not sure why the IMF is just coming up with this today.  It was reported three months ago (see the links below).  Evidently it’s tourist season so this is a tourism ploy.

The IMF reports

New archeological excavations show conclusively that the Roman client king’s massive construction project continued after his death.

So there’s something else ‘tradition’ holds which archaeology disproves.

Textbooks for archeologists –– and tour guides in Israel –– long held to the notion that King Herod, a Roman client king who lived from 74 BCE to 4 CE in the Holy Land, saw his colossal building project in and around the Temple Mount in Jerusalem through to the end.  Coins, pottery and oil lamps discovered in a Jewish ritual bath underneath the Western Wall recently, report archeologists from Israel, date the completion of the Western Wall surrounding the Second Temple to a later time, maybe even 50 CE. They are sure that the coins found under the wall were struck after Herod had already died. Archeologists Professor Ronny Reich of the University of Haifa and Eli Shukron of the Israel Antiquities Authority led the work.

Poor Herod.  He probably didn’t do much of anything at all.

The Preliminary Report on Robinson’s Arch, Jerusalem

From Ronny Reich and Eli Shukron-

Circular cistern

At the beginning of 2011, an excavation was conducted near Robinson’s Arch in the Old City of Jerusalem (Permit No. A-6131). The excavation was directed by E. Shukron, on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority and by R. Reich, on behalf of the Zinman Institute of Archaeology of the University of Haifa, with the assistance of V. Essman and Y. Shmidov (surveying and drafting), V. Naikhin (field photography), O. Cohen and A. Tsagay (engineering and conservation), C. Amit (studio photography), L. Kupershmidt (metallurgical laboratory) and D.T. Ariel (numismatics).

And a LOT more.  Via Antonio.

The Jerusalem Seal: Ronny Reich

With thanks to George for mentioning this.

George Athas on the ‘Jerusalem Seal’

George writes

One thing that puzzles me about the recently discovered seal from Jerusalem is its Aramaic inscription. The seal reads דכא ליה (‘pure to Yah[weh]‘), and evidently has some sort of ritual significance. Shukron and Reich argued that the seal was probably placed on objects to certify their purity and, therefore, declare them fit for use in the temple. The one thing that surprises me about this, however, is that the inscription is clearly in Aramaic, not Hebrew. This would be highly unusual for a priestly item. Deutsch offers an alternative theory that the seal was a token used in the monetary exchange for a libation offered in the temple. The use of Aramaic in this case would make more sense, as a lay person was involved in the exchange. However, the phrase ‘pure for Yaw(weh)’ seems a little peripheral to the exchange itself.

I want to propose a slightly different understanding of this little seal.

And then he does.  Interestingly.

Robert Deutsch on the ‘Temple Seals’

Robert writes, quoting the earlier report (see the link below)

“The team believes the tiny seal was put on objects designated to be used in the temple, and thus had to be ceremonially pure.”

To which he responds

Very interesting BUT the interpretation has to be different: The seal impression (the bullae) has two finger prints on the back and there is no evidence that it served to seal or to be attached to an artifact.

In the Mishna (Kedoshim, Tamid 3:3) is mentioned the “chamber of the seals” which was in the temple. There the seals were kept, whose impressions on bullae served as evidence of the payment for sacrifice.

The purchase of “seals” which are probably Bullae, is also mentioned in the Mishna:  “Who wishes to get libations, goes to Yohanan who is over the seals, hands him over coins and receives a seal. He goes to Ahiya who is over the libations, hands him over a seal and receives libations. At evening they meet, and Ahiya presents the seal and exchanges them for coins”. (Moed, Shekalim 5:4).

Therefore the bulla discovered by Shukrun and Reich is in fact a receipt, or the means of payment which was used to buy offerings.

Robert Deutsch

The First Written Evidence Confirming Jerusalem Temple Ritual Practices

Photo by: Vladimir Naykhin

Israeli archaeologists have uncovered the first archeological find to confirm written testimony of the ritual practices at the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem.  An Israeli Antiquities Authority archaeological survey at the northwestern corner of the Temple Mount yielded a tiny tin artifact, the size of a button, inscribed with the Aramaic words: “Daka Le’Ya,” which the excavation directors on behalf of the IAA, archaeologists Eli Shukron and Professor Ronny Reich of the University of Haifa, explain means “pure for God.”

Researchers believe the artifact, dated to the first century, towards the end of the Second Temple period, is a seal similar to those described in the Mishnah. If they are correct, this is the first time physical evidence of the temple ritual was found to corroborate the written record.  The team believes the tiny seal was put on objects designated to be used in the temple, and thus had to be ceremonially pure.

A first century artifact is quite interesting.  Let’s hope for higher resolution photos soon.

UPDATE:  Joseph Lauer provides a link for hi res photos.  Thanks Joseph!

They’ve Found the Sword that Pierced Jesus’ Side and the Lamp that the Author of Revelation Saw!

Or at least that’s what BAR or Jacobovici will claim as soon as they hear about the discovery of a Roman sword and menorah found under the streets of Jerusalem.  After all, the nail found in an ossuary has been claimed by simple Simcha to be the very nail used in Jesus’ crucifixion…  so nothing – not even the facts or evidence – can stop him from making the same sort of claim now.

For the truth, though, turn to the Israel Antiquities Authority, which announces

During the course of work the Israel Antiquities Authority carried out in Jerusalem’s ancient drainage channel, which begins in the Siloam Pool and runs from the City of David to the archaeological garden (near the Western Wall), impressive finds were recently discovered that breathe new life into the story of the destruction of the Second Temple. The excavations are being conducted on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, in cooperation with the Nature and Parks Authority and are underwritten by the City of David Foundation.

A 2,000 year old iron sword, still in its leather scabbard, was discovered in work the Israel Antiquities Authority is doing in the channel, which served as a hiding refuge for the residents of Jerusalem from the Romans at the time of the Second Temple’s destruction. In addition, parts of the belt that carried the sword were found. According to the excavation directors Eli Shukron of the Israel Antiquities Authority and Professor Ronny Reich of the University of Haifa, “It seems that the sword belonged to an infantryman of the Roman garrison stationed in Israel at the outbreak of the Great Revolt against the Romans in 66 CE. The sword’s fine state of preservation is surprising: not only its length (c. 60 cm), but also the preservation of the leather scabbard (a material that generally disintegrates quickly over time) and some of its decoration”.

A stone object adorned with a rare engraving of a menorah was found in the soil beneath the street, on the side of the drainage channel. According to Shukron and Professor Reich, “Interestingly, even though we are dealing with a depiction of the seven-branched candelabrum, only five branches appear here. The portrayal of the menorah’s base is extremely important because it clarifies what the base of the original menorah looked like, which was apparently tripod shaped”. The fact that the stone object was found at the closest proximity to the Temple Mount to date is also important. The researchers suppose a passerby who saw the menorah with his own eyes and was amazed by its beauty incised his impressions on a stone and afterwards tossed his scrawling to the side of the road, without imagining that his creation would be found 2,000 years later.

• The sword with remains of the scabbard on it. Photographic credit: Clara Amit, courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority
• The stone engraved with the image of the menorah. Photographic credit: Vladimir Naykhin.

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