The Israeli Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Bible last week in a case brought by the Palestinian Authority in which they tried to have archaeology in Judea and Samaria declared a crime. Undeterred, the PA turned to UNESCO to intervene while threatening archaeologists around the world with litigation if they participate in digs in Israel. One archaeologist, a Christian who has been sifting the sands of the Holy Land for Decades, stood strong as he was singled out for attack.
Yesh Din and Emek Shaveh, two left-wing Israeli nongovernmental organizations, filed the original petition in a Jerusalem District Court. The petition demanded that the location of the digs, the names of the archaeologists conducting them, and details of any findings be made public. The District Court rejected the petition so the two groups then appealed the decision with the supreme court. Citing the Freedom of Information Act, they demanded the government reveal the locations of any archaeological work being carried out in Judea and Samaria. The petition also called for the government to make public the identities of the archaeologists working there.
Unlike archaeological work in other areas of Israel, archaeological work in Judea and Samaria falls under the auspices of the Civil Administration, which is part of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), a part of the Defense Ministry.
The supreme court ruled against making the names of the archaeologists public since it would make them vulnerable to academic boycotts, a tactic used by the Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) movement. Israeli and pro-Israel professors are frequently prevented from publishing their research, giving lectures, participating in academic conferences, or obtaining stipends and research grants.
“There’s a clear and genuine fear that publishing the names of the archaeologists … could cause concrete damage to their professional and financial interests, as well as those of the institutions with which they are affiliated,” Justice Yosef Elron wrote, explaining the decision. “Publishing the archaeologists’ names exposes them to academic boycotts in a manner that could genuinely damage their research work and their academic futures.”
“In addition, I’ve been convinced that publishing the archaeologists’ identities could even undermine their ability to complete the specific digs about which information has been requested and to make their future results known through academic publications,” Elron wrote.
The court also reasoned that the results could undermine Israel’s “interests in the framework of future negotiations with the Palestinian Authority, and could even serve as a tool of attack for parties that seek to harm Israel in the international arena.”
The PA responded to the decision by the Supreme Court by issuing a warning to archaeologists around the world that participating in research in Israel “would expose them to legal accountability” and mar their academic record. In their official statement released on Tuesday, the PA asked museums and international institutions to examine all artifacts originating in Israel and refuse to accept any piece “stolen from occupied Palestinian land.”
Dr. Scott Stripling (Courtesy)
Dr. Scott Stripling, the provost of The Bible Seminary in Texas and Director of Excavations for the Associates for Biblical Research. Dr. Stripling has been sifting the sands of Israel for over 20 years. Dr. Stripling and his organization were individually named in the suit brought by the NGO’s.
“They wanted to get the names of the board members and even the names of the donors in order to bring pressure to bear on them,” Stripling told Breaking Israel News. “It’s not going to affect us either way. We don’t care because what we are doing is way too important.”
For perspective, Dr. Stripling is currently digging in Shiloh, which he surmises may be the true site of the Tabernacle, a site of immeasurable archaeological and Biblical significance.
“Not all the Palestinians object to what we are doing,” Dr. Stripling said. “This is, after all, the study of the history of the land.”
Dr. Stripling explained the claims against him, as he understood them.
“They claim we are destroying the artifacts and robbing the Palestinians people,” Dr. Stripling said. “That is the PA and the UN position.”
He refuted these claims out of hand.
“We don’t care who is in charge,” Dr. Stripling said. “Philosophically we are more closely aligned with Israel but regarding archaeology, we are apolitical. We cooperate with whoever is in charge. We are quite simply salvaging the artifacts. If there is a change in government, everything is here in storage for them and we would cooperate with them.”
Dr. Stripling emphasized that Palestinian archaeologists do not excavate in areas that are currently under Israeli control.
“If they apply for a permit to dig in Israel, they would be seen as collaborating with the Israeli government,” he explained. “Since they can’t dig, it is important for everyone that we be permitted to continue. The real intention of the lawsuit was to stop all digging in Judea and Samaria until the conflict is settled.”
“This conflict has been going on since Isaac and Ishmael,” Dr. Stripling quipped. “It probably isn’t going to be settled any time soon. In the meantime, we have to save the archaeological evidence before it deteriorates.”
Dr. Stripling referred to Khirbet el-Maqatir, the previous focus of his research.
“It’s been totally destroyed since we dug there,” he said. “Houses were built on top of the site, illegally of course. Farmers plowed over antiquities. Antiquities in Area C (under Israeli control constituting about 60 percent of Judea and Samaria) are at risk and we can lose that history.”
A 2018 demonstration against antisemitism in Berlin. Photo: Reuters / Fabrizio Bensch.
A slight drop in the number of antisemitic incidents in Berlin during the first half of this year is no excuse for complacency, the city’s antisemitism commissioner emphasized on Thursday following the publication of statistics for hate crimes targeting Jews in the German capital from January-June 2019.
“Antisemitism remains a serious problem that we cannot tolerate in Berlin,” Lorenz Korgel — the city’s commissioner for combating antisemitism — told local news outlet Berliner Morgenpost. “The number of antisemitic incidents remains at a high level. ”
People wear kippas at a demonstration in front of a Jewish synagogue denouncing an antisemitic attack on a young man wearing a kippa, in Berlin, Germany, April 25, 2018. (photo credit: FABRIZIO BENSCH / REUTERS)
The population of the State of Israel has increased 2.1% since last year, according to a report released in time for Rosh Hashanah by the Central Bureau of Statistics.
Today, there are 9.1 million citizens of Israel, of which some 6.7 million (74%) are Jewish, the report shows. The country’s citizens also include 1.9 million Arabs (21%) and 0.4% of “others,” including Christians and those of other minority groups.
A women holds up a sign against anti-Semitism at a rally in New York City on Sept. 22, 2019. Photo: Rhonda Hodas Hack.
JNS.org – Hundreds of demonstrators rallied in front of City Hall in New York on Sunday, calling on New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and other municipal leaders, as well as those on the national level, to act against antisemitism and the wave of antisemitic hate crimes taking place against the Orthodox Jewish community.
The beach in Tel Aviv, Israel, May 17, 2019. Photo: Reuters / Ammar Awad.
On the eve of the holiday of Rosh Hashanah, ushering in the Jewish year of 5780, Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics released its traditional end-of-the-year findings.
Israel’s population now stands at 9.092 million people — 6.744 million (74.2 percent) of whom are Jews, with 1.907 million (21 percent) Arabs and 441,000 (4.8 percent) listed as “other.”
Drew Seigla and Stephanie Lynne Mason. Photo: Instagram.
Drew Seigla and Stephanie Lynne Mason play Pertshik and Hodl, whose love story takes them all the way to Siberia in the award-winning show by the National Yiddish Theatre.
Sep 30, 2019 0Jeremy Hunt, the British Foreign secretary, has recently commissioned a report on the persecution of Christians, most acutely occurring in the Muslim World, and especially in the Arab/Muslim...
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“There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact.” — Sherlock Holmes, The Boscombe Valley Mystery
“Israel must, in the most blunt and clear way possible, illustrate to Washington that the prosperity of Jordan is a first-rate Israeli security and strategic interest.” — Former head of Mossad Ephraim Halevy at “Between Jerusalem and Amman: 25 Years Since the Signing of the Peace Agreement Between Israel and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan,” Institute for National Security Studies, Sept. 25, 2019.
A thought came to mind the other day.
For all the bluster about Judaism and anti-Semitism in America, I am not convinced that far-out-left and liberal young Jews, who have been very strident and even threatening on Israel-related issues and local American political battles, have done much on the ground to confront and quash, one way or another, attacks on Jews. They have portrayed themselves as gliding along a moral highway but have permitted immoral actions to exist quite close to home, far from Gaza (did any of them recite a public Kaddish in the town square for murdered and injured Jews, or their damaged and desecrated property)?
One of the hallmark features of Yom Kippur are the communal sins which we need to repent for. Most Jews focus on what we have done personally towards G-d and towards others. Little thought is given to how we could be better as a community. Or the sins we bear as a community.
However, the communal recitation of the Al Chet, repeated over and over on Yom Kippur is to drive the point home that we are responsible for one another
Incoming freshman Member of Knesset from the leftist, Democratic Union list, Yair Golan, did it again. Golan’s constant delegitimization of his political opponents on the right, smacks of the same delegitimization that tyrants, dictators, demagogues and assorted totalitarians always use, just before the Putsch.
In that regard, he’s right when he said recently, “I’m reminding people that the Nazis came to power democratically, so we have to be careful, very careful, so that radicals with a messianic view won’t exploit Israeli democracy to replace the system of government.” Think “
As Israeli frustration mounts about violence coming out of Gaza, the idea of a ground invasion, and once and for all to finish with Hamas aggression, becomes more appealing. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has endorsed this approach, saying, “There probably won’t be a choice but to topple the Hamas regime.” While sympathetic to this impulse, I worry that too much attention is paid to tactics and not enough to goals. The result could be harmful to Israel.