Daily Archives: April 15, 2010

Did someone say “Free”?

Yemenite Rabbi blowing shofar.

Yemenite Rabbi blowing shofar.

Todd Bolen is giving away a PowerPoint presentation, and the associated jpg images, of Jewish People in the Early 1900s. These photos are part of the The American Colony and Eric Matson Collection that Todd has made available.

We have recommended the entire collection here.

For the free presentation or the images, click here. The photo to the right is a miniature of one showing a Yemenite Rabbi blowing a shofar. It dates to between 1934 and 1939. Shofar is the Hebrew word often translated trumpet (2 Kings 9:13) or ram’s horn (Leviticus 25:9) in English versions of the Bible.

Robbers arrested for digging up archaeological site

Illegal digging of archaeological sites is a problem in many countries. Israel reports that at 150 robbers are caught each year. Thievery has been a special problem in Iraq. I have seen archaeological mounds in Turkey with evidence of fresh digging.

Ron Friedman of The Jerusalem Post reports on a recent case in which four men were arrested at a site near Moshav Zechariya. The headline says the men were arrested near Beit Shemesh [Beth-shemesh]. Zechariya is about 6-7 miles south of Beit Shemesh.

The Antiquities Authority revealed on Tuesday that officers from its Unit for the Prevention of Antiquities Robbery arrested four men from Rahat who were allegedly attempting to rob an archeological site near Beit Shemesh on Saturday. The unit’s inspectors caught the men digging a large hole uncovering a network of underground passages in their search for buried treasure they believed to be hidden there.

The men were arrested on the spot and taken by members of the Border Police to the Jerusalem central police station for interrogation. When brought before a judge, the suspects denied the charges and were released on NIS 50,000 bail. The Antiquities Authority spokeswoman said that an indictment charging the men with damaging an archeological site and unlawful digging in an archeological site – offenses that carry five- and three-year sentences, respectively – will be issued in the coming days.

The site where the arrests took place holds the remnants of 3,000 years of habitation, dating back to the days of the First Temple. The site, which was also populated in the Byzantine period 2,000 years ago and during the Crusades 900 years ago, features remains of a fortified wall, various structures, graves and a network of underground caves and tunnels. The alleged robbers destroyed structure walls, and their aggressive digging caused irrecoverable damage to multiple archeological levels.

Amir Ganor, who heads the antiquities robbery prevention unit, was on hand during the arrest and said the damage done by the men was irreversible.

Ganor’s comment about the value of archaeological sites is significant:

Archeological sites belong to the whole public and are human heritage assets. Digging up a site causes irreversible damage. Anything removed from it is taken out of the human inventory. No length of time in prison can make up for or correct the damage that is done to the site. Harming ancient sites is like ripping pages from the cultural history books of the land and its people.

You may read the article in its entirety here.

HT: Joseph I. Laurer