The connections in this article are interesting.
The Shalem Center, William Kristol (of the Weekly Standard and the
American Enterprise Institute) and Steven Erlanger, who is noteworthy
for having justified genocidal Serb ideology with respect to Kosova.
The interest of Neoconservatives in archeology betrays their origins
in Jabotinskianism. If I had more time to research the various groups
and individuals mentioned in the article below, I expect I would
connections to Hammer, Oppenheim and the major practitioners of
Zionist racial science.
King David's Palace Is Found, Archaeologist Says
By STEVEN ERLANGER
The New York Times
August 5, 2005
JERUSALEM, Aug. 4 - An Israeli archaeologist says she has uncovered in
East Jerusalem what may be the fabled palace of the biblical King
David. Her work has been sponsored by a conservative Israeli research
institute and financed by an American Jewish investment banker who
would like to prove that Jerusalem was indeed the capital of the
Jewish kingdom described in the Bible.
Other scholars are skeptical that the foundation walls discovered by
the archaeologist, Eilat Mazar, are David's palace. But they
acknowledge that what she has uncovered is rare and important: a major
public building from around the 10th century B.C., with pottery shards
that date to the time of David and Solomon and a government seal of an
official mentioned in the book of Jeremiah.
The discovery is likely to be a new salvo in a major dispute in
biblical archaeology: whether the kingdom of David was of some
historical magnitude, or whether the kings were more like small tribal
chieftains, reigning over another dusty hilltop.
The find will also be used in the broad political battle over
Jerusalem - whether the Jews have their origins here and thus have
some special hold on the place, or whether, as many Palestinians have
said, including the late Yasir Arafat, the idea of a Jewish origin in
Jerusalem is a myth used to justify conquest and occupation.
Hani Nur el-Din, a Palestinian professor of archaeology at Al Quds
University, said he and his colleagues considered biblical archaeology
an effort by Israelis "to fit historical evidence into a biblical
context." He added: "The link between the historical evidence and the
biblical narration, written much later, is largely missing. There's a
kind of fiction about the 10th century. They try to link whatever they
find to the biblical narration. They have a button, and they want to
make a suit out of it."
Even Israeli archaeologists are not so sure that Ms. Mazar has found
the palace - the house that Hiram, king of Tyre, built for the
victorious king, at least as Samuel 2:5 describes it. It may also be
the Fortress of Zion that David conquered from the Jebusites, who
ruled Jerusalem before him, or some other structure about which the
Bible is silent.
Either way, they are impressed by its likely importance. "This is a
very significant discovery, given that Jerusalem as the capital of the
united kingdom is very much unknown," said Gabriel Barkay, an
archaeologist from Bar-Ilan University. "This is one of the first
greetings we have from the Jerusalem of David and Solomon, a period
which has played a kind of hide-and-seek with archaeologists for the
Based on the Bible and a century of archaeology in this spot, Ms.
Mazar, 48, speculated that a famous stepped-stone structure excavated
previously was part of the fortress David conquered, and that his
palace would have been built just outside the original walls of the
cramped city, on the way to what his son, Solomon, built as the Temple
"When the Philistines came to fight, the Bible said that David went
down from his house to the fortress," she said, her eyes bright. "I
wondered, down from where? Presumably from where he lived, his palace."
"So I said, maybe there's something here," she added, referring to
David's palace was the topic of a last conversation Ms. Mazar had with
her grandfather, Benjamin Mazar, a famous archaeologist who helped to
train her and who died 10 years ago. Five months ago, with money and
permission from the Ir David Foundation, which controls the site (and
supports Jews moving into East Jerusalem), she finally began to dig.
Amihai Mazar, a professor of archaeology at Hebrew University, calls
the find "something of a miracle." He says he believes that the
building may be the Fortress of Zion that David is said to have
conquered, which he renamed the City of David. "What she found is
fascinating, whatever it is," he said.
Mr. Mazar is Ms. Mazar's second cousin, but he has his own reputation
Archaeologists debate "to what extent Jerusalem was an important city
or even a city in the time of David and Samuel," he said. "Some
believe it was tiny and the kingdom unimportant." The site of ancient
Jerusalem, stuck between two valleys on a ridge south of the Temple
Mount, is very small, less than 10 acres.
Israel Finkelstein, another renowned archaeologist, has suggested that
without significant evidence, Jerusalem in this period was "perhaps
not more than a typical hill-country village."
In his book, "The Bible Unearthed," Mr. Finkelstein writes with Neil
Silberman, "Not only was any sign of monumental architecture missing,
but so were even simple pottery shards."
Ms. Mazar believes she has found a riposte: a large public building,
with at least some pottery of the time, and a bulla, or governmental
seal, of an official - Jehucal (or Jucal), son of Shelemiah, son of
Shevi - who is mentioned at least twice in the Book of Jeremiah.
The building can be reasonably dated by the pottery found above and
below it. Ms. Mazar found on the bedrock a large floor of crushed
limestone, indicating a large public space. The floor and fill above
it contain pottery from Iron Age I of the 12th to 11th centuries B.C.,
just before David conquered Jerusalem.
Above that, Ms. Mazar found the foundations for this monumental
building, with large boulders for walls that are about 2 yards thick
and extend at least 30 yards. In one corner was pottery of Iron Age
II, the 10th to 9th centuries, roughly the time of the united kingdom.
Unfortunately, Mr. Mazar said, she found no floor. It is clear the
building was constructed after the pottery underneath it, but less
clear exactly how much later. [Unless she finds the floor, she does
not know when this building was constructed. Scam! -WVNS]
The archaeological debate is also partly a debate over the roots of
Zionism and the effort to find Jewish origins deep in the land. Ms.
Mazar's latest dig, which has cost about $500,000, has been sponsored
by Roger Hertog, a New York financier who is vice chairman of Alliance
Capital Management. Mr. Hertog, who owns a piece of The New York Sun
and The New Republic, is also chairman of the board of the Shalem
Center in Jerusalem, where Ms. Mazar is a senior fellow.
The Shalem Center was founded as Israel's first "neoconservative
think-tank," said William Kristol, who is also on the board, in an
effort to give the Israeli right a better foundation in history,
economics, archaeology and other topics.
Mr. Hertog calls his investment in Ms. Mazar "venture philanthropy -
you have the opportunity for intellectual speculation, to fund
something that is a work of great consequence." He said he hoped to
show "that the Bible reflects Jewish history."
Ms. Mazar continues to dig, but right now, three families are living
in houses where she would most like to explore. One family is Muslim,
one Christian and one Jewish.
* Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company
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