Jewish World Update Jul/Aug 2019

A 2,600-year-old clay bulla (seal impression) bearing the name of a servant of King Josiah was uncovered inside a public building destroyed by the Babylonians during the destruction of the first Temple in 586 BC.

The seal reads, “Natan-Melech, Servant of the King.” He is mentioned in 2 Kings 23:11:

Then he [Josiah] removed the horses that the kings of Judah had dedicated to the sun, at the entrance to the house of the LORD, by the chamber of Nathan-Melech, the officer who was in the court; and he burned the chariots of the sun with fire.

The Jerusalem Post reported that the bulla, along with other artifacts, “was uncovered during the archaeological excavation of the Givati parking lot in the City of David National Park in Jerusalem.” Archaeologists from the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) and Tel Aviv University conducted the dig.

According to, Dr. Anat Mendel-Geberovich of the IAA, who deciphered the seal, “notes that the fact that this official was mentioned by his first name alone indicates that he was known to all, and there was no need to add his family lineage. The title ‘Servant of the King’ (Eved HaMelech) appears often in the Bible and describes a high-ranking official close to Israel’s kings.”

“This is an extremely exciting find for billions of people worldwide,” said Doron Spielman, vice president of the City of David Foundation that operates the national park. He said, “The
ongoing archaeological excavations at the City of David continue to prove that ancient Jerusalem is no longer just a matter of faith, but also a matter of fact. It is truly fascinating to watch how archaeologists have uncovered more than twelve layers of Jerusalem history in what used to be a parking lot until just a few years ago,” reported the news service.

U.S. Rep. George Holding (R-NC) has asked U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to investigate a blatantly anti-Semitic, anti-Israel conference jointly hosted in March by Duke University and the University of North Carolina. Reportedly, $5,000 of taxpayer funds from the Education Department was used for the event, titled “Conflict Over Gaza: People, Politics and Possibilities,” reported.

“According to first-hand accounts, the conference had a radical anti-Israeli bias,” wrote Holding in a letter to her. “Reportedly, speakers and panelists distorted facts and misrepresented the complex situation in Gaza. A video recently surfaced depicting the main musical performer, rapper Tamer Nafar, singing a brazenly anti-Semitic song.”

Holding, who serves on the Ways and Means Committee, wants to know what policies DeVos’s department has to ensure no taxpayer money goes toward anti-Israel groups, said. “Honest academic debate . . . is critical in a democratic society and a central tenet of American’s educational system,” wrote Holding. “However, it is irresponsible, immoral and unproductive for taxpayer dollars to fund overtly biased advocacy under the guise of academic discourse.”

College campuses in America have turned into hotbeds of anti-Semitism. A big anti-Israel, anti-Semitic campus force is Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), which sometimes turns violent and is said to have connections to Hamas. SJP recently claimed it was receiving an award from New York University, prompting Judea Pearl, father of Jewish, terrorist-slain Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, to renounce his distinguished NYU alumni status.

“In the past five years, SJP has resorted to intimidation tactics that have made me, my colleagues and my students unwelcome and unsafe on our own campus,” Pearl wrote in a letter to NYU President Andrew Hamilton. “The decision to confer an award on SJP, renders other NYU awards empty of content.”

The Trump administration has updated its official international maps to include, for the first time, the Golan Heights as part of Israel. A State Department spokesman told Voice of America the maps would be consistent with the proclamation recognizing the Golan Heights as part of the Jewish state, reported. Israel liberated the strategically important area from Syria during the 1967 Six-Day War and annexed it in 1981.

Evangelical Christian Laurie Cardoza-Moore, president of Proclaiming Justice to the Nations (PJTN), has asked the U.S. Justice Department “to launch a full and thorough investigation” into Minnesota Democratic Congresswoman Ilhan Omar’s “possible connections to the Muslim Brotherhood,” The Jerusalem Post reported. Host of the widely viewed Christian television program Focus on Israel, Cardoza-Moore said Omar has “established her credentials as a vehement anti-Semite” but may be “far worse.” She may be supporting “subversive factions aligned to destroy American and Western civilization itself.” Omar spoke recently at a fundraiser for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), listed in 2009 as an “unindicted coconspirator” in the largest terrorist- fundraising operation in U.S. history. PJTN produced the Bible-based, pro-Israel DVD Israel Indivisible. Its website,, asks people to sign a petition demanding Omar’s resignation.

Vacation-rental giant Airbnb has reversed its decision not to list Jewish-owned homes in Judea and Samaria on its website, “thereby handing a defeat to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement in what had previously been thought a major BDS victory,” reported. Airbnb had singled out Jewish homes but continued to list Christian- and Muslim-owned homes, said the news service. Israel, California, New York, and Delaware had filed suits against the company.

Texas has divested $72 million from Norwegian financial services firm DNB ASA under the state’s 2017 law prohibiting agencies from investing in companies that boycott Israel. “The Employees Retirement System of Texas and Texas Permanent School Fund—two major state pensions—own $68 million and around $4 million, respectively” in DNB ASA stock, reported. DNB ASA is Norway’s largest financial services company and has done business in Iran.

The Israeli Delek Group energy giant will acquire a 22.45 percent interest in the Caesar Tonga oil field, “one of the ten largest deepwater resources in the Gulf of Mexico,” which it will co-own with Anadarko Petroleum, Equinor, and Chevron, reported. “Located 300 kilometers (185 miles) south of Louisiana at a depth of 1,500 meters (over 1,600 yards), the field contains eight wells connected by an undersea pipeline network to a production platform, [Delek] said in a statement,” the news service said, adding, “Delek will maintain exploration, development, and production rights for oil and gas at the Caesar Tonga field.”

Although its first attempt to land a spacecraft on the moon ended in a crash on the lunar surface, Israeli nonprofit SpaceIL plans to try again with a new spacecraft named Beresheet 2 (Genesis 2). reported that South African-born Israeli billionaire Morris Kahn, the project’s primary funder, made the announcement during an interview on Israel’s Meet the Press program. The first Genesis was built by SpaceIL and Israel Aerospace Industries with private funding. The news service reported that Kahn said after the interview, “The flag of Israel and the slogan ‘small country, big dreams’ is on the moon. The slogan ‘Am Yisrael Chai’ [‘the people of Israel lives’] is on the moon. I think we’ve done a lot. I’m happy.”

Researchers at Tel Aviv University have created an artificial heart using a 3-D printer. “The researchers took fatty tissue from a patient, then separated the fatty tissue from extracellular material. They used genetic engineering techniques to turn the fat cells into stem cells. The stem cells were used to grow heart muscle and blood vessels. Afterwards, the extracellular material was used as ‘ink’ for the 3-D printer, which then printed the organ according to a computer program using MRI and CT imaging of a human heart as a guide,” reported The Algemeiner, citing the Hebrew news site Mako as its source. Prof. Tal Dvir, whose department supervised the project, said, “When a patient needs a transplant, you take tissue from his body and use it to print the organ according to the suitable size and characteristics, which will be planted in his body.”

The United States has requested Israeli authorities to “begin preparing” the Allenby compound in Jerusalem for construction of its permanent embassy in the country, Israel’s Channel 12 reported, according to Citing anonymous sources, Channel 12 said President Donald Trump wants to relocate the embassy to a permanent location if he wins reelection in 2020. The current embassy was moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in May 2018, occupying the former U.S. consulate on Agron Street, reported.

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