News Digest — 1/2/20

‘Corner Of God’s Altar In Shiloh’ Takes 2nd Place in 2019 Top Discoveries

The discovery of a horn that is purported to be one of the four corners of God’s ancient altar, as described in the biblical book of I Kings, took 2nd place on the 2019 list of the Top Ten Discoveries, in biblical archaeology, compiled by, Bible Archaeology Report.

The horn was found in the town of Shiloh in August by a team of 200 archaeologists and volunteers under the guidance of Dr. Scott Stripling, director of excavations and head of the Associates for Biblical Research.

“When the news reached Joab, who had conspired with Adonijah although not with Absalom, he fled the tent of the Lord and took hold of the horns of the altar,” reads I Kings 2:28.

According to the biblical account, the Tabernacle housing the Ark of the Covenant  once stood in the area.

“The sacred work of the ancient Shiloh team, which is leading to the discovery of important findings, gives us again and again, a clear proof of the roots of the Jewish people in our promised land,” commented Binjamin Council head Israel Gantz, congratulating the team for its achievements.

The finding that was selected as the top discovery in 2019 was a 2,600-year-old seal from the Kingdom of Judah bearing the inscription “belonging to Nathan-Melech, Servant of the King,” which was unearthed in Jerusalem’s City of David earlier in the year. 

The name Nathan-Melech appears once in the Hebrew Bible in II Kings 23:11, where he is ascribed as an official in King Josiah’s court.

Biblical Archaeology Report describes itself as a publication whose purpose is “to highlight archaeological findings that demonstrate the historical reliability of the Bible.”

“Each year, discovery after discovery adds to our knowledge of the biblical world and helps us understand Scripture in greater detail,” wrote its head, Bryan Windle.  “These discoveries add to the mounting evidence that demonstrates that the Bible is historically reliable.”

“2019 was a year in which significant discoveries were unearthed; I look forward to more discoveries in the coming year,” he said.



Hamas Allows Fatah To Hold Rare Anniversary March In Gaza

Thousands of supporters of Palestinian Authority Leader Mahoud Abbas’ Fatah movement held a rare gathering in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday (1st) to mark the party’s 55th anniversary.

Waving yellow Fatah flags, supporters from across the territory gathered in Gaza City to celebrate the movement founded by the late Yasser Arafat.

Some held photographs of the two former and current political leaders.

The Interior Ministry in Gaza granted permission for Wednesday’s (1st) rally to go forward, according to a Hamas leader.

Gaza is ruled by Hamas, which has maintained a bitter rivalry with Fatah.

Hamas had denied their request to organize the event at one of the city’s public squares or parks, but approved it for a smaller area.  But the crowd was so big that several thousand people made their way to nearby Saraya Square, the site of the last massive anniversary festival that Hamas allowed in January 2013.

Terror organization Hamas seized control of Gaza from Abbas’ forces in 2007 and the two sides have remained split, with the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority based in the West Bank.

Fatah and Hamas remain bitter enemies, and repeated attempts to reconcile have failed.  But in recent months, they have both pledged to hold new elections. Hamas’ decision to permit Wednesday’s (1st) demonstration appeared to be a goodwill gesture toward Fatah.

Meanwhile, the flag of the Palestine Liberation Organization featuring the faces of former PLO leader Yasser Arafat and current PLO Chairman Mahmoud Abbas was hoisted over the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem Wednesday (1st).  According to the Lach Jerusalem Organization, the flag was put up by Fatah activists next to the Damascus Gate into the Old City.

“The only sovereign power in Jerusalem is the Israeli sovereignty.  I will not allow any organization to try and get a foothold in the city.  We will stand firm before anyone who tries to challenge the sovereignty of the State of Israel in Jerusalem,” said Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion in response to the incident.  

“Immediately after the hoisting of the flag, urban enforcement employees spotted it and quickly cooperated with Israeli Police to remove the flag immediately,” he added.



Family: Monsey Stabbing Victim Suffered Permanent Brain Damage

New details regarding the condition of one of the five Hasidic Jews wounded in a machete attack in Monsey, New York last Saturday night (12/28) were released Wednesday (1st), revealing the extent of the injuries he suffered in the attack.

The victim, who has been identified as 71-year-old Josef Neumann, is a married father of seven and a grandfather and great grandfather, the family said in a statement.

Neumann, the most seriously wounded of the five victims of the machete attack, suffered serious permanent brain damage, which has left him unconscious ever since the attack, according to a family statement.

Doctors believe it is unlikely Neumann will ever again regain consciousness, the family said, and if he does, he will be paralyzed for the rest of his life.

“The knife penetrated his skull directly into the brain.  He also suffered three gashes to the head and one to the neck, and his arm was shattered,” a family statement said.

The attack took place around 9:50 pm, Saturday (12/28), at a Hasidic synagogue in Monsey New York, when 37-year-old Grafton Thomas burst into the building during a candle-lighting ceremony to mark Hanukkah.

Two hours later, Thomas was apprehended  in Harlem. He was indicted on five counts of attempted murder.



The Western Wall Welcomed More Than 500,000 Visitors This Hanukkah

More than 500,000 people visited the Western Wall during the eight days of Hanukkah this year.

Tens of thousands showed up each day and more flocked to the Jerusalem wall by night, to take part in daily events organized by the Western Wall Heritage Foundation, most prominently the main event of lighting the menorah by nightfall.

Each night included a few notable Israeli politicians, security officials and rabbis who had the special honor of lighting the hanukkiah – such as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion, United States Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, Education Minister Rafi Peretz, Blue and White Leader Benny Gantz and interim police chief Motti Cohen.

According to the foundation, numbers peaked on Monday night (12/30), the last night of the holiday.

“This year saw one of the busiest Hanukkahs in memory,” according to the foundation. “It was exciting to see the people of Israel making the effort to come to Jerusalem even through the cold and rain and light the menorah candles in the closest place to where the miracle of Hanukkah happened.”



Historic: Israel Becomes Energy Exporter, Will Bring In Billions Of Dollars

“Israel, for the first time in its history, is an exporter of energy,” said Minister of Energy Yuval Steinitz on Wednesday morning (1st).  “It is happening right now in these minutes, and I, for the first time, here announce that Israel is becoming a gas exporter to Jordan.”

“Today is a holiday,” Steinitz said.  “We’re talking about a macro-economic and geopolitical event that is difficult to exaggerate in its significance.”

Steinitz made his remarks after a successful flushing test of the Leviathan gas rig on Tuesday (12/31).

“We overcame populist opposition to the gas deal and the offshore gas rig.  Thanks to the development of Leviathan, the citizens of Israel will gain income of tens of billions of dollars over the next 25 years, cheaper electricity bills, closing of the coal stations in Hadara and in Ashkelon and strengthening of the peace link by means of the export of excess gas to Egypt and Jordan, and in a few years also to Europe,” Steinitz said.

George Hatfield, VP of Major Projects for Noble Energy, the Texas-based first in charge of developing the offshore Leviathan field, told Israel Hayom, “Thanks to the development of Leviathan, Israel has become an energy superpower.  We were the only company that was prepared to invest in searches in the area.”

“For the first time since its establishment, Israel is now an energy powerhouse, able to supply all its energy needs and gaining energy independence,” echoed Delek Drilling CEO Yossi Abu, a partner in the field, JNS reports.