April 17, 2005 | David F. Coppedge

Temple Mount Debris Yields Artifacts from Solomon’s Temple

Israelis were shocked and outraged when Palestinians undertook an illegal construction project in 1999 on the Temple Mount, and threw the debris into the Kidron Valley outside Jerusalem, but there was little they could do about it.  Though this “archaeological disaster” caused irreparable damage to the site, the holiest place for the Jews, some Israelis tried to salvage some of the wreckage.  A respected Israeli archaeologist, Dr. Gabriel Barkai, spirited away 70 truckloads of the debris to a nearby location where it could be sifted and studied, according to Israel National News, which reported on some of the spectacular finds coming out of the rubble during the project over the past six months.
    Among artifacts identified were coins, shards, figurines and other materials from the periods of the Crusaders, the Romans, the Hasmoneans (before Christ) and earlier.  Arrowheads from Nebuchadnezzar’s army were found, and some figurines and shards appear to date from the First Temple of Solomon.  Animal bones from sacrifices were also discovered.  The Palestinian Arabs have consistently denied the existence of Jewish Temples on the site of the Temple Mount, now the site of the Muslim Dome of the Rock.
    How could Muslims get away with treating arguably the world’s most religiously valuable real estate like garbage?  The article explains, “During the illegal excavations and dumping on and from the Temple Mount, the police and the government Antiquities Authority refused to interfere, citing concerns of violence by Muslims who deny that Temples ever stood on the Temple Mount.”
    The salvage operation was undertaken with private funding, but the money is running out, threatening to leave the work uncompleted.  This was the “first ever archaeological examination of the Temple Mount,” the article claims.  “Though the archaeological remains were no longer in their original contexts, they held enormous potential to shed light on the undocumented human history of the Temple Mount, as systematic archaeological excavation or scientific study have never taken place there.  The mounds of dirt in the Kidron Valley therefore contained the only available data from the Temple Mount to which modern archaeologists have ever had access.”  See also the Jerusalem Post article on this story.

How the Muslims could have wreaked this havoc without an international outrage and condemnation is beyond belief; this site is one of the most sacred to Jews and of great interest to Christians around the world.  The discoveries made here by this rescue effort are all consistent with the Biblical record of the Temples of Solomon and Herod.  They hint at the tremendous potential for archaeological research if more of the Mount could be excavated.
    Not all religious moral traditions are equivalent.  Notice which religion values knowledge, preservation, carefulness, scientific research and historical accuracy, and which denies facts of history and shows utter disregard for the sensibilities of others.  These Muslims knew full well what feelings the Jews have for the Temple Mount, yet engaged in illegal clandestine construction and dumped priceless artifacts into the ditch under cover of night; and if anyone didn’t like it, they could fall back on threats of intifada.
    If there are so many good Muslims, as we are told, where were their voices to condemn the actions of their brethren?  Instead, Muslims in Jerusalem threaten violence for trespassing on their holy site, yet forbid Jews and Christians access to sites just as sacred to them.  The article equates Muslim denial of the Jewish Temple to Holocaust denial, yet they get away with it with very little protest from the outside world.  Let the reader understand.
Update 05/20/2005:  In the next few weeks after this story was announced, Muslims worldwide rioted, killing 17 people, over an unsubstantiated report in Newsweek that American guards had intimidated Muslim prisoners by flushing pages of the Quran down the toilet.  Newsweek later retracted the story and apologized, but the damage was done, largely by leftist newspapers that repeated the story without checking the facts.  Few reporters remembered that Palestinians in Bethlehem had torn out pages of the Bible and used it for toilet paper when they occupied the Church of the Nativity a few years ago.  No Christians rioted then; they just came in to weep and clean up the mess after the Palestinians left.
    If Big Science wants to resurrect its supposed reputation for logic and honesty, it should stop opposing Christians and Jews, and go after the religious zealots that make hate, lies and irrationality a way of life and death.  See also the 05/19/2005 story.

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Categories: Politics and Ethics

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