Yesterday a terrorist once again shattered and destroyed lives in Israel. A Palestinian man opened fire on Israeli civilians and police officers with a machine gun as they waited for the train in Jerusalem. Two Israelis were killed — Levana Malihi, a beloved 60-year-old grandmother and retired civil servant, and 1st Sgt. Yosef Kirma, a 29-year-old newlywed and elite police officer who tried to stop the shooter. Five other Israeli civilians were wounded in the attack. Our prayers are with the families of all the victims.
The terrorist, identified as a 39-year-old man from East Jerusalem, was a known violent criminal linked to Hamas with a record of jail time. He had been recently indicted for 15 counts of incitement to violence and seven counts of supporting terror organizations with Facebook posts. In fact, that very morning he was due to report to prison to serve a four-month sentence for previously assaulting a police officer. In the days leading up to the attack, his social media accounts called for rising up against Israel to protect the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount.
Israeli officials investigating the attack point to an increase in Palestinian incitement on social media as a strong motivator for this and other recent attacks. In the past week, Facebook allowed several pro-Hamas pages to be reinstated and active on their site. Over the last year, 42 innocent people have been murdered and over 550 injured in attacks inspired by Palestinian incitement to violence promoted and condoned by the Palestinian Authority’s leadership. Following this deadly attack, the supposedly moderate Fatah party and Hamas praised the terrorist as a heroic martyr.
This outrageous pattern of the Palestinian government leaders officially promoting, praising, and even financially rewarding terrorism with exorbitant pensions and salaries paid for with American tax dollars must come to an end. It is not only a crime against the Jewish people. It is a crime against the Palestinian people to lead them away from peace and towards death. We hope and pray that the Palestinian Authority government will choose to end their incitement and tolerance for terrorism, and instead choose to give their people hope and a future. Until then, we stand with everyone – Israeli and Palestinian – who desires peace.
On the heels of Sunday’s deadly shooting attack in Jerusalem, Israel’s public security minister reiterated his criticism of social media, saying sites such as Facebook are acting as a platform for online incitement.
Visiting the site of the attack where two people were killed and six others injured, Gilad Erdan said that one of the main animating factors behind the wave of Palestinian terror is “the incitement on social media and this is why I am battling against it.”
“It has an impact, it triggers people to go out and murder and carry out terror attacks, and I once again say that Facebook and all other internet companies have a direct responsibility,” the official further added.
The personal Facebook page of Yosef Kirma, an Israeli police officer who was one of the two fatalities from Sunday’s attack, was cited as a case in point, as it saw tributes to the terror victim deteriorate into heated exchanges between Israelis and Palestinians, often including death threats and graphic images of violence.
The last several weeks have been fairly quiet in Israel, and for this we are immensely thankful. We would like to take this opportunity to share with you some good news coming out of Israel. Recently archaeologists have made several amazing discoveries that tangibly demonstrate the Jewish people’s ancient connection to the land of Israel. No one can say that the Jews have no claim on this land, because every time someone digs in Israel they find more evidence that their people have lived there for thousands of years.
One of the most significant recent finds was the discovery of an extremely rare synagogue from the Second Temple Era in the foothills of the Galilee. Only eight such synagogues have been found, and this is the first one found in what would have been a rural village at the time. This first century synagogue was uncovered only a few weeks ago, and provides an exciting glimpse of Jewish community life in the Galilee before the Romans destroyed the Second Temple.
In another part of the Galilee, at a different ancient Jewish synagogue, this summer archaeologists uncovered part of a beautiful mosaic floor depicting scenes from the Bible. Several biblical scenes had already been found at this site, but the two scenes found this summer are very rare. One of them shows Pharaoh’s soldiers being swallowed by giant fish in the Red Sea, and the other shows the pairs of animals loaded onto Noah’s Ark.
In Jerusalem, excavations of the city that existed 2,000 years ago have revealed a new neighborhood that may have been where the temple priests lived. This neighborhood was certainly wealthy, and archaeologists have found several rare items in these ancient houses – including a bathtub that has only been found in three other places in Israel. The artifacts found here paint a fascinating picture of how Jerusalem’s elite Jewish citizens lived thousands of years ago.
One of the most common arguments Israel’s detractors use against modern Israel is the claim that Jews are foreigners brought to Israel after the Holocaust. This is a false talking point used by Israel’s enemies, but archaeological evidence irrefutably demonstrates that Jews have lived continuously in Israel for over 3,500 years. This is their homeland, and the ground is filled with the proof.
Skyview of the archaeological evidence of the Kingdom of David in the Elah Valley, Khirbet Qeiyafa.
Photo Credit: courtesy, Israel Antiquities Authority / Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Biblical archaeology was revolutionized several years ago when evidence of the existence of the kingdom of David was brought to light in the form of a fortified Iron Age town excavated in the Elah Valley by Hebrew University Professor Yosef Garfinkel and Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) archaeologist Sa’ar Ganor.
The place was described by the Bible as the location of the battle between David and Goliath. The highlights of the findings of the Elah Valley excavations are now to be presented to the public for the first time at an exhibition scheduled to open at the Bible Lands Museum in Jerusalem on September 5.
“Archaeology cannot find a man and we did not find the remnants linked to King David himself,” Professor Garfinkel told Tazpit Press Service (TPS). “But what we did find is archaeological evidence of the social process of urbanization in Judea.”
According to Prof. Garfinkel, the evidence of urbanization fits in with what is described in the Bible as the establishment of the Kingdom of David, when small agrarian communities were replaced by fortified towns. “The chronology fits the Biblical narrative perfectly. Carbon tests performed on the olive pits found in Khirbet Qeiyafa show the town was built at the end of the 11th century BCE,” Garfinkel explained. Read more at The Jewish Press.