Nir Hasson reports in Haaretz on the continuing saga of the Jehoash Inscription.
The Jehoash Tablet is a stone bearing an inscription in ancient Hebrew describing the renovation of the First Temple by the Jehoash, King of Judea. If it is authentic, it is one of the most important archaeological discoveries of the last century. But for many years, in one of the most complex cases ever to come before an Israeli courts, the state has claimed that it was a fake.
The Jerusalem District Court has ruled that the state failed to prove that the tablet was a fake, paving the way for the defendant, antiquities collector Oded Golan, to be cleared of most of the charges against him. But the state has gone to the Supreme Court to seek possession of the tablet – perhaps because maybe, just maybe, it’s real after all.
Over the course of seven and a half years, the court heard testimony from 130 witnesses, including dozens of Israel’s most prominent experts in geology, chemistry, microbiology and ancient scripts. In the end, Judge Aharon Farkash ruled that the state had failed to prove its case.
The state did not challenge most of the exonerations, but as for the Jehoash Tablet – that’s another story. The state wants it.
The state still claims that the tablet is a forgery because the letters of the inscription did not have a patina that was consistent with its purported age.
But that is only one element in which the court must be persuaded beyond a reasonable doubt, Golan and his attorney, David Barhum, stated in their response. It must also be persuaded that “scratches on the tablet [which the state claims are signs of forgery] are indeed ‘fresh,’ and that the collective opinions presented to the court, that it impossible for this inscription to have been made in the past 50 years, are baseless and mistaken.”
HT: Jack Sasson