I read two completely different news articles today, but wonder if somewhere, somehow there might be a connection.

The Biblical Archaeology Society has a report (since removed; in Google’s cache here) on the attack and vandalism of the archaeological site of Bethsaida by ultra-Orthodox Jews.

The next morning at 5:30 a.m. five vans arrived with black-coated thugs armed with knives. They broke down the fences on the site, entered the areas being excavated, vandalized the excavation equipment and trampled the freshly-dug areas, destroying walls, pushing down boulders, and using their knives to cut the ropes and excavation tarpaulins. For good measure, they pulled down signage.

They did this because they claimed the site “was a Jewish cemetery of our forefathers.” The excavator says though, “I have no idea why they came to Bethsaida,” said Arav. There are no tombs at the site—Jewish or otherwise.”

Elsewhere, the Jerusalem Post has a report on an organization that is trying to help those who are leaving the ultra-Orthodox fold. One of the biggest problems is their lack of education. A leader of the group says:

“Even those who come from the best yeshivas, such as Ponevezh, stopped their [secular] education at somewhere around the fourth grade level, she said. “They learn nothing about history, civics, literature, and geography – not even Bible as we now it.

There is at least one scandal here.

Iron Age Gate at Bethsaida