I read this story yesterday in the Washington Times and ignored it, because I thought it was in error. 

I’ve since seen it mentioned in blogs online as if the story was credible.  Jay Bushinsky of the Washington Times begins his report:

An ancient inscription memorializing Jerusalem’s salvation from Assyrian invaders 2,700 years ago is to be returned to the Holy Land from Turkey for study and public display.  Israel has been trying for about 20 years to recover the artifact, which marks one of the most important turning points in Hebrew history.

I think this story is bogus for the following reasons:

1. No one else is reporting this.  I hardly think that the Washington Times knows something that no one else does.  You can check online news sources easily by searching for “Siloam Inscription” at Google News (here is that link).

2. A story like this would be broken by the Israel Museum or a major government agency, and not only are they not mentioning it, the WT story does not cite them.  The story is long, but the length is deceptive as only the first sentence mentions the return.

3. About a month ago, various news outlets reported some discussion of the matter.  The essence of the story was that a Turkish official agreed to consider some sort of loan.  In the Middle East, such “consideration” is a far cry from a decision.  And a decision is very different than action.  In other words, this isn’t “news” until the inscription is sitting in Jerusalem.

What I think happened is that this reporter read some of those stories too quickly and wrote an article based on a misunderstanding.

By the way, if you want to take a picture of the inscription, don’t wait until it comes to Jerusalem. 

The Israeli authorities won’t allow it, I’m certain.  You’ll do better to go visit it in Istanbul, where you can take pictures.  Which is far better anyway, because there are so many great artifacts on display that won’t be coming to Jerusalem on loan.  There would be a certain irony as well if the Siloam Inscription came to Jerusalem the next couple of years, as hundreds of the best archaeological finds in Israel are locked up out of sight of visitors.


In the category of “why-didn’t-I-think-of-that,” the “Israel Land Development Corporation” is now offering plots of land in Israel for sale online.  Without leaving the comfort of your own home or having to sign closing papers, you can own some of the Holy Land “forever.”  The details are here, but before you punch in your credit card details to pay $118 for that one square foot of dirt, know that I personally have a special going on right now.  For only $99, I will send you a better map than they are offering, and a much more beautiful certificate.  Just mail me a check and there will be lots of warm fuzzy feelings of “joy and pride.”  If you don’t feel them, I will.


Joseph Lauer sent along a list of recent articles describing the on-going destruction of antiquities on the Temple Mount.  That list is below.  The one I want to highlight is the report by Zachi Zweig on the BAR website. Those interested in the more technical aspects of what exactly is being found/destroyed will appreciate the detailed information, photos, and the link to a video Zweig took. 

For those who don’t know, Zweig is the one who initiated the rescue dig of the Temple Mount debris dumped in the late 1990s (under the direction of G. Barkay).  These are sad days for those who love Jerusalem and the Temple Mount.

Other links include:


Arutz Sheva – IsraelNationalNews.com

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Policeman Assaulted Trying to Stop Illegal Temple Mount Dig


Arutz Sheva – IsraelNationalNews.com

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Archaeologists Issue Urgent Warnings Against Temple Mount Dig A video of the excavation by a
tractor is available at the Arutz Sheva site.



The Jerusalem Post Online Edition

Friday, August 31, 2007 0:23 – Updated Aug 31, 2007 0:23

Archaeologists: Muslim dig damaged Temple wall


AFP [c. Friday, 8/31/07]

Doubts over ‘second temple remains’ in Jerusalem

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/pages/ShArt.jhtml?itemNo=899374 [English]

http://www.haaretz.co.il/hasite/pages/ShArt.jhtml?itemNo=899498 [Hebrew, with pictures and

http://www.haaretz.co.il/hasite/pages/ShArt.jhtml?itemNo=899499 [Hebrew, the section concerning
the new artifacts discovered in sifting through earth removed from the Temple Mount] Ha’aretz
English Language Edition Friday, August 31, 2007 (Last update – 11:28 31/08/2007)

Archaeologists: Waqf dig endangering relics that may have been part of Temple


The Associated Press [c. Saturday, 9/1/07] Jerusalem Holy Site Dig Questioned There are seven
enlargeable pictures (with captions) at the site.


The Voice of America

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Israeli Archaeologists Say Muslims Damaged Relics at Jerusalem Holy Site Robert Berger’s report
can be heard (and downloaded) at http://urltea.com/1f7h and both can be clicked on at the VOA site.



Sunday, September 2, 2007

Muslims caught red-handed destroying Temple artifacts Archaeologists kept out as WND obtains
photo of pulverized antiquities at Judaism’s holiest site


Arutz Sheva – IsraelNationalNews.com

Monday, September 3, 2007

Remnants of the Second Temple Being Destroyed by Islamic Wakf A video of the excavation by a
tractor and a still picture are available at the Arutz Sheva site.



Thursday, September 6, 2007

Muslims bar WND from Temple dig

Archaeologists kept out as Islamic custodians pulverize antiquities A video of WND’s Aaron Klein
being barred from the trench site on the Temple Mount may be viewed at http://urltea.com/1f7g