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Journal post no. 2


Am Yisrael Chai
Staff member
Premium Member
I couldn't think of a creative title. I have failed you all.

Anyway, like the title says, this is in Journals, and I don't post here much (this is only the second time I've made a journal entry-thread here, I think). Just wanted to share some thoughts. This is about politics and archeology, but I hope it won't turn into a political beatdown like most political threads here.

Yesterday I finally handed in my first official academic essay. I think it's good, but the grading for this paper will mostly be about whether the essay was properly structured in academic styling - i.e., were the footnotes written properly? Was the bibliography written properly? And so forth. However, should the paper be considered good, I may be able to use parts of the research in the future. Another professor of mine who helped me with parts of the research hinted that if the essay is good, at least some of it might have the potential for a wider circulation. :relaxed:

Which brings me to the point of this entry: Over the course of the research, I looked into the archeology of the Arab city of Jenin, among other places. From there I learned about the former head of the archeology department at Birzeit University, Albert Glock, who led most of the excavations of the tel of Jenin, which was gradually destroyed or built over by the locals throughout the decades since it was discovered in the mid-20's by P. L. O. Guy.

Glock, as it turns out, was mysteriously murdered in the early 90's. Naturally, the Arabs blamed Israel and Israel stated it wasn't them. But never mind that now.
In a book written about his life and death, "Palestine Twilight: The Murder of Dr. Albert Glock and the Archaeology of the Holy Land" by Edward Fox, an interesting story recounted by Glock at one time was brought there:

"In 1982, he recorded a visit to a student’s home in a village outside Hebron. It was an old house, and of interest to Glock for its traditional construction:

"After tea in a room 50 years old, roofed with I-beams, we photographed a Tabun [a traditional outdoor oven] and nearby I noticed shards. It seems this area near the cemetery had Roman and Byzantine occupation. Najib’s [i.e., the student’s] mother was noticeably unhappy with this announcement and responded by saying they had recently broken a pot in the area – a clear untruth. There seems to be a felt threat to the prospect of the land containing antiquities."
This was a common Palestinian response to archaeology: that it was something to be feared."​

Fox continues to claim that the reason for the fear was apparently because when Israeli archeologists discovered antiquities in people's homes, they seized the houses so they could dig things up.

This sounds incredibly strange me, because I have never come across any mention of such things. I can verify that certainly Israeli archeologists have no such power today (perhaps I'll discuss that more in another post). But even then - I have found no mention of such stories. Granted, this was not the main feature of my essay, so I didn't look into the claim too much, but on the face of things, I think the fear is different. I do not know if there are still Arabs like Najib's mother today, but it seems to me that the fear at the time stemmed from the general public, the world at large, "discovering", heaven-forbid, that there used to be other people who lived in Israel, before the Arabs came during the Arab conquest. As though it might delegitimize their claim to the land (and in my opinion, it does, at least to some extent).

To me, this idea seems to go hand in hand with the destruction of various ancient sites throughout Israel. Sure, there are vandals also from the general Israeli public. No one denies that. But the vast majority of the destruction comes from local Arabs. Either they don't care about the local history, or they would prefer the world would forget about the local history, or both.

It is unfortunate and my stomach physically turns every time the media reports another site being destroyed. I think: "That's my history you're destroying! That's my past!" And yes, even non-Jewish sites in Israel are our past. They tell of what happened here when Jews were not in control. But as time passes on, the potential for using more advanced research methods on older archeological sites becomes smaller and smaller, as the sites themselves become smaller and smaller.

And with that, have a nice day, guys.