Recently uncovered remains can seriously alter the conversation regarding the true historical heirs to the city of Jerusalem.
Earlier in December, while giving a speech in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House, President Donald Trump officially acknowledged Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. During the speech, the President said “this is nothing more or less than a recognition of reality…it is also the right thing to do. It’s something that has to be done.”
While making his remarks, President Trump insisted that he is still committed to brokering a peace deal between the Israeli and Palestinian peoples. The United States would be the first country to relocate its embassy to Jerusalem, the ancient city claimed by Israelis and Palestinians. Other countries who possess diplomatic relations with Israel keep their embassies in the city of Tel Aviv.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu applauded the decision. Israel’s leader stated,
“This decision reflects the president’s commitment to an ancient but enduring truth,” he said.
His Palestinian counterpart’s reaction to the news wasn’t as positive. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas remarked, “US President Trump’s decision tonight will not change the reality of the city of Jerusalem, nor will it give any legitimacy to Israel in this regard, because it is an Arab Christian and Muslim city, the capital of the eternal state of Palestine.”
President Abbas’s remarks reflect the growing, and disturbing, denial among Palestinians of a Jewish connection to Jerusalem. Internationally, this rejection reverberated with a recent United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, UNESCO, resolution. The resolution ignored both Jewish and Christian ties to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. It also referred to the controversial holy site exclusively by its Muslim monikers. Assaf Avraham and Peretz Reuven, Jerusalem-based doctoral students of archaeology, want to prove that President Abbas and others’ doubts concerning a Jewish connection to Jerusalem are wrong. They possess 1,300 year-old archaeological evidence to back them up.
On December 6, 2017, Avraham and Reuven initiated a crowdfunding campaign to raise money to continue their work in unveiling a lesser-known period of Jerusalem’s history. They argue that this period displayed “an inter-religious dialogue” between Jews and Muslims. The doctoral students’ archaeological evidence includes the utilization of Jewish symbols during Muslim rule. In a conversation with the Times of Israel, Avraham and Reuven remarked that this and other findings show a period of Jerusalem’s history involving Muslim conquerors who believed themselves to be the continuation of the People of Israel.
The researchers informed the press of their discovery of 1,300 year-old coins from the Islamic Umayyad Dynasty. The coins boasted an image of the seven-stemmed menorah from the Jewish Temple. Talking with the Jerusalem Post, Avraham said, “The menorah coins bear the Shahada Arabic inscription on one side: ‘There is no god but Allah,’ while the menorah appears in the center of the coin. The other side bears the inscription: ‘Muhammad [is the] messenger of God.’”
Besides the coins, Avraham and Reuven also possess numerous lead and pottery implements from the Umayyad Period that contain the menorah.
Last year, the doctoral students discovered pieces of pottery displaying the caption known as the Nuba Inscription. They found the inscription at a mosque close to Hebron, a Palestinian city situated in the southern West Bank. It’s located approximately 19 miles south of Jerusalem.
The caption, thought to date back to the tenth century, refers to the Dome of the Rock as “Bayt al-Maqdis.” Translated literally, this means “The Holy Temple.” The Dome of the Rock is a Muslim structure constructed on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. The remaining parts of the inscription suggest that the Muslims considered the structure to be an Islamic replicate of the Jewish Temple.
After the inscription was made public last year, Avraham and Reuven met with Prime Minister Netanyahu and helped the Foreign Ministry announce their discovery on its various social media outlets. Avraham remarked that he saw an unbelievable response from people all over the Middle East. He was encouraged to attempt to bring additional similar archaeological findings to Muslims around the world.
When making assertions about the lack of an ancient Jewish presence in Jerusalem, Palestinians and others don’t have history on their side.
~ 1776 Christian