Saturday, October 31, 2009

TEMPLE MOUNT WATCH: Al Ahram fans the flames:
Upping the ante at Al-Aqsa
Despite Arab government denials, Muslim officials on the ground confirm Jewish extremists are escalating plans to destroy Al-Aqsa Mosque, writes Khaled Amayreh in occupied Jerusalem

Government-backed Jewish religious extremists have stepped up their efforts to seize a foothold at Al-Aqsa Mosque esplanade in East Jerusalem, ostensibly in order to erect there a Jewish temple.

Al-Aqsa Mosque is one of the three holiest Islamic sanctuaries. The other two are the Sacred Mosque in Mecca and the Prophet Mohamed's Mosque in Medina in Saudi Arabia.

On Sunday, 25 October crack Israeli soldiers stormed the Al-Aqsa site, firing rubber-coated bullets, stun grenades and tear gas canisters at Muslim worshipers. The troops also savagely beat Palestinian worshipers, including women and children. The paramilitary police, known as the Border Guard, also briefly shut off the Noble Sanctuary (the 141,000-square metre court housing Islamic holy places), barring Muslims from accessing the site.

More than 20 were injured, some badly, and dozens of others arrested. The Israeli occupation authorities also cut off electricity to the Old City of Jerusalem, including Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Not being in Jerusalem, I can't comment firsthand on what is going on there, but it appears that another account of these same events is covered here. I note also that Khaled Amayreh's account is perhaps nuanced by the photo accompanying the essay, whose caption reads, "Palestinian youths hurl stones towards Israeli riot policemen during clashes in Jerusalem's old city on Sunday."

This paragraph:
Many Jews believe that the ancient Temple of Solomon stood where Al-Aqsa Mosque was built more than 1,300 years ago. Destroying Al-Aqsa Mosque and building a Jewish temple in its place is said by some extremists to be a condition for the second coming of Christ.
is carefully worded to try to leave doubt that there was a Jewish Temple on the site. It's not quite Temple denial, but it is disingenuous. (Cf. "Temple Mount" in scare quotes later on.) This paragraph and the article in general seems to toss around the term "extremist" pretty freely. I would not call someone an "extremist" unless they were taking, well, extreme (i.e., violent or inciting to violence) steps to try to force the rebuilding of the Temple. There are people who are exercising their free speech to call for its rebuilding (e.g., here). I think they are misguided and politically unhelpful, for reasons explained at the link, but it's a little much to call them extremists. Likewise, people on both sides have the right to engage in peaceful protests. Those on either side engaging in violent ones are only damaging their own cause.

As for this:
Earlier, the Israeli media reported that Israel was planning a "major archaeological excavation under Al-Buraq Court", renamed "the Western Wall plaza". Historically, the place had always been part of Al-Aqsa Mosque until the Israeli occupation of Jerusalem in 1967. The excavation, Muslim leaders argue, could seriously destabilise the foundations of Al-Aqsa Mosque and other nearby historic Muslim structures. Israeli officials pay little or no attention to Muslim protests and often invoke the mantra that Jerusalem is Israel's eternal and undivided capital.

Adnan Al-Husseini is the head of the Supreme Muslim Council, the body overseeing and running the Haram Al-Sharif compound. He accuses Israel of "planning to destroy Al-Aqsa Mosque by way of digging subterranean tunnels in its vicinity."
There are no plans to dig under the Al-Aqsa Mosque. On this see, for example, here and here.
ARAMAIC WATCH: Ariel Sabar's book My Father's Paradise, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award in the Spring, has been getting some more media attention lately. The Los Angeles Times notes the book and appears to interview both him and his father, Yona. Excerpt:
Asked to assess the future of the culture that has consumed him, Yona shakes his head. "I felt I was an undertaker, because I felt this was the last stage of the language," he says. "So I felt what I can do to salvage this heritage is by documenting it in books for scholars who are interested. Ariel's book in a way is a monument to that lost life. Because you cannot restore it physically."

What neither man could have anticipated is how the book's success has spurred interest in Aramaic and the Jewish Kurds and helped reconnect those who were raised in that culture.

Yona now hears regularly from friends, colleagues and former students with whom he had lost touch over the decades. He fields inquiries from screenwriters asking for assistance in translating snatches of Aramaic. He gets e-mails from prisoners who've found religion and want to learn Christ's language. He does his best to accommodate them all.

Not only that, but "My Father's Paradise" has given comfort to relatives who have wondered how they would be able to pass on the old family stories to future generations.

"Now," they tell Yona, "I can give my children a book to read."
Background here.

Two other books are reviewed by Nick Owchar, again in the LA Times. The first, by Alan Jacobs, When Jesus Lived in India: The Quest for the Aquarian Gospel: The mystery of the Missing Years, supports the baseless notion that Jesus traveled to India in his lifetime. Baseless not because it couldn't have happened – Jesus' contemporary, the philosopher Apollonius of Tyana, is reported to have done just that – but because there is no evidence for it except for very much later accounts from India of the sort that someone would have had to make up sooner or later (plus a modern forgery). More on the subject here.

The second is a review of Janet Soskice, The Sisters of Sinai: How Two Lady Adventurers Discovered the Hidden Gospels. Excerpt:
Agnes and Margaret Smith turned their passion for exploration into a stunning discovery of an early copy of the Gospels written in Syriac during the heyday of British mania for such artifacts. A theology professor at the University of Cambridge, Soskice has crafted a thoughtful, detailed reconstruction of the lives of two people with unique resources that led to even more unique opportunities.

The Smiths chanced upon this precious object in 1892, locked away in a "dark closet" in St. Catherine's Monastery at the foot of Mount Sinai. Though other treasure-seekers had been there before them, those earlier visitors ignored a filthy-looking, ruined volume with "its leaves nearly all stuck together." This item, the sisters realized, turned out to be a palimpsest text: Long ago, monks had scratched away the older text (the Syriac version of the Gospels) to reuse the pages for something else. But somehow the old text didn't entirely disappear and was "revived by the action of the common air." It bled through the other writing on the pages.
Background here.

Friday, October 30, 2009

HEADING TO EDINBURGH TODAY to give a paper on the More Old Testament Pseudepigrapha Project at New College.
30 Mideastern towns form League of Phoenician, Canaanite, Punic cities
By Mohammed Zaatari
Daily Star staff
Thursday, October 15, 2009

TYRE: The International Committee for the Safeguarding of Tyre announced on Wednesday the launching of the League of Phoenician, Canaanite and Punic Cities. The league will be part of the Tyre Foundation, a new international organization that is to include about 30 cities located on the Mediterranean coast. It will aim at reinforcing cooperation between the cities on four main aspects: culture, tourism, preservation of traditional crafts and combating sea pollution. The Tyre Foundation would also be collaborating with more than 40 universities across the Mediterranean.

Head of the International Committee for the Safeguarding of Tyre Maha al-Khalil Shalabi explained that the idea for the league was presented at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) headquarters in Paris. The goal was to create an association of cities that were founded by the Phoenicians or that had commercial, cultural or human relations with the Phoenicians.

Sounds like a good idea to me.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Another Iran: King Cyrus Day
by Amil Imani (Arutz Sheva)

October 29th honors Cyrus the Great, a pioneer in promoting human rights who allowed the Jews to return to Israel in 539 B.C.E. Iran's present barbaric Islamic regime is attempting to erase vestiges of its enlightened non-Islamic cultural heritage.

October 29th has been designated as the international day of Cyrus the Great, a matchless king of Persia. Commemorating Cyrus the Great is synonymous with honoring the glorious ancient Iranians and Iranians’ way of life. Palpable reminders to Iranians and all liberty-loving people of the world of this just king’s reign stand in the field of Pasargad.

The International Committee to Save the Archeological Sites of Pasargad has the undying gratitude of the diverse people of the Greater Iran for its work in safeguarding these magnificent symbols of Iran’s luminous past which serve as beacons for guiding all people in their quest for freedom and dignity.

The arduous task undertaken by the Committee to Save the Archeological Sites of Pasargad is all the more difficult in the face of the present Islamic regime’s relentless barbaric attempts to wipe out any and all vestiges of Iran’s proud and praiseworthy cultural heritage. To these barbaric Islamists, any ideals or symbols representing humanity’s non-Islamic enlightenment is good only for the fire of their bigotry.

The Cyrus-as-human-rights-pioneer is rather overplayed, although, as I've said before, he does look good compared to Iran's current leaders. Background here and follow the links.
THE GOLEM rises again for Halloween in Los Angeles:
Bringing a ‘Golem’ to Life

By Karla S. Blume (

For a scare steeped in Jewish mysticism this Halloween, REDCAT is bringing Paul Wegener’s “The Golem” to the Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater on Friday and Saturday night. But the screening of the 1920 silent horror classic, which recounts the Eastern European legend of a large clay figure brought to life to protect the Jews of Prague, will be accompanied by the debut of an improvised musical score by Brian LeBarton.

LeBarton, 30, a keyboardist best known as music director for alternative rocker Beck, will lead a costumed band that includes a cellist and a guest percussionist, Carla Azar of the L.A. band Autolux.

“I’m going to have lots of toys and beastly synths around that night to help make the music sound ancient,” LeBarton said.

More Golem posts here.
TEMPLE MOUNT WATCH: The political flare-up continues. Here is some recent coverage.

• The Boston Globe editorializes against current excavations. Excerpt:
The current crisis originates in Palestinian fear and anger over archaeological excavations near, but not underneath, the Al Aqsa mosque. The digs are under the control of an ultra-nationalist Israeli group intent on justifying a Jewish claim to Jerusalem by locating remnants of what is called the City of David. Those excavations have weakened the foundations of nearby Arab houses and led critics across the Muslim world to warn of a plot to cause the collapse of the Al Aqsa mosque.
For more controversy over the Elad excavations, see here and follow the links back.

• Dr. Eilat Mazar is interviewed by Israel National Radio about the City of David excavations:
What is the most controversial site today in Israel? The City of David. The focus of that fight is the northern top of the hill where a massive structure has been uncovered by Dr. Eilat Mazar, who attributes it to King David! This conclusion is under attack by scholars. Eilat addresses it head-on! The story of what made her dig here is fantastic. She tells the story of how the destruction of Temple Mount remains brought about the adoption of wet sifting, in turn producing 60 percent of her finds including the personal seals of biblical characters. This success influenced Elah Fortress and other digs. Dr. Mazar conducts a wide ranging discussion on archaeology, its importance, new and old methods, the thinking, the implications, and her own story of how she was drawn into this world by her grandfather Benjamin Mazar. This a unique, personable, exciting, and enlightening session with one of the most articulate spokespeople for Israel's history. Really a day seminar condensed into less than an hour.
Dr. Mazar is in the forefront of protecting the site and the remains of the Temple Mount. Eilat asks that you participate in the petition to stop the destruction of Temple Mount Antiquities at, and become familiar with this topic.
• The Israeli Security Minister weighs in on the political situation:
Minister slams both Jews, Arabs over Temple Mount unrest

Internal Security Minister Aharonovitch attempts to calm tensions, avert future riots in capital. 'Stop messing with Temple Mount' he says, addressing both Jews, Arabs

Amnon Meranda
Published: 10.28.09, 18:20 / Israel News (

Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch urged on Wednesday both Arabs and Jews to abstain from provocations, in the wake of recent riots in the Temple Mount compound in Jerusalem.

Addressing the issue of violence in the Old City at the Knesset, the minister said, "I will not allow leaders on both sides, the Arab and the Jewish, to further incite and use the holy sites for their political interests. I will not let the Temple Mount turn into a boxing ring."

Following a brief quiet spell, riots broke out again earlier in the week in Jerusalem's Old City. More than 20 people were detained while members of the Islamic Movement, accused by police of inflaming the crowds, claimed that Arabs only wished to pray at the site and slamming police for provoking the unrest by using excessive force.

Speaking at the Knesset on Wednesday, Aharonovitch said, "I call on both sides – the Jewish MKs, who encourage visits to the Temple Mount and falsely accuse the police, and the Arab MKs, who urge to save the al-Aqsa mosque thus stirring and inciting - you know that al-Aqsa wasn't in danger, is not in danger and will not be in danger in the future."

ROBERT EISENMAN wants to rebuild the Temple! In a Jerusalem Post Opinion piece, Remember, the Temple was built by Herod, he writes:
The problem is we must start from scratch based on being a territorial people once again.

We need a new approach to religion if, for instance, we are to combat the J Streets, Goldstones or George Soroses of this world, not to mention appealing to the imagination of questioning disaffected youth; and the first step should have been to start rebuilding the Temple.

This does not mean one should revive the priesthood or the sacrificial cult. You need living symbols to move the people. If nothing else, Herod showed us this and the durability of the wall he built is its final proof.

Unfortunately, Rabbinic Judaism can no longer provide us these. Two millennia, yes, and up to the Holocaust. But no further. It cannot provide us with the blueprint for becoming territorial once again. Moshe Dayan was wrong in ordering the Israeli flag taken down, in effect, surrendering sovereignty and giving the Muslim Wakf control over the Temple Mount. No self-respecting people after two victorious wars would have behaved in this way. But he had no guideposts to rely upon, only egocentrism and his own pragmatism - plus he loved the grande geste.

But now, almost three generations after the Holocaust and with its memory beginning to fade, we have nothing positive to appeal to our young generations in Israel and abroad. It is poetry and the spirit that provide this. They are the positives, not humiliating renunciations. The reconstruction of a Temple - any Temple - should have begun 40 years ago and we would be well on our way toward achieving these things. This does not mean we should emulate the old design. Its content, shape and operation should be open to investigation, even architectural competitions, and creativity; but the symbol would be there.

It took the Herodian Temple almost 90 years to be completed. Ours and even its early stage - archeological investigation - hasn't even begun. People need a positive historical Judaism to go forward and this does not mean a Roman/Herodian-sponsored Phariseeism. People need positive symbols to rally around. The time is late. There is plenty of room on the Mount for everyone.

In no other manner can we gain the respect of the world and regain our own self-respect, and the world come to understand us - and we come to understand ourselves.
I'm certainly not persuaded that efforts to rebuild the Temple would strengthen Israel's political hand. And as I've said many times before, there should be no digging on the Temple mount apart from scientifically-controlled archaeological excavations, preferably at a (probably not too distant) future time when they can done nonintrusively via molecular technology and the like.

For Herod's Arab background, see here. For the recent discovery (perhaps) of Herod's tomb at Herodium, see here and here. I don't see that Herod's background and character are going to have much effect on the symbolism of the Temple for Judaism.
93-year-old architect claims he discovered the Beit Shearim caves, not Alexander Zaid
By Eli Ashkenazi (Haaretz)

A leading interior architect and exhibition designer claims he discovered the burial caves at the ancient necropolis in Beit Shearim 73 years ago, not the famed watchman Alexander Zaid.


"It was Purim 1936. Three of us went for a hike and entered a large deserted cave, which the Arabs used to keep goats in," Maron, 93, said yesterday.

He says he threw a stone at a wall in the cave and heard an echo, indicating a hollow behind it.

"I looked for an opening in the wall, and entered a cave containing sarcophagi, whose walls were inscribed with drawings and Menorahs," he said.

Background here.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

SOME ANCIENT BURIAL CAVES in Beit Shearim have been restored and opened to the public:
2,000-year-old 'Menorah' burial caves in Beit Shearim opened to public
By Eli Ashkenazi

Seventy-three years after the famous watchman Alexander Zaid went looking for a stray goat and stumbled upon ancient burial caves, Beit Shearim national park yesterday held a ceremony for two newly opened caves in the ancient necropolis, whose burial vaults date to Mishnaic times, roughly the first two centuries C.E.

Zaid, famous as the founder of the Bar Giora and Shomer self-defense groups active before the founding of the state, was just being a shepherd in 1936 when he found the caves dug out of rock. Conservation work began there four years ago, and the two new caves were discovered. They contain a relief of a seven-branched menorah, and so the newly opened site is being called "the Menorah caves."

Beit Shearim Menorah Caves Restored

by Gil Ronen

( Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin unveiled a huge ancient relief depicting a seven branched menorah at Beit Shearim in the Galilee Tuesday. The menorah, which is 1.90 m. (75”) high, is one of the major tourist attractions at the renovated ancient burial cave site.

The burial caves were discovered decades ago but their recent renovation took place largely thanks to Rivlin's initiative. In 2004, during his first term as Knesset Speaker, Rivlin visited the site and was stirred by the site of the numerous depictions of the menorah, which is the modern State of Israel's symbol as well.

UPDATE: Incorrect link fixed. Sorry!
The Commentators' Bible (Leviticus)
The JPS Miqra'ot Gedolot: Leviticus
By Michael Carasik PhD (author)

$75.00 · add to cart

Hardcover, 9" x 12", 270 pages
ISBN: 9780827608979

Available October 2009

The second volume of the acclaimed English edition of Miqra’ot Gedolot

First published 500 years ago as the “Rabbinic Bible,” the biblical commentaries known as Miqra’ot Gedolot have inspired and educated generations of Hebrew readers. With this edition, the voices of Rashi, Ibn Ezra, Nahmanides, Rashbam, and other medieval Bible commentators come alive once more, speaking in a contemporary English translation annotated and explicated for lay readers.

Each page of this second volume in The Commentators’ Bible series contains several verses from the Book of Leviticus, surrounded by both the 1917 and 1985 JPS translations, and by new contemporary English translations of the major commentators. The book also includes an introduction, a glossary of terms, a list of names used in the text, notes on source texts, a special topics list, and resources for further study.

This large-format volume is beautifully designed for easy navigation among the many elements on each page, including explanatory notes and selected additional comments from the works of Bekhor Shor, Hizkuni, Abarbanel, Sforno, Gersonides, and others.
(Via the H-JUDAIC list.)
The Faculty of Divinity,
The Cambridge Theological Federation and
The Centre for The Study of Jewish–Christian Relations

invite you to a lecture

The Cultural History of Enoch from Antiquity to Christian Thrillers

Prof. Gyorgy Szonyi
, Leverhulme Visiting Research Fellow
Central European University and University of Szeged

30 November 2009, 5pm

Runcie Room,
Faculty of Divinity, Cambridge University, West Road.

Drinks served afterwards.

Sent by Richard Bauckham.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

I'M BACK IN ST. ANDREWS. Long trip. More tomorrow.

Monday, October 26, 2009

I'M HEADING BACK TO ST ANDREWS later this morning. I expect to get there Tuesday evening.
A REVIEW of the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum by Jennifer Merrick in the Buffalo News. Excerpt:
The collection gives you an excellent sense of what life was like at that time, setting the scene before you even catch sight of the scrolls. Videos provide background and introduce some of the mysteries surrounding the documents. One of the greatest riddles is how they ended up in the Qumran caves. In the presentation, three scholars convincingly present their theories as to why they were found in this location.

“The jury is still out,” Rahimi says when asked what his thoughts were on this debate. He says he would rather present the information and let people make their own conclusions.

There suspense builds while going through the exhibits. Anticipation heightens as you finally enter the dimly lighted room that contains the scrolls themselves. The majesty of the writings combined with the lighting and music create a somber and contemplative atmosphere that reflects the weight of these pages’ impact on history.

Each of the eight fragments has its own case with a translation and a commentary putting the material in context. Some are biblical, including texts from Genesis, Psalms and Daniel, while others are secular, like one on papyrus of a property deed. The signature can clearly be seen.

“It’s like having an autograph of people you know about historically,” says Rahimi.
Also, this paragraph, which comes a little earlier in the piece, is odd:
“One of the exhibit’s goals,” says Dan Rahimi, gallery developer and archaeologist, “is to give visitors the context; to show what was going on in 13th century B. C., a time of major, major change.”
I suspect that someone's notes got confused and that "13th" is a mistake for "the first to third."
Tsunami Wave 'Likely' to Hit Israel, Says U. Haifa Researcher

by Hana Levi Julian

( A researcher at the University of Haifa says there is a "likely chance" that a tsunami wave could hit the shores of Israel, and that she has uncovered evidence it has happened before.

Dr. Beverly Goodman, a researcher at the Leon H. Charney School of Marine Sciences, said following a geo-archaeological study at the port of Caesarea that "Tsunami events in the Mediterranean do occur less frequently than in the Pacific Ocean, but our findings reveal a moderate rate of recurrence."

Goodman's original intent was to track down the remains of ships while examining the ancient port of Caesarea and its offshore shipwrecks. However, the geo-archaeologist said she was surprised to discover "unusual geological layers, the likes of which we had never seen in the region before."


The geo-archaeologist found evidence of four tsunami events at Caesarea: in 1500 BC, 100-200 CE, 500-600 CE, and 1100-1200 CE, which she described in an article published in Geological Society of America.

Goodman explained that the earliest of these tsunamis resulted from the eruption of the Santorini volcano, which affected the entire Mediterranean region. The later, more local tsunami waves, Goodman assumes, were generated by underwater landslides caused by earthquakes.

TEMPLE MOUNT WATCH: Lots of unrest lately.
Battle of the Al-Aqsa mosque erupts

Published Date: 26 October 2009 (The Scotsman)

ISRAELI police with stun grenades fought masked Palestinian protesters hurling stones and plastic chairs outside the Holy Land's most volatile shrine, where past violence has escalated into prolonged conflict.

A wall of Israeli riot police yesterday marched towards young men covering their faces with scarves and T-shirts, sending many running for cover into the Al-Aqsa mosque, one of the Islamic structures in the compound known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary.


The police accused the Islamic Movement, a fundamentalist group among Israel's Arab citizens, of provoking the violence.

But Zahi Najedat, a spokesman for the Islamic Movement, said tensions had been high because of a leaflet issued by Jewish extremist groups calling on Jews to come to the site, Judaism's holiest place because it housed ancient temples destroyed by the Babylonians and Romans.


Sunday, October 25, 2009

ED COOK AT RALPH: Toward a Theory of Hebrew Poetic Tenses.
ANCIENT SYNAGOGUES IN THE GOLAN are discussed in the Jerusalem Post in two recent articles by Stephen Gabriel Rosenberg:
The Synagogues of Kanaf and Deir Aziz

There are twenty-five known ancient synagogues in the Golan. While some are only known from stone fragments found during construction of recent villages, many of the sites have been positively located, and six of them have been excavated. Their presence points to the existence of a strong Jewish culture in the area, one with a fine tradition in carving the tough black basalt stone that covers the region.

Some of these synagogues are surprisingly close in proximity, such as those in Kanaf and Deir Aziz. Kanaf, which is most easily accessible from the settlement of Ma'ale Gamla, can be reached by taking the private road which stretches through the community. As the blue and white signs start changing to black and white, you will reach a fork. There you will need to leave the car and, by foot, begin climbing up the hill toward the square building which sits on the skyline.

The ancient synagogues of Ein Nashut and Yehudiya

Situated less than three kilometers away from the famous Talmudic village of Katzrin is the synagogue of Ein Nashut. Discovered after the Six-Day War, and first excavated by archaeologist Zvi Maoz in 1978, the synagogue lies within a ruined village, whose destroyed walls and remnants of two olive oil presses are spread over six acres.

The synagogue was constructed at an earlier date than many others in the Golan. During excavations of the foundations, eight coins dated to around the year 390 CE were discovered, and another 103 coins dated to as late as the rule of Emperor Honorius (408-423 CE) were found under the entrance paving . While the presence of the coins has assisted modern archeologists in their work, they also served a purpose for the villagers of the time. Back then, it was tradition to set a large number of low-value coins in the foundations. High-value gold coins were also found during the digs, but their purpose was different - they were either part of a private cache which was left abandoned or part of an unutilized offering.These coins, together with a smaller collection of 51 copper bits dating from 425 CE to 450 CE which were found in a chamber below the synagogue, date the building to the mid-fifth century - only a generation or two after the completion of the Jerusalem Talmud.

In the sixth century, repairs were made to the ark, and a new floor was laid to the entry porch, probably following the earthquake of 551 CE. The synagogue continued to be used until the seventh century, when the village was abandoned.


GOING BACK to Katzrin, and then turning onto Route 87 southward will lead to Yehudiya, a ruined Jewish village on the east side of the road. Travelers can leave their cars at the parking lot opposite the ruins.

The name Yehudiya was given to the site by the nineteenth-century German Templer engineer and explorer Gottlieb Schumacher, and adopted by the local Beduin. The Syrians, however, were not happy with the name. In 1967, when Syrian army maps were found by advancing Israeli forces, the village had been renamed, "Ya'arabaya".

The synagogue has not yet been excavated, but pieces of its decor have been found among the ruins of the village houses, and scattered columns lie in the main courtyard between the houses. One wall plate, found built into a village house, is of particular importance. It is a basalt tablet of the menora together with the usual shofar and incense shovel. Of special interest is that the menora has nine branches, like the one on the capital at Ein Nashut. The tablet is now in the Katzrin Museum.

(Both articles noted on Joseph I. Lauer's list.)
IAA SALVAGE ARCHAEOLOGY is profiled in the Jerusalem Post. Excerpt:
Elia and Gendler work in salvage excavation, the branch of archeology that just about every construction worker, contractor and developer - especially in Jerusalem - is familiar with. The Antiquities Authority inspects most construction sites, public and private, in the country to try to make sure that the treasures of the past are preserved.

"We try to be involved in every project that cracks the ground," said Jon Seligman, the authority's Jerusalem regional archeologist. Archeologists accompany construction projects throughout the country, but they are ubiquitous at projects in the capital, whose underground, in Seligman's words, is "essentially one big antiquities site."

(However, salvage excavation, Seligman said, has nothing to do with the two major controversies involving archeology in Jerusalem: the dig underneath City of David/Silwan, which local Palestinians say endangers their homes, and the claim by Israeli Islamic leader Ra'ed Salah that "al-Aksa is in danger" due in part to supposed excavation underneath the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif. The dig underneath City of David/Silwan isn't meant to salvage antiquities uncovered by construction workers, but rather is meant directly for archeological purposes. As for digs underneath the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif, there are none, said Seligman.)

In the last year or so, salvage excavations in Jerusalem have turned up such extraordinary finds as a Second Temple pool in Silwan, which was uncovered during the laying of a sewage pipe in an open field, and a Middle Bronze Age cemetery, uncovered during work on the Holy Land housing project.
Read it all.

(Via Explorator 12.27, although I think Joseph Lauer also noted it awhile ago.)