Friday, March 11, 2022

Is Turkey returning the Siloam Inscription to Israel?

POLITICS MEETS NORTHWEST SEMITIC EPIGRAPHY: Israeli official: Turkey agrees to return ancient Hebrew inscription to Jerusalem. The 2,700-year-old Siloam inscription, taken by the Ottomans and still held in Istanbul, marks direct evidence of Bible’s account of King Hezekiah’s tunnel-building in Jerusalem (Shalom Yerushalmi, Times of Israel).
Turkey has agreed to return to Israel an ancient inscription from Jerusalem, currently housed in the Istanbul Archaeology Museum, an Israeli official told Zman Yisrael, The Times of Israel’s Hebrew sister site. It is considered one of the most important ancient Hebrew inscriptions in existence.

The gesture comes amid warming ties between Israel and Turkey and was discussed during the landmark visit of President Isaac Herzog to Ankara earlier this week, said a senior official in the Israeli entourage.


Still a rumor at this stage, but I hope it happens. For background information on the inscription, see the article at the link above and this post.

The discussions between Israel and Turkey about the Siloam Inscription have been going on for a long time. For the unsuccessful effort to arrange a loan of it in 2007, see the links collected here. For the unsuccessful offer to exchange it for two elephants (yes, really) in 2017, see here. The current negotiations reportedly involve an exchange for a Turkish artifact now in Israel.

Watch this space.

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