The City of David
In Jerusalem you become blasé about antiquity. Soon you fall into the habit of remarking, "Oh that is only Second Temple," meaning from the time of the return of the Jews from Babylon to the expulsion by the Romans in 70 C.E. Today I spent most of the morning learning that the "Old City of Jerusalem" is not old -- well not what really is old. Below a parking lot outside the walls of the "Old City" (contained within a wall that is a mere 450 years old) is the most magnificent excavation site in Israel. We see the homes from which the Jews were expelled to Bablyon (leaving hidden money and remains of humans reduced to eating grass as the Babylonian starved the remaining Jews.) And then we traverse back to 1000 B.C.E., to the city David captured and from which he ruled a united kingdom.
That would be all extraordinary in and of itself. But there is more. Our guide from the Ir David Foundation has Bible in hand. Here the Bible is the archaeologists' guide. Within the same site they found two seals identifying two figures described in the Book of Jeremiah. You are standing in the palace of David, verifiable with Phoenician designs. And then you descend further through the underground water system that supplied the City of David with water and through which David and his army, in a commando-style raid, seized the city from the Jebusites. And there, on the spot covering the spring, as described precisely beginning in Kings 1:1, is the spot where Solomon was anointed king. And down you go to the spring, the existence of which fixed Jerusalem's location.
With regard to the Torah and Jerusalem, it turns out that, as with so many self-described realists, the realists turn out to reality deniers. Legions of "scholars" told us for decades that the Bible, don't you see, is allegory. Oh, David? Yes, a lovely tale but you must think of him as a King Arthur-type figure. No, that's all wrong. The realists turned out to be the people of faith. Now the Torah provides the guide for modern scientists to confirm that the Torah, at least in this regard, is history, written with precision -- a sort of message in the bottle to the future to tell us that yes, the Jews, were here in this spot, at this time.
And mind you all of the City of David is in what the Palestinians would claim as their capital. And at the time of the First Intifada this was a war zone. Recall also that the track record of preservation of sites is not a good one. The Mount of Olives, the original Mount of Olives (not the "new" replacement in operations a scant 500 years) is now built over by slums, the opening to family tombs barely visible around the garbage and beneath the decrepit buildings. The original headstones were sold off during the Jordanian occupation.
Why do I relate all of this? It's more than a religious and historical site of immense meaning. It is the answer to the non-realists who would have us believe Jews lack a verifiable claim to land dating back 3000 years and beyond. At some point, the naysayers become the equivalent of flat-earthers. You see, in contrast to what Obama lectured us from Cairo at the beginning of his term (when the fantasy of "Muslim Outreach" assumed that Hosni Mubarak was an island of stability), Israel is not merely recompense for the Holocaust. It is the ancestral home of the Jewish people. And if you doubt it, spend a morning in the City of David.
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