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August 01, 2003 - Image 24

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-08-01

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Insight

Remember
When

Archaeological Concerns

From the pages of the Jewish News
from this week 10, 20, 30, 40, 50
and 60 years ago.

Bar-Ilan expert focuses on careless destruction of artifacts in Temple Mount area.

The community is invited to the
dedication of the new building
Young Israel of West Bloomfield.
Adat Shalom Synagogue in
Farmington Hills will hold a dinner
to honor Cantor Larry and Gitta
Vieder. He served the congregation
33 years.

DON COHEN

Special to the Jewish News

D

r. Aren Maeir is a man who
gets excited about his work.
Maeir, a senior lecturer
at the Institute of
Archaeology in the Department of
Land of Israel Studies at Bar-Ilan
University in Ramat Gan, shared his
enthusiasm, his latest findings and his
concerns about excavations on the
Temple Mount with a group of Bar-
Ilan supporters on July 22.
The American-born Maeir will
return to Israel at the end of the sum-
mer after completing a sabbatical at the
Massachusetts Institute for Technology.
"They are destroying archaeological
treasures," Maier said, reporting on the
systematic destruction of Jewish arti-
facts from the first and second Temples
taking place at the Temple Mount with
the full knowledge of the Palestinian
authorities. He noted with sad irony
that most of what they are destroying
are medieval Muslim buildings.
"They are doing it randomly with
bulldozers and dump trucks," he said.
"It is reckless from an engineering
point of view.
"Archaeologists cried gevalt [express-
ing horror], but the Israeli government
said, 'Let's make believe it doesn't exist.'
The only thing that stopped it was
when a large bulge suddenly began to
appear on the Southern Wall," Maeir
said. A collapse could kill many, and
"Israel would be blamed."
He expressed some relief that
Palestinians, Israelis and Jordanians
now are giving it attention.
"You can get mad at the
Palestinians," he told the audience,
"but it gets me mad because my gov-
ernment was so incompetent."
To explain the history and signifi-
cance of the Temple Mount, Maeir
showed slides illustrating the growth of
the site from Solomon's Temple to
Herod's massive building project join-
ing two small hills to create a platform
and buildings in the Roman grandeur.
When Rome became Christian, the

8/ 1
2003

24

recalled.
His group needed to be evacuated
from the area and the exit was never
opened. A later attempt in 1996 result-
ed in 13 Israeli soldiers and 80
Palestinians being killed.
Maier also showed slides of the Tell
es-Safi-Gath Archaeological project,
which he directs. He explained that
from the biblical text, Gath appears to
be the most important of the Philistine
cities in their early period and was the
Archaeological Objections
hometown of Goliath, who was felled
Maeir served as archaeological inspector by a smooth stone from King David's
well-aimed slingshot. Gath is one of
for the Western Wall Tunnel in the
Israeli's largest archaeological sites.
late-1980s and mid-1990s, a project
Harvey Brode of Farmington Hills
that spurred violence from many
found Dr. Maeir's presentation "fasci-
Muslims when an exit in the Muslim
nating," noting he
has always been
interested in archae-
ology. "I'm against
anyone who wants to
destroy archaeologi-
cal sites on the basis
of politics or reli-
gion," " he said.
David Tanzman of
Oak Park, whose
granddaughter,
Renana Strasberg,
made aliyah and is
studying at Bar-Ilan
University, says,
"The findings only
David Tanzman of Oak Park and Dr. Larry Loewenthal of corroborate what we
Southfield talk with Dr. Aren Maeir of Bar-Ilan Universi t y. read about in the
Torah. It is fascinat-
ing to hear and have projected for you
Quarter of the Old City was to be
the historic truth on which integrity
opened.
can be built."
"The idea was not to have a signifi-
For Larry and Shirley Loewenthal,
cant excavation but to show more of
the Western Wall," Maeir said, explain- who hosted the program at their
Southfield home, Bar-Ilan University is
ing that the very narrow tunnel does
like an old friend.
not go under the Temple Mount and
"In 1964, when I made my first trip
the mosques now sitting on top of it.
to Israel with my parents, I remember
"We just wanted to open up another
standing with Phil Stollman near the
exit for tourists."
first two buildings on the campus. He
'A few of us were in the Muslim
told me how the university would
Quarter waiting when the Muezzins
teach archaeology, biblical studies and
called out that the Jews were going on
modern history to link everybody to
the Temple Mount to destroy the
our past, present and future. It's great to
mosques. I was quickly surrounded by
see how his dream is coming true." ❑
hundreds of unhappy people," he

Temple Mount was left "desolate and
destroyed to show the Jews had been
destroyed by not accepting
Christianity," Maeir said.
With the Muslim defeat of the
Byzantine Empire, Islam incorporated
Jerusalem in an attempt to attract Jews
to the new religion. The story of the
Prophet Muhammad's "Night Journey"
made Jerusalem the third holiest city in
Islam.

1993

1983

Gerald Rosenbloom, president of
the Synagogue Council of Greater
Detroit, announces a citywide syna-
gogue open house to stress syna-
gogue affiliation.

1973

American athletes capture 76 gold
medals to lead the 9th Maccabiah
games in Tel Aviv. Israel is second
with 60.

1983

A memorial tribute to Eleanor
Roosevelt will be presented at the
Pioneer Women convention in
Detroit.
The Theodore and Mina
Bargman Arts and Crafts Building
will be dedicated next weekend at
Camp Tamarack in Brighton.

1953

In recognition of service to Jewish
causes and his leadership in the
Zionist movement, United Hebrew
Schools and the Allied Jewish
Campaign, Detroiter Harry Cohen
will be honored on his 70th birth-
day with a forest in Israel.
The 25th anniversary of the
Detroit Farband Camp in Chelsea
will be celebrated with special cere-
monies.

Detroit Mayor Edward J. Jeffries, at
the Detroit Folks Committee for
Russian Relief, welcomes two
Russian envoys now visiting this
country — Prof. Solomon
Mikhoels and Lt. Col. Itzik Feffer.

— Compiled by Holly Teasdle,
archivist, the Rabbi Leo M Franklin
Archives of Temple Beth El

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