Mar 07, 2021
JERUSALEM WEATHER

Local Jews responded to Arab destruction of the archaeological site of Joshua’s Altar on Mount Ebal in Shomron (Samaria) by carrying out a clandestine repair operation.

Palestinian Authority roadwork destroyed portions of a 3,200-year-old wall adjacent to the site near Shechem (Nablus). Shomrim al Hanetzach reported that Palestinian workers had ground ancient stone from the site’s exterior wall into gravel to pave the road as well as made use of stones from within the site itself. Yossi Dagan, head of the Shomron Regional Council, recently told N12 Yossi Dagan, head of the Shomron Regional Council, told N12 news that in recent years, the Palestinian Authority has “intentionally” targeted heritage sites, including robbery and acts of demolishing.

More than 30 employees of the contracting company “Aish Avodot” and restoration professionals participated in the restoration work, closely accompanied by the staff of the Shomron Regional Council, and Shuki Levin, former director of the Council of Samaria’s Defense Department restored about 35 meters of the western wall of the altar compound, using natural fieldstone. It was not possible to fix the damage carried out by the Palestinian Authority to the northern wall, which is about 20 meters long.


About two months ago, MK Michal Shir (Likud) submitted an urgent petition concerning the destruction of the archaeological site but Deputy Defense Minister Michael Biton (Blue&White) replied that the works were approved by the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), adding that there was no danger to the site.

However, the group Shomrim Al Hanetzch (Guardians of Eternity), dedicated to preserving Jewish archaeology, history, and heritage in Judea and Samaria, found a video posted by the Asira ash-Shamaliya municipality on Facebook showing that the PA had been carrying out heavy works at the site in recent weeks, causing significant damage.  Shomrim Al Hanetzch (Guardians of Eternity), an NGO dedicated to preserving Jewish archaeology in Judea and Samaria, uncovered a video posted by the Asira ash-Shamaliya municipality on Facebook showing that the PA had been carrying out heavy works at the site in recent weeks, causing significant damage. The group claimed the damage was part of an agenda to intentionally damage archaeological sites in order to erase the Jewish historical connection to the Land of Israel.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu released a statement on Thursday saying, “Regarding the serious incident on Mount Ebal – I ordered an immediate investigation today to seize those responsible and secure the place.” Netanyahu added: “We will preserve our historic places.”

The site was discovered in 1980 by Professor Adam Zertal from the University of Haifa. He was able to date the site to the end of the 13th century BCE and found it to be an unusual ritual site whose dimensions correspond directly with the biblical altar described in the book of Joshua after the victory over Ai.

  At that time Yehoshua built a mizbayach to Hashem, the God of Yisrael, on Har Eival, Joshua 8:30

Zertal’s conclusion is frequently challenged by archaeologists who claim the Bible is not a historically accurate account of events. Zertal was himself anti-religious and also denied the Biblical connection of his find for several years.