Egypt Up in Arms After Star of David Engraving Discovered in Ancient Temple

April 5, 2016

2 min read

The ruins of a Roman Temple, dating back to the third century BCE, is the center of a storm of Egyptian controversy owing to a pair of six-pointed stars found engraved at the site. According to a report by The Jerusalem Post, the ruins are located on the Elephantine Island in the southern Egyptian city of Aswan.

Dr. Mahmoud Afifi, the head of the Egyptian Antiquities branch in the Antiquities Ministry, said he noticed the engravings, which resemble the Star of David which appears on the Israeli flag, on a stone. He accused the German archaeologists assisting in the temple reconstruction of carving the stars into the stone.

Afifi demanded the German team immediately remove the offending stone, threatening legal action if the archaeologists repeat the move.

One Egyptian news site, Suezbalady, went so far as to accuse a Jewish member of the German team of vandalism with the intent of harming Egyptian culture.

Newly appointed Egyptian Antiquities Minister Khaled Anani visited the shrine at Aswan Saturday. He then issued a press release stating that he had instructed the joint Egyptian-German group to submit a scientific report about the two engravings found on one of the temple’s walls.

“The report will include a picture of the stone under discussion from the time it was discovered, to explore its archaeological repercussions without the two Star of David engravings,” Anani said.

“We will be aided by an expert of Islamic antiquities to understand whether the Sign of David was common in that early period,” Anani announced.

It should be noted that despite its strong modern associations with the State of Israel, the Star of David, known in Hebrew as the magen David, or shield of David, was not historically a uniquely Jewish symbol. It can be found in the iconography of many religious groups, including both Christians and Muslims. Its Hebrew name evokes the Biblical King David, known as a great warrior and faithful servant of God.

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