EXPLORE BY MONTH
*Jerusalem, Thursday, June 15, 1967
The El Al plane, Flight # 212, that I was on, left New York City at 9:30 p.m. Sunday night, June 11, 1967. It was about one-third empty because a number of people had not had their passports properly validated by the U.S. Passport office. Among them were a number of American citizens and others who had permanent resident permits. I was fortunate in having the three seats on the left side immediately behind the bulkhead all to myself, with the result that I was able to take out the partition arm rests and stretch out during the night flight to London. We arrived there some six hours later, and instead of a 45 minute stopover, had a two hour stopover. Then on again, non-stop to Lydda. I had gotten on the plane terribly tired and slept or dozed most of the trip. The plane was occupied for the most part by young Israelis, most of them students at various American universities, who were returning home. Some twelve hours after leaving Kennedy airport we landed in Tel Aviv or rather Lydda airport, in the afternoon of June 12.
From the air, as we circled over the city, everything seemed comparatively normal, although there was nowhere near as much traffic on the streets as one usually sees when flying in over Tel Aviv in daytime. Ours was the only plane landing at the time, which was about 4:00 p.m. Tel Aviv time, and we were cleared through passport control and customs rapidly. I had sent a cable Sunday morning to the Hebrew Union College Biblical and Archaeological in Jerusalem, announcing my arrival, and so I looked around to see if anybody had come to meet me. A customs officer came up and asked if he could help me. As soon as I told him my name, he knew who I was, said that he had read several of my books, and in fact had, about two weeks earlier, visited our School. He had been wonderfully well received and shown around our building and was greatly impressed with it. He took me to his office and connected me immediately by telephone with our School. One of our students, Harvey Block, was there, and I learned from him that my cable had not been received. In fact it wasn’t delivered till two days after my arrival. Everybody at the postoffice of military age was in the
*May not be published or excerpted without express permission of the author.
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army, and mail and cables are accumulating in a big backlog. Some school children have been pressed into service delivering mail. For the moment, it is probably faster to write an airmail letter than to cable. Learning that my cable hadn’t been received, I managed to get hold of an antiquated, wheezy, oil-burning taxi to take me to Jerusalem. En route I picked up a pair of soldiers, a boy and a girl, and would have picked up more, but the driver protested that the car wouldn’t make it with any more weight. He was right. We could barely get up some of the steeper grades. The taxi-driver had two sons in the army, and had no idea of their whereabouts. He and the two soldiers and the customs officer at Lydda and everybody have spoken to since are simply overwhelmed with exultation and thanksgiving about the miraculous victory of Israel over he combined Egyptian and Arab powers.
Some of the reports that have been coming to me from individuals who have participated in the fighting are simply astounding about the way the Israelis conducted this war so masterfully and bravely. One of the interesting things is that there is a very high percentage of casualties among the Israeli officers who are always in front and never lag behind their troops.
The grounds and building of the HUCBASJ are in very good shape and suffered practically no damage whatsoever. There are some scars of bullets against the east wall of our building; a mortar shell landed in the parking lot and damaged a bit of the kerb [sic] and the blast, apparently, shattered several of the plate glass windows in our entrance lobby. However, they have already been replaced. A shell also landed in our garden on the north side and hit one of the small trees there. Otherwise the building is absolutely intact.
The day before I arrived, that is on Monday, June 12th, forty Israeli police and soldiers, quartered in our building, left. They had also taken in with them some people on the streets who were not able to get home and who lived in the building for several days. I understand that the Police Officer in charge of Jerusalem has written a letter to me thanking me for the reception that the police and troops got in our building.
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Yesterday, whilst going out to Ramallah, we were stopped by a military contingent who examined our passports; one of the persons who was doing the examining was Motke, our gardener. Last night, Rachamim, our house boy, came in and he was simply bubbling over. He had been in some of the fiercest fighting in Jerusalem and had gotten leave of half a day to go and see his fiancée whom he is to marry next month. He had no transportation and I gave him immediate permission to use our old Morris car to go and visit the bride-to-be and her family. He is a paratrooper but they were doing their fighting on the ground on the outskirts of Jerusalem.
Two of our vehicles, the Wagonneer and Chevrolet tender were requisitioned, but I am taking steps to try to get them back, now that the actual fighting is over. Yesterday a cheque came in from the army to pay for the use of one of the cars and apparently the army will pay for the use of both the cars. The efficiency of the army also in this particular detail simply amazes me.
In the afternoon of June 12, in the old taxi that I managed to hire to bring me up to Jerusalem, my chief impression en route was of a long line of jeeps and buses and military cars of various kinds painted in unfamiliar colours and with Arabic inscriptions giving their designations. They were captured Jordanian military cars that had already been taken and put into active use. I understand that the amount of materials captured from the Egyptian and other Arab powers is simply tremendous, much more than last time in 1956. At that time I was able to examine the materials captured in the Negev or placed in the Negev until they could be dispersed and there was a tremendous amount of material then. It is said that there is much more material captured now, from tanks to missiles, to ammunition, to clothing, to food and so on, than there was last time. There is a lot less civilian traffic on the roads than there usually is; most of the traffic is military.
During the days of the actual fighting, Bill and Norma Dever, Ezra Spicehandler and his family, and Rabbi and Mrs. Harold Saperstein, aside from the regular staff headed by Mrs. Esther Lee, were in and out of the School at various times or in their private apartments. The
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Sapersteins were living in the School, and will be here for some weeks yet. The experience that everybody had of the firing and listening for the sirens and the explosions has obviously to be lived through to be appreciated. Apparently when the Israelis were convinced that the Jordanian troops were putting on more than just a symbolic attack, they put into effect a plan to capture the Old City mainly by cutting off its access roads that had been prepared months and years in advance. First lights were played upon the gun emplacements occupied by Jordanian soldiers and then low flying planes from Israel swept over and knocked them out one by one.
On Tuesday, June 13, Dever, Spicehandler and I drove over to the Old City and talked our way into the American Schools of Oriental Research and the American consulate branch situated nearby. Everything is fine also at the ASOR which has been turned over to me to administer in any way that I please. There was some damage to the glass in the room that I used as an office when I was Director of the School. It too had ben shattered by blast from a shell that fell into the garden, and several bullets also penetrated the windows. Otherwise there was no damage whatsoever to the School building or any part of the grounds. I found the major-domo, Omar, his wife and his ten children there. Some of his family had been in Jericho but through the assistance of the nearby American consulate they were all gotten together and fetched back to the School. I also fund some American consular staff and their families there, whose own apartments had been rendered uninhabitable. I told them I was delighted to see them there and would like them to remain as long as they desired. A notice has been put on the front gate of the School saying “Under control of the American Consulate.” When I first visited the School only Omar was there, but now some of the other servants have returned and the building is being cleaned and looked after, including the rooms of the consu.ar families living there. There is plenty of food.
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This morning, Bill Dever, Ezra Spicehandler, Dick Scheuer (who arrived last night by El Al from New York City) and I drive into the former Arab section of Jerusalem via the Mandelbaum Gate. The pass I have, signed by Aluf Uzi Narkis, who is second–in-command of the Western Bank under Rav Aluf Rabin, and to whom Aluf Chaim Herzog, the top military governor of Jerusalem is subject, gets us through the numerous military checkpoints very easily I didn’t go into the American School of Oriental Research grounds this morning, nor into the American Consulate branch near it. Last night I had dinner with Consul General and Mrs. Evan Wilson, and we had tentative discussions concerning the future of the grounds and buildings of the ASOR. Several of the American Consular families are living there now, and I indicated my willingness to have the American Consulate utilize the school as headquarters for its operations as a branch in the former Arab section of the city. I shall look in again tomorrow to take care of some further details at the ASOR and particularly to decide what to do with the servants who are gradually returning from whatever places they had scattered to. I shall certainly want to retain the long-time servants.
We drove down past Damascus Gate, which is a beehive of activity from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. after which there is curfew in the Old City. Vendors are selling primarily bananas, of which there seems to be a most plentiful supply. Numerous Arabs are milling about, some of them being registered for various things, the nature of which I do not know. Others of them gather to begin the trek by car or bus to Transjordan, despite the plea of King Hussein for all Arabs to remain where they are, and the repeated insistence by the Israeli authorities that absolutely no harm will come to any Arabs remaining in their places on the West side of the Jordan. We passed the Palestine Archaeological Museum which has suffered some damage from fire, but so far as I can determine from the outside has not been severely hurt. An announcement in the newspaper today says that some of the Dead Sea Scroll fragments came through intact. I have not yet been able to find out what happened to the Psalm
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and other scrolls that were there. The Copper Scroll is definitely in Amman. Most of the shops on the streets outside the walled city are still closed, as are many inside the walled Old City. The cleaning up operations continue apace. There was fighting in the area between the ASOR and the Ecole Biblique and the Damascus and Flower Gates, and there are burned-out cars, trucks, jeeps, a huge tank, a lot of broken glass and scattered empty and some live bullets and shells scattered about. A tremendous amount of cleaning up has been going on and in a few days only the scars on some of the buildings and the holes in the wall above the entrance to the Damascus Gate will testify to the fighting that went on several days ago. On some of the stores, both inside and outside the walled city, white surrender flags are hanging. The attractive, fenced-in garden area adjacent to the city wall between the Damascus and Flower Gates in completely intact and the broad road leading down to the Jericho road is clean and filled with military traffic for the most part. Many captured Jordanian jeeps, trucks and buses have been pressed into service.
We drove up to the top of the Mount of Olives on which the International Motel has been built over a Jewish graveyard, some of whose disturbed gravestones can be seen on the slopes below it. There is a wonderful view over the city of Jerusalem from there and particularly over the entire area of the Haram esh-Sharif and the el-Aksa Mosque. Crowds could be seen walking from Mt. Zion, which is dominated by the burned out dome of the Dormition Church. This is the second time I have seen it in this state, the first being in 1956. The Government of Israel repaired it completely then, but Jordanian shells have ruined it again, and the Government of Israel will, I imagine, repair it again. The crowds visible from our vantage point can be seen wending their way from Mr. Zion around the east side of the wall of the temple area enclosure and then by a circuitous route arriving at the Western or Wailing Wall. A great courtyard (or a plaza in making) has been leveled within the last few days in front of the Western Wall, enabling among thousands of people to congregate there at one time and making it possible for the impressive beauty of the great blocks of some of the lower parts of the Herodian wall to be seen. On Tuesday, June 13, 1967, Bill Dever,
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Ezra Spicehandler and I had walked to the Western Wall, which was opened up to the general public on Wednesday, June 14, 1967, when some approximately 200,000 people pilgrimaged to it in celebration of Shavuot. The entrance for them was through the Dung Gate, with police letting several hundred people at a time move forward, before compelling them to move on. The police had the entire pilgrimage beautifully controlled, according to the newspaper, and from what I have heard from people who participated in the mass pilgrimage.
From our vantage point immediately below the Intercontinental Hotel, which we did not enter, and which I presume is occupied by Israeli troops, we drove down to the Jericho Road, passed Bethany and then swiftly down to the Jordan River. Up to a few days ago the span over it was called the King Abdullah Bridge, to judge from the Arabic signpost still in place. There must have been considerable fighting or bombing along the entire Jericho Road. There were very numerous burned-out tanks, some of them of huge size, and trucks and jeeps and buses. Most of them seem to have been knocked out by air attack. No bodies were visible, but alongside the destroyed tanks and cars were spent bullets and shells, some of them appearing to me to be still unexploded. I cautioned my companions not to get off the paved sections of the road, for fear of their stepping on mines. Incidents of that kind have been occurring. Alongside the road were ranged groups of refugees walking along in both directions down to and away from the Jordan. We stopped our car to photograph one of the burned-out tanks and a family of refugees approached us, climbing westward back up to Jerusalem, and asked for water. We gave them all the water we had and a large bottle of grapefruit juice that we had taken with us. It is a shame that anybody is leaving, because their lot in Jordan cannot possibly be better than in Israel, and in all likelihood will be much worse, because Jordan is simply not capable at the present of taking card of a couple of hundred thousand additional refugees. However, the unfortunate people have evidently swallowed whole the horror stories broadcast over the Jordan and other Arab radios, and have feared that they would be slaughtered if they did not get away as fast as possible.. The opposite is true. The military and civilian
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authorities of Israel on the west bank and in Jerusalem and elsewhere are bending every effort to assure the Arabs that nothing will happen to them and have been making very large supplies of milk and bread and other foods and necessities available to them until affairs can become more normal again.
It was with deep emotion that sometime later we stood on the west side of the bridge across the Jordan, the central spans of which have been blown up. Refugees could be seen wading across the river, and cars on the east side were standing by to pick up some of them. I hope all the refugees soon learn that they made a mistake leaving home and find their way back again.
From the bridge, we drove to Jericho, which appeared to be completely unharmed. I hadn’t been to Jericho for twenty years, but it seemed to be almost exactly the same as when I had last seen it, with several additional small hotels and cafes. Of course there were military checkpoints in and out of the city and I kept on flashing my magical pass. This evening I put transparent cellophane around it, because a few more days of its being held in soldiers’ hands would get it hopelessly smudged. We drove to ancient Jericho, Tell es-Sultan, and I was able to see for the first time some of Miss Kenyon’s excavations there. I had seen so many photographs of the great, early Neolithic round tower she opened up, that I could have sworn, had I not known better, that I had actually seen it in situ previously. We climbed through the barbed wire enclosing the area in which it stands, and then climbed down the central shaft which pierces its length and out through the door at the bottom. It is a most impressive piece of work, testifying to considerable engineering and building ability with stone some eight thousand years ago, long before pottery was invented. It made a deep impression upon me. On the way out from Jericho, we passed a modern kiln with jars that had evidently but recently been fired stacked in orderly rows.
From Jericho, we drove straight back to Jerusalem, crossed again through the barriers of Mandelbaum Gate and then home. This evening,
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the Devers, Sapersteins, Dick Scheuer and I had dinner with the Spicehandlers. There was a lot of speculation about what is going to happen politically in the near future among the world powers with regard to this part of the world. My hope is that this moment will be seized to attempt to renew and enlarge the scope of the formerly projected Jordan Valley Authority, which could bring such great blessings to both Jordan and Israel and to engage in other similar endeavors of mutually beneficent character on a regional basis. It would pay America to finance such an endeavor, because creative peace in this part of the world is of immense importance to the vital interests of America and of the entire world. I would also like to see the part of Palestine occupied largely by Arabs made into a separate Arab canton, with largely self-governing powers, contained within the state of Israel, – assuming of course that Israel is going to be able to maintain its authority of the entire west side of Palestine, from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean and from the Gulf of Aqabah in the south to the sources of the Jordan in the north.
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Second Installment Jerusalem, Sunday, June 18, 1967
At 10 A.M. Dr. Spicehandler and I went over to President Shazar’s office where a private interview had been arranged for us. He received us most hospitably, and launched into a discussion about the possibility of widened archaeological activities in the enlarged territory of Israel on the west bank of the Jordan. I told him that I would like to dig down alongside the Western Wall of the Temple area and try to get down to the Solomonic foundation which might be found some meters below the present surface, perhaps many meters. I told him about our presently cancelled plans for the continuation of our excavations under the direction of our Senior Archaeological Fellow, Dr. William G. Dever, at Gezer, but said that I didn’t know how to proceed at the present without the certainty of transportation. The Zahal army forces have taken two of our best cars, the Wagoneer and the Chevrolet Station Wagon or Tender. I got no reaction from him about when they might be returned to us. I also expressed the thought that in a way it was a shame that the border at Eilat had not been pushed eastward about 500 meters, because that would have enabled me to get to Tell el-Kheleifeh (Ezion-geber), and enable me to do some more excavations there after lapse of some thirty years. More work there is vitally necessary. Perhaps, if, as I hope and pray, real peace can be established between Jordan and Israel, it would still be possible to do some more excavating there. However, in view of young King Hussein’s recent actions, dropping all his anti-Nasser advisors and replacing them with pro-Nasser advocates, it would seen that the possibility of such a rapprochement has been materially lessened. During the course of the conversation, I also suggested that I would love to be flown over the Sinai and Sharm esh-Sheikh areas, but I elicited no response. However, the President did suggest that I accompany him the day after tomorrow, Tuesday morning, June 20, to a trip to Rachel’s Tomb and to Hebron. I quickly accepted the invitation. The President’s military attaché, however, who had been called in while we were discussing the ancient boundary of Israel reaching down to the center of Sinai, namely the Brook of Egypt Wadi el-Arish), demurred, saying that adding two extra cars to the President’s convoy
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would not be liked by the military. I had asked and gotten permission to bring along some seven members of the Hebrew Union College Biblical and Archaeological School of Jerusalem in two small cars. I suggested to the military attaché that we need not drive directly with the President’s convoy but would drive some 200 to 500 meters behind, and therefore no problems were involved. He accepted that readily, and so I plan to take Bill Dever, Ezra Spicehandler, Dick Scheuer and Father William Case, who is now ensconced in the American School of Oriental Research, and several others along.
In the course of the conversations, our discussion turned to the ancient boundaries of Israel and I pointed out to the President, what I had said at his Residency the day before, that under Solomon they extended from the “entrance to Hamath” in southern Syria down to the Brook of Egypt, which bisects most or much of central Sinai. I told him I had dealt rather extensively with the problem of these boundaries in my book, RIVERS IN THE DESERT. He asked me to get him a copy of the Hebrew edition which bears the title of AFIQIM BA-NEGEV. I was pretty sure I had given him one some years ago, but perhaps it was to his predecessor, the late President Isaac Ben Zvi. So I am scurrying around down to try to find a copy of the book, which in Hebrew is now out of print. I explained to the President that the boundary lines indicated by the description of “from Dan to Beersheba,” referred only to the most thickly inhabited parts of ancient Israel, but that the outermost limits were variously described in the Bible as those that I have listed above.
Father William Casey, Director Designate of the American School of Oriental Research, arrived from Rome the day before yesterday. There is very little for him to do, particularly in view of he fact that Professor G. Ernest Wright, President of the American School of Oriental Research, had authorized me to take complete charge of the ASOR and make any such dispositions as I deemed best. I had Father Casey introduced to our Consul-General, Mr. Evan Wilson, and then taken through Mandelbaum Gate to the ASOR, and to the America Consulate branch, where one of the consuls obtained a pass for him. Father Casey returned to the HUCBASJ
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and stayed here Saturday night, but we moved him, in accordance with his wish, to the ASOR yesterday. It is impossible to take any of the ASOR cars out of the ASOR compound at the present time, because they all have Jordan license plates, and some time will elapse till they can be changed. He rented a Hertz car here yesterday. I was a bit surprised that one was available, in view of the general requisitioning of cars by the armed forces, including our cars. There are no fellows or students at the ASOR and there will be no excavations conducted by the ASOR that can utilize it as headquarters under existing conditions, so I don’t know what Father Casey can do. We have three American Consulate families living there now, and I am anxious that they remain there.. The situation at the ASOR is a fluid one and I shall make such dispositions as are necessary in the course of the near future. We shall include Father Casey in any travel or work plans that may develop here at the HUCBASJ. I have not yet thought it possible, and Dr. Dever agrees with me, to attempt to set a date yet this summer for renewal of our Gezer excavations, which I cancelled on June 5, nor to set a new date for our annual summer Institute on Near Eastern Civilization. Dr. Zev Vilnay, who has written such excellent travel books on Israel, and usually accompanies our Summer Institutes on their travels through the country, phoned me yesterday to say that he would not be available and free from army duties for about a month. He is to phone and consult with me next week again.
When we took Father Casey to the ASOR yesterday, I learned that the shop of my very good friend, Levon Ohan, an Armenian, had been looted late Saturday afternoon, at about 4:30 P.M. It is located in the Old City across from the Lutheran Church. The curfew there begins at 3 P.M. I immediately, together with Bill and Norma Dever, Ezra Spicehandler, John Landgraf and Dick Scheuer, went into the Suq to try to find his shop. We met a young Arab, who told us where Ohan lived, which is not far from the ASOR. We turned back, and found his residence near the Palace Hotel, close to the ASOR. It was quite a reunion. I hadn’t seen him for twenty years, but over the years we had maintained contact through mutual friends. I knew his father and his father’s antiquity
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shop well, and his son has carried on. Ohan lives with his sister. It was a joyous and sad reunion. His antiquity shop had been completely cleared out. He told me he had been to the military headquarters in the judiciary building near the ASOR and had spoken to the officer who had been present or had permitted several civilians to enter and loot the shop. After a glass of lemonade, we excused ourselves and I went immediately to the Military Governor and began to complain. I learned that he already knew about the matter and was investigating it. I shall follow up on this matter. (June 21, 1967, I am pleased to report that the looters of Ohan’s shop have been caught and much of his material recovered and returned to him.) There have been very strict orders against looting, and thus far there has been very little, I am inclined to believe. Leaving the area about 4 P.M. we stopped at Damascus Gate to watch refugees pile into buses, which bring them down to the Jordan River, where they can wade across the Jordan territory. The buses driven by Israeli soldiers take them down. Why they are leaving, – is to me something of a mystery. There is absolutely no pressure whatsoever on anybody to leave. There is plenty of food, milk, water, electricity and so on available. I have been in the Old City almost every day during and after curfew hours and have seen no molestation whatsoever of its Arab residents. There are numerous pronouncements that no danger awaits them, – yet they are to some degree fleeing. We have seen them straggling down the Jericho Road on foot, – and if go they insist, I guess it is merciful to let them ride down to the Jordan than to walk in the heat of the day with their children and baggage. Others can be seen straggling back to Jerusalem. I guess the refugees believe the propaganda stories fed them by their leaders in past periods, that they will be massacred. There is no question that had the tide of battle gone otherwise, there would have been a fearful massacre of Israelis inside and outside of Jerusalem. Any looting must be prevented and looters punished.
Last night, Dick Scheuer and I had a long meeting with our architect, Miss Ruth Melamede, over the plans for our new building at the HUCBASJ. He has also commissioned her to draw up a plan for the property
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next to us to the south, not for our use but to show the Municipal Authorities how the land could be used and the wonderful view on to the Old City preserved. Afterwards, Dick Scheuer took us to the Gondola, where there were interesting people to be seen. Among the most interesting were officers and soldiers in camouflage battle uniform who had obviously but very recently returned from the battlefield, put on clean uniforms and gone out with their women folk to celebrate. We saw one of the young American consuls, Rod Regan and his wife, Carol, who are now living at the American School of Oriental Research. Then in came Jim Feron, the New York Times correspondent, and his wife and a correspondent from a Los Angeles newspaper, whose name I did not quite get when they introduced him to me. I told him about a whole series of radio and television interviews I had on June 8 in Los Angeles, one of them conducted by none other than Commander Whitehead of Schweppes drinks fame. How he came to be interviewing me, I still do not know. The streets of Jerusalem are comparatively empty, with most of the men between 18 and their late forties in the armed forces.
On Saturday, June 17, after services in the HUCBASJ Chapel, during which Dr. Spicehandler gave a brilliant sermon, in Hebrew of course, he, his wife and daughter, Dick Scheuer and I went to the President’s house for Kiddush at 12:30 P.M. The entire City Council had been invited to attend, together with the Mayor, Teddy Kollek, and the former Mayor, Mordecai Ish-Shalom. Also present was Dr. Immanuel Jacobovitz, recently elected to be the Chief Rabbi of Great Britain. I had never met him before and he was exceedingly friendly. President Shazar shook hands with everybody, and then asked various people to sit alongside of him while the rest of those present were seated in a large semicircle in front of him. He spoke then at some length, after all of us had been served with liqueurs or soft drinks according to choice, about the miracle of the victory of Israel’s armed forces, and how important it was for everybody to pitch in and build anew for peace. Afterwards, he called on various members of the City Council to speak, asking Mayor Kollek first, Mr. Ish-Shalom second and so on. One lady member got up, who had lost a nephew in the battle, and said that world Jewry owed a
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debt to Israel, which could be paid not through money, but through participation in work in the land by sending hundreds of thousands of their sons and daughters to work here for a year or two, with the hope that many of them would settle permanently. Dr. Jacobovitz spoke about the unity of Israel in times of stress, – a unity he said that was reflected in the fact that he and I were there together.. Finally, the President called on me, for maftir, he said. I spoke for about five minutes, saying how grateful we all were to God for the miracle of salvation that had occurred, and that all of us could say and did say with fullest hearts, Hallelujah. I said that while I was proudly a native American, I have long felt myself to be passionately a spiritual son of Jerusalem, and that among the things I was most proud of was the fact that I was an honorary citizen of Beersheba and an honorary citizen of Eilat. That even as I considered the Jordan River, although one of the smallest of the famous streams of the world, to be in many ways its most sacred, I felt that Jerusalem represented the center of the heartland of the conscience of mankind; furthermore, I felt the Holy Land to be the center of the heartland of the world, and my hope was that this physical and spiritual centrality might be maintained to the blessing of Israel and of all mankind. Later on, the President invited me to come and see him in his office the next day, about which I have written above.
June 19, 1967. Monday. This morning, Bill Dever, Dick Scheuer and Ruth Amiran (who has been lecturing for four months on Palestinian Archaeology at Columbia University) and I drove to Gezer to see how our camp was faring and whether anything had happened to it since it has been without a guard for about a month. The Bedouins who were camped nearby previously, and from among whose number we had taken a guard for the camp, had returned to the Negev, and may not return again at all. We then looked at the results of the six days of excavation that Bill Dever was able to carry out this spring with about 35 volunteer assistants, including Dr. Spicehandler, Rabbi Harold Saperstein and the HUC students who were here at the time. The most important result was exposing the undoubtedly Solomonic Gate of the city, which Macalister had excavated more than fifty years ago, and then reburied, but which he
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thought was a Maccabean Gate. Since then, largely because of discoveries and theories of Yigael Yadin at Hazor and Megiddo and his theory that the same result would be obtained at Gezer, we know that the kind of gate involved belongs to the time of Solomon. Bill Dever has now excavated part of it, and it is clearly the same as the one pictured in Macalister’s book on Gezer, and which Dever will reopen when the Gezer excavations are undertaken again. It is doubtful whether we shall be able to resume work there this season, but will definitely plan to do so next season.
Wednesday, June 21, 1967
Yesterday morning, we drove in Dever’s Peugeot, – we, being Dever, Spicehandler, Scheuer and myself, along the old Bethlehem Road and stopped at Rachel’s Tomb. Up till a few years ago, that road was impassable at a point approximately below Ramat Rahel. Now, however, the barriers separating it from its continuation to Bethlehem have been removed, and one can drive straight to it and beyond to Hebron and then farther south to Beersheba and/or Sinai.
Last Sunday morning, after I had paid a call on President Shazar, and we had among other things discussed the possibilities of archaeological undertakings on the entire west bank of the Jordan, he invited me to accompany him on a trip of inspection to Rachel’s Tomb and to Hebron. I gladly accepted and asked if I could bring several people from the School along. His ADC demurred at our joining the presidential line of cars, saying that it would make protecting the President more difficult, so I suggested that we drive several hundred meters behind the presidential caravan. When we started out yesterday morning, I decided that we would head straight for Rachel’s Tomb and await the Presidential party there and then join up with it or follow it from there. We did not know exactly which road to take, because a new road had been constructed by the Jordanian authorities winding around from Damascus Gate to Bethlehem or whether we should try to follow the old road. We chose the latter and were able to pass through, after being stopped at several checkpoints. We arrived in due course at Rachel’s Tomb, having noticed but few signs of battle between it and Jerusalem. Many of the houses were flying
white flags. The soldiers guarding the entrance to Rachel’s Tomb tried to wave us on, but I asked to see the officer in charge, explained who we were and he had us park and point our car around so that when the President’s party arrived, we could join his caravan. He had told me he would be getting there at 10:15 A.M. but arrived a little later. The Director of Antiquities, Dr. Avram Biran, was with him, as was Aluf Uzi Narkiss, the General in charge of the west bank of the Jordan. The President greeted us, and General Narkiss and I greeted each other, – I having known him previously, knowing that he was an army officer, but not what rank he held. He is a nephew, I believe, of the late Dr. Narkiss, who for many ears was the Director of he Bezalel Museum. Avram Biran and I are old friends of course.
We entered the Tomb of Rachel, and found that it was perfectly intact. There were several Hebrew inscribed stones or plaques inside of comparatively modern vintage, which had not been disturbed by the Jordanian authorities. The place is revered by Moslems as well as by Jews. Whether or not it is truly the site referred to in Genesis 35:19: “And Rachel died and was buried on the road to Ephrath, which is Bethlehem,” is a moot question. However, it has been revered as a sacred site for hundreds of years, and I guess that suffices. Whose bones, if any, are buried inside the tomb, is also a matter of doubt, but any place can become holy if the reverent and faithful pilgrimage to it.
From Rachel’s Tomb, the President’s party drove straight through Bethlehem and on to Hebron. It was a bit amusing to see the vendors in both places carrying on business as usual and selling their trinkets to the Israeli soldiers guarding these sites and the roads between. The trip to Hebron was a fascinating one. The Hebron area must be one of the richest agricultural areas in the country, and is green with extensive vineyards and orchards, carefully cultivated and beautifully terraced, and apparently well irrigated. Every once in a while, one could also see harvesting going on of what I assume is the dhura or sorghum crop. Across the way from Rachel’s Tomb, one could see several Arab women gleaning stray stalks of grain from the fields, and the picture
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of Ruth and her companions inevitably came to mind. In the outskirts of Jerusalem, we saw several places where Arabs with teams or troikas of donkeys were inching over the grain piled up on threshing floors, in immemorial fashion.
The trip to and through Hebron aroused many memories. I had first visited the area in the late twenties and beginning thirties as a Fellow of the American School of Oriental Research, working under Professor William F. Albright, when he was directing the exceedingly important excavations of Tell Beit-Mirsim, located between Dhahariyeh and Dura. As we entered the town, crowds of troops and natives of Hebron lined the streets and applauded the President. Apparently word had been sent on ahead that he was coming. I noticed that soldiers with arms in their hands were standing on many of the roof tops as we passed by. We stopped in front of the great mosque of Haram el-Khalil, with its massive Herodian stones, overbuilt in Byzantine, Crusader and Moslem times, above the cave of Machpelah, purchased by Abraham from Ephron the Hittite for the burial of his wife Sarah, and where afterwards Abraham, Isaac, Rebecca, Leah and Jacob were supposed to have been buried. The interior of the mosque is simply beautiful, but I shall not try to describe it here. A Moslem dignitary in charge of the mosque, Sheikh Ata Hamouri, if I heard his name correctly, took us around explaining in adequate English the nature and history of the site. He maintained that there was no entrance to the Cave of Machpelah itself, – which I doubt, but no one pressed or insisted. The Israeli authorities are apparently going to lean over backwards not to offend he religious sensibilities of those attached to particular shrines. Their attitude with regard to Hebron is all the more remarkable, because no one has forgotten the terrible massacre of the Jewish population and especially of the students of the rabbinical seminary there in 1929 by the Moslem residents of Hebron. After about an hour, the President took his leave and we all followed. He thanked the Sheikh for his courtesy in showing him and his entourage about and invited him to visit him some time in Jerusalem. The Sheikh asked the President for his card, and fished several others out of his pocket to show him the names of some previous visitors. The President did not give him a card.
Later on in the afternoon, when we got back to Jerusalem, Moshe Dothan and Levi Yitzhak Rachmani of the Israel Archaeological Museum took us through the heavily padlocked and strongly guarded Palestine or Rockefeller Archaeological Museum. It had gotten shot up pretty much, and in some places bullet shells were scattered about. They told us that during the last few days a half dozen or more unexploded shells had been removed. If they had not been duds, the museum would have been destroyed and the invaluable collections smashed to dust. Again, it was like a dream entering the museum. I knew it from the time it was first erected. I remember the day in 1938, I believe, when it was supposed to be dedicated, and we all learned that Starkey had been murdered by some Arab gang while en route from Lachish to the museum. Some of the collections in the museum were partly shattered by bullets hitting the display cases, but others stood comparatively intact. Rachmani has been put in charge of setting things aright again. He has a check list, and in the next weeks or months, he and his assistants will go over every case and every object and see what can be repaired. I last saw the museum in 1947 and believe that it is practically the same, with the exception of the Dead Sea Scrolls material, as it was then. I could remember the position of many of the objects from that time, and very little has been moved. It is a beautiful museum. The Dead Sea Scrolls material has not yet been checked. The writing tables of Qumran have been partly broken but can be repaired again. Some of the Samaria ivories were broken too, I noticed in the rapid survey we made. The boxes which may possibly contain the more or less intact Dead Sea Scrolls have not yet been examined. Assuming that former Jordan Jerusalem remains united with Israel, I guess the authorities will try to keep both the Israel Museum and the Rockefeller Museum open for the public and vary the exhibitions in each or make each place the repository and exhibition place for particular collections or for collections of particular periods.
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Third Installment *Jerusalem, Thursday, June 22, 1967
Yesterday morning, several of us of HUCBASJ, taking advantage of my travel permit, spent about four hours walking steadily into and out of the Old City. The barriers blocking the approaches to the various gates formerly separating the two parts of the city have been blown up. Walking down Mamillah road, close to our School, we headed for Jaffa Gate, walking along the lane cleared through the piles of blocks of cement wall that had been torn down. At the Jaffa Gate proper, my pass was carefully examined, and then we were waved through. The general impression of the walled area of the Old City is one of quietness and life stirring fairly vigorously but somewhat timorously anew, and an unexpected one of general cleanliness. The Jordanian authorities had evidently been doing a good job in cleaning up the Old City, compared to what I remember of it in Mandatory days. The main lanes in the Old City such as the ones leading from Jaffa Gate to Damascus Gate are quite busy, with familiar scenes and welcome smells confronting the pedestrians. The feeling of outrage at seeing a mule or donkey being mercilessly beaten through the narrow streets of the Suq, the vendor with his copper kettle on his back selling a drink looking something like root beer poured through a graceful curved spout by his bending forward, a shaft of sunrays pouring through an aperture in the vaulted ceiling of the covered street, grape leaves piled in bundles for sale, with vegetables, including tomatoes, kusa, potatoes, beans among others arranged in symmetrical rows, the aromatic smell of coffee being freshly ground, merchants on stools in their tiny stalls, fine ornamented stones on entrances to old, Turkish built buildings, – a hundred familiar sights and sounds and scents, that one had almost forgotten! We walked through the quiet Christian quarter, and then finally came out through the noisy Damascus Gate, passed along the outside of the 16th century City Wall and into the Old City again through Flower Gate, and out again through the Lions’ Gate. There had been some fighting there, with carcasses of tanks and cars strewn about. Southward along the outside of the wall, with a view on to the Herodian period monuments hewn out of the solid rock in the valley below, such as the so-called Tomb of Absalom,
*May not be published or excerpted without express permission of the author.
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and then into the Old City again through the Dung Gate and to the newly created square in front of the Western Wall, obscured by masses of visitors come to view it. One will have to get used to looking at it from an open vista. Previously, one came upon it suddenly through a narrow alley way, which ended with a sudden view of the monumental Herodian upper foundations of the Wall, providing something of the impact that is obtained when one walks through the narrow Suq at Petra and is suddenly confronted with the incredible beauty of the Nabataean Treasure (el Khazneh) refulgent with the coloration of something like a full setting sun. Back then through the Dung Gate and around the outside of the east wall of the city to Mount Zion, marked by the skeleton of the burned-out dome of the Dormition Church. Up through the buildings sacred to orthodox Jews, whose lit candles twinkled in the semi-darkness, and then out and down the steps to the bottom of the slope and then up again along the steps twisting through the Montefiore Quarter, and finally to the windmill back of the King David Hotel, and out on to the main street, and past the hotel and up the driveway into the coolness of the HUCBASJ. We had walked for some four hours, and were hot and tired and sunburned. Some soft drinks, a shower, and a brief rest brought that part of an exciting day to a quiet end.
June 23, 1967
Later on yesterday afternoon, we learned that all our passes had been declared invalid that morning for the next day. Some of us of HUCBASJ had intended going to Shechem, Samaria and some other sites, with some of the Hebrew University and Israeli Museum archaeological crowd, but did not know if we could get away or not. Moshe Dothan phoned and said he would try to get passes. That night, some of us went over to his house about 9:00 p.m. Trude Dotham gave me a copy of her new book on THE PHILISTINES AND THEIR MATERIAL CULTURE. It has yet to be translated into English. I had heard her lecture on its contents, and it will undoubtedly prove to be the finest and most thorough publication on the subject. The first volume of the results of the excavations of Ashdod has also just appeared under the authorship of Moshe Dothan and David
Noel Freeman. On the morning of June 23, about five cars assembled in front of our School. True to his word, Moshe Dothan had an extra pass for four of us of the HUCBASJ, so Dever, Dick Scheuer, Ezra Spicehandler and I piled into Bill Dever’s car, and off we went. Bill Denver had been to most of the sites we wanted to visit on the western bank, and before the day was over, we had gone to Tell Far’ah, excavated by De Vaux, to Shechem excavated by G. Ernest Wright, to Samaria-Sabastieh, where Paul Lapp has recently been doing some restoration work under a Point IV program, and where he has also exposed some Israelite foundations in a beautifully cut trench, and then to the top of Mt. Gerizim to se the excavations of what may prove to be part of the Samaritan Temple, with its staircase, that appears on some ancient coins, and finally back to el-Jib (Gibeon) excavated by James Pritchard. The great round opening hewn out of the rock there with its spirally staircase descending to a spring that once existed below that once existed below, evokes admiration of the skill and persistence of the inhabitants of Biblical Gibeon. Then back to Jerusalem. We stopped in at the ASOR, to visit Father Casey, but he was out. We then went into the antiquity store of Kando of Dead Sea Scrolls dealings. His shop is near the ASOR, and our old friend Yusuf Sa’ad, who until last year was connected with the Palestine (Rockefeller) Archeological Museum, was in the shop. There is some kind of tenuous business relationship between Kando and Yusuf Sa’ad. Kando was very busy talking to another Arab, and greeted me only briefly. Yusuf Sa’ad whispered to me briefly that some belongings of Kando had been taken away but it was not clear to me what he was talking about. As I left, I said to Kando that if he wanted to talk to me and I could be of help, I should be glad to try. I have a suspicion that it has something to do with some fragments or perhaps a complete Dead Sea Scroll that Kando may have had in his possession. There have been rumors that three was another Dead Sea Scroll around somewhere. I imagine that I shall hear more about it somehow or another.
The trip throughout the countryside yesterday was like one through a dream world. I hadn’t been to these various sites for 20 years, and little seems to have changed. The road was little frequented by cars.
Around Ramallah and on the outskirts of Nablus and in the Wadi Far’ah there were numerous signs of recent battles. The Israelis seem to have caught a large armored tank grouping on the outskirts of Nablus and to have completely destroyed it. There must have been at least fifteen of the monsters strewn about, some of them in the nearby fields, as if they had tried to get off the road of death. They had been bombed from the air and shelled by Israeli tanks. A burned out tank is not a pleasant sight, especially when one thinks of the lives lost in such battles and of the horrible waste of resources which could have been devoted to productive causes for human welfare.
June 25, 1967
The old walled city is gradually returning to normalcy, particularly as far as cleaning up of streets leading to it and so far as shops doing business inside of it and people in its narrow streets are concerned. I walked through yesterday afternoon, coming from the ASOR to Damascus Gate and emerging at Jaffa Gate. Bulldozers are busy there cleaning the debris of the walls knocked down outside of it, formerly separating the two halves. They are smoothing a path or road which will enable vehicular traffic to approach Jaffa Gate from the Jaffa and Mamillah roads. Crowds of people stand by watching the operations, and soldiers stand guard trying to regulate who is permitted to enter or leave the Old City. One needs a special pass for the purpose. I had a pass, good for the day only, but for the fun of seeing what would happen, presented it neither when I entered through Mandelbaum Gate nor when I left through Jaffa Gate (Bab el-Khalil). It was nearly curfew time when I entered the courtyard of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre through the small doorway leading into it. There had been thousands of Christian visitors earlier in the day, many of them coming from all parts of Israel, who had not been able to get there for many years on ordinary occasions. Many of them had been able to get there at Christmas time, when the Mandelbaum Gate was opened for Christian pilgrimages to Bethlehem. On Friday, Moslems from all over Israel were permitted to enter the Mosque of Omar (Haram esh-Sherif), something they had not been able to do, I imagine, for about 20 years. The newspaper said that about 2,500 Moslems worshipped there then.
I am pleased to see how much of the street has been cleaned up of war debris, leading from the American School to Damascus Gate. There are numerous shattered windows on store and hotel fronts, but it appears that everybody is opening or getting ready to open for business. The newspaper this morning says the Mayor, Teddy Kollek reports that Israeli troops are beginning to evacuate all the hotels in which they were billeted in the Old City, and that their owners will be permitted to operate them for what is hoped to be a booming tourist season beginning in the near future.
Last night I sent a cable home, authorizing the beginning of our HUCBASJ excavations at Gezer, beginning July 4, and also the resumption of plans for our Summer Institute on Near Eastern Civilizations. It is perhaps a bit early thus to have cancelled my previous decision not to hold the Summer Institute or engage in a season of excavations this summer, but after long deliberations with Bill Dever and Ezra Spicehandler and telephonic communication with Paul Steinberg, who, at my request, had been in communication with Darrell Lance, I decided to give the go-ahead signal. It will be a busy week making preparations for their arrival. If, as seems possible, we can get the entire or almost the entire core-staff for Gezer, we can begin operations, even if the necessary quota of volunteers from America cannot be reassembled in time. There are literally thousands of college men and women from the USA, South Africa and England in the country, who would give their eyeteeth to be given an opportunity to join our dig as volunteers. They came here to work on kibbutzim and so on in place of all the soldiers called up for the war, and would have been tremendously useful if the war had lasted more than a few miraculous days. Now, however, soldiers are being discharged in increasingly large numbers, and there is, or in a few days will be, no labor shortage. Indeed, the spectre of unemployment hovers over the country, and the government is committed to preventing it. It would be peculiar, to say the least, to have volunteers doing work that discharged soldiers in need of jobs could or should be doing.
I was at Arthur Lourie’s for lunch yesterday – I do not know his exact title, but he is one of the highest officers in the Foreign Office –
and he told me how eager he was to have me give work to some of the South African volunteers, all college men, who were in the country. At the luncheon were Lord Lionel Cohen of England, Dr. Jack Penn of Johannesburg, the famous surgeon, and Susan Eban, Abba Eban’s wife. When I told her I was again in charge of the ASOR, she reminded me that when she and Aubrey were first married, they stayed with us at the ASOR. Dr. Penn, who has a son studying surgery at the Peter Brigham Hospital in Boston, has to cancel the journey here of 300 South African physicians and surgeons, who had volunteered to come to Israel for several months, to be followed periodically if necessary by others, to help out in the emergency. It is not necessary now. Lord Cohen speaks English the way George Horsfield used to in Amman, and it is difficult for me to understand this kind of Cambridge or Oxford brogue, – to mix my metaphors.
Father Jean Ouellette, who got his Ph.D. at HUC-JIR, Cincinnati, two years ago, is here. He came via Moscow, where he had been for a week, – the week of the war, but that he was not permitted to leave Moscow. He arrived here shortly after I did, and now will be able to participate in the Gezer dig as one of the core-staff. WE are going to have difficulties getting started at Gezer next week, but somehow or other will have to surmount them. The first one has been overcome, – namely, or securing a cook. The Hebrew University is closing its cafeteria and have gotten their cook. A more serious matter will be getting our cars back from the army. They have captured so many Egyptian and Jordanian vehicles that it would seem ours would not be necessary for them. We could have and have had no objection whatsoever to the army’s taking our cars during the war emergency – not that it would have done any good to object, but it would seem that much of the emergency is over. However, somehow or other we’ll manage.
It seems that many of the Jerusalem and other Arabs who are going to Jordan are leaving because many of the menfolk work in Kuwait and send remittances to their families, which, under the circumstances, can only be received in Amman. Furthermore, many families receive Jordanian funds from one source or another, I am told, including governmental,
which can also can be obtained only on the Jordan side. Thirty thousand of the Jericho camp refugee settlement left for Jordan for fear they would not receive the U/N/ or UNWRA care they had previously been obtaining. Others I guess are leaving because they are still afraid that something will happen to them if they stay. I have been assured on every side by highest Israeli officials that every assurance possible is given to the Arab population that no harm will come to them if they stay, that it is not desirable for them to leave (the Israeli officials, among other affirmative reasons, are very sensitive to world public opinion about swelling the number of Arab refugees).
There are so many problems to be ironed out and settled that it is difficult to see why complete confusion does not reign, but Herculean efforts are obviously being made to create order. For instance, the Israeli government has forbidden Israelis to purchase goods in the Jerusalem Suq until the merchants there can be assured of new supplies at equitable prices, and that the only medium of exchange in the former Old City is the dinar. The result is that the dinar which yesterday was worth 7.50 Israeli pounds is today worth 12 Israeli pounds. Our major-domo, Omar, at the ASOR told me that he and the rest of the staff there wanted to be paid in dinars at the end of the month. I said that I didn’t have dinars. How I shall pay them is at the moment beyond me. It is not permissible to pay them with Israeli pounds, and if I did, they would want the equivalent of the black market exchange, which I am not willing to give them for legal and financial reason. I would have to change dollars to get Israeli pounds to buy dinars, which in effect would cost the ASOR about 40 per cent more than the legal rate. At the present, the only thing I can do is pay them in dollars at the official rate of exchange which prevails in Jordan.
Paul Lapp, the professor of Archaeology of the ASOR, turned up yesterday morning. He and his wife Nancy and their three children had flown in from Athens. Through the kindness of the American Consul General, Mr. Evan Wilson, I had sent him a cable the day before, addressed to our American Embassies in Athens and Amman, asking him when he might be returning here or whether he wanted me to get to his house and see
whether or not his scientific papers dealing with Bab edh-Dhra, Taanach, etc., were in order and whether or not I should remove them.
Mr. Wilson had previously dispatched one of his vice consuls to Lapp’s house somewhere near the ASOR to see whether anyone had broken in or not; apparently not. Anyway, we got Paul Lapp over to the other side yesterday morning. He examined his house and found, wonderful to relate, that while there was some damage from shattered glass, his scientific materials which he had packed prior to leaving had not been broken. He came back with Father Casey. We had a consultation, and it was decided in accordance with his wishes that he should begin to sleep in his house, that Nancy and the children should remain overnight at the YMCA where they were already ensconced, and that this morning Father Casey was to come in and take them over to St. George’s where they wanted to stay. I warned Pau that it might not be possible to move his family today, because of the curfew in the Old City, which was to last all day, with the cancellation of all transit permits. I have several such one-day permits in my pocket right now, but as of the moment, they are invalid. It is not imperatively necessary that I get to the ASOR today, so I shall not try, although in one way or another I am sure I could get there if I tried hard. Nancy just came in and I told her to go back to the YMCA and tell them that she and her family would stay there for the present. Mr. Wilson had, he told me this morning over the phone, informed Paul Lapp that he had not yet received instructions enabling him to permit families even of his own staff to return to the former Jordan side. I had told Paul that if necessary I would let him and his family have my apartment in the HUCBASJ temporarily, and I would take one of the dormitory rooms. However, there is plenty of room at the “Y.” These are all comparatively minor problems, – particularly inasmuch as no personal danger is involved and everybody concerned is housed, fed, well and safe.
Dr. Lapp had contemplated going to Cyprus or even returning to the USA. I see no reason why he shouldn’t stay on and get his scientific publications out.
scientific work and not venture into the field of politics or politicizing. I think I have the right to say this from long experience. During the years of my directorship of the ASOR, Jerusalem, 1932-3, 1936-40, 1942-47, I never engaged in public or newspaper or magazine discussion about political matters. I knew a great deal about what was going on, what the Husseinis and Nashashibis were doing and where many people were located, whose whereabouts the then British authorities were seeking, but never once did I open my mouth to give information to any quarter or to vent personal political opinions or prejudices. I guess that is one of the reasons I was not rubbed out during that period, nor my wife nor anyone at the ASOR ever threatened, let alone harmed.
This is an exciting country to live in, and this is one of the most exciting and beautiful cities of the world. The air is clear, the entire atmosphere sparkling and exhilarating. One feels the spinning-like effect of the centrality of Jerusalem, which I have always regarded as the physical center of the world and as the capital of the conscience of all mankind.
June 30, 1967
This morning, Ezra Spicehandler and I drove to Tel Aviv, leaving here at 6:30 A.M. and arriving there at about 8:00 A.M. I always forget from visit to visit how busy and noisy and vibrant Tel Aviv is. Ezra had some business to do and I had a week-old appointment with our American Ambassador, Mr. Walworth Barbour. He had a delegation of visiting American senators, I believe, when I arrived, so my appointment was postponed till a later hour. I took a long walk along the road paralleling the sea and was particularly interested in watching two teachers take a class of tots to the edge of the water. They watched them very carefully indeed, and one of the kindergarten supervisors would take the children one b one and walk out a couple of feet into the water and see if she could place the child in each instance on its feet in the very shallow water. If there was the slightest fear on the part of the child, she would not insist that it get its feet into the water. I had gotten to the embassy at about 9:00 A.M., having first gone to the Armon Hotel near
the Dan Hotel, and had a cup of coffee there. I usually stay at the Armon when I am overnight in Tel Aviv. It is a small, very clean hotel, air-conditioned with good food, and much cheaper than the Dan. The ambassador’s secretary had asked me to come back at 10:30 A.M., which I did, but he was still not free. She said that the Ambassador apologized, and that he hoped very strongly that I would return in about another hour. I had meant to call on the cultural attachée of the embassy, Miss Marjorie Ferguson, who was at home recuperating from a cold. Her secretary told me that she would like to see me at her home. So I took a cab and rode over there and had a nice visit with her. She told me about her experiences in Tel Aviv during the Six Day War. The alerts were not very clear, and people misunderstood their significance, so that while some would go down into the designated shelters in the basements of the buildings, others would understand the same siren to be signaling an all clear and would emerge. There was no bombing of Tel Aviv at all, and its inhabitants knew from firsthand experience as little about the savage bombardment in Jerusalem as people in far off countries did. Miss Ferguson told me that everybody seemed remarkably cool, and that classes at school were hardly interrupted. That of course was not the case at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, where very many of the professors and instructors were called into the armed forces and participated in some savage fighting and where all the students practically were called up too, many of them as combat officers, and participated in battles from Jerusalem to the Suez canal to Syria and on the west bank of the Jordan.
After a brief visit with Miss Ferguson, I took a cab back to the embassy and had a very interesting talk with our ambassador. Our conversation ranged from my reporting to him that I was reinstituting our Summer Institute on Ancient Near Eastern Civilizations, which would commence on July 5, with about twenty American university and seminary professors participating, and my reporting that we would after all engage in a third season of archaeological excavations at Gezer, beginning July 16. I have been on the trans-Atlantic phone several times this last week to get the arrangements for the dig going again. I had cancelled both the Summer Institute and the dig on June 5. The amazing brevity of the war and the
speedy return to comparative normalcy have made a resumption of such activities possible. Dr. William G. Dever, our Senior Archaeological Fellow, will be the Director of the dig, with Dr. Darrell Lance as the co-Director, and with the over-all supervision under G. Ernest Wright and myself. The ambassador and I also talked a little about politics, with me dwelling briefly upon the geopolitical importance of this part of the world for vital American interests, aside from the imperative necessity of a mutually beneficent peace being established in this area.
After the meeting with Ambassador Barbour was over, I went to the Dan Hotel and picked up Ezra Spicehandler and went with him to a small Tnuva dairy restaurant to have a bite of lunch. He then drove me back to Jerusalem, – the new united city of Jerusalem. In all the years I have known Jerusalem, I have never seen crowds of people and masses of automobiles in such large numbers. Yesterday, nominally at noon, but in reality, I am told, beginning early at 8:00 A.M., a lava flow of mutual visitation erupted. The proclamation had gone out that the barriers were down and the police would permit anybody, without a special permit, to visit any part of the united city. During the last two weeks a giant cleanup job has been going on. As I have previously reported, not only have the great concrete steel reinforced barriers separating the two halves of the city been knocked down or blown up rather, with paths bulldozed through them, but the streets around the edges of the walled city have been cleared of the most visible signs of war, with burned out tanks and cars dragged away broken glass swept up, electricity restored, and for the first time in generations the Old City’s water mains attached t those of the new city, and additional water mains laid, so that there is now a complete sufficiency of water in the Od City. To judge from the telephone and wire-repair crews around, I imagine that very soon it will be possible to pick up a phone and dial someone a couple of locks away. Formerly, that is several weeks ago, that was theoretically possible only by telephoning all the way around the world. In a week or two or less, I imagine it will be possible for me to pick up a phone at the HUCBASJ or at the ASPR and commence a telephone conversation between the two schools.
It wasn’t till early yesterday afternoon that we became aware of
what was happening between the two halves of Jerusalem. Early yesterday morning, Bill Dever, Ezra and Shirley Spicehandler and I got into Bill ‘s car, and crossed through Mandelbaum Gate, with my pass being carefully examined, and drove over to the ASOR. We had decided the night before that we ought to visit Qumran before anything happened to make it difficult, or through some remote contingency impossible, to visit it. I wanted to take Father Casey with us. We opened the gate of the ASOR and then drove into its compound, after first carefully closing the gate behind us. I went up to Father Casey’s room and knocked on his door and explained that we had come to take him with us to Qumran. Unfortunately, he had made another engagement and couldn’t come with us. It was about 7:00 A.M. then, and I am afraid that I may have awakened him. However, we had previously agreed that if ever any of the HUCBASJ people went on a trip, no matter how early, we would inform him and see if he could come along. So off we went, unfortunately without him, past the Rockefeller Museum where, as I have previously stated, all of its contents are being examined with a check list that someone at the Israeli Museum has. I still have not been able to find out whether or not the box containing the Dead Sea Scroll (Scrolls?) has been found. My suspicion is that it has been, but I cannot prove it. We drove swiftly down the Jericho Road, from which too most of the battered Jordanian tanks and jeeps and trucks have been removed, and after a trip of some forty minutes, I estimate, turned off on to the macadamized road that leads to Qumran. When we could near there, however, there was a road block and the soldiers on guard said they had orders not to permit anybody to visit Qumran. I showed my pass, issued by the army, authorizing me to visit any place on the entire West Bank, together with six companions, but the soldier who was doing the talking said it was not valid for Qumran. He said we could go to Jericho and speak to the military governor there, – which we did. First we went to the police-post, where we were very nicely received, but were told that we should go to the military headquarters. The sergeant in charge sent an Arab policeman with us. When we got to the military headquarters in another section of town, we were told that the officer in charge was having breakfast, and were asked to wait. After about five minutes, I asked
to be driven to where the O.C. was and just as we got there he was coming out. He couldn’t have been nicer, and as soon as I explained who were he took me into his office and had his secretary write me a special permit to visit Qumran whenever I pleased. So off we drove, back to the roadblock, and waved the special permit before the soldier who had previously stopped us. He read it carefully and then, with a pleasant smile and a happy flourish, waved us through the roadblock, and in a minute or two we had arrived at Qumran.
I had read so much about Qumran, had looked so often at the plans of the site, that I thought almost that I had seen it previously. Furthermore, we had brought Frank Cross’ book on Qumran with us, and there is an excellent plan of the site on the inside of the front and back covers. With all the pictures and drawings of Qumran that I had seen, however, I was not quite prepared for its size and the comparatively excellent state of preservation. To be sure, much of the latter must in all probability be attributed to Pere de Vaux and his associates, who have obviously reinforced with cement some of the walls and cisterns and water channels. The room of the scribes, the dining room, the hearths for baking, the broad water channel bringing water to interconnecting cisterns and reservoirs and large, stepped baptismal fonts, the entire arrangement of the layout of the buildings, the thick defensive wall, the appearance of Cave IV, where some of the most important scroll finds were made, and into which we entered, – all of the site made a profound impression on me. The impression was heightened of course by my having seen some of the Scrolls and fragments previously in the Temple of the Book, (that extraordinary museum devoted primarily to the Scrolls, which is shaped supposedly like one of the Dead Sea Scroll jars), located close to the Israeli Museum on the hilltop on the way to the Hebrew University. Somehow or other, the person of John the Baptist seemed to assume a new dimension or me when viewing some of the stepped pulls where the residents of Qumran took their ritual baths.
From Qumran we drove to Allenby (Hussein) bridge and then to Jericho where we bought and ate a delicious melon, and then back to Jerusalem. When we passed Damascus Gate, we could see the beginning of a massive traffic jam developing from the opening of the two halves of
the city of Jerusalem, with hordes of people pouring in and out of the gates. It soon became evident that a tremendous, almost carnival spirit had been evoked, embracing the entire population, Israeli and Arab, – and each group hungry to visit parts of the city to which they had been denied access for some twenty years. I have walked a bit since them in the Old City, but only near the entrance of Jaffa Gate. There are so many people walking the narrow street, so many vendors and knots of purchasers, that it is difficult to make one’s way through the crowds. The Israelis are purchasing all sorts of things, from saddle bags to sheepskins to American toiletries not available on the Israeli side. The Arabs are walking up and down the streets of the Israeli section of Jerusalem. Old acquaintances meet and embrace. Many of the more well-to-do Arabs are bringing over their cars, but are not yet used to the stop and go lights. They, for their part, are also purchasing all sorts of things that were not available to them in the Old City. There is almost joyous excitement in the air. It is going to be very difficult, if not impossible, except with force, which I don’t think will or perhaps can be employed, to separate the parts of Jerusalem again.
The day before yesterday, there was a deeply stirring ceremony on Mt. Scopus, in the amphitheater of the former site of the Hebrew University, overlooking the Wilderness of Judah, the ark blue patch of the Dead Sea and the broken hills of Edom and Moab. During all the years since the city of Jerusalem was divided, a convoy of cars with Israelis has been ascending to the top of Mt. Scopus to attempt to take care in a minor fashion of the former Hebrew University buildings there. In the course of the years, all of the worthwhile books have been taken out of the former library there and incorporated into the new library of the Hebrew University on Giv’at Ram. Those invited to attend the ceremony were told to foregather at the bus stop of the present University, where buses would take everybody through the city and past Mandelbaum Gate to Mount Scopus (Har ha-Tsofim). I had one of our people, Rahamim, drive me up to the assembly pace at 3:15 P.M. Wen I got out of the car, a group of people was standing waiting for the bus, almost all of whom I knew. There was Nobel Prize winner Agnon, who was extraordinarily friendly; Norman Bentwich; Professor Urbach, who had a heart attack last year and has
gotten quite thin; Benjamin Mazar, former President of the Hebrew University; Eliahu Elath, the President of the Hebrew University, and a lot of other people. Finally, the buses came, we trooped in, and before long they had gotten to the appointed place. The Defense Minister, Moshe Dayan, was shown his place in the front and received tumultuous applause. The Commander in Chief, Rav Aluf Rabin, came in and took his place on the platform and great swell of emotion and applause swept through the paced audience. A simple, straightforward, unpretentious man. Then the President of Israel was led to his place, and another wave of applause. The ceremonies began. Various deans, one by one, read the citations. Shazar received a degree. Reinhold Niebuhr was given one in absentia, a great professor of Hebrew, Dr. Segal, a man of 91 years old, the former Minister of Justice, Mr. Pinchas Rosen, the founder of the Bank of Israel and perhaps the foremost influence in shaping and guiding and helping sustain the economy of Israel on an even, or more or less even, equilibrium, Mr. David Horwitz, who is internationally recognized as a great economist, and then finally General Rabin. In each instance, the President of the Hebrew University confirmed the degree and awarded it to the recipient. The only address was given by General Rabin, who spoke in simplest and most unaffected terms about the fact that through this degree the entire armed forces of Israel were being honored, that the armed forces of Israel had always made it one of their main endeavors, and I know this to be true, to be a source of education and enlightenment and character upbuilding for the greatly disparate elements included in its midst, that it was an arm of the state to help build and preserve freedom and peace for Israel. It was clear that this was a speech that no ghost-writer had composed, but that he had written it himself. Then the audience sang Ha-Tiqvah, the dignitaries on the platform filed out, and the ceremonies were over. I had little chance to look around at some of the buildings that I had seen go up when Dr. Magnes was President of the Hebrew University. Some of them were pretty badly damaged in the fighting. By the time I got out of the crow, the last of the buses was leaving, but President Eliyahu Elath saw me and made the bus stop and take me along. I got out at Mandelbaum Gate and walked home, because the bus was going back to Giv-at Ram to the new Hebrew University.
It had been a busy day. That noon, Dever, Spicehandler and I had attended the oral defense by Joseph Naveh of his doctoral thesis on Fifth Century B.C. Aramaic inscriptions. He had phoned me especially to invite me, and the others through me, to come and listen to the defense. Avigad, Mazar and Kitcher questioned him.
Avi-Yonah made the pronouncement that he had successfully fulfilled all the requirements.
That morning I had had to spend about an hour in the Old City, or rather in the former judicial court building near the ASOR, getting a military pass to enable me to travel with my companions anywhere throughout the entire west bank of the Jordan. That night Professor Mazar arranged a very nice reception for me at the Van Lear building, where the Academia meets, the body similar to the Academie Francaise. Mrs. Ben Zvi, Professor Urbach, Professors Avi Gad, Avi Yonah, Cabinet Minister Kol, and about 25 other people were present. My good friend, Dr. Mazar, introduced me and then asked me to speak, and I gave an off-the-cuff lecture on the geopolitics of the Near East as judged from past history and the teachings of modern geopolitics as expounded by Halford Mackinder in his Democratic Ideals and Reality, published, I believe, in 1921, and that formed the basis of Hauschofer’s later philosophy or doctrine of Geopolitik. Two nights before that, at a modern historical group that meets once a month at President Shazar’s official residence, I was one of several people who read papers on the reactions of people in various parts of the world to the War of Six Days. The first one to speak was Louis Pincus, the head of the Jewish Agency. I was then called on and read a carefully prepared paper on what I had seen and heard and done in America during the fateful week of the war before I flew to Lydda, leaving Kennedy Airport the night of June 11. There was a large crowd of people present at the President’s Residence, and the evening got pretty long. There is to be a continuation of it this coming Monday night, and then President Shazar is to sum up the general impressions he got from the various papers that were read. The talks were all recorded and are supposed to be a part of the written and oral history of the times that professor Moshe Davis of the Hebrew University is preparing. He is, I believe, head of the Modern History Department.
On Tuesday morning at 10:00 A.M. a newspaperman, Mr. A. L. Elhanani, whom I have known from previous years, came to interview me about our present archeological plans. The interview dealt also with the ancient boundaries of Israel, which included from Dan to Beersheba for the most thickly settled part and “from the entrance to Hamath” in southern Syria down to the “Brook of Egypt,” the modern Wadi el-Arish, bisecting much of the Sinai peninsula going south-north, – which represent the boundaries in Solomon’s times, for example. The present territory held by the Israeli armed forces corresponds almost exactly to the Solomonic boundaries, going even beyond them, however, to the Suez Canal.
There are plans afoot to raze some of the slum sections, or all of them, at the foot of Jaffa Road, now inhabited by Oriental Jews. They will be moved to newer houses elsewhere in the suburbs of Jerusalem. The houses to be razed extend from below the old post office, opposite the former Barclay’s bank, and go down to Jaffa Gate. The idea is to build a garden belt around the walls of the Old City on its west side. Thus my hope that the ruins from the last two wars in Jerusalem, in 1947 and 1956, will be removed and replaced by a garden area may finally be realized. Years ago I suggested to the U.N. that that be done. If and when it is accomplished, we shall have an even more beautiful view than now from our terrace garden over the intervening wadi to the west wall of the Old City and beyond, with a garden area intervening in between.
Confidential Not for publication Without the Express Permission of the Author
Fourth Installment Jerusalem, Wednesday, July 5, 1967
Dr. Cyrus Gordon and Dr. Phillip Hammond, both of Brandeis University, dropped in yesterday; and Dr. Jim Swauger of the Carnegie Institute in Pittsburg is staying in our Hebrew Union College Biblical and Archaeological School dorm for several days. Dr. Swauger and Dr. Moshe Dothan had hoped to start excavations at Ashdod again this season, but they find it impossible to reassemble their staff, particularly its American members, and are therefore postponing resumption of the dig there till next summer. We were more fortunate, and with most of our American supervisory staff due here on July 15, we shall renew excavations at Gezer, under the immediate direction of Dr. William G. Dever and the associate directorship of Dr. Darrell Lance. Our summer Institute on Ancient Near Eastern Civilizations group of some 23 American academicians arrived yesterday afternoon under the leadership of Dr. Paul Steinberg. Drs. Ezra Spicehandler and Bill Dever drove to Lydda to meet them. They all left for Haifa the same afternoon and will spend approximately a week there and in Galilee before coming to Jerusalem for several weeks. Carey Moore of our Gezer supervisory staff is also staying with us.
In the afternoon of July 4, I took a memorial walk. Years ago, my beloved older friend, Judah L. Magnes, the first president of the Hebrew University, and I would often take walks from his house, which at the time was very near the American School of Oriental Research, up to Mt. Scopus and back. The round trip would take about 90 minutes. Or I would walk up to the Hebrew University there with him and he would go to his office and I would then walk back alone, sometimes continuing from Mt. Scopus (Har Ha-Tsofim) to the Mount of Olives and then down by a footpath to the Jericho Road and back, past the Rockefeller Museum (Palestine Archaeological Museum, as it later became officially known), to the American School. When we got the top of Mt. Scopus, we would
continue sometimes farther on in the direction of the Augusta Victoria Hospital and church to obtain the fabulous view, unobstructed by trees, over the Wilderness of Judah down to the blue patch of the Dead Sea and beyond the broken lines of the hills of Moab and Edom, whose asymmetry was frequently softened by a purplish haze. We would discuss all manner of things, from developments at the Hebrew University to the possibility of development of a bi-national state, in which Arabs and Jews would have equal say, with provision for unlimited immigration. The possibility now of the establishment of an autonomous Arab government on the West Bank of the Jordan, with free access to the port of Haifa, and with foreign affairs and the defense in the hands of the government of Israel an with close economic interrelationships and financial support by Israel, approaches in some ways the ideas we then used to examine, together with others, including highly placed Arabs and British officials.
The road up to Mt. Scopus hasn’t changed very much. There are some modern, more or less deluxe apartment houses on the north side of the road and a very handsome, apparently very new British Consulate General, but otherwise much remains the same as formerly. I used to cross the fields diagonally from the road to a point below the British War Cemetery, but the danger of mines not yet discovered and exploded makes that impossible for the present. The yellow signs in Hebrew and Arabic announcing the presence of mines are still numerous and it will probably take a long time till it becomes safe in certain areas to leave the macadamized roads and walk through the fields. I watch with awe and admiration the groups of pairs of Israeli soldiers, painstakingly jabbing the earth with long rods to which wires are attached and connected with batteries in the effort to locate mines. Some of the mines have plastic containers and the detecting instruments are of no avail. Every inch of the ground has to be examined.
The British War Cemetery was open and appeared to be in good shape. The old buildings of the Hebrew University and of the old Hadassah Hospital are more or less in shambles. Plans are afoot, I hear, to restore the severely damaged buildings or build anew and re-establish
parts of the university and a section of the Hadassah Hospital on this beautiful hilltop. What changes have taken place since Dr. Magnes first presided over the fortunes of the budding university!
Dozens of buses of Israelis from all over the country clog the road leading to the old Hebrew University. In fact, it seems that the entire population of Israel is journeying up to Jerusalem to see the Old City and everything they possibly can in the united city, and especially such places as the grounds of the former university and hospital on Mt. Scopus. Many of the younger people have never seen the top of Mt. Scopus, and for the older inhabitants of Israel it is an undreamed of opportunity to shake off not only the physical restrictions but the psychological and spiritual ones and to visit the scenes of their youth. When Israel did not have enough to eat or guns to defend themselves with, they established the Hebrew University in 1925, with Lord Balfour, Sir Herbert Samuel, Dr. Chaim Weizmann and Dr. Judah L. Magnes participating in the opening exercises. The idea and fact the university and of learning are precious to this people. It was an historic occasion indeed. A related one occurred last week when the Hebrew University senate convened an academic session on he platform of the amphitheater of the Hebrew University and conferred honorary degrees, as have previously reported, on a number of people, including President Shazar, Commanding General Rabin and others. One side of the stage is damaged by shellfire, but the structure is still solid enough.
From the Hebrew University, I walked south to the Augusta Victoria hospice and hospital and church and continued on past the Russian Church and the Jerusalem Intercontinental Hotel on the Mt. of Olives and down the macadamized road to the fine, new Jericho Road. I turned back then, passing the Magdalena and Gethsemane churches and then cut west-southwest by the narrower macadamized road which passes very close to the so-called Tomb of Absalom and below the beautiful south wall of the Old City to the Dung Gate and Zion Gate and up to Mt. Zion and across the beginnings of the Hinnom Valley where the S.P.C.A. animal hospital used to be, then up through the Montefiore quarter to King David Street
and home to the HUCBASJ. It took about two and a half hours to make the complete circle.
Two days ago, I took a somewhat similar walk. I first walked over to the ASOR, to bring some Israeli pounds to Father Casey for needs of the School and for salaries of the servants there. I then walked down to the Siloam village, examining the entrance to the Virgin’s Fountain (Ain Gichon) and then the Pool of Siloam (Birket Silwan) into which it flows after emerging from the tunnel which is mentioned in the Bible, and then still fartherdown the village to Job’s Well (probably the Aid Rogel of the Bible). While down there, a boy about 14 or 15 years of age, I guess, greeted me with “shalom,” – which has become the Arab greeting for every stranger, and then added in Arabic, which he assumed I didn’t understand: “Allah yin’al dinak,” “May Allah curse your religion.” I had to laugh at the expression on his face when I got through answering him with a perfectly filthy Arabic curse. He laughed then too and everything was all right between us. After that, I climbed up to the little Greek Orthodox monastery of Hakl Dama, located on a hillside among numerous rock-cut tombs in the Feld of Blood. I don’t know at the moment why it is called that, but will look it up later when I get ahold of a Guide Bleu or a Baedeker. By that time, a well-spoken young Arab had attached himself to me. He had once worked, he told me, for Kathleen Kenyon at the nearby Jebusite site she had excavated. I understand she is back in Jerusalem for a couple of days. I have never met her personally. We pounded on the iron door of the little monastery, but aroused nothing apparently except some wildly barking dogs. I had already started down the path again, when a young man opened the door. I found out in conversation with him that he was a Greek, born in Jerusalem, whose father had come from Athens. Our conversation was in Arabic. I had been recalling my Cincinnati accented Arabic for the previous hour or so. The young Greek, clad in civilian clothes, couldn’t have been nicer. He showed me around through the inner court; the monastery proper is built several stories high against the hillside. We entered several of the rock-cut tombs opening off the fenced-in courtyard. They seem to be Roman period in origin. Where
the sarcophagi were once placed, where piles of skulls. The young Greek invited me in for coffee, – my Arab companion had remained in the courtyard near the gate. I declined this time, and thanked him very much. I then started back to the Pool of Siloam which I wanted to photograph when my young Arab companion excused himself and turned back to the village of Siloam. I noted down his name, and if we take our Summer Institute group to Siloam, I shall ask him to serve as our guide.
Yesterday noon, July 5, I had an appointment with the Prime Minister, Mr. Levi Eshkol. I told Ezra Spicehandler to come along with me and we were warmly received. Before entering the Prime Minister’s office, we had a meeting with Mr. Yaffe, his private secretary. I gave him the license number of our Wagoneer, which the armed forces commandeered. We’d like it back now that the war is over, because we need it for our Summer Institute and for our Gezer dig. As I have previously reported, our Chevrolet tender has already been returned to us. Mr. Yaffe has made note of the matter, and said he would see what he could do. When we entered the Prime Minister’s office, a photographer came in and photographed us as we greeted one another. I must try to get a copy of one of the photographs.
Our conversation ranged over matters from the U.N. to the unification of Jerusalem under Israeli control to Biblical boundary lines of the country to my report of what the HUCBAS was doing and the nature of some of its future plans. Our conversation turned then to the Jordan River, and the Prime Minister told us that he had visited its sources just the day before and that the Israeli soldiers were using empty gasoline containers as improvised sleds to slide down the snow covered slopes of Mt. Hermon. I asked him if he had been to Birket er-Ram, the little lake in southern Syria, which I dealt with in my book The River Jordan. He had stood on its shores, he replied, the day before and thought it to be a most beautiful little lake. I ventured then to ask him to please get us flown over Birket er-Ram and Kuneitra and asked also if he could have someone fly us over Sharm el-Sheikh and Sinai. He immediately instructed Mr. Yaffe, who by this time had joined us, to arrange such flights for us. Whether or not
they will come to pass is another matter. About a week ago, I reached the Prime Minister’s office to get a permanent pass for the entire West Bank, but thus far nothing has occurred.
We remained with the Prime Minister for about half an hour. On the way out, we met General Moshe Dayan, the Defense Minister, who was just coming in to see the Prime Minister. I have known him for many years and introduced Ezra Spicehandler to him. For me the archaeologist, it would have been convenient to have the border pushed about 500 meters eastward, so that tell el-Kheleifeh (Ezion-geber) which is about equidistant between Eliat and Aqabah will no longer be in no-man’s-land. I would thus be enabled to undertake at least another season of excavations there, in order to attempt to settle many archaeological problems that had arisen in connection with it since I first excavated art of the site in 1938-40. Actually, there was no fighting at all on the north shore of the Gulf of Aqabah, with neither the Israeli troops at Eilat on the west side of the gulf nor Jordanian troops on the east side of Aqabah making any passes at each other.
On Monday night, July 3, there was another session of the equivalent of a Modern Historical Society in the residence of President Zalman Shazar. As on the previous occasion, a week earlier, numerous professors, high government officials and newspaper men were present. Among them was my good friend, Mrs. Rachel Ben Zvi, the widow of the former President of Israel, Mr. Isaac Ben Zvi. She is very active in all sorts of public affairs and heads a big undertaking that is publishing his manuscripts. This time, I listened only, have done my stint of reading a paper the week before. The final summing up was done by President Shazar, who is an outstanding literary man and has just written a fascinating autobiography that deals especially with the first years of his life and career. He is also a famous speaker, and speaks forcibly, most eloquently and at reasonable length. I had in my talk the week before mentioned how in the Negev the dry wadi beds became filled to overflowing with torrential streams almost immediately after the sparse winter and spring rains, and how in ancient times these waters were carefully utilized to make the dessert bloom, and how on the basis of this kind of a
past, it was possible to build in semi-arid lands for the future both in Israel and in Arab countries. The President picked up that thought and the Biblical phrase which describes the phenomenon, namely aphigim ba-Negev, which I have used as a title for a book, Rivers in the Dessert, and enlarged and embroidered its importance. He discussed other matters too of vital importance for the present and future of Israel and the neighboring Arab countries and the peace of the world.
In yesterday’s Jerusalem Post, there is a fascinating ad by ARKIA, the local Israeli Airline, advertising for IL 160 (about $53.50) an all day flight tour starting from and returning to Tel Aviv and flying over the Gaza Strip, El Arish, Jebel Libni, Bir Hassneh, Nahal, the Mitla Pass, Mt. Sinai, Sharm el-Sheikh, the straits of Tiran, and Eilat, landing there with time for a swim and dinner, and then flying back over the Dead Sea, Masada, Jericho, and Jerusalem to Tel Aviv. If I didn’t think I could wangle a better trip with more landings at various places, I might go on this trip. However, I imagine it will be repeated, unless of course, a peace treaty is arrived at between Israel and its neighbors, and some of these areas are returned to Egypt and/or Jordan and it becomes difficult or impossible to make such a flight. However, if real peace prevails, there should be no difficulty later on also.
Jerusalem, Friday, July 7, 1967
This Friday morning, Bill Deer, Carey Moore of Gettysburgh College, Pennsylvania and young Jack Davis, studying for the Catholic priesthood at St. John’s University, Collegeville, Minnesota, who is joining our Gezer dig as a volunteer laborer, and I walked into the Old City. Our first objective was Abdo’s (the Baidun) antiquity shop, where there is, according to Bill Dever, a lot of ancient pottery, including some Bab edh-Dhra’ ware, that we wanted to see and perhaps some of which we might have purchased if it were not too expensive. However, he was closed, so we decided to try to visit the Haram el-Sherif and the el-Aksa mosque. The new rules seem to have gone into effect, however, and the entire area was closed off to anyone except Moslems. The Israeli authorities
have placed Mohammedan policemen at the various entrances, who shoo off on Fridays anyone not a Moslem. I have been in other Arab countries, where it is possible to visit a mosque also on Friday, but I guess the Israeli authorities are going to lean over backward to see to it that no Moslem sensibilities are hurt, and for that matter to take care of all possible proprieties in connection with all the holy places in Jerusalem. The opposite attitude prevailed with regard to Jewish sacred places in the Old City under Jordanian rule. Yesterday, for instance, Carey Moore and I were visiting the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and as we were going out, we saw one of several Israeli soldiers at the entrance motion to someone who was entering with his hat on, to take it off.
Yesterday morning, Mr. Emil Abu Dayek, the head of the Near East Tourist Agency, came in to see me, having previously been visited by Jim Swauger, who in previous years used to do business with him. I didn’t remember him, till he reminded me that years ago, he had driven me to Baghdad. I looked hard at him, but could not recall in this rather partly gentleman the lean driver who in 1940 had driven me from the ASOR in Jerusalem to Baghdad, when I decided in August of that year to try to get home. Dr. Clarence Fisher was remaining at the American School, and inasmuch as no professors or students were going to come or would be able to work if they did, and inasmuch as the Mediterranean had been closed and no travel westward was possible, I decided to try to get home by simply heading eastward. From Baghdad, where I stayed at the YMCA, and where it took me a long time to get an exit permit, I took a sort of Toonerville trolley railway car to Basra, and stayed for several days with my good friend, Rev. Dr. John Van Ess, a Lutheran missionary there, who was also a great Arabic scholar. To make a long story short – from there I took a little steamer down the Persian Gulf to Karachi and then to Bombay. There I picked up an American freighter that went to Johannesburg, South Africa, and afterwards to Trinidad and finally to New York City. The entire trip took seven weeks and wasn’t exactly a vacation journey or cruise. About a year and a half later, I returned, being flown over this time via South America and central Africa to Khartoum and thence to Cairo and finally by a tiny plane to Kalundia
near Jerusalem. I remained there as Director of the ASOR till 1947, with another very brief trip home and back again in between.
I hadn’t thought about the Jerusalem-Baghdad trip for many years till Emil Abu Dayeh reminded me of it yesterday. I remember now finding it hard to understand the Baghdad Arabic, and being somewhat comforted by the fact that Emil Abu Dayeh seemed to have some difficulties with it himself. He is worried now that his tourist agency will not get business, but I told him that I think there will be a tremendous book in tourism. If peace is established with Jordan, the tourist trade will swell like a mighty stream in flood season. It is only four hours now by car from here to Petra. If the peace treaty were to include Lebanon, the tourist flood would grow all the more. Even if these countries make a peace treaty with Israel, and it is still a big “if,” it seems almost too much to hope that the other Arab countries will follow suit.
I note, with a certain amount of skepticism, that several hundred Christian and Moslem dignitaries and leaders of Bethlehem have signed a petition, according to the newspapers here, asking that Bethlehem be annexed to Israel. The petition may well have been presented, as the Jerusalem Post of July 5, 1967 states, to the Bethlehem Military Governor. To judge, however, from various reactions of Arabs in Jerusalem that have come to me directly or indirectly, the prevailing Arab opinion, when expressed at all, is that sooner or later there must be “another round.” I do not believe that the reality of the present situation and the crushing defeat of the Arab neighbors of Israel has yet sunk in. I think it will take a long time before it does penetrate. In a way, I believe the results of the Six Days War have left the Arabs of former Palestinian Jordan in a state of psychological shock. They and the rest of Jordan and Egypt and the other Arab powers were so sure of victory. There is no question but that there would have been one of the most frightful holocausts of all history if they had one. I have seen copies of the Jordanian battle orders, and unless they are fakes, which is hard to believe, the entire Israeli population of captured villages and towns would have been put to the sword or worse. The Arab population is far from convinced, despite all evidence to the contrary, that
the same fate does not await them that would have been visited upon the Israelis, had the results of the Six Days War been the opposite. In vain I tell my Arab friends that if the Israelis did nothing to avenge the slaughter of the rabbinic students in Hebron in 1929, then no one need be frightened today. I hope and believe their fear will disappear.
Our Wagoneer was returned yesterday by the Israeli Armed Forces. It was a little the worse for wear, and will require several hundred pounds of repairs before we can use it again. The Chevrolet tender was returned in better condition. However, we are grateful to have it back. We shall need it sorely for the Gezer dig and the Summer Institute. I believe the army will sooner or later pay rent for it, and will also pay for the damage.
When we found out yesterday that we couldn’t get into the Haram el-Sherif, we stopped on the Via Dolorosa and entered the beautiful grounds of the Monastery of the Flagellation. There were some direct shell hits on the dome of the beautiful, very simple, largely unadorned 12th century A.D. church, but otherwise the damage was not great. The main building of the Franciscan monastery there was untouched. There have been excavations on the site and over the years some fifty feet of debris have been gone through to reveal the very substantial remains of a Byzantine Church. When one begins to estimate how far down one must go to get to the Roman period remains, and how much farther still it will be necessary to go to get the Judaean kingdom remains, the amount of debris that has to be gone through and the depth of the excavations necessary assume staggering proportions.
I knew that Father Sylvester J. Saller lived there, and so I asked if he were present, and when I heard that he was I asked to see him. By this time, Bill Dever and Carey Moore had left, and only Jack David had remained. It was very nice seeing Father Saller again. We hadn’t seen each other for some twenty years. I asked him if his Iron Age II pottery from the tombs at Mt. Nebo, on which he had written a definitive report last year, could be seen and he replied that he would be delighted to show it to me. We then went to the storeroom on the third floor of the monastery where the pottery was laid out, and spent a most
pleasant hour or so examining it. I had examined very carefully his monograph on the “Iron Age Tombs at Nebo, Jordan,” published last year, and had been very pleased with it. Recently, I sent in two articles to Professor William F. Albright for eventual publication in the Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research, dealing with some of the 7th-6th century B.C. types of pottery I had excavated at Tell el-Kheleifeh (Ezion-geber:Elath), and had found some very interesting parallels in some of Father Saller’s pottery from the Mt. Nebo Iron Age tombs. This applied particularly to incense cups, caliciform bowls and other pottery. I was all the more pleased, because his dating and mine were in almost complete agreement. This applied also to some Iron II painted pottery with trellis or checkered design, which occurred not only at Tell el-Kheleifeh but at Mene’iyeh (Timna) in the Wadi Arabah as well, where years ago I had been able to put the ancient copper mining and smelting into the framework of history. I had dated the copper mining and smelting sites in the Wadi Arabah and also the occupation of Ezion-geber:Elath to the 10th-5th centuries B.C. Several people in recent years have maintained that the copper mining sites in the Wadi Arabah, which for the most part I have dated as beginning with the 10th century B.C. in the time of Solomon and having a history which lasted down to the 5th century B.C., were occupied and worked only in the 12th and 11th centuries B.C. and not later. Careful reexamination of the pottery and other materials, including comparisons with pottery discoveries at Mt. Nebo and Umm el-Biyara in Petra, indicate that my previous dates were correct and that there was a considerable occupation of the Wadi Arabah mining and smelting sites in the 7th– 6th centuries B.C. paralleling that of Ezion-geber:Elath in those centuries and contemporary with the pottery and other finds at the Edomite site of Umm el-Biyara in Petra and the Moabite site of Mt. Nebo in Moab.
After Father Saller and I were through talking, I asked him if I could see the wonderful Chalcolithic – Early Bronze I collection of pottery that he had also published. Fortunately, Father Spijkerman, the keeper of the very fine collection at the Monastery of the Flagellation, was in. He opened it for us and we spent another two hours there. The
Bab edh-Dhra’ collection of pottery is a wonderful one. I am looking forward to seeing Paul Lapp’s collection in the basement of the ASOR. He worked at Bab edh-Dhra and has dug up hundreds of pieces, I am informed. This great ancient necropolis on the southeast side of the Dead Sea, only a short distance inland from the sea itself, was first visited by Professor William F. Albright approximately forty or more years ago. It was not realized then, however, how early and how extensive the site was. There are, or were, hundreds of thousands of pottery vessels in graves close to the surface, and Bedouins who have become conscious of the value of antiquities keep a steady flow of Chalcolithic pottery from the site going to antiquity dealers. There is a wonderful collection of coins at the Franciscan Monastery and Father Spijkerman is a great expert on them. The pottery lamp collection is the finest I have seen in this part of the world. There was one lamp among them which I recognized immediately. It appeared to have a very thick body, with the normal pinched lip of the Iron II period, to which it had correctly been assigned, but in the back there was a spout which opened into the lower part of the lamp. We discovered several double lamps of this type at Tell el-Kheleifeh. A double lamp was published in the Biblical Archaeologist XXVII: 1 Feb. 1964, p. 9. The bottom part of these double bottom lamps held water, I believe, and the top part held the oil and wick. The water would have prevented the oil from seeping through the somewhat porous pottery of the lamp. I asked Father Spijkerman for permission to photograph and publish he lamp, which he most generously and speedily agreed to. When I publish the Tell el-Kheleifeh double lamps, I shall publish the Franciscan Monastery one too. He was going to look up the provenance for me and tell me where it came from when I came back. I asked both him and Father Saller to lecture to our Summer Institute in a couple of weeks, and they have agreed to do so.
I bought some fine pieces of Chalcolithic stoneware and pottery from the prominent antiquity dealer, Khalil Shahin Kando, whose shop is only half a block away from the ASOR. I also got some fine Middle Bronze I jars at his place that came, according to him, from el-Husn
in Transjordan, about six pieces of Iron II pottery from Mt. Nebo and several Chalcolithic stone dishes from Hebron. Kando is the Bethlehem merchant, with stores here and in Bethlehem, who dealt with the Dead Sea Scrolls from the very beginning. There is an unfolding mystery story about another scroll., purportedly that of Genesis, which is supposed recently to have been in his possession, and which allegedly was taken away from him shortly after the beginning of the Six Days War. I am gathering information about this mystery story, and it promises to be a whiz-bang account. I shall write more about it on some future occasion, after I have followed a number of leads, most of them furnished by Kando himself.
Confidential Not for publication Without the Express Permission of the Author
Fifth Installment Jerusalem, Tuesday, July 25, 1967
I might as well have stayed in bed during the last two weeks, for all the work, studying, writing, directing and sightseeing that I have been able to do. In fact, I was in bed most of that time and am now slowly recuperating. Somehow, a virus pneumonia laid me low. The X-ray picture showed yesterday that the affected lung had almost completely cleared up, but a most bothersome chest cold remains. I may try to go away for a few days to some seacoast town such as Caesaria or Eilat to recuperate. Preferably Eilat, because I might be able to get a military hitchhike ride from there to Sharm esh-Sheikh at the mouth of the Gulf of Aqabah.
What a shame that the prospects for direct peaceful confrontation between the Arab states and Israel seem to not be materializing. I gather from the newspaper, The Jerusalem Post, that the return of refugees from Jordan, now permitted by the Israeli government, is being held up, because the papers to be filled out in accordance with Israeli requirements bear the name of the government of Israel on them, and the Government of Jordan will not recognize or accept papers bearing that imprint and thus apparently implicitly recognizing the existence of the State of Israel. The government of Israel is perfectly willing to let its documents be overprinted with Red Cross statements dealing only with refugees, but the Jordan Government will not accept or approve of such documents. In the meantime, the Arab refugees desirous of returning and acceptable by Israel must languish on the east side of the Jordan. I guess Israel could, in some perhaps unrealistically magnanimous gesture, waive utilizing its official documents and agree thus implicitly that its existence is still a fiction. I doubt that will occur.
Anyway, this started off by my wishing that the Arab states in general and Jordan in particular would negotiate direct peace with
Israel, because that would enable me to get back to Aqabah on the east side of the north shore of the Gulf of Aqabah and look again for the ancient Solomonic fortress that I am convinced existed there, guarding the comparatively rich oasis of Aqabah below it.
From the historical point of view, it is a pity that one can’t live for a thousand years or two, because in the course of time the silly man-made borders are expunged by the erosion of time and by the compulsions of geopolitics. Boundary lines at the best are nuisances but not insurmountable barriers. Ideas and influences overleap them as if they did not exist and sooner or later peoples penetrate them, it matters not how formidably they are erected. Of course, in the meantime, infinite hardships and suffering are created, individual lives moulder away, entire generations become unnecessarily imprisoned in hopelessly cramped spaces. For two generations now, the Arab inhabitants of the Gaza strip were imprisoned by the Egyptians, not being permitted to emigrate, and especially not to Egypt or even Sinai, and not having creative work for idle hands. This is now being changed, I read. The Government of Israel is planning work for the Gaza Strip residents, trade embargos are being lifted and freedom of movement is gradually being initiated. For the first time in decades, Moslems of the Gaza Strip can now come to Jerusalem to pray at the HARAM *[sic] esh-Sherif (the Mosque of Omar and the el-Aksa Mosque) on Fridays.
My thoughts swing back, in this free wheeling letter, to the Israelites of the Exodus, who besought the kings of Edom and Moab in vain for permission to utilize the south-north King’s Highway through central Jordan to arrive at their goal of the Promised Land, guaranteeing they would not turn aside from the central highway and would pay for whatever they received and for any possible damages that might occur. Their request was denied. History, however, could not be denied, and at long last, they got to the goal of their dreams.
There are, to say the obvious, no static situations and conditions are constantly changing. I was going to say that the only unchangeable thing was death, but I am sure that even that is a completely lifeless phenomenon. But this is not the place for philosophy
or theology. When I say that things are always changing, I have more immediate, tangible matters in mind. For instance, it is already possible, now, to pick up the receiver, dial number 19, get the particular operator at the end of the line, and ask her please to give me number 2131, which is the telephone number of the American School of Oriental Research. Father William Casey, who had been appointed Annual Director of the ASOR arrived about a week after I did, and the description of the ASOR has been turned over to him completely. We were helpful in the first weeks, getting him passes, signing guarantees for the ASOR cars so that they could get insured in accordance with Israeli law demanding third party insurance, in addition to other kinds of insurance, and in general placing a sort of invisible mantle of official and personal protection over the grounds and property and belongings of the ASOR so that in the first hectic weeks after the end of the Six Days War they remained untouched and intact. The American Consulate General, in consultation with our own Dr. William G. Dever, had already initiated that process even before I arrived on June 12. All that is unnecessary now, and the ASOR is functioning as a completely separate institution under Father Casey’s immediate direction and with responsibility directed in a straight line back to the ASOR offices in America, under the enlightened direction of Professor G. Ernest Wright, the President of the American School of Oriental Research.
I imagine, in a few more weeks, it will be possible to dial the ASOR directly, without going through an operator in the telephone exchange. It is hard for a person who hasn’t lived with this situation for twenty years, to realize what this apparently small change of being able to speak on the telephone from the Hebrew Union College Biblical and Archaeological School of Jerusalem to the ASOR means. I am reminded of all this at the moment, because there are several messages on my desk, that my good friend Omar the faithful majordomo of the ASOR, has been phoning several times to enquire how I am getting along. In another day or two, I shall go over to the ASOR again. Shortly before I got ill, Omar came over here to the HUCBASJ and I gave him
a tour of our premises. To revert to the telephone matter again for a moment! Before June 5, I could have picked up the phone and theoretically talked to Omar at the ASOR, but the call would have been directed from here to New York City to Los Angeles to Tokyo, Bombay, Teheran, Baghdad, Damascus, Amman and finally Jordanian Jerusalem before we could perhaps have talked to each other, or by some similar route.
Another and more visibly dramatic change is to step out on our hanging terrace at the HUCBASJ and look Westward the fantastically beautiful wall of the Old City, and its towers and turrets and insets and offsets, erected in the 16th century on top of Herodian masonry, some of which can be seen at various places, such as the Western or Wailing Wall, in the full immensity of its huge blocks. Our HUCBASJ used to be a couple of hundred meters from the border, with the beginnings of the Valley of Hinnom separating us from the slopes leading down and up to the former Jordan side of Jerusalem to the base of the Old City Wall. The area in between was occupied by a weird crazy quilt of destroyed houses in a no-man’s land, full of landmines, where no living person dared to tread unless bereft of his or her senses. I think I may have previously said in one of these letters that some years ago I contacted the U.N. commanding officer in this area,- I believe his name was General Burns – and told him that if he could get permission from Israel and Jordan I would undertake to raise several million dollars and transform this hideous no-man’s land into a garden, so that the people from both sides could gaze towards each other over masses of flowers and over green chard and perhaps be influenced to consider the folly of separation. Nothing came of my proposal of course, but now it is being implemented by the Government of Israel. All that horror of destroyed houses has been bulldozed away. The ugly stone buildings, most of them ruined, which had been built against the bottom of the Old City Wall removed, and now suddenly the entire west side of the Old City Wall stands out in its pristine glory. The old post office above Jaffa gate is being torn down. When that is accomplished, one of the most potentially beautiful plazas in the world will be created, with a great
open space along the outside of the Wall leading to Jaffa Gate. The plan is to clear the land outside of the entire Old City Wall on all sides, where necessary, and create a garden belt around its entirety. It will be simply unbelievably beautiful. I imagine, however, that the Church of the Dormition will be rebuilt again by the Israeli Government, and that therefore the southwest corner of the Old City Wall will continue to be hidden by it.
The scene alongside the Old City Wall as viewed from our terraces changes every day, as the bulldozers push more and more of the remaining debris, including everything from massive cement blocks to huge twisted iron girders down the slopes leading to the beginnings of the Valley of Hinnom. One can see in front of one’s eyes how much of the level of Jerusalem was lowered from twenty to fifty feet and more when the Romans leveled much of the Herodian city of Jerusalem after their conquest in the year 70 A.D., repeating processes that had occurred previously. Others took place subsequently. That is why when one goes to visit the Church of St. Anne on the Via Dolorosa, one can see that the level of the existing beautiful 11th-12th century Crusader Church is perhaps forty feet above the ruins of the Byzantine Church there and particularly above the ruins of the Pool of Bethesda. I am guessing at the levels, but the exact figures can easily be looked up, and I don’t feel like stopping writing at the moment to establish them more exactly. I haven’t been back this time yet, but I remember years ago, when a bit father up the Via Dolorosa one descended from the street level to the paved court of the Antonia fortress, where Pontius Pilate held court, one had to descend several very steep and fairly long flights of steps before one got from the one level to the other separated in time by above two thousand years.
Anyway, if anyone in the future ever tries to excavate the debris being pushed down the slopes of the Valley of Hinnom from the destroyed buildings that stood at or near the base of the Old City Wall until recently, he is going to have one hell of a useless job. Incidentally, I am told, authoritatively, that Kathleen Kenyon, has discussed with the Israeli department of Antiquities the possibility of continuing
her excavations in the old Jebusite city near Siloam, and has been assured that if and when she asks for a permit, it will be granted.
My illness has kept me thus far from our Gezer dig, which commenced Monday a week ago under the direction of Dr. Wm. G. Dever or our HUCBASJ and the co-directorship of Dr. Darrell Lance of the Colgate Rochester Divinity School. Associated with them in the Core Staff are Norma Dever (Mrs. Wm. G. Dever) as Registrar and Administrative Officer, Dr. Robert B. Wright of Gettysburg College as Photographer, Mrs. Anita M. Furshpan of the University of Connecticut, Dr. Joe D. Seger or Hartford Seminary Foundation and Dr. Jack Halliday of Princeton University, – the latter three as Field Archaeologists, and Dr. Reuben G. Bullard of the University of Cincinnati as a Consultant in Geology. In addition, we have the following as Area Supervisors, namely Dr. Samuel Greengus of Hebrew Union College, Cincinnati; Dr. Philip J. King of St. John’s Seminary; Dr. John Landgraf on HUCBASJ; Dr. James M. Lindenberger of Union Theological Seminary, Richmond, Va.; Miss Miranda Marvin, Ph.D. candidate, Harvard University; Dr. Carey A. Moore, Jr., of Gettysburg College; Dr. John R. Osborne of Berea College; Father Jean Ouellette of the College de l’Immaculate Conception, Canada and a Ph.D. of Hebrew Union College, Cincinnati and Mr. Larry Stager and miss Jane Waldbaum, Ph.D. candidates at Harvard University.
I make bold to say that no archaeological expedition in this part of the world has ever had as formidable and highly trained and competent a scientific staff as we have at Gezer. The overall supervision of the entire undertaking is under Professor G. Ernest Wright of Harvard and myself. I shall have more to say about the actual dig and the emerging results when I get out there next week. The physician is still keeping me more or less under house arrest and is now insisting on getting a consultation of examination from Professor Rakover, the head of the lung department of Hadassah Hospital. However, he gave me permission to do something tomorrow that I have been trying to wangle from the Israeli Government for several weeks and that I am getting through the direct intervention of the Prime Minister, Mr. Levi Eshkol.
Several weeks ago, as I have previously reported, I called on the Prime Minister as a matter of courtesy and I brought Professor Ezra Spicehandler of our HUCBASJ with me. Among other things, in the course of our conversation I mentioned that it would be nice if the Israel Armed Forces would fly me over the Gulf of Aqabah and Sharm esh-Sheikh and over Sinai. He immediately gave instructions to his private secretary to get it arranged. In the meantime, I got ill and was forced to postpone the matter with the army or rather not to pursue it very hard. It is one thing to get the Prime Minister’s approval. It is another thing to get the proper office of the army to carry out his instructions. Anyway, this morning when I was out, having gone to the physician’s office for some sort of a streptomycin injection, the officer concerned phoned and asked if I could be ready to fly tomorrow morning, Wednesday, July 26. Dr. Spicehandler answered and said he would call back, and asked if he were included in the invitation, as he had every right to assume he might be. The answer was that it all depended if they had an extra free place. They certainly had one for me. I ha left the physician’s office in the meantime but my good and concerned secretary, Mrs. Esther Lee, phoned him and asked him what he thought about the matter. He replied that he thought it would be all right and good for me psychologically. I’m glad he did, because I would have gone if I had to go on a stretcher. And the best news is that there is a place for Ezra Spicehandler. And we don’t have to travel to Lydda or to the small airport outside of Tel Aviv to get the plane. We were told to go to Kalundia, which is right outside Jerusalem, and until a few weeks ago was the Jerusalem airport for Jordan. I have seen it since and have read that the runway is long enough for jets. The plane tomorrow will, I am sure, be a rather small one of the type that the Arkia Airline uses to fly to Eilat, if it is not a helicopter. Incidentally, it is now possible to fly from Jerusalem to Eilat. The plane picks one up at Kalundia, flies to the Tel Aviv airport in a few minutes, and there picks up the Tel Aviv contingent of passengers and continues on its way to Eilat, and reverses itself on the way back. I have gotten some maps out this afternoon and will study them tonight to prepare myself for tomorrow’s flight.
Yesterday afternoon, Monday, July 24, I gave a little tea arty for Congressman Robert Taft, Jr., from Cincinnati. I have known him for a long time and like him very much. He is in the country to dedicate a library in memory of his father the late Senator Robert Taft, which is being opened up at Kfar Silver, named after the late Rabbi Abba Hillel Silver. Rabbi Daniel Silver, Abba’s son and successor at The Temple in Cleveland, Ohio, is here too. He is a favorite of the Glueck family and we are always delighted to see him. Present at the tea party were our Consul General Mrs. Evan Wilson, Justice Haim Cohen of the Supreme Court and his wife Michal, MR. Louis (Aryeh) Pincus, the Chairman of the Board of the Jewish Agency, who comes originally from South Africa, Mr. Ted Lurie, the Editor of The Jerusalem Post, Dr. Avram Biran, the Director of the Department of Antiquities, Mr. and Mrs. Baruch Braude of Herzliyah who just happened in, and the members of our immediate HUCBASJ who are here, namely the Spicehandlers, Steinbergs and Dr. Saul Weinberg. I had the tea catered. We had a very pleasant time. There was a most friendly exchange of opinion between Justice Cohen and Dr. Biran with the rest of us chiming in. Some newspaper man had asked the Department of Antiquities for permission to dig at Qumran, the site of the Dead Sea Scrolls, and he was most properly turned down as not being a competent archaeologist with the backing of some responsible and well-known museum or university. This chap went to Justice Cohen’s court and filed suit against the Department of Antiquities, first of all demanding that he prove why he shouldn’t get a permit, and secondly asking that the Department of Antiquities be enjoined from giving a permit to dig at Qumran to anyone else. All of which Justice Cohen did.
We all then turned upon Justice Cohen and asked how his court could do such a thing without the chap in question presenting proof that he was a competent archaeologist, etc. Actually, Pere de Vaux, I understand, s also opposed to this chap, who apparently falsely claimed that he held a permit from the Jordan Department of Antiquities. Justice Cohen replied that it wasn’t his business to examine the facts in advance, but that any one could file a suit and the facts would then
be brought out in the trial. I exclaimed that this could be a terrible nuisance, that a trial could last for months or years! But the Justice insisted that a person had such a right. He might well lose the case and have to pay the court costs and so on and so forth.
Another interesting angle of the case that arose in our discussion was that if a person held an authentic permit from the Jordan Department of Antiquities to dig in an area that had suddenly become Israeli, would it still be legal. The general climate of the conversation seemed to be that if the holder of the permit were really a competent archaeologist and particularly if he or she had previously worked on the site, the Israeli Department of Antiquities would in all probability reconfirm the permit. Thus, for instance, it is reconfirming the validity of all Jordan automobile licenses, requiring only that proof be brought of valid insurance and of obtaining third party insurance in accordance with Israeli law. Thus, I signed the necessary papers for all the cars of the American School of Oriental Research, confirming that they were the property of the ASOR, and I signed the applications for the additional insurance.
I gathered, too, from conversation with Dr. Biran, that those French and American scholars who had previously been working on the Dead Sea Scroll fragments in the Palestine Archaeological Museum, formerly called the Rockefeller Archaeological Museum before it was nationalized a year or so ago by Jordan, with the consent or acquiescence, among others, of the American Ambassador in Amman, – that those scholars will be permitted or encouraged to continue working on them. It is not yet known whether any of the Dead Sea Scroll material was taken away by Jordanian officials when they fled. It does seem to me to be certain at this point that none of the fragments present in the PAM before the Six Days War have been removed by the Israeli Department of Antiquities to the new Israel Museum or to the Temple of the Book Museum. There hasn’t yet been time to open all or most of the boxes stored in the basement of the PAM, some of which may contain Dead Sea Scroll material. We began to get into all kinds of legal arguments and then broke out in laughter when Bob Taft urged Biran
not to make any more statements or argue with Justice Cohen without availing himself of the benefit of counsel.
If peace can be achieved and maintained, a golden era could ensue for everybody in the Near East. The greatest benefit would accrue to the Egyptians and the Arabs. Not the least would be the opportunity for archaeologists and for explorers to examine whole regions, follow ancient trade-routes, identify by location and sometimes by name ancient sites and thus push back the boundaries of knowledge or restore lost chapters of early history. Mine was such a golden opportunity years ago, when in the period between the first and second world wars, I was able to wander at will and methodically in all the territory of Transjordan (using the term geographically), and archaeologically explore the entire country, discovering hundreds upon hundreds of ancient sites and dating them by pottery finds on the surface and giving physical reality to terms like Edom and Moab and Ammon etc. I have asked the Israel Armed Forces to let me go now into central Sinai to do some spot exploring, so to speak. The answer was, however, and I imagined it would be, that they simply couldn’t spare the twenty or so soldiers that would have to be detained to go along with me. Anyway, it would have taken weeks of grueling endeavor for me to get knocked into shape to undertake this kind of archeological exploration again, and by that time I would have to go home to direct the American centers of the HUC. Nevertheless, it is a good idea and needs to be carried out. However, it would require consecutive years of steady application to the task to do it properly and meaningfully, with enough sites explored to reduce the possibility of the variable of error to a minimum.
Confidential Not for publication Without the Express Permission of the Author
Sixth Installment Jerusalem, Wednesday, July 26, 1967
From Jerusalem to Sharm esh-Sheikh to St. Katherine’s Monastery in south central Sinai and back again in the course of a day! Who says there isn’t magic? That’s what we did yesterday. Some time ago, I paid a courtesy call on Prime Minister Levil Eshkol, and took Dr. Ezra Spicehandler, Professor of Jewish Studies and Rabbi of the Chapel of our Hebrew Union College Biblical and Archaeological School of Jerusalem, with me. He is on leave of absence here for two years from his post as Professor of Modern Hebrew Literature at our Cincinnati School. Among other matters that we discussed with the Prime Minister, the subject of Sinai came up, and I ventured the hope that if possible the Prime Minister might arrange to have Spicehandler and me flown over Sinai. He immediately instructed his private secretary, Mr. Adi Yaffe, who had joined us by that time, to see to it that it was arranged. We were then put into contact with Major Barlev of the Ministry of Defense. He told us that we could go down to Sharm esh-Sheikh almost any day in a freight plane, but that if we waited, an opportunity might develop later on fore a more extensive trip, involving also a helicopter flight to St. Katherine’s in Sinai. We chose to wait. In fact, I would have had to wait anyway, because shortly afterwards I came down with virus pneumonia, which has knocked me out for several weeks and left me with a troublesome cough. Anyway, Major Barlev phoned Monday, July 24, and wanted to know if I could come on a flight to take place the next day. I was out of the building at the moment, and the call was referred to Ezra Spicehandler, who most properly asked if there were a seat also for him. Early in the afternoon, Major Barlev phoned back and said that there were seats for both of us and that we should be at Kalundia Airport, outside Jerusalem, on the way to Ramallah at 8:10 A.M. the next morning, and that we need bring nothing by way of food or water with us. Had we gone with one of the freight planes, we had been told that we would have to bring
our own food and water with us and that there was no certainty that we would make the trip to Sharm esh-Sheikh and back in one day.
I haven’t flown from Kalundia Airport since the days of the British Mandate. Fairly often, that is several times a year, I would fly from there with one or another of the British High Commissioners of Palestine, for archaeological tours of the country by air. Or the British army planes would come for me from Amman to fly me around Transjordan in response to my requests for help in aerial examination of regions that I wanted to enter into later on by foot to continue the square mile by square mile archaeological survey of all of Transjordan that I was engaged in for a long series of years, lasting from 1932 to 1947. The results of that archeological survey were published in various volumes of the Annual of the American Schools of Oriental Research from 1936 to 1951 under the title of Explorations in Eastern Palestine. The title was modeled after that by Conder and Kitchener on Explorations in Western Palestine and Explorations in Eastern Palestine.
The Kalundia Airport had changed considerably since I last saw it in 1947. There is a small but rather new and fairly attractive central building with a flight tower, a sizeable cement apron, and apparently adequate runways to accommodate small jets. When I drove out to Ramallah several weeks ago, one of the runways still crossed the airline, Arkia, that flies from Tel Aviv to Eilat and from Tel Aviv to Haifa and Rosh Pinah to Galilee, now includes Jerusalem. Thus one can now fly to any point in the country by Arkia from Jerusalem. It would be wonderful if, in addition to a thousand other reasons, peace could be established between Jordan and Israel, so that King Hussein could continue to fly his own jet to Kalundia, when visiting Jerusalem as he used to, and so that one could take a small plane to Amman from Kalundia or to Petra, and so on.
At about 7:30 A.M. Ezra Spicehandler appeared. We got into the Wagoneer, which was returned to us several weeks ago by Tzahal. I had it checked over the night before. I have to hand it to the Israeli
Armed Forces. I have written previously that they commandeered two of our cars, the Chevy truck and the Wagoneer, and that they had returned the truck about a month ago and sent a check for its use. Today we received a check from the Armed Forces for IL.810 for rental for the Wagoneer. It is a fair rental payment, I am sure, but what impresses me is the efficiency with which things are done by the Army here. We are also sending them a bill for the repairs we had to have done to the car, which were approved of in advance by the Army sergeant who delivered it back to us. The Army certainly seems to know how to get things done with efficiency and despatch.
When we got the Kalundia Airport, the officer in charge said that a carload of people was waiting for the plane and that it would be a helicopter. I began to understand that this was indeed to be an extra special flight. It was laid on for an inspection trip by the Comptroller General of the Israel Government, Dr. I. E. Nebenzahl, and by the Comptroller General of the Israel Armed Forces, Mr. (former Colonel) Gidon Schocken, one of the sons of the founder of the Schocken Publishing House. His brother is the editor of the important Hebrew daily, Ha-Aretz. It was a large, Super Ferlon helicopter of French make, with a crew of five and a very pert little Army Stewardess. Then there were various members of the staffs of the two comptrollers, a French newspapermen, and several others besides ourselves. There was room for 30 passengers on the helicopter, with a row of seats on each side of the length of the plane. The entire back of the helicopter could be opened electrically, and it would have been easy to drive a couple of jeeps into the body of the plane. There were large windows, and except when about to land or take off there was a large door opened on the right side, with a strap across it to prevent anyone from falling out easily. During a considerable portion of the flight, particularly on the way down to Sharm esh-Sheikh and to St. Katherine’s, I sat on the floor in front of the door in order the more easily to be able to photograph.
been in the Israeli armed services and diplomatic corps subsequently. The helicopter had come from Tel Aviv, I assumed. Those of us waiting at Kalundia entered through the lowered back like Jonahs being swallowed at the wrong end of the whale, took our seats and were almost immediately in the air and in a couple of minutes flying over Jerusalem. I have flown over many cities, but never over one that appeared more beautiful from the air. And the view over the Temple Area of the entire Haram esh-Sherif with the bronzed dome of the Mosque of Omar and the silvery dome of the el-Aqsa mosque is unforgettably wonderful. Fortunately, a helicopter flies comparatively slowly, and so we could pick out numerous familiar landmarks before we had overflown the city. And then over familiar country, across the wilderness of Judah and continuing southward above the west bank of the Dead Sea. Everything was so sparklingly clear. Soon we saw the oasis of En-Gedi, which has obviously developed considerably since I aw it last some years ago. And then the massive site of the great fortress of Masada, with the roman walls of circumvallation stretching around its base and the outlines of the camps of the Roman besiegers and then the excavated top of Masada itself, so expertly and successfully and brilliantly opened up during several seasons of work by Yigael Yadin, with a staff of hundreds of volunteer laborers from all over the world. The pilot of the helicopter, Captain Tuvia Dagan, circled the great fortress three or four times. That view alone would have made the trip worthwhile. The great fortress that had involved such magnitudes of effort to fortify it and then to reduce it, seemed from the air to have a degree of vitality when viewed in its entirety, greater even than can be grasped from the ground. But more important than the physical grandeur of Masada, eloquent beyond words in the ordered cleanliness and partial restoration of its ruins and in the indestructible magnificence of its strategic nature and position, was one of the Dead Sea Scrolls discovered there by Yadin and the significance of its and their enduring import for Israel in particular and humanity in general. I could have wished that we would keep on circling the site for hours on end, but within a few minutes the pilot turned the helicopter straight southward and we flew alone the west side of the Wadi Arabah.
Someone put the intercom phone on my head and I heard the voice of the chief pilot asking me if I had any particular wishes about what I might want to see on the way south to Eilat, mindful of the fact that he did not want to stray over the border line between Israel and Jordan that bisects the line of the north-south rift of the Wadi Arabah, a rift that is part of a much larger one extending from Turkey to Africa. I told him I would like to be flown over Timna (Mene‘iyeh), where years earlier I had found pottery enabling me to date it and other sites like it to the period extending especially from the 10th to the 6th centuries B.C., and to give to this place and others like it where copper was mined and smelted the name of “King Solomon’s Copper Mines.” I still adhere to those dates, and indeed have been able to substantiate them through recent studies of pottery from the copper mining and smelting sites of Timna and Khirbet Amrani and from excavations of Ezion-geber: Elath in approximately the center of the north shore of the Gulf of Aqabah.
The flight over the west side of the Wadi Arabah brought back many memories to me. The entire flight from Kalundia to modern Eilat took a little over an hour. Over thirty years ago, together with a group of about ten Injadat Arabs from the Wadi Arabah and two English and American companions, I had embarked on a camel trip of archaeological exploration of the entire length, discovering anew or revisiting sites that had previously been discovered by Fritz Frank and others, but for the first time putting them into the framework of history by being able to date the potsherds strewn about on the surfaces of the fairly numerous mining and smelting sites we came across. At the end of that camel trip, we had arrived at Tell el-Kheleifeh, which I subsequently excavated and identified with Solomon’s seaport of Ezion-geber. I looked for the small, sand covered ruins when our helicopter started to descend at Eilat, but we were too far to the west for me to make out exactly where they were. It is still unfortunately in no-man’s land. I would love to undertake one or two more seasons of excavations there!
We did fly over the modern mining works at Timna, which are quite extensive. It always gives me a certain sense of satisfaction to see this site, to which I was able to give an historical niche, being worked again in modern times. I am sure that the existence of this and other ancient copper and iron mining and smelting sites in the Wadi Arabah was hinted at in the Biblical verse in Deuteronomy 8:9 which mentions a land “whose stones are iron and out of whose hills you can dig copper.” We passed over numerous other sites in the Wadi Arabah that I have examined archaeologically in the past, but I have described them elsewhere. We spent about half an hour at the little airport in Eilat and then took off again at 10:30 A.M. for the flight to Sharm esh-Sheikh. From here on, the territory we were to fly over was new to me. I had studied it frequently on maps, had written about its geopolitical importance in the past and the present, but had never seen it with my own eyes.
The helicopter was back in the air, with its clatter making all conversation impossible. We passed notes to each other when we wanted to communicate. In a couple of minutes we were flying above the island of Jeziret Far’un (the Island of Pharaoh) with its Crusader buildings in picturesque disintegration built originally over Byzantine foundations. The inhabitants seem to have depended completely upon cistern water. I had visited the island many years before in the company of Millar Burrows. We had taken a small sailboat from Aqabah for the express purpose of visiting Jeziret Far’un. We got there quite expeditiously, with the winds blowing exactly in the right direction. Disembarking, we roamed around the island for several hours, and then got back into the small sailboat to try to get back to Aqabah. Believe it or not, the sail was fixed in a permanent position and our boatman was unable to tack against the wind. He had expected, he told us, that the winds would change in the afternoon and we would have no particular difficulty returning to Aqabah. Well, we tried for an hour or so, but in vain. Finally I told him to let the winds blow us ashore to the mainland, and that we would walk back, or at least walk back to Mrashrash, the small Palestinian police post, which subsequently became the site of modern Eilat. He got us ashore, in the early afternoon, and then we slogged
our way through the heavy sands along the seashore to Mrashrash. It was quite a walk, in the late summer time, if I remember correctly, and we had no water. After about three or four hours walking, we finally reached the post at Mrashrash. The policemen made tea for us, and we just kept on drinking endlessly. I shall always remain grateful to those hospitable Arabs. Later in the day, in the early evening, somehow or other, we got ahold of a boatman who rowed us back across the approximately eight kilometers along the north shore of the Gulf of Aqabah and brought us back to the Arab Legion police post there, where we were staying. I am sure we paid the boatman well, but whatever we gave was not equal to our gratitude.
When it says in the Bible that Solomon’s ships sailed from Ezion-geber and back once every three years, I believe that means one whole year and parts of two additional years, – the length of the journey depending upon the nature and direction of the winds, which change direction at various times of the day and various seasons of the year. This is a suggestion and has not been scientifically tested. The boats of Solomon’s fleet may have been propelled in part by oarsmen. One shouldn’t envisage very large craft, even if they boated the prestigious name of Tarshish ships, – that is Phoenician ships of the type that went from Phoenicia to Tarshish, probably in Spain, and back again, when, for a long time, Phoenicia (modern Lebanon), was one of the great maritime powers of the Mediterranean.
As the helicopter flew southward, at a height of perhaps some 3000 feet, it was constantly possible to see both sides of the Gulf of Aqabah and even from the start a good deal of its length. How often had I looked at maps particularly on the east or Arabian side of the Gulf, wishing that I could extend my archeological explorations of Transjordan southward. I had particularly wanted to try to see how far south I could trace Nabataean pottery, and to determine whether or not it existed at such a famous site as Meda’in Saleh. Nabataean kingdom in southern Syria, particularly in the Hauran and the Jebel Druze, that the Nabataeans controlled that part of their
kingdom as sort of colonial overlords, without introducing their splendid, fine, amazingly distinctive Nabataean pottery. I was pretty sure, however, that at places like Meda’in in Saleh, and other sites in Arabia proper, we would find the sophisticated and uniquely ornamented Nabataean pottery, that after first acquaintance proclaims itself unmistakably to every onlooker. I would also have tried to learn more about the Midianites and see whether there was something of the same substance to their civilization, that we had found so characteristic, for example, of the Edomite and Moabite cultures and pottery. However, I was never able to get into Arabia for these archaeological purposes, and no one with sufficient archaeological competence has yet properly examined northwest Arabia with the tools and techniques of modern archaeological knowledge.
Also from the air, one could see in multi-dimensional form how the narrow gulf was an immediate extension of the rift of the Wadi Arabah, and why the right to travel along it was of crucial importance from earliest historical times on. I am constrained to copy into this diary several paragraphs from my book RIVERS IN THE DESERT: A HISTORY OF THE NEGEV, first published nearly ten years ago: “The importance of this famous fissure (the Wad Arabah) in the crust of the earth for the annals of Israel cannot be overemphasized. Eastern and Western Palestine were pendent upon it like wings to a body. It was vital in their defense, crucial in their economy and central in their orientation. The compulsions of geography, the imperatives of trade and the mandates of self-preservation had made and kept the Wadi Arabah, with its access to the Red Sea, the equivalent of a jugular vein in the body politic of the people and the state of Israel……”
“The progress of the bitter and protracted struggle between Israel or Judah and Edom can be correlated with the development, destruction, abandonment, reoccupation and final disappearance from history of the port city and industrial center of Ezion-Geber: Elath. Serving a multiplicity of interests, it was strategically located at the south end of Wadi Arabah, on the north shore of the eastern arm of the
Red Sea, known as the Gulf of Aqabah today. Hemmed in by Sinai on the west and Arabia on the east, this long and narrow body of water is further restricted by several islands at its south end. The question of control over these straits, which have been the cause of much concern in modern times, projects on an international scale the geopolitical compulsions which animated the Edomites and the Judaeans in their interminable combat with each other. Domination of the Wadi Arabah and of Ezion-geber and thus of the land and sea-routes which led to the spices and gold and precious products of Arabia and Africa and India was of life and death importance to them. Free access to the Gulf of Aqabah and the undisturbed right of innocent passage through it, are of no less importance to the modern states bordering it.”
I thought of all of this as we flew southward over the Gulf of Aqabah. Israel had to regain freedom of innocent passage and can never permit this passage-way to be blocked off. Nor can America!
The west side of the Gulf of Aqabah over which we flew is largely uninhabited. Here and there a shelter is visible near the mouth of a wadi slashing its sandy bottomed way through grotesque and grim hills to the seashore. For a long distance there were sandy shores at the foot of the precipitately descending hills, but most of them terminated at rock studded waters. The dark green of the gulf lightened and became mottled with the color of shallow rocks near the shoreline, and frequently one saw a surge of white water washing through what appeared to be large beds of algae hugging the inner shallows. A lone steamer heading northward was for quite a time the only sign of any kind of civilization. And then suddenly, about two-thirds of the way down on the west side of the gulf, appeared the oasis of Dahab. Quite numerous date palm trees in several large groves enlivened the desolateness of the east Sinai shore. I could make out no people among the grooves and the outlines of only few houses. The Bedouin may well have fled since the onset of hospitalities or perhaps they assemble only when the dates begin to ripen. This oasis is on a line about due east of Jebel Musa, the Mountain of Moses, associated by comparatively late tradition with the sacred hill where Moses was supposed to have received
the two tablets of stone with the Ten commandments incised upon them. In response to this tradition, the celebrated Monastery of St. Katherine was established. It is a mixed up tradition, with no real logic for honoring St. Katherine on the site of Jebel Musa. There are, of course, other claimants in and outside of Sinai for being the site where Moses received the tablets of stone. Aside from the legendary character of the latter phenomenon, the location of Jebel Musa forms a watershed, with the wadi beds going in four opposite directions below its base.
Suddenly, about 11:15 A.M. we were above the flat, sandy tableland of Ras Nasrani on the mainland, immediately opposite the two islands of Jeziret Tiran and to the east of it the island of Jeziret Sanapir protruding above the waters of the outlet of the Gulf of Aqabah. The ship channel is located between the Sinai mainland and the island of Jeziret Tiran, and anyone with a rifle almost could hit any ship sailing by. We saw two lone cannons turned the wrong way and then whole mazes of twisting trenches, and fields fenced in with entanglements of barbed wire and probably mined very heavily. A macadamized road led from the west side of Sinai to this fortified site of Ras Nasrani. Apparently there was no battle there, because the Egyptian troops fled just before the Israelis arrived. The place was supposed to be taken by Israeli parachutists, but by the time they arrived, there apparently was no use in their jumping, to the chagrin, I understand, of the parachutists involved. We circled the bleak site for a while and then continued south to the bare, bleak, sandy spit of land called Sharm esh-Sheikh, which, like Ras Nasrani, commands the straits of Tiran and overlooks the merging of the Gulf of Suez with the Gulf of Aqabah as they join together to become a part of the Red Sea.
There was very little to see at Sharm esh-Sheikh. A couple of hundred Israeli troops seemed to be stationed there, living in tents, with a single, two story headquarters buildings, erected by the Egyptians, in the center. There were some trucks and jeeps, but it did not look like an imposing military post. A couple of landing boats were chugging
in towards the shore as we flew over the site, circled it several times and then settled on the ground in a swirl of dust. We had left Eilat at 10:30 A.M. and arrived at Sharm esh-Sheikh at 11:45 A.M. It was hard to realize that this insignificant looking piece of land and this narrow body of water of the Gulf of Aqabah had played such a momentous role in recent and past history, and how, with a few false steps, the entire world might have been involved in another world war. However, if Egypt had been permitted to continue to blockade the Gulf of Aqabah, and even if Israel had somehow or other learned to live with the blockade, as it had before 1957, sooner or later world war would have broken out on account of it. Egypt, with Russian backing, would have next moved to occupy the oil fields of Arabia and Iran and so on, and the innocent passage of ships from the Atlantic through the Mediterranean to the Red Sea, Indian Ocean, and Chinese Sea would have been closed for American and free world shipping, – and over such an eventuality American would have had to go to war.
We were given some soft drinks on the porch of the command building, and then one of the officers explained to us what had happened during the few hours it took to conquer Sharm esh-Sheikh and Ras Nasrani, or rather really simply to take them over. The commanding officer at Sharm esh-Sheikh was a tall, slim, quiet spoke, slightly bearded colonel, Aluf Mishneh Davidi.
Soon we were off again, leaving at 12:25 P.M. One had to use one’s imagination to make the drama of recent history fit the drabness of the physical geography of the site. Twenty minutes later, having flown over the grimmest looking mountains in Sinai, with practically no traces of terraces or dwelling of any kind in the sandy wadi-beds threading through them, we were circling over the single building on the top of the pinnacle of Jebel Musa, with the walled cluster of buildings of the Monastery of St. Katherine nestled on the northwest slope in the fairly wide wadi-bed below. We settled won in the sandy bed of the wadi about a kilometer away from the Monastery, and had lunch in the helicopter before setting out to walk to the site. Almost
immediately, three or four Bedouins from the locality came up, and we shared our lunch with them and gave them some cigarettes.
The walk along the path to the Monastery brought us past several fenced in garden plots, cultivated by the monks to supplement the grapes and perhaps some vegetables they grow inside the walls of the Monastery. However, much of their food supply must have been brought in from Cairo, previously I guess, and now will have to be brought in from Israel. The heavily walled Monastery can be entered by only one, tremendously thick, small, low gate, that reminds me of the gateway in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. That gate can be closed, and the only access then is through a lift of a wooden box that be drawn up to the top of the wall by a hoist. The precaution is necessary, it seems, because of repetitive troubles with the Bedouins, who in time of famine try to break into the Monastery to get at what they think are great supplies of food stored there. Anyway, this is what I was told.
The monks could not have been more hospitable. We were taken through some paved courtyards and up and down various flights of stairs to a reception room and given most delicious Turkish or rather as they maintained, Greek coffee. A mélange of languages was spoken, French, German, Greek, a little English. The different stages of construction of the various buildings in the Monastery compound lend an attractiveness of its own to the site. Some very large grape vines and bougainvillea furnish color. There was much to see, and we had little over an hour to spend there. I chose to see the church and as much of the library as could be viewed. Obviously a good deal of cataloguing has been going on in recent years. The ikons from early Byzantine times on represent a treasure of cultural history perhaps without compare. The monetary value must of course be astronomic. The library is full of manuscripts from the Byzantine period to the 13th century and later, I guess. The monks bemoan the loss of the 4th century A.D. Codex Sinaiticus of the Greek Bible, which was taken away by Konstantin von Tischendorf in 1859 and landed in the Hermitage in Russia. The Russians sold it for several hundred thousand dollars to the British Museum in the early 1930’s where it can now be seen. For the student of early
Byzantine and later ikons and literature, the Monastery of St. Katherine has probably the richest source material in the world.
I made no attempt to see the channel house, where the skulls and bones of the monks who die are piled up, being collected from their graves several years after their deaths. I can see that sort of thing right here in Jerusalem in the Siloam valley, as I have written previously. Finally, we said our adieus, having bought some postal cards. A lot of Israeli troops must have passed through and bought cards, because the monk who sold them had a big box filled with Israeli pounds. As we left, one of the monks, Anastasius by name, asked if he could walk back with us to the helicopter. He had never seen one take off before. He returned with us, and we invited him inside for a visit. Then he joined the Bedouins on the side of the wadi, and waved back at us as we pulled upward, gained height, circled and climbed higher, till we could clear the mountain tops, and then we took off in a northeasterly direction for Eilat. We left at 4:15 P.M. and arrived at Eilat at 5 P.M. having flown over one of most desolate parts of the world that I have ever seen. I would have wished that our course had taken us over the western coast of Sinai and over the battle fields leading between Khan Yunis and Gaza to Suez, but apparently there wasn’t time for that. I couldn’t be more grateful than I am for the privilege of having been taken along on this trip. A brief stop again at Eilat, then off at 5:25 P.M. and we touched down at Kalundia at 6:45 P.M. On the way back, we flew over the central part of greater Israel. It was fascinating to see the countryside becoming richer as we headed over Hebron, Bethleham and Ramallah and then down to Kalundia. We had been gone only a day, but it seemed as we got back into the Wagoneer and drove back to Jerusalem that we had be gone a very long time indeed, a time covering centuries of history.
Confidential Not for publication Without the Express Permission of the Author
Seventh Installment Jerusalem, Thursday, August 3, 1967
Tuesday afternoon, August 1, I drove down to Beersheba via Bethlehem, Hebron and Dhahariyeh to the Desert Inn to meet our Summer Institute people, who had gone down by bus on Monday afternoon, July 31. They had gone to Eilat on Tuesday and so I did not see them till they got back about 8:30 that night. It took me about two hours driving leisurely to make the trip via Hebron. The Hebron area in particular is agriculturally rich, with vineyards and fruit tree groves covering almost every possible meter of space. I had been to Hebron earlier this summer to visit the Mosque there in the company of President Shazar, but I hadn’t been beyond it to the south for many years. Indeed, I guess, the last time I drove south was in the summer of 1930, when I was a fellow of the American Schools of Oriental Research and a member of Professor William F. Albright’s staff during his excavations of Tell Beit Mirsim. That site is located between the Arab villages of Dura and Dhahariyeh. On the way back yesterday afternoon, I picked up an Arab foreman of public works directing road repairs south of Dhahariyeh and he explained to me in response to my question how it was now possible to reach Tell Beit Mirsim. I told him I might try some time later on this summer.
From Jerusalem, to Rachel’s Tomb, to Bethlehem to the Pools of Solomon, in fact all the way to Hebron, there is a mass of traffic. Big Egged and United Tours buses and innumerable private cars bring a steady stream, mostly for the present, of Israelis bent on seeing this part of the country, the view of which has been denied them so long, and particularly on visiting the tomb of Rachel, the Pools of Solomon, and Hebron and especially the Mosque there built over what is allegedly the Cave of Machpelah, purchased by Abraham for the burial of Sarah. The Arab merchants and itinerant hawkers are doing a land-office business, and the fellahin have fruit stands all along the road,
selling apples, plums, peaches, melons and grapes. Beyond Bethlehem, one requires a special pass, which is checked before entering Hebron and which is checked again after leaving Dhahariyeh. Fortunately, we are now equipped with temporary passes enabling us to visit any part of the country under Israeli control. The farther south one travels the poorer the country becomes, till gradually one gets into the semi-arid, flattish area of the Beersheba region. Suddenly one sees a boundary stone and a stretch of road across what a couple of months ago was no-man’s land, indicating where the border had existed between Israel and Jordan.
Early yesterday morning, I took the entire Summer Institute to Abda in the big United Tours bus that we are using for their tour of the Negev. While we were travelling south to the Nabataean-Byzantine site of Abda, I gave a long lecture on the history, geography, archaeology, agriculture, climate and geopolitical importance of the Negev in general and on the Nabataean and Byzantine occupation of the Negev in particular, – not omitting the earlier occupation in the times of the kings of Judah, in the times of the Age of Abraham, and in the Chalcolithic and then in the prehistoric periods. I had been afraid that my voice wouldn’t stand up to a lot of talking, but thank goodness I am now almost completely over the effects of the illness that had laid me low for almost three weeks and I found I could lecture freely, particularly with the microphone to carry the volume. We have a wonderful group of people with us this year, including professors from various colleges and universities, several nuns, and some Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish clergymen. Included in the group are Dr. and Mrs. Paul Steinberg and their son, Alan, and Dr. and Mrs. Samuel Greengus and their three daughters. Dr. Greengus of our Cincinnati faculty is an area supervisor at our Gezer excavations. The highlight of these annual visits of our Summer Institute people to Abda is always when I show them where they can find pieces of delicate, painted Nabataean pottery fragments. There must be tens of thousands of fragments, but there is no danger of visitors removing them all, because the average visitor is not told about them and doesn’t know where to look or what to look for.
After the first couple of typical, fine, painted Nabataean potsherds have been found and I have explained to everybody what they are and what to look for, there is no one who does not manage to pick up a couple of pieces, bring them to me for corroboration and then stow them away in pockets or purses as if they were more precious than pieces of gold, – which in many ways they are. Abda is indeed a fascinating place with its Byzantine churches and other structures and cisterns and reservoirs over Nabataean foundations, and I never tire of taking our Hebrew Union College Biblical and Archaeological School of Jerusalem people to visit it. Last year, I took them also to Isbeita (Shivta), another great Nabataean-Byzantine site. We decided, however, to return to Beersheba for lunch and then see if anybody desired to make another trip in the afternoon to Kurnub (Mampsis) or Isbeita. It was 2 P.M. by the time we got back. Inasmuch as the bus was available, Dr. Steinberg and Shmuel Berger, a most knowledgeable Israeli who has been accompanying our group in the Negev and will remain with them for the duration of their stay there till the end of this week, took the group out again or was going to take them out again at 3:30 P.M. I decided to drive back leisurely to Jerusalem, and left at 3 P.M. going again by way of Hebron and arriving at the HUCBASJ at about 5 P.M.
This was the second trip I had made in recent days. Last Saturday afternoon, a number of us from the HUCBASJ and the Gezer dig started off on an automobile trip that was to take us to the Golan heights. We left in three cars, with Reuben Bullard, Jack Halliday, Joe Seger and Robert Wright travelling with me in the Wagoneer. We went via Ramallah, Nablus, Jenin, Affuleh, Mt. Tabor, Tiberias and past Hazor north to Kfar Blum in the upper Jordan Valley, where we all converged and stayed for the night a very comfortable motel, with an excellent restaurant. From Jenin, we were able to take a road that led us directly to the huge Tell Taanach, that Paul Lapp has been excavating in the recent years and that Sellin, I believe, excavated partly many years ago. The next morning, we drove to Banias. It is heart-warming to see the rush of waters springing out of the earth at the
base of the hill to form one of the main sources of the Jordan. I have written a good deal about this site in my book, The River Jordan, a new edition of which is shortly, I hope, to be published by McGraw-Hill. Here again were hundreds of Israeli visitors, utilizing the opportunity denied them for a generation to see this wonderful place.
From Banias, we drove up to the top of the Golan heights, passing numerous bunkers and tanks emplaced in them with their guns pointing to the Israeli colonies vividly clear in the Jordan valley below and frequently fired on in recent years. From these heights, during the last years, marauders have been stealing into the colonies below, laying mines along vehicular tracks, which when trodden upon or travelled over exploded, maiming or killing Israelis from these lovely border colonies.
The Golan countryside is completely volcanic, with all kinds of basalt formations and rocks that were particularly interesting to our geologist, Reuben Bullard. Finally, after missing the way and nearly getting the present Syrian border, we got back to Birket er-Ram, which I had been wanting to see for many years. It is a small lake, perhaps a mile in diameter, located in the deep blow-hold of an ancient volcano. Reuben Bullard explained it as such, and pointed out some particular reddish earth on the sides of the deep pit at the bottom of the lake is located, explaining that at one time there must have been some hot springs issuing the sides of the slopes. The water must be potable, because we saw some cattle drinking from the lake. There must be orchards in the vicinity, because there were a lot of Druzes, most of the inhabitants appear to be Druzes, who were selling apples and plums and beautiful peaches. From Birket er-Ram, which means roughly the equivalent of the High Lake, we drove on a rather good macadamized road to the town of Quneitra, which is in Israeli hands and so far as I know represents the easternmost town that the Israelis hold on the Golan heights. The countryside is flat and brown and appears to be rather poor, but I do not know enough about the conditions to be able really to judge. The Druze inhabitants of Massade, very near Birket er-Ram, are all dressed in their Sunday best and were pleasant indeed when we talked to them. I am not at all
certain, and indeed it is a confession of ignorance, but it would almost seem that they observed Sunday as a day of rest.
On the way to Quneitra, we passed evidence of recent fighting, marked particularly by disable Syrian tanks. Quineitra itself seems to be a fairly large town, but the military have closed off most of it. We just saw its outskirts, staying there but a few minutes, while a polite Israeli soldier explained that the main part of the town was out of bounds to any visitors. He said that he would be glad to take us to the Commanding Officer if we wanted to try to get special permission, but we didn’t think it worthwhile and started on the road leading down again to the Jordan Valley and to the Jisr Banat Ya’aqub (the Bridge of the Daughters of Jacob) which spans the river. Numerous bunkers and smashed tanks were visible on the way down. Reports have it that the Syrians built a sort of a formidable Maginot Line, with huge underground chambers. We saw one heavily camouflaged place, but decided it would be foolish to venture inside unless some Israeli solder were around who could assure us that the place wasn’t booty-trapped. We finally came to one place which people were visiting and we walked in. There were numerous destroyed Russian tanks lying about and cases of large shells and separate fuses, still in the boxes in which they had originally been packed, marked with Russian and Arabic characters. There were also some boxes bearing in English letters, in addition to Arabic and Chinese characters, the words “Peoples Republic of China,” if I remember correctly.
The Syrians, apparently, expected both to attack and to be attacked, to judge both from the position of the tank-cannons aimed at the Israeli colonies in the Jordan Valley visible below and to judge from the mazes of strongly cemented bunkers and trenches, which were not able to stem the Israeli attack. It must have taken quite a battle for the Israelis to fight their way up the steep slopes to the top of the Golan plains, being forced in part to bulldoze paths up the hill-sides at the same time so that their tanks could make the steep ascent. I imagine it would have been impossible, had the Israelis not had command of the air.
Soon we were down in the Jordan Valley, and crossed over the temporary bridge of Jisr Banat Ya’aqub put in place of the one that the Syrians had blown up. We then drove to Hazor to take a quick look at the Solomonic gate there. After that we stopped at a very nice restaurant called Almagor, where they served American styled fried chicken in the basket, potato chips and salad and any kind of soft or hot drinks you wanted. They also have a stable of half a dozen horses, and there are programs for riding trips lasting up to three days in the Upper Galilee hills. One could spend a very nice vacation there. Continuing our way homeward, we stopped off at Megiddo for a few minutes to examine the Solomonic gateway there. There has been some misguided [sic] reconstruction there, which makes the gateway workless for comparative scientific purposes. The reason or looking at these Solomonic gateways at Hazor and Megiddo is that the Solomonic gateway at Gezer is about to be reopened, having been partially excavated by Macalister, as I believe I have mentioned in a previous letter. He, however, thought it belonged to Maccabaean times. Bill Dever and Darrell Lance think that the Gezer Solomonic gateway will be the finest of the three. Finally reaching Gezer, I deposited the staff members who were with me, and then left just before dark, and got on the newly opened Latrun Road and headed back to Jerusalem. I shall go to Gezer next week and stay there for the duration of the dig.
Confidential Not for publication Without the Express Permission of the Author
Eighth Installment Jerusalem, Tuesday, August 8, 1967
This noon, President Eliahu Elath of the Hebrew University tendered a luncheon at the University to a group of scholars. This would have been impossible to arrange before June 5, 1967. Scholars from the Hebrew University, the Israel Department of Antiquities, the École Biblique et Archéologique Francaise, the Pontifical Biblical Institute, the Hebrew Union College Biblical and Archaeological School, the Monastery of the Flagellation and the American Schools of Oriental Research assembled together for a very pleasant couple of hours to break bread together and to discuss scholarly matters of mutual interest. Besides President Eliahu Elath, the following were present: Père Pierre Benoit of the École Biblique, Father Senkowsky of the Pontifical Biblical Institute, Father Sylvester Saller of the Monastery of the Flagellation, Dr. Ruth Amriam, Dr. David Amiran (Vice President of the Hebrew University), Professor U. Heyd, a Turkologist, from the Hebrew University, who is leaving in a day or two for the Oriental Society meeting at the University of Michigan, (Père de Vaux would have been present, but he is leaving for the University of Michigan tomorrow and couldn’t get away for the luncheon today); Professors A. Malamat, M. Evenari, N. Avigad, B. Mazar, M. Avi-Yonah, C. Wirszubski and Y. Yadin Antiquities, Paul Lapp of the American Schools of Oriental Research, Marvin Pope of Yale University who was with the HUCBASJ last year, and Saul Weinberg and myself of the HUCBASJ. I suggested to Professor Mazar at the end of the meal as we took leave from one another, that maybe the time had come to recreate the equivalent of the Palestine Oriental Society so many of us had participated in twenty years and more ago. I am sure that something like that will be done. President Elath said in his very brief speech of greetings at the end of the meal, that he had invited us all in the spirit of academic objectivity and mutual devotion to humanitarian research. I am sure that others would
have been invited or would have attended had they been able to be in Jerusalem today.
This morning I took the Summer Institute members of the HUCBASJ on a brief walk through the Old City to the Monastery of the Flagellation on the Via Dolorosa, whether Father Spijkerman took us through the most excellent museum there and lectured on its contents. Father Saller was also in attendance and participated in the explanations. The numismatics collection there is simply a fantastic one, and some of the pottery collections particularly that, for instance, from Bab edh-Dhra is really great. Of course, if Paul Lapp could display at one time all the Bab edh-Dhra pottery he has at the ASOR it would make a phenomenal show. He told me today that he has some 6,000 complete pieces of Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age I and Middle Bronze I pottery at the ASOR. I promised to bring Ruth Amiran to the ASOR some time next week. Tomorrow morning, at 6 A.M. I am going to drive to St. Stephen’s Gate and take Father Saller and Father Spijkerman to Tell Gezer, together with Professor Saul Weinberg of our School, and our old time friend and great photographer, Mr. S. J. Schweig. How long I remain at the dig depends upon how I feel. This virus pneumonia has left me in a weakened condition.
This evening at 6 P.M. our Jerusalem Consul General and Mrs. Evan Wilson are picking me up and taking me to Ambassador Walworth Barbour’s house in Herzliah beyond Tel Aviv. Ambassador Barbour is giving a farewell dinner for the Wilsons, who are completing their tour of duty in Jerusalem and are retiring from the diplomatic corps. I believe I should have said “Minister” instead of “Consul-General” for Mr. Wilson’s title. Inasmuch as I feel certain that unified Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, I wish the main foreign embassies, including our own American, would make their headquarters in the capital. Of course, the headquarters of many departments of the Government of Israel will have to follow suit. What has happened now is that many of the heads of Government departments, who would normally be stations and domiciled in Jerusalem, have several offices and flit between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. This is one of the many things that will have to be straightened
out in the fairly near future as a result of the meteoric changes in almost everything following the Six Day War.
Last Sunday morning, August 4, several of us got into the School Wagoneer with the more or less vague intention of getting to Suez and back in two days. I had the car gone over carefully beforehand, put in five extra gallon tins of gasoline and one of water and had two spare tires checked. So off we went, early Sunday morning and by 10 A.M. were in Gaza. I don’t think I have ever been to Gaza before. It is a very dreary, unprepossessing, obviously poverty-stricken town. We had passed the usual burnt out tanks and half-tracks and other Egyptian and Russian vehicles, including a few Israeli ones that had been hit. Gradually the Israeli Army is gathering in all of this junk and taking it somewhere, perhaps to cannibalize various parts. Many usable Russian tanks and guns and much ammunition and supplies of all kinds have, according to the newspapers, been incorporated into the Israeli Army usage. When we got to Gaza, after having to show our pass at various checkpoints, we found we had a bad leak in our front left tire. I stopped at a tire fixing place, and in a mixture of Arabic, Hebrew and English, asked if they could fix the tire. They took it off and found that it was a tubeless tire, which they could not repair. So we replaced it with one of our spares. And then we sped on to el-Arish. The countryside changed to complete or almost complete desert, with the number or derelict Egyptian tanks and related vehicles seeming to increase in number as we sped along.
In about an hour we were at el-Arish. I had had no visual concept of it at all previously, and after seeing Gaza had begun to think that it would look like Gaza. Incidentally, my main memory of Gaza will for a long time be swarms of children. All of them are selling Communist Chinese junk, pencils and ball-point pens, razor blades and plastic atrocities, and I haven’t the foggiest idea who buys this trash. A lot of them also sell Chiclets and a local variety of 7-Up. One little urchin was hawking a tired box of Chiclets and cheerfully chewing away at one of them. I imagine that occasionally he takes one of them out of the box, thinking that the absence of a couple of them will not
be noticed. I don’t know what arrangements have been made to continue feeding the refugees who have been there for a generation now, but one thing is certain, namely, that they already have a comparative freedom of movement they never had before. The various international agencies taking care of them are continuing, I gather, to concern themselves with them and the Israeli Government is planning productive work schemes for them. For considerable distances on the road to and away from Gaza, one sees many Gaza residents who have been given W.P.A. relief work on the roads by the Israeli Government. How Israel is going to manage the Gaza strip is one of the numerous problems Israel has acquired with her phenomenal victory.
El-Arish, however, was a delightful surprise. Is it a small town or administrative and railway center located on the Mediterranean coast, with a beautiful beach stretching for miles as far one can see. There must be an abundance of wells, because the thing that distinguishes it above all is a tremendous date-palm grove. The trees are heavy with huge clusters of ripening fruit and the impression they give is of life and sustenance and beauty and hope. We decided to have lunch there, before starting out for Bir Qafqafa. I had wanted to see some of the wells where various important battles of the Six Day War took place, but my main reason was to see if there were fragments of ancient pottery lying about in their vicinity that would enable me to date the periods of ancient occupation. We wouldn’t have had time under the best circumstances to do much archaeological exploration, but I just wanted to get an idea of what was at all possible for future work. It was not to be! As we started the car after lunch, we heard a hissing noise. The spare we had put on in Gaza had gotten a bad puncture. So we changed it then and there, leaving us with no spares to drive the several hundred miles to the Suez Canal. With that I said to our little company: “Gentlemen, I have an announcement to make. We are going back to Jerusalem today. I don’t mind taking calculated risks, but the odds are too great. And furthermore, we have no arms with us.” So back we turned, and by about 4 P.M. pulled into the parking lot of the HUCBASJ. Dr. Saul Weinberg did most of the
driving on the way back. Luckily we had no more flats. I forgot to say that one of the main reasons I decided to undertake the trip was because suddenly a request I had put in some weeks previously for a permit to travel to Sinai was granted, and I got a pass good for two days, namely August 4 and 5, and it seemed to be some sort of a sing not to utilize the pass.
It is always good, even glorious, to get back to Jerusalem. It is a continuous adventure to wake up in the beautiful city and look about one. Every glance, every ride, every walk is a new experience. The Old Post Office is down and a completely new section of the Old City Wall is visible. And looking at it is always the equivalent of a new revelation. There was a shopkeepers’ strike in the Old City the other day, and walking through it, with the crowds thinned out to a trickle, was again something completely new. I walked down to the Via Dolorosa to call on my friends, Fathers Saller and Spijkerman, at the Monastery of the Flagellation to confirm a date I had previously made with them to bring our Summer Institute over there for the talk that I mentioned above. On our way over, on lower Mamillah Road, I stumbled over a pile of sand in the middle of the sidewalk. That sandpile dumped there had bothered me every time I passed, till suddenly this time I realized why it and other sandpiles were dumped on the sidewalks. When the shooting began on June 5, and perhaps before, trucks of sand were brought to various places for the residents to put into bags and build up defensive positions at the entrances of their houses. Incidentally, on the way down to el-Arish, one still sees white flags fluttering forlornly from almost every house along the way.
On Tuesday, August 7, the day of the shopkeepers’ strike in the Old City, my friend Musa Beidun, who with his father and brothers run a big antiquity shop on the Via Dolorosa, appeared at the HUCBASJ and asked to see me. He and his family live in a series of excellent, modern houses in upper Siloam village. He had driven over, and insisted that I come with him to his house to see a collection of pottery he and his father had bought the day from some Ta’amireh Bedouins
near Dhahariyeh or so he claimed. So off he went to Siloam village. And then, after I had been ushered into the guest room and had several cups of tea with mint in it, he brought out the collection of pottery. There was no use my telling him that I didn’t believe it came from near Dhahariyeh. It is a collection of some sixteen pieces of homogeneous pottery of about the first half of the second millennium B.C. that comes from Iran. How it got here, by what devious camel routes, perhaps indeed through the help of the Ta’amireh Bedouins who perhaps control this kind of trade, even as the Nabataeans once controlled the spice trade in North Arabia, is something I guess that could be found out, but it would take long time to do so. Anyways, it was a wonderful collection, and after some hours of polite bargaining, I bought all of it for our museum collection. I also bought an original eleven spouted Herodian period lamp, the like of which I have never previously seen. If I wanted to go into the business of buying and selling antiquities, I could make a pretty penny. I could easily immediately double or treble my investment in ancient pottery that I have bought in the last couple of months, if I cared to sell. I wish you could see the things I have acquired this summer. I propose to leave some here at the HUCBASJ and ship the rest home.
They were selling some horrible looking pottery in Gaza, when I was there the other day. Unfortunately, it is being painted with a rash of impossible colors, that make each piece of pottery look as if it were neon-lighted. On the other hand, at the Saladin Road recently, near the École Biblique et Archéologique Francaise, a potter has piled up a very large display of whitish and reddish jars and bowls, ranging from almost Ali Baba size to tiny flower pots, with the most expensive piece costing the equivalent of two dollars. They have a grace and beauty that would make them fit for eventual museum preservation. This season, for our Gezer dig, we bought about fifty pottery water decanters with spouts, as canteens for our working staff at Gezer. The water keeps much cooler in these pottery decanters than in any other kind of vessel. I think they were bought in Hebron.
Yesterday morning, Saul Weinberg and I got into our Wagoneer at 5:45 A.M. and drove via Mandelbaum Gate, past the Damascus and Herod Gates to St. Stephen’s or the Lions’ Gate on the east side of the Old City Wall. I had previously, as I have already mentioned, made an appointment with Father Sylvester Saller and Father Spijkerman of the Monastery of the Flagellation to meet them there at 6 A.M. and take them with us to Gezer. The approach up the hill from the main Jericho Road to the gate proper is usually blocked off by a policeman, but no one was present, so we could drive right up to the entrance of the gate. Both of the Fathers were prompt, and then we drove via the Hebrew University to the Tel Aviv Road, and picked up the photographer, Mr. S. J. Schweig, who also wanted to go with us to Gezer. I have traveled the road westward from Jerusalem countless times and each time find something new to see. The traffic on the road to Tel Aviv can get almost impossible at various times of the day, particularly if one gets behind a slow moving truck. Intensive work is being undertaken to transform it into a four-lane highway, and I should think that in about six months the work will be completed. There is an awful lot of blasting through rock and removal of debris that must make the building of this addition to the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv highway a most expensive undertaking.
Fortunately, the Latrun Road is now open, and that must save some 8 to 10 kilometers. We took it and rolled along the rich plains through which it passes. Much of this area had previously been in no-man’s land. There is a turnoff, before one gets to Ramleh, leading to Tell Gezer via the Kibuttz of Gezer. We arrived in good time. It took us about 45 minutes from Jerusalem to the tell. Our camp is very well organized, with tent accommodations for about 125 people. Each tent is placed on a cement foundation. The fieldhouse we erected two years ago is permanent and is serving its purpose beautifully. Soon after we arrived. Dr. Dever, the Director of the excavations, and Dr. Darnell Lance, the Co-Director, took us around on a slow and painstaking trip of examination of the excavations. One great
advantage this year is the introduction of a field telephone system. The central switch is in the pottery washing shed or area roofed over with straw mats to provide shade for those washing and examining the pottery. Mrs. Dever (Norma) is the general manager of the camp. By pressing a switch and speaking into the loud speaker, each of the comparatively widely separated fields of excavations can easily be reached, and by the same token the reverse is true. Each of the fields can call the central switchboard. It saves hours of time each day, and is one of the most helpful installations we have provided. The photographic laboratory is probably one of the best and most professionally equipped in the country. An air conditioner was put in this season, enabling prints to be developed at any time of the day, no matter how hot it may be outside. In addition, there is a special developing machine that instantaneously prints negatives, so that within a few minutes after an object or a wall or a floor has been photographed, the negative can be developed and it can be seen whether or not one can proceed further with the excavations at that particular spot.
This season’s excavations will come to and end tomorrow, August 11, although the staff will probably go back for a few days and reexamine every detail and problem and make plans for the continuation of the work. The summer Institute has its concluding luncheon tomorrow and I shall give the final lecture. The Summer Institute will leave next Tuesday for an archaeological trip in Greece, as it does every summer, at the conclusion of its stay in Israel. There will be four days there, before they return home to America.
Among the fascinating rediscoveries at Tell Gezer are the matzevoth, that Macalister had mentioned in his original discoveries. One of them, probably the largest of those still standing, has already been exposed. It stands about twelve plus feet high, about four feet wide and three feet thick, just about to give eye measurements. I should think that these menhirs are to be associated with the Early Bronze Age I settlement at Tell Gezer. The Gezer one reminded me particularly of the menhir that I had photographed at Ader in the Kerak area
and another called Hajr Mansub from el-Megeheirat and a whole row of somewhat smaller ones at Lejjun. They are located in Moab and I had come across them and others related to them in my archaeological explorations of Moab and Edom. I had compared them then to the monoliths of uncut or rudely cut limestone blocks from Gezer (cf. Explorations in Eastern Palestine I, pp. 45-47; Macalister, Gezer II, pp. 385-394).
On the way back from Gezer we stopped in at the Latrun Trappist Monastery, and Saul Weinberg and I each purchased ten bottles of the wine made there by the monks. In the hotels in the Old City of Jerusalem, the wine served seems all to come from Latrun. The Monastery seems to be in very good shape. A young Lebanese priest was at the door when we drove up and was very cordial. Father Spijkerman asked to see an old friend of his, a Dutch priest who lived there, and after about half an hour he made his appearance, an elderly, kindly, jovial priest, with whom we conversed in French for a while.
I noticed an article in The Jerusalem Post this morning that just delighted me, because it dealt with the amazing intelligence of dolphins. Ever since the discovery of the dolphin goddess at the Nabataean temple in Khirbet Tannur in Transjordan, a discovery which is reflected in the title of my last book, DEITIES AND DOLPHINS: THE STORY OF THE NABATAEANS, I have had a deep and growing interest in these brilliant mammals. As a result of winning the Six Day War, Israeli fisherman have begun operating in the Mediterranean off the shores of el-Arish, where the fishing is apparently extraordinarily good. The results have been excellent beyond all expectations, but whole shoals of dolphins are reaping a good part of the benefits. The Israeli fishermen put nets out in the sea and leave them for about four hours before pulling them up for the catch. The dolphins have learned the working habits of the fishermen, and almost on the dot, four hours after the nets have been lowered, appear in large numbers as the filled nets are being raised, tear them to get at the catches, and have a field day. After they have finished with one net, they go to another that is being raised. The article goes on to say that when the Israeli fisherman
started using special protective nets, with a tough fiber around the regular nets, the dolphins immediately developed methods of getting in between and tearing the catch nets to get at the fish. The articles concludes with the statement, that “whatever trick we try, the dolphins are up to it within a day,” but also with the statement that however much damage the dolphins do, the overall results for the Israeli fisherman in the rich fishing grounds off el-Arish make their efforts worthwhile. I like to think that some of these dolphins are descendants of those that accompanied Nabataean boats on their journeys from Palestine and Egypt to Italy and other Mediterranean countries and back again, and were models for the two dolphins they placed like a tiara over the head of one of their goddesses, in a temple far removed from the sea.
Confidential Not for publication Without the Express Permission of the Author
Ninth Installment Jerusalem, Monday, August 14, 1967
The eve of Tisha B’av occurs tonight. The date is traditionally linked with the destruction of the First and Second Temples, and has always been an occasion of lamentation over past tragedies in the national and religious history of Israel. The question has arisen, now that Israel once again occupies territories equal to those it held in its Solomonic and Herodian heydays, and with Jerusalem once again its unified capital, whether there is any need for the continuation of a mourning observance. Even among some Orthodox Jewish circles, questions in this regard have been raised. However, holy days once sanctified by their original significance, and the meaning of this one is likely to be expanded and intensified rather than diminished. At any rate, tonight there will be a massive pilgrimage to the Western Wall of the former Herodian Temple, accentuating the unceasing flow of Israelis to visit it that commenced within hours after the phenomenal conclusion of the Six Days War. This time, however, it must be also an occasion of rejoicing and exultation. Tears may be shed, but they will be, I should think, those of thanksgiving and wonder, in addition to lamentations on past tragedies, and the term of Hallelujah, Praise God, will be as substantive as a morsel of bread with salt. The concepts of freedom of faith, dignity of humanity, and the significance of the sweep of history under the aegis of divinity must somehow or other, I imagine, permeate the atmosphere and penetrate the hearts of the celebrants. I myself dislike huge crowds and have no intention of joining the march of the throngs that will crowd the long and circuitous way around the wall of the Old city from Jaffa Gate to Zion Gate to the Dung Gate or apparently also from the opposite direction around the Wall, passing the Damascus, Herod and Golden Gates to the Dung Gate and then into the Old City proper to the Western or Wailing Wall.
Last night, twenty-two of us, of the Gezer excavation staff, headed, as I have previously mentioned, by Dr. William G. Dever, and Dr. Darrell Lance as Co-Director, met for a closing dinner at the Chinese restaurant called the Mandarin near the corner of Jaffa Road and Princess Mary Ave. The third season of our Hebrew Union College Biblical and Archaeological School of Jerusalem excavations at Gezer has been concluded, although Dever, Lance and others of the core and supervisory staff will remain several days, or respectively several weeks more, finishing balk drawings, writing preliminary reports, reviewing the sherds and other objects that have been kept for additional study, etc. Half of the Solomonic Gate has been opened, one of the great standing pillars or matzevot or menhirs, to which, I believe I referred in my last letter, has been cleared, the great balk of the previous seasons has been deepened to the Early Bronze I level, with the huge wall nearly 50 feet wide, of the Middle Bronze II period of about 18th century B.C. further exposed; and new approaches to the untouched secret places of the tell of Gezer made invitingly and excitingly accessible.
The principal overseer and staff corps, assembled at the Mandarin last night, was composed of as attractive and capable a group of young American academicians, forming a harmonious staff, as has ever been assembled in any archaeological undertaking in this part of the world. Most, if not all, of them will become prominent professors of Archaeology and/or Ancient Near Eastern History and Biblical Literature in the not distant future at many of our American universities, colleges and seminaries. Others will become directors or curators of museums. I was pleased to learn recently that the Johns Hopkins University had joined the growing number of institutions of higher learning that belong to the steadily growing consortium of colleges, universities, theological seminaries and museums associated with the scientific work of the Hebrew Union College Biblical and Archaeological School.
The Mandarin Restaurant is a funny place, a big barn of a restaurant, that serves only Chinese food. I haven’t been there for a number of years. The cook and the waitress are Chinese and the food certainly
I am not a partisan of Chinese food, but everything tasted delicious last night. Several times the waitress explained things to me, but I could never figure out whether she was talking English or Hebrew or Chinese. I think it was Hebrew. The owner is a pleasant chap I have known for some years. He used to be the manager or perhaps a partner of the Italian style Gondola Restaurant in Jerusalem, which is one of the best eating places in town. He is, I am told, a former taxi-driver which, incidentally, means belonging to a sort of elite class here, and he hitched up with the Italian cook of a former British ambassador to start the Gondola. She has remained at the Gondola, and her food is still unvaryingly good, but he has moved over to the more exotic surroundings, or at least menu, of the Mandarin.
Saturday afternoon, August 12, I dropped in for a while at the 6-8 P.M. garden party on the grounds of the beautiful American Consulate at the invitation of Minister-Consul General and Mrs. Evan Wilson, who were giving the affair, the second one of its kind in the last week, to have an opportunity to say goodbye to a lot of their friends, prior to their departure for America tomorrow, August 15. The entire official family of the American Consulate General of Jerusalem was there, plus representative of numerous other consulates, a sprinkling of Dominican fathers from the École Biblique et Archéologique Francaise and some friends from the east side of Jerusalem. It was apparently more of a professional party than the one several days earlier, to which, however, Ambassador Walworth Barbour and other officials from the American Embassy in Tel Aviv and West Jerusalem invitees had come.
I must interject that the dinner last week at Ambassador Barbour’s residency in Herzliyah in honor of the Wilsons was a perfectly lovely and enjoyable affair. The Directory of Antiquities and Mrs. Biran, who were also there, drove me back to Jerusalem the same night. I had the good fortune of having Miss Majorie Ferguson, the Cultural Attaché of the American Embassy as my dinner partner. Her three year tour of duty at this embassy is drawing to a close, and after a vacation period, she will be assigned elsewhere. Her departure will be a distinct loss to
her many friends and to our School, with whose programs of study and work she has been most sympathetic. I shall miss her, although I saw her only infrequently. Ambassador Barbour’s garden is one of the most attractive I have ever seen. A great sloping expanse of lush turf, bounded by flower beds, leads down to a swimming pool obviously built for swimmers, and all of it overlooking the Mediterranean. His grass is the kind that makes one want to walk in it barefooted. Some of us did!
But to get back to the Wilson garden party. Just as I was about to leave, and indeed had said my farewells to the Wilsons, in came Mrs. Vester, the Grande Dame of the American Colony. I had seen her a couple of nights previously at the American Colony. I had seen her a couple of nights previously at the American Colony itself, as she was leaving the main building there for her own house and gone up to speak to her, mentioning my name. She said good evening graciously, and walked on to her house with her nurse. She is, I understand, just a few months short of 90 years of age. At the Wilson part, however, it was still broad daylight when she came in, accompanied by her son, Horatio, who is now the manager of the American Colony. Ninety years or no, she is still a striking figure of a woman, in whom the fabulous beauty of her younger years can still be easily glimpsed. With her beauty and grace, she was also always a woman of strong character and sometimes fierce convictions, who dominated the scene about her in the American Colony. I had thought of her earlier in the year when Helen and I were in Stockholm, and where at the end of my lecture at the great Statens Historiska Museum there, a man had approached me, asking if I remembered him. I looked hard for a second and then recognized him. Olaf Matson, (?) [sic] years ago one of the mainstays of the American Colony, who together with a dissident minority had left it after years of association with it. He is now connected with the numismatics department of the museum. For years, Mrs. Vester has maintained a children’s hospital in the Old City, bringing great blessings to hosts of children. It is called the Anna Spafford Memorial Children’s Hospital. David Whiting, now 54 years of age, the son of John Whiting and Mrs. Vester’s sister,
is also connected now, I believe, with the present American Colony management.
Wednesday, August 16, 1967
The Summer Institute left yesterday morning for the archaeological trip to Greece under Dr. Paul Steinberg’s direction. Dr. Saul Weinberg left for Greece last Friday, where he will meet his wife. They will return here to the HUCBASJ at the beginning of September when Dr. Weinberg will commence his lectures and give seminars on Aegaean influences in Palestine in the last Bronze Age and will also, if it can be arranged, hold classes on the Hellenistic period here. Dr. Dever will give a lecture-seminar course on “The Archaeology of Palestine” and a seminar on special problems dealing with Gezer and the results of the excavations up till now. Dr. Spicehandler will give lectures and seminars on the Bible and Midrash and on Modern Hebrew Literature. All of them will give several public lectures during the course of the year.
Last night, I took a fairly brief walk from our School to the Damascus and Herod Gates and wandered about in that vicinity for a while. The old post office has been demolished, making room for a greatly enlarged public square, commencing from opposite the old Barclay Bank building and leading down to the Jaffa Gate. The entire west wall of the Old city has now been exposed, and the Jerusalem Municipality is busy getting the debris cleared up and preparing what could be a magnificent approach to that gate. The same thing is being done along the north side of the wall of the Old City past the New Gate, leading into the Christian Quarter and continuing down to Damascus Gate. From that point on there is the most excellent road leading past Herod’s Gate and the Palestine Archaeological Museum and joining up with the Jericho road that the Jordanian government had previously constructed. Within a couple of weeks, there will be a paved road leading from the New Gate to the Damascus Gate. Mandelbaum Gate is being torn down. When the
approaches through the Mandelbaum Gate and from Jaffa Road to the Damascus Gate are completed, the traffic jam on the way to East Jerusalem may be considerably lightened.
Jerusalem has changed very considerably in the last two months. The traffic seems to be increasing all the time. Arabs in civilian and native clothes, some with tarbushes and others with kafiyehs and agals for headdress, can be seen in the New City, and Israelis in the Old City. In fact, I am convinced that every Israeli in the country is going to make a pilgrimage to the Old City and to the Western Wall of the Herodian temple. A whole new profession has sprung up of Arabs with donkeys providing rides for tired Israeli and other tourists up and down the steep road to the Dung Gate leading to the Western Wall. Itinerant Arab merchants hawk collections of Jordanian stamps, cold drinks, the equivalent of Eskimo pies and all kinds of trinkets to the floods of pilgrims and tourists and apparently business is good. I saw one of the peddlers make change last night for some prickly pear fruit, sabras, that he had just sold, after peeling them for a customer. Incidentally, they are very good, if your tummy can stand them and you don’t catch the tourist’s disease a result. He pulled out a wad of Israeli pound bills including twenties and tens that would have choked a respectable camel.
The Old City wall between Damascus Gate and Herod’s Gate is dramatically illuminated at night time. It is quite a sight. This was accomplished under Jordanian rule. One momentarily expects a wave of sound to erupt from somewhere, in accordance with the Son et Lumiere shows of the type prepared for visitors at the Acropolis in Athens and at other places in Europe. The only occasional fairly loud sounds, however, were those of nearby taxi-drivers announcing trips to Ramallah or Beersheba and Hebron. The daytime hawkers were nightly silenced.
I walked on to the little side street that curves around north-westward between the back of the large, comparatively new, former Jordanian and now Israeli main post office of the Old City and the Palestine Archaeological Museum. There are several fairly large Arab
restaurants, one on each side of the street which meets Saladin Road farther on. They existed there before the Six Day War and apparently continue to do a thriving business, with at the moment a largely Israeli clientele. I walked into the one Oriental Restaurant, on the east side of the street, just to look around. The kitchen was on the first floor and the dining rooms on the second, with the ceilings and walls darkly refulgent with reddish, orientalized hangings. I didn’t go into the other restaurant, the Hassan Effendi Elarabi Restaurant, farther up on the other side of the street. There was a little hotel, The Excelsior, beyond the first restaurant and beyond it a larger hotel called the Holyland Hotel. A lady who had a proprietress look about her was standing in the doorway of the Excelsior hotel and I asked her which was the better of the two restaurants. The one I had visited received the accolade of her approval. Coming to the Holyland Hotel, I decided I would take a look at it. That makes two hotels now in Jerusalem with the same name, the other one being a most attractive place on the top of a high hill, overlooking the road leading to Ain Karem and the Hadassah Hospital. At this latter Holyland Hotel, with a beautiful garden and an attractive swimming pool, there has been in the process of building for a number of years, and now well towards completion, a large scale model of Roman period, Herodian Jerusalem. The work is under the direction of the renowned Hellenistic-Roman-Byzantine scholar, Professor Michael Avi-Yonah of the Hebrew University, and has therefore as much authenticity in appearance as can possibly be achieved.
To return, however, to the Holyland Hotel near Saladin Road. It is a large hotel and is open for business. Any damage it may have suffered during the war has been repaired, or perhaps it escaped being damaged. It seemed pretty empty, with little of the attractiveness and none of the humming activity of St. George’s class “A” hotel, which is but a few steps removed from the American Schools of Oriental Research. I had an excellent dinner at St. George’s the other night, and bought at the souvenir desk a quite good “Guide to the West Bank of Jordan,” with a frontispiece of a very nice photograph of H.M. King Hussein I of Jordan. This is the fourth edition of this guidebook, but the authors
Chattas J. and Maheeba Akra Jahshan will have to put out a fifth edition to take into account the lightning like changes that have occurred in the political configuration of West Palestine, which, for the present, is now totally Israel.
This morning, Dever, Lance, Seeger, Anita Furshpan and I piled into the Wagoneer and drove over to the British School of Archaeology. We had an appointment with Miss Kathleen Kenyon to visit her excavations of Jebusite and later Jerusalem, located to the steep slopes of the hill near the Dung Gate and below the position of the el-Aksa Mosque and particularly for the most part a short distance above the Virgin’s Fountain or Ain Gichon. The British School of Archaeology occupies a very large, beautifully built old Arab building, constructed, someone told me, I believe, in 1902. It is set in spacious grounds at a point approximately between the ASOR and the American Colony. We drove in and parked our car and were greeted by the expedition’s physician, an elderly woman, named Dr. Smith. Parked outside the ground on the street was our ASOR station wagon, which the director of the ASOR, Father Casey, has most properly made available to the Kenyon expedition. Incidentally, if I haven’t mentioned it before, Miss Kenyon first asked the authorities in Amman if digging in what is now Israeli Jerusalem would prejudice her getting a permit to dig in the future on the East Side of the Jordan. There was no objection, and so she returned and asked for and got permission from the Israeli Department of Antiquities to continue her work on the ancient site in Jerusalem. I, for one, am sure that even if she hadn’t asked the Jordanian authorities in advance, they would have put no obstacles in her way later on.
There is a laissez faire policy on both sides of the Jordan now that works beautifully as long as no official treaties or formal, internationally backed agreements are concerned. For instance, at the easily fordable crossing of the Jordan near Damieh (Biblical Adamah), there is a wholesale movement of heavy trucks bringing melons, tomatoes, and other farm products from the Arab sections of the West Bank across the river to the East Bank, which is in sore need of them, and where the West Bank farmers or fellahin can get much higher prices than on the West Bank
itself. A newly sprung up group of what may be called Jordan River pilots has come into being, that knows the shallow bottom of the river very well and directs the passage of the trucks in both directions across the river. The water comes up to above the hub caps of very large trucks. Small passenger cars cannot make the crossing, unless dragged over by one of the trucks. I understand that several half tracks are around on both sides of the Jordan to pull out any trucks that get stuck in the ford. No Israeli or Jordanian officials or military are around, at least not in uniform, and the brisk trade between Israel and Jordan goes on without any official interference or supervision whatsoever.
I have the feeling, and it is only that, because I am not privy to the councils of the Government of Israel, that in a similar completely unofficial manner this kind of trade between Jordan and Israel could be greatly expanded in many directions, Anyway, I think that those who fear untoward consequences for ASOR archaeological activities in Jordan or other Arab countries if the ASOR continues archeological activities on the West Bank, as I hope it will in such places as Ta’anach, Samaria, Balatah (Shechem) and Ai, should pack up their apprehensions in their old kit bags and go away.
Apprehension, perhaps I had better say exaggerated apprehension, is a funny thing. It is like riding a horse. If the horse knows you are afraid of it, you won’t be able to ride it. I am sure, without trying to be autobiographical, but simply to illustrate the point, that the reason nothing bad ever happened to me during all the years of my archaeological explorations of Transjordan, when with only one Arab or one Circassian companion I wandered across the entire face of the land (in part during years of internecine conflict on the west side of the Jordan, when Husseinis and Nashashibis were shooting each other and others, and civilian traffic was limited to heavily armed convoys led by British troops), sleeping almost every night in a different Arab tent, was because I was sure from the very beginning that if I followed the mores of the country, I would always be well received. The only danger, except on one or two ticklish occasions, that ever threatened me, was at times being practically killed with kindness by being overstuffed at the feasts my wonderfully hospitable Bedouin hosts insisted on preparing for me.
But this is a long verbal detour from the visit to Miss Kenyon’s dig on the slopes of the hill above the Virgin’s Fountain. D. Smith drove us in the ASOR car to the expedition’s headquarters house on the east side of the macadamized road leading up to the Dung Gate. It is located in a sort of old Arab house with numerous rooms twisting around in different directions, each added on apparently as need required or money was found, in accordance with not unfamiliar custom. The courtyard was full of baskets of sherds from the various fields of the dig, and they were being washed and placed with cards in piles for later inspections by Miss Kenyon and members of her staff. Incidentally, if ever one wonders what happens to old tires in this part of the world, apparently many of them end up as baskets of sandal soles. They certainly just never fade away. At first glance, it would be difficult as one drives up the macadamized road leading to Dung Gate to realized that on both sides of the road there were archaeological excavations going on. The first impression is that of hundreds of tourists going up and down the road to Dung Gate, through which one can walk fairly directly particularly to the Western or Wailing Wall. It is only when one looks more carefully, that one can see excavations going on on the slope above the road towards the base of the Herodian Wall below the el-Aksa Mosque and farther down the hill one can see several fields being excavated on the very steep slope leading down to the Virgin’s Fountain in the Kidron wadi. Guards prevent tourist from entering the excavations areas.
Miss Kenyon, a very pleasant lady, with a fine sense of humor, and who is a topnotch archaeologist, and whose excavation techniques form the basis of our Gezer methods, was called in and greeted us most hospitably. She then took us on a nearly two-hour long tour of the various fields of excavation, giving us detailed explanations of everything she had done and is not doing at this site. She insists that this will be the last season. She has about 300 Arabs working on the dig. Last year, I gather, there were some 600 Arab laborers. As a result of the War, wages have risen rapidly in the Old City, and it won’t be long, assuming that the city remains unified, which I believe is a fairly safe assumption, and that the conquered West Bank remains
Israeli, which is a more complicated question, the wage rate among the former Jordanian Arab population will rise drastically and begin to approximate that of the Israeli standard. We met about five supervisors, including several Canadians from the University of Toronto, who had been present at a luncheon tendered me by the archaeological department there last year on the occasion of a visit of mine to Toronto. Miss Kenyon’s total supervisory and technical staff must be many more than five, but we did not meet the others.
I have never seen a more difficult and complicated dig in my life, There are nearly 50 feet of fill over the ancient foundations of various periods. Wherever Miss Kenyon, who is a master technician, excavates one area, it is necessary for here to have tremendous retaining and terrace walls built to protect the fields of investigation farther down the hill, keeping thus further dirt from being washed down from above. I am afraid that some people in the future are going to mistake her retaining and terrace walls for ancient ones, which, to be sure, with sufficient passage of time, they too will indeed become. Miss Kenyon has obtained evidence of occupation above the Ain Gichon spring extending from Early Bronze to Davidic and Solomonic and later times in the Iron Age and to and through the Herodian period. She believes she can trace the Canaanite and Judaean walls. If anybody can, she is the one who can do it. She has also identified a Maccabaean rampart which some have mistaken for a Jebusite fortification. In every age it was necessary to build retaining walls serving the same purpose her modern walls serve, so it can be seen how difficult and delicate the task of making sense out of the remains must be. At one most interesting point, she has reached the foundations of the Herodian Wall, resting on a deep rock-cut escarpment at the bottom of which is a cave or a cistern, which she was just opening yesterday.
Thursday, August 17, 1967
Bill Dever and some of the others of the Gezer staff had taken the Wagoneer to go to Gezer for the day to tie up loose ends there. When we got to the ASOR, Paul Lapp was waiting for us, and we descended to the basement with him to examine the excitingly important collection of Chalcolithic and Early Bronze pottery he had excavated at Bab edh-Dhra on the east side of the Dead Sea. We spent the morning going over one piece after another and examining his drawings of the tomb shafts he had excavated in this fantastic necropolis. He estimates there must be two million pottery vessels there. He brought back to Jerusalem literally thousands of completed pottery jars and bowls, which were made apparently for the specific purpose of being placed in the burials, although apparently without food or drink in them, because they were frequently stacked one on top of the other. He also recovered numerous basalt vessels, after which some of the pottery ones were modeled. Father Casey joined us during the examination of the pottery. Its contemporary parallels seem to occur in the Caucasus and Turkestan.
After about two hours examination of the pottery I drove Ruth Amiran back to the Israel Museum and then returned to the ASOR to meet Paul Lapp again and have lunch with him and Nancy, his wife, who is a fellow Cincinnatian, in their very attractive and comfortable house in the Shefa’at district out towards Ramallah. Their children had already eaten. Paul was very lucky with his house. Although there was fighting in that area during the Six Day War, his house, rented from a prominent member of the Husseini family who is an oil geologist in Kuwait, suffered no more damage than some broken glass and broken window frames. More important, however, was the fact that absolutely nothing in the house had been disturbed. Consul-General Evan Wilson and I had cabled Paul to Athens to let us know where the keys were. The letter containing them came some days after he and his family returned from Athens, which they had reached by a circuitous route after leaving Jerusalem either the day before or on the very day that the shooting began on June 5. He and his family had driven to Amman, where his car is still parked, and had them flown to Athens.
While we were examining Miss Kenyon’s dig yesterday, there was a long series of explosions, the smoke of which could be seen on the slopes and top of the so-called Government House Hill, where the UN headquarters were formerly located and apparently are to be relocated on a permissive basis. I thought at first that mine fields were being cleared but then remembered that some movie company is making a film of the Six Day Wars, and all this was fortunately make-believe action.
Friday, August 18, 1967
The day ended yesterday with a small dinner party a Jean and Eva Perrot’s spacious and beautiful apartment on the top floor of an old Arab house in Talbieh. Jean Perrot is the head of the French Archaeological Mission here and is succeeding Ghirshman as the head of the French Archeological Mission in Iran. He is, however, apparently going to retain his position here, too. He is a great prehistoric archaeologist. Among the dinner guests were Professor Jellinek, who had been digging or redigging one of the prehistoric caves near Hafia, formerly excavated by Dorothy Garrod, namely Mugharet Tabun. He has finished for the season and is returning to America tomorrow. He is moving from the University of Michigan to a Full Professorship of Prehistory at the University of Arizona. The other guests included Professor George Hass, Professor of Zoology at the Hebrew University: Professor Leo Picard, Professor of Geology at the Hebrew University and an old friend of mine; and my close friends, Dr. Avram Biran, the Director of the Department of Antiquities of Israel and Mrs. Biran. Our conversation ranged from prehistory in Israel, to the earliest pottery in the world, which apparently occurs in Japan, to the Chalcolithic pottery of Bab edh-Dhra, to archaeology in South America and so on. It was pleasant professional interchange. The meal itself was most enjoyable. The very attractive Eva Perrot sets a fine table.
This morning, at 6:15, most of the Gezer supervisory staff left by bus for Lydda to take the morning TWA flight to America. Included, were some of the American student volunteers, who had come from America,
paid their own round trip fare and a fifty dollar tuition charge and worked as laborers in the excavations for the entire season. It is a wonderful learning process the way we do it. There are separate lectures in the evening by members if the core staff, and the working in the various fields of the excavations get constant explanations of what is involved, the archaeological problems that arise, the significance of the finds, the methodology employed etc. It is a wonder that we were able to reassemble the whole group after the June 5 cancellation and get a much as done as was accomplished. To Bill Dever and Darrell Lance belong a great deal of credit. We hope to continue the HUCBASJ excavations at Gezer for perhaps as many as seven more years.
Confidential Not for publication Without the Express Permission of the Author
Tenth Installment Jerusalem, Monday, August 21, 1967
During the last few days, some of us of the Hebrew Union College Biblical and Archaeological School of Jerusalem have been taking trips of three to five hours duration in our Wagoneer to various parts of the country that can easily be reached in an hour or two each way. Of course, that means seeing a lot of this little country, whose entire compass is of small dimensions, yet whose geography is as variegated as its populations. Saturday afternoon, some of us drove down to Jericho just to “breathe the air,” as the Arab phrase goes, and to see the infinite changes of light on the landscape in the hours of the declining and setting of the sun. A stop for a cup of tea for me and cold drinks for the others at an Arab café in Jericho, the purchase of papayas in the somnolent center of the town, a commiserating glance at the empty refugee camp on both sides of it, and then back up to Jerusalem on the main road to the hum and bustle if the unified city. There is a check-post outside of Jerusalem, and on the way down I had to produce my pass which is good for the entire West Bank, except for Allenby Bridge. As we drove homeward in the late afternoon, about 4 P.M., the sun began to go down and the grim whitish appearance of the hillsides yielded to a soft golden and subdued ruby red. It was nearly dark by the time we got back and threaded out way through the evening traffic to the HUBASJ.
Wonderful to relate, the Municipality has already paved the road from Allenby Square, where Jaffa Road, Mamillah Road and the Street of the Prophets meet, down along the north side of the Old City wall to Damascus Gate. There are startling improvements of this kind that seen to occur overnight. All of the stone houses, battered in several wars over the last twenty years, and the new openness greatly improves its appearance. All that is required now is the planting of a garden at its base, and this step is contemplated I believe.
Yesterday morning, some of us drove down to Jericho again. This time, however, we did not take the normal, broad, excellent highway, leading past Damascus Gate and Herod Gate and then paralleling the east wall of the Old City for a while. We drove north towards Ramallah, and then just about where the Shefa’at suburb begins, turned east along a narrow macadamized, little known road, that leads to Anata (Biblical Anathroth), Ain Far’ah, a fine spring from which some of the water for Jerusalem used to be drawn, and then twists around through the hills, till finally it leads down to the main Jericho Road. It is a thrilling ride though beautiful, intensively cultivated country, that peters out in the uncultivated parts of the Wilderness of Judah. The road had been macadamized, I am told, by the Jordan Government as a military road, to make it possible to bring military hardware to the Jerusalem area through a back road. Indeed, that is what happened during the Six Day War. Much of the road is marked by burned-out tanks and trucks that could not escape the devastating bombing of the Israeli Air Force. After the first few hours, it had won and maintained a crushing air superiority.
Reaching the Jericho Road, we looked for and found the side road leading to the old track along the Wadi Qelt. There are no signposts, because of some repairs being made where the two roads meet. It is a very steeply descending road, but by putting the car in first gear, there was no necessity of stepping on the brakes all the time. The Wadi Qelt is the continuation of the Wadi Far’ah near which we had driven when we had left Anata. The entire character of the narrow steep canyon, cut through the grayish-brown rock of the Wilderness of Judah, suddenly changes, when out of its north side there bursts forth a powerful spring The water of Ain Qelt are soon led by a bridge-aqueduct to the south side of the canyon and then down to the Plains of Jericho, where, joining with the waters of Elisha’s fountain near Tell es-Sultan (ancient Jericho), they irrigate the lush oasis of Jericho. The sight and sound of water never tired of looking and listening and marveling. And then, too, there are the immensely picturesque stone buildings of the monastery of St. John of Choziba, practically plastered against the north side of the cliff.
The Wadi Qelt has been wrongly identifies with the Biblical Brook Cherith, and most notably so by George Moore’s fascinating novel of that name.
Soon we were down in the Jericho plains, passing through the town, and reached the eighth century A.A. Omayyad ruins of Khirbet Mefjer. It is a handsome and impressive place, whose construction was apparently never completed because of earthquake disturbances. The well-known mosaic, depicting a pomegranate tree fill of fruit with two gazelles on each side, with one of the latter being attacked by a tiger (?) [sic], is now housed over and is well protected. I hadn’t seen the opulent site for many years; and it is good to see that the example of the Jordan Department of Antiquities in taking excellent care of it, is now being emulated by the Israeli Department of Antiquities. The only new additions in the Palestine Archaeological Museum that struck my eye when I first entered it early in June were some of the beautiful chalk carvings from Khirbet Mefjer. Otherwise, as I believe I may have said at the time, the exhibitions were much the same as when I last saw then in 1947.
After that we tried to get to Allenby Bridge in order to watch the return of hundreds of refugees who had fled the country early in June and July. My pass wasn’t good enough for that, and we were stopped at a check-post about hallway to the Bridge. However, we were able to see truckloads of refugees passing on the road back to the home they has so precipitately and unnecessarily left. The ambivalence of Hussein’s Jordan government is not helping the situation. On the one hand, it is pressing the refugees in Jordan to return and Israel has agreed to their return. Israel has demanded, to be sure, that they be the same refugees who fled originally and that they do not include known inimical agents sent back to work against Israel. On the other hand, the Jordan ratio keeps on urging the returnees to act as a fifth column and help incite the West Bank residents against the government of Israel. Israel has extended the period during which refugees who left in the first weeks after the war, may return. Not all of them want to, apparently.
full of dangerous curves, with no room for trucks to pass one another, We decided to take it anyway, and found that is was a perfectly fine road, wider than the sign led one to believe, and that quite a few cars, especially Arab ones, identifiable by having the number “630” precede the rest of the licence [?] number, and some still with old Jordanian licences [sic], were using this back road. It, too, seems to have been a military road, and some of the now familiar burned-out carcasses of military vehicles testified to the fact that the Jordanian army had tried to utilize it during the brief war. It was only when we got to the near top of the broken hills in the general vicinity of Ramallah that we began to see rather nice little villages again, coming finally to the rather large Christian village of Taiyiba, well to the northeast of Ramallah. It has three sizable churches. From there the road led to Ain Yabrub, Beitin (Bethel) and Ramallah, where it joined with the main Nablus-Jerusalem road. We turned south then and headed home.
I was in the Old City last night at an Arab restaurant behind the big post office and noticed that several shops had apparently closed during the day as a sign of strike against the Israeli government. On the closed shutters, police, I imagine, had painted symbols. They seem to indicate, as occurred about a week ago, that these shops may not re-open again without special police permission and could be ordered to remain closed indefinitely. There used to be frequent strikes of this kind against Hussein, which were more or less tolerated. There is no question but that they will not be permitted by the Israeli government, especially when advance notices of impending strikes are announced on the Cairo radio.
The Israeli government occasionally has problem with its own officials. The Chief Army Chaplin, Rabbit Shlomo Goren, who has the sensitivity of a bull in a china shop, announced that he was going to hold a prayer meeting in the compound of the Haram esh-Sherif. All the newspapers, or at least those that I saw, and the general public protested against this stupidity, and it has been announced that he has withdrawn this proposal. There are currents and undercurrents here that have to be studied carefully to enable at best a difficult situation to be handled
sensibly, with good will hopefully making for constant mutual improvement of relationships between the Israeli and Arab parts of the population and for the correction of mistakes. I notice that more and more Arab hotels are opening up and doing business, I passed another one last night, which, like the St. George’s Hotel, is also near the American Schools of Oriental Research. It is called, I believe, the National Palace Hotel, and seemed to be quite full.
This morning, some of us of the HUCBASJ, drove to Herodium and Tekoa. We took the long, twisting, rather narrow macadamized road leading off from the Jericho Road to Bethlehem. It is the one that was built and used during the Jordan government rule, making it possible to travel directly from Jordan Jerusalem to Bethlehem. The main, straight highway, which is now open again and is much shorter, and had been cut into two parts, with a no-man’s lad separating them previously. The side road to Bethlehem winds through a peaceful and apparently quite prosperous countryside, intensively cultivated, with buses plying the route and stopping at the villages alongside of it or having access to it. There seem also to be plenty of privately owned automobiles, many of them still bearing Jordanian licences [sic]. Many of the houses along this road, as was the case along the side roads we had used going to and from Jericho yesterday, still bear the white flag of surrender. The tempo of life in these villages along side-roads is still unhurried, quiet, almost arcane, and at least from superficial observation, rather pleasant and fairly happy. No one is hungry, no one lacks housing, there is none of the grinding, debilitating poverty that puts a sheen of decay and rot and bad smell over so many sections of many large settlements and cities throughout the world. I gather that the government of Israel is going to make the strongest possible effort to see to it that the economy of the West Bank Arab population and of the left in the refugee camps be lifted as soon as possible to the comparatively high economic level of Arab populations in such areas as the Nazareth district.
From Bethlehem we turned south over a perfectly good macadamized road that apparently leads in a roundabout way to Hebron. In comparatively
few minutes we had reached the base of the striking, largely artificial hill of Herodium or Frank Mountain, that Herod the Great built as one of his great fortresses and where finally this exceedingly able but totally amoral and violent dictator was buried. His mother was a Nabataean princess and his father a Judaized Edomite or Idumaean. It is possible to drive straight to the top of Herodium not, but we preferred not to put our Wagoneer to the test, although it could easily have passed it. Several Israeli army jeeps, with sight-seeing personnel, drove up to the top of the great conical hill while we were there. The base of the hill is 2700 feet in diameter and the top about 9oo feet, and it stretches upward about 300 feet above the surrounding, rather bare plain around it. There is a wonderful view over Bethlehem from it. Years ago, some of us of the ASOR walked from Bethlehem to Herodium, and on another occasion turned east and walked from Bethlehem to the monastery of Mar Saba overlooking the beginnings of the steepest part of the descent of the Wadi Qidron down to the Dead Sea. The excavations conducted some years ago, by Italian archaeologists, I believe, at Herodium, uncovered some of the massive walls encircling it and many of the building remains inside the cone. A considerable portion of these, however, in their present form cannot possibly be earlier than Byzantine and may well be later. I haven’t read the report of the excavations. Alas and alack, the so-called amenities of modern times have reached Herodium, Soon, there appeared an Arab boy toting a canister of Artiks, a sort of frozen ice-stick, and when we got down from the hill there were a half a dozen vendors selling more or less cold bottled drinks. Bill Dever bought an Artiks, but did not eat it when I formally wished him a speedy recovery from the illnesses which might result from its consumption.
From Herodium we drove to the hilltop village site of Tekoa, which still retains its ancient Biblical name in the form of Tikua. The top of the hill was covered with Byzantine and later ruins, and the remains of numerous ancient tombs and cisterns. I found no sherds of the periods of occupation described or referred to briefly in the Bible. Indeed, the fact of the continued existence of the Biblical name there by no means proves that this place represents the Biblical site proper. It might,
but we didn’t stop long enough to make an exhaustive search for surface sherds, which might prove or disprove the authenticity of the identification. Perhaps others have already done work there, establishing the original Tekoa or not, it certainly must be in the proper general location. From it, one commands a wonderful view over Herodium.
August 22, 1967
One of my favorite diversions since coming here this June has been to pursue the story of the missing Dead Sea Scroll of the Book of Genesis. I haven’t seen it, but have begun to believe in its existence and to believe the story that it is the largest scroll in existence. Several of our American scholars flew to Beirut last spring to try to find out about it and perhaps purchase it. After a series of cloak and dagger meetings with the antiquity dealer, with his Lebanese banker representative, with some American lady, and with others, including the sight of a high official of Interpol lunching with the American lady, nothing came of the visit. An American lawyer in Washington, D.C. seems to have represented the owner or owners of the Genesis Scroll in question. It is not clear what connection, if any, he had with the American lady in Beirut. The American scholars flew home, with none of them having been permitted to see the original scroll, if indeed it were in Beirut at the time, and with none of them having been shown anything together. Some pieces of manuscript, not of the Dead Scroll category, were shown to one of the American scholars, who is one of the greatest authorities in the world on the Scrolls, and he evaluated that what he saw a worth perhaps three thousand dollars. The antiquity dealer was asking a million dollars for the Genesis Scroll, which however he did not produce for examination by any one. If his story is at all correct, he would have been better advised to have done so and struck a reasonable bargain then and there, because the latter end of the story, as I have been able to piece it together, is at the present anyways, a very sad one for him. He no longer has the Scroll, and thus far has not received a solitary sou [sic] in return for it.
New of the fact that he may have been in possession of a Dead Sea Scroll of the Book of Genesis seems to have been known by the Israeli authorities. This dealer, who has a shop very near the ASOR, and whose full name is Khalil I. Shahin Kando, and who is known as Kando, is a Bethlehem Christian, who has been in the antiquity business for many years. He was the dealer who was in on the acquisition of the Original Dead Sea Scrolls by the late Professor Sukenik. The latter risked his life several times crossing lines between the besieged Israelis and the attacking Arab forces in 1947. It may well be that Kando has had this Genesis Scroll, if indeed it is that, during all these years, or he may have been holding it for an investment group. There are few stocks and bonds that have accrued in value over the years anywhere commensurate with the almost geometrically growing price for Dead Sea Scrolls. It is interesting to note that the original scrolls and this one appeared or came into public attention during or immediately following hostilities between the Arabs and the Israelis. Anyway, it was apparently known to the Israeli authorities that Kando possessed either a scroll or scrolls or something similar, and they moved fast to determine what was what at the first possible moment after the cessation of hostilities in Jerusalem.
Some Israeli officials and military appeared at Kando’s shop in Jerusalem to seek him out. Failing to find him, they went either to his house or shop in Bethlehem, demanded to see the Scroll and have it turned over to them. There is an antiquity law in Israel even as in Jordan, to the effect that the government can confiscate any antiquity and then reimburse the owner through the equivalent of court procedures, if the price offered the owner is not satisfactory. For instance, during this summer, I have purchased some wonderful complete pieces of pottery from Bab edh-Dhra and elsewhere, including basalt bowls and dishes, that are all museum pieces. I am about to ship them home and place them in our Hebrew Union College Museums at our various schools for display and study purposes as soon as possible. Before being able to have them packed and exported, however, I notified the Israel Department of Antiquities to come and examine them and see if it were permissible to take them out of the country. The other day, the Department of Antiquities sent one
of its inspectors, Gershon Edelstein, who came and carefully examined every piece I had purchased, and declared, so he told me, that he saw no objection to exporting them. The various government museums in the country have as good or better pieces. He could, however, have said that such and such a piece or pieces was or were unique and that the Department of Antiquities would like to have them, which is a euphemism for confiscating them. I would then have asked to be reimbursed for what I had paid, but the government need not necessarily have agreed to the price and could have fixed an arbitrary sum. I could then have accepted or appealed through regular legal procedures.
And that in brief is what happened to Kando. When the Israeli authorities presented themselves at his house or shop – I am not sure which – in Bethlehem, they demanded to see and then seized the Scroll. It was obvious that they knew about its existence. I asked Kando how he could possibly explain that. He replied that some years ago, he had snipped off a tiny fragment of it and given it, if I remember correctly, to an interested American who wanted to submit it to a carbon-14 test, and on the basis of the results, make or not make an offer for the Genesis Scroll. That little snip apparently set the international ball rolling. If there was any truth to Kando’s story, which was first told me by Mrs. Evan Wilson, the wife of the recently retired American Minister-Consul General of Jerusalem, he would have been well advised to show it to the American scholars he saw in Beirut in March 1967, or to have tried to smuggle it out of the country and deposit it in Switzerland. I have had dealings with international antiquity dealers, and they have ways of getting things in and out of countries, that put them on a par with dope smugglers. I don’t know who the American was who got the little piece of the Scroll and I am not particularly interested in finding out, because the story has practically run its course and there is no gain except that of satisfying curiosity as to his identity. My curiosity doesn’t stretch that far. I think I was brought into the picture originally by Mrs. Wilson, because word had spread through Jerusalem
that I had been helpful in getting restored to Mr. Ohan some of the things that had been looted from his shop early in June and it was thought I could be helpful to Kando. Incidentally, I must note again that there has been a minimum amount of looting. I do not wish to sound unpatriotic, but if an Australian or American army had occupied Jerusalem, there would have been perhaps much more. If a Russian army had occupied Jerusalem, the entire city would have been devastated.
Anyway, to get back to my story. Kando admitted he had the Scroll and turned it over to the Israeli authorities who had presented themselves to him and who specifically demanded it of him. They then questioned Kando for hours as to whether or not he had other scroll material. He replied that he didn’t and after repeated conversations with him, I believe him. One of my favorite pastimes is to drop into his shop, go upstairs to a little room above the sales room, be given a cup of coffee or tea and be regaled with more details about this entire matter. Then, according to Kando and his brother, they were both taken to Tel Aviv for five days, kept in a nice apartment with a telephone, the number of which they say they have, were well treated and interrogated further. Finally, the authorities became convinced that Kando did not have any more Dead Sea Scrolls and brought him and his brother back to Jerusalem. It was approximately then that I came into the picture. My advice to Kando was to get himself a good lawyer, which he has done, a chap named, I believe, Tusia Cohen, to protect his interests and rights. I explained to Kando that insofar as I could judge and see, he had absolutely nothing to fear in pressing a court case against the government for confiscating his Scroll and not giving him immediately a receipt or making an offer to pay for it or saying anything about it to him for weeks on end. That isn’t quite correct, because he tells me that intermediaries have approached him, offering him various amounts, which do not in the least approach the sum of a million dollars that he had been or had intended asking for it. He claims that he himself paid the Ta’amireh Bedouins a huge sum for it. I forget whether he said 350,000 or 150,000 dollars.
with a grandiloquent flourish said that in case he does not get an acceptable price for the Scroll, he will present it to the government, with the hope that when someday it is exhibited in a museum, underneath it will be a plaque reading: “the Gift of Kando.”
During the several months that have ensued since the Scroll was taken from Kando, he has done nothing except hire the above mentioned lawyer, and wait. Originally, there is no question in my mind that he was afraid for his life and the lives of his family. You must remember the atmosphere that prevailed in the first weeks after the conclusion of the Six Day War. There is no question but that if the Egyptian and Arab forces had prevailed, there would have been a most fearful slaughter of most of the two and a half million Israelis in the country. This had been announced over the Arab radio broadcasting stations repeatedly. It was specifically mentioned in some of the Arab army orders that fell into Israeli hands. The Arabs therefore had reason to fear that what they had intended doing to the Israelis, the victorious Israelis would now do to them. Even though nothing occurred, indeed the opposite, because for instance in Jerusalem the day after hostilities ceased, Mayor Teddy Kollek and the Israeli army authorities saw to it that food and milk and water in plentiful supply were made available to the Arab inhabitants of the Old City, so that there would be no suffering of any kind on account of lack of humanitarian concern for their welfare, I repeat, even though nothing occurred, very many Arabs were convinced that the Israelis were just biding their time, and bloody retribution would be visited upon them.
I explained time and time again to Kando that he had nothing to fear, that law prevailed in Israel, that neither the military nor the civilian authorities would or could take matters into their hands in arbitrary, illegal, cruel, or sadistic fashion, that he had every right to go to court if necessary to present his claims and demand redress, and that nothing would happen to him. He has now accepted this point of view. Anyway, the first chapter of this story has come to an end. Kando was summoned recently to the offices of the military governor of the West Bank and there presented with an official statement that his
Scroll had been confiscated in accordance with Antiquity Law, paragraph so –and-so, that provision existed for compensation, and that if he wanted to he could file a legal claim against all or any part of the entire procedure up till now. This may not be exactly correct, as I have put it, but it is about 90 per cent correct. The case will be up for adjudication sooner or later. I have the feeling that Kando and his associates or family have been sitting on this Scroll for twenty years, and it doesn’t seem to matter particularly to him whether it drags out another year or two. I mentioned this entire matter briefly some time ago to a powerful Israeli personality, who apparently knew something about it, and replied that the matter was under study. Finally, I hope that the Scroll is authentic and that in due course it will be properly published by completely competent scholars.
August 23, 1967
Last night, I was invited to the book-packed apartment of Supreme Court Justice and Mrs. Chaim Cohen. There is a sensible Israeli custom of inviting people over about 9 P.M., after dinner, to meet people and engage in conversation. Tea or coffee, fruit, ice cream, and a liqueur are served in the course of the evening. Mrs. Cohen is the daughter of the former head of the Supreme Court, Dr. Moshe Smoira, whom I knew well and liked very much. We touched on many subjects, one of them being the necessity of preventing the Chief Chaplain of the Armed Forces, Rabbi Shlomo Goren, from engaging in any more of his theatrical shenanigans in the name of religion, such as trying to hold religious services in the temple area. Because of his army connections, he had previously had himself flown to Mt. Sinai, or what is popularly called Mt. Sinai, hiked to the top of it, where there is some sort of church building, and grandly blew the shofar. I guess he believed this would call God’s attention to his presence, I don’t know whether or nor he thought he might become the recipient of a second set of the Ten Commandments, which of course never existed in the first place in the form of being inscribed on two tablets of stone.
I was asked by some of those present, not by Justice Cohen, why I didn’t go to the Supreme Court for a test case as to whether or not Reform Rabbis could function as Rabbis in every respect in Israel. At the present time, the Orthodox Rabbinate, backed by the tradition and legality of the Turkish and British Mandatory law, which in this respect has been adopted by the Israeli Government, refuses to recognize the rights of Reform Rabbis, or for that matter of Conservative Rabbis, to exercise rabbinical functions, including that of presiding over marriages. Inasmuch as their refusal carries the sanction of civil law, Orthodox Rabbis are the only ones who can function as Rabbis in Israel, although anybody can lead a prayer service.
I forgot whether in a previous letter I mentioned this, but in a recent newspaper interview in the Ma’ariv, I suggested that there be freedom of religion in Israel even for Jews. The statement has rankled with some and caused a delight to others. The day will come and soon, I replied to the query to me, when some of us would have to challenge the existing restrictive law on the basis of freedom of religion which is guaranteed by the Israeli constitution. The late former Premier Moshe Sharett had defended this principle in the Knesset, when there was debate there as to why the Government had given me two acres of what may be the most valuable land in Jerusalem on an eternal lease basis for the building of our HUCBASJ with its Chapel.
The talk turned at another point to the incredible bravery of the young Israeli soldiers and their almost unbelievable feat, among others, of storming up the steep hills of the Gaulan to dislodge powerfully entrenched Syrian troops sitting in a Maginot line type of defences [sic], with cannon pointing straight down the hillsides. The Israeli soldiers were contrasted in their general orientation to the friendly Druzes, many of whom fought together with the Israelis against the Syrians, and who seem to have relished hand-to-hand combat, where the bayonet and the dagger form the ideal weapons. The Israeli troops fought this kind of battle, too, but did not feel like heroes because of their victories. When they returned to their kibbutzim in the Jordan valley that had been shelled,
mined, raided, shot at for years by the Syrians, they wanted nothing to do with the receptions, or celebrations in their honor. They mourned their extraordinary high number of dead and wounded, and refused to participate in any victory parties. Killing was not to their taste. They were prepared to the last man to fight and if necessary to die for their families and homes, but there was nothing glorious or manly for them about the legalized killing of deadly combat in declared or undeclared warfare. They and all Israeli army demonstrated what I believe has now become universally true so far as Jews are concerned, namely, gone is the day when Jews will be lulled or frightened into accepting with a sort of fatalistic belief that “it can’t possibly be true” the publicized demonic attempts of Nazis or Russians or Arabs or anybody to expunge their kind off from the face of the earth, while the rest of the civilized world sits by mouthing pitiful and pitiless platitudes of prayers for peace or saying nothing at all.
I was asked last night what I would have done if as a soldier guarding some Syrian prisoners, with their hands behind their necks, one of them had reached into a bag behind his neck, pulled out a hand grenade, slipped its pin and then thrown it at me. I replied that I would have shot the s.o.b. I asked if the grenade throwing incident had really occurred and if so what the reaction of the guard had been. The answer was that the grenade had not exploded and that he had refrained from shooting. Someone spoke up and said that that seemed to be an example of almost pathological humanitarianism. “I shall set before you life and good and death and evil, and therefore choose life,” says the Bible. I guess, upon reflection, I am glad the Israeli soldier did not shoot.
We talked about the political future of the West Bank. One of the people present, a prominent novelist, whose name unfortunately I did not quite get, but was told by Justice Cohen that she was a prominent novelist, told us about her conversation with Arab intelligensia, some of whom would like a confederation with Israel, others of whom would like a separate, Palestinian Arab dominated state that would include Jordan, etc. The Palestinian Arabs seem to disdain and dismiss King Hussein, who is mainly dependent upon his fiercely loyal Bedouin tribes. The Israelis
want a sane peace, achieved through direct conversations with the neighboring Arab states and based upon recognition of the State of Israel. Under such circumstances, I am convinced that a sane and politically and economically viable system could be established to the mutual blessing of Arabs and Israelis.
The lady novelist was telling us last night about an Arab friend of hers, who cane to her and her husband in their little apartment at Beth-alpha, for desperately needed advice. He was about to get married, he had decided and had narrowed his choice to two young ladies. Incidentally, it must be stated that he had been trained as a tractor driver by the Beth-alpha kibbutz, and thus had swung himself to a relatively high station of life, compared to his family’s semi-Bedouin background. The one Arab girl he was considering was a great beauty, but had no education whatsoever. He was thinking ahead, and felt he wanted the children of any marriage of his to have more cultural and general educational guidance than he had had, and whose schooling, etc. would be knowledgeably supervised by their mother. The drawback against the beautiful girl was that she had none of this background and had no interest whatsoever in adapting herself to so-called more modern ways of life. The other girl he was considering had all the virtues he deemed necessary. She had eight years of schooling somewhere, was very presentable socially so far as the modern world was concerned and would be able to give their future children the kind of guidance he felt absolutely necessary for them in his new station of life. She dressed in modern clothes, had excellent taste and a good family background, certainly superior to that of the beauty who obviously attracted him enormously. There was only one drawback. She was as ugly as sin.
The lady novelist wisely insisted that she could not advise him and that he would have to make the choice himself. He did. He chose the town-bred, educated, unprepossessing gal, and had apparently lived happily ever after, at least during these first years of his marriage. There was a brief silence, while we pondered this tale and it sociological significance in a changing Arab world. And then Supreme Court Justice
Chaim Cohen spoke up. “To have rejected the beautiful girl to whom he was so strongly drawn in favor of the other considerations was the greatest mistake he will ever have committed in his life.” A roar of laughter greeted this sally by a warm and wise and witty and greatly learned man.
Confidential Not for publication Without the Express Permission of the Author
Eleventh Installment Jerusalem, Monday, August 27, 1967
Every government has a certain amount of red tape and that is true of the government of Israel and also of the Municipality of Jerusalem. On the whole, however, I guess there is no more than in most countries or in America. I am shipping some pottery and stone vessels home that I purchased this summer. The Department of Antiquities was most obliging, sending an inspector to my apartment in the Hebrew Union College Biblical and Archaeological School of Jerusalem to examine what I had bought, and then after the object has been boxed, sending someone along to put a wire and seal respectively around and on each box so that it can pass through customs. The red tape will come when the shipment gets to New York City and then gets transported to Cincinnati. I hope the pottery arrives intact.
What started me off thinking about red tape is that this morning I have made arrangements to call on the City Engineer, Mr. Amikam Jaffe, and I shall bring our architect along, to show him the plans for our new building, which are to be submitted to the Municipality tomorrow for inspection and approval. The other day, we called on the District Governor, Mr. Samuel Yeshaya, who also had to examine and approve the plans. I do not know how the office of the District Governor, and the office of the City Engineer work with each other. All I know is that it is good public relations to visit the heads of each office beforehand and show them the plans unofficially and implicitly bespeak their interest and speedy official attention when the plans arrive on their desks. They have their own staffs of engineers and architects, I believe, who examine the plans quite carefully. A couple of years ago, they quite properly rejected a plan we submitted for an enlargement of our garage. I thought I could get it done without having proper architectural plans prepared.
I called on Mayor Teddy Kollek yesterday afternoon at this apartment. He is an old and good friend of mine, whom I first knew when for years he
was the Director-General of the Prime’s Minister’s office. He helped materially in the early 1960’s when I was trying to get the land for the building of the HUCBASJ and after that when there were troubles with the Jerusalem Municipality in getting approval for our architectural plans, which called also for the incorporation of a Reform Jewish Chapel. The person who helped most in the latter respect was the late, then Mayor of Israel Jerusalem, Gershon Agron. He was quite prepared if necessary to sacrifice his political career to help me get the necessary municipality permit, although he was by no means a synagogue or temple attendant himself. But all of that is a story of the past, worth telling or recording, but not here. Mayor Kollek is very interested in our additional building and asked me if I had paid my respects to the District Governor and the City Engineer. U told him that that would be finished by today. Then we started to talk about ancient pottery and other objects. Over the years, he, himself, has collected a small but astoundingly good collection of pottery, glass, jewelry and bronzes, extending from here to Iran and westward to Cyprus. He told me he had heard I was doing some purchasing this summer. When I told him of some of the things I had gotten for our museum in America, he asked me to get a couple of pieces for him. I won’t be able to now, because I am leaving this Tuesday for New York City, but will try when I get back again. That is, I shall call his attention to pieces I think are good and let him do the buying himself.
I also called in my very dear friend, Beatrice (Mrs. Judah L.) Magnes, yesterday afternoon. The Magneses were the godparents of my son, Charles. Whenever I come back to Jerusalem and whenever I go home again, the first and last thing I do is to call on Beatrice. She is 88 years old now, confined to a wheelchair, but is still remarkably alert, particularly able to recall, as she herself ruefully confesses, many more things of the past than of most recent times. Nevertheless she keeps amazingly au courant. Now a great-grandmother, she has an uncanny memory for family histories, particularly of people with whom she and Judah were associated in earlier days and it is fascinating to listen to her reminiscences.
The midnight curfew in the Old City of Jerusalem is lifted as of tonight. That will be a boon for the restaurants and hotels there and
on its outskirts, and is another happy step forward towards normalization of the state of affairs in this endlessly interesting city. It is, I am afraid, going to be a long time before real peace comes to this part of the world. A party of tourists driving from Jericho to Jerusalem was fired on the other day. They notified the police who sped to the scene, where three of them were wounded by sniper fire, none fortunately mortally. The police and the summoned-up military caught the sniper and arrested the members of his family who tried to prevent the arrest. The first rough-handed but obviously necessary punishment had been handed out. The fours houses belonging to the sniper, his brother and their relatives were blown up by the military. Further searches for arms are being undertaken.
The refugees return is only a trickle of what it could be if the Jordanian Government were efficient or if the refugees really wanted to return. With Hussein’s continuous announcements, furthermore, that the refugees upon returning are to be a spearhead of resistance and reconquest of the Western Bank, the refugees apparently are loath to come back to area they could be caught between to warring sides. The Israel Government on its part is loath to extend again the deadline for the return of refugees, when it is being indirectly told through Amman radio broadcasts that they “are to serve as a thorn in Israel’s flesh.” I gather that Israel will continue to permit members of families that got separated to return even after the deadline, and is continuingly ready to sit down with representatives of the Amman Government for direct talks concerning the refugees and particularly for direct peace negotiations. The continuing refusal of Jordan and other Arab states to recognize the existence of Israel, or to deal with Israel, is something that Israel cannot and will not accept. The United States Government, I read in the morning’s newspaper, was requested by Jordan to ask Israel to extend the deadline for the return of refugees. Israel demands most properly to be dealt with directly. I was pleased to read that Bourgiba has come out for a reappraisal of Arab policies, with a statement that the Arab countries must recognize Israel, which is a member of the United Nations and which is recognized, among others, by the U.S.A. and the U.S.S.R.
The ominous build-up by the U.S.S.R of its Mediterranean fleet bothers me. The grievous defeat of the Arabs may or may not have served as a severe psychological setback for the Soviet authorities, but they are certainly taking advantage of the situation to retrieve their good name in the Arab world by restoring large of amounts of the arms and tanks and planes that the Arabs lost, and above all by taking advantage of the situation to build up very considerably their Mediterranean fleet. It may now well have more harbor facilities made available to it there than our own American Sixth Fleet. The Russians are moving steadily towards the goal of eventual command of the oil resources of Arabia and Iran. To accomplish that purpose, they are happily prepared to fight to the last drop of Arab blood. Soviet Russia acts in accordance with the same geopolitical compulsions as Czarist Russia in its drive to the Mediterranean, the Arabian Sea, the Indian Ocean and the Pacific.
I do not, however, wish to give the impressions of strain or tenseness or hostility on the part of the overwhelming majority of the Arab populations of Israel today. No one can expect the Arabs of the West Bank or former Jordan Jerusalem to be enthusiastic about the new political constellation governing their lives. Even if they were enthusiastic, they would be and are well advised not to manifest it, because tomorrow or the day after through the quirks of international political pressures or through the faint possibility of a Soviet inspired Munich, such as almost came to pass in the days following the closing of the Gulf od Agabah by Egypt, these territories might be restored to Arab rule. And then Arabs would make Arab heads fly!
My general impression is that things are going extraordinarily well. There are infinitely less political disturbances and strikes in the West Bank area, including cities such as Nablus and Jenin, than there were when Hussein was in control. The scared places are now in the hands of their respective denominations. Arab transport systems are operating, almost exclusively by the same Arab companies that manage them previously. Places like Hebron which could have expected to have been wiped off the map because of the atrocities their inhabitant wrought against Israelis in previous years were not touched. There are severe economic
dislocations, but those exist to a considerable degree among the Israelis too, and the largely agricultural economy of the Arab parts of the country seems to be in better order than might have been expected. Banks are being opened all over. There is spirit and purpose and progress in the air. The Arab teachers have agreed to go back to their schools, with text books that have eliminated the vicious anti-Israel propaganda.
I write as a complete amateur in all of these things, but it seems to me that if the same relative progress continues in the next months or year or two as has taken place in the last couple of months there is great hope for peaceful conditions and stability and economic and cultural progress in the Arab as well as in the Israel parts of Israel. A good deal depends too of course upon how intensively the neighboring Arab countries attempt to send large numbers of armed infiltrators into the country to plant landmines, lay ambushes, etc. I believe that if they attempt to do this, they will be less successful than before, and they were never really successful. Strange as it may seem, the borders of Israel have been shortened and/or have been made easier to protect. The possession of the Golan Heights, for instances, gives the upper Jordan valley Israeli settlements a degree of security against Syrian infiltrators that they have never previously enjoyed.
I’ve got the departure blues. I practically cry each time I leave this country and this city. I’ve spent a very large part of my life in this part of the world, and it has never, from the first moment on, ceased to grip me. The view from our upper terrace is enough to enthral one. This morning I walked around our garden for about half an hour, strolling here and there and examining every tree and bush. The scent of jasmine is in the air. Our figs, almonds, pomegranates and olives are ripening. The grapes are growing in size and getting full of color. It sounds as if we had a big orchard. Big enough for me anyway, to fulfill the Biblical injunction of sitting every man under his own vine and fig tree.
A Hero of Biblical Archaeology
William F. Albright
On the occasion of the 20th Anniversary of Dr. Nelson Glueck’s
presidency of Hebrew Union College
Netherland Hilton Hotel
A Hero of Biblical Archaeology: Nelson Glueck
The history of Palestinian archaeology is studded with bright stars- men who have revolutionized our knowledge of whole areas or have discovered new methods which prove to be very fruitful. Among such stars in the archaeological firmament we must include the man whom we have gathered to honor. I am particularly proud to include Nelson Glueck among my former students and my closest friends. Of him it can indeed be said, nihil tetigit quod non ornavit. It is true of him that he has contributed notably to every field in which he has labored.
His German doctoral thesis on Hesed has just appeared in an English translation. Forty years ago when he published this thesis, he was a young man, but it was a basic contribution to the sociological interpretation of the term, which has subsequently led to a new understanding of the vital significance of the covenant in the history of the religions of Israel, Judaism and Christianity.
Of all my students Nelson Glueck learned the most field archaeology from several seasons of excavations with me. Fortunately he came at a time when we were just working out the archaeological chronology of Palestinian pottery, and he devoted himself with the most unusual persistence to learning how to date pottery. I have never had another student who approached him in intense application in the field to the task of mastering the chronology of Palestinian pottery. It is not surprising that when he began the systematic exploration of Transjordan, visiting all possible sites, most of which were previously unknown, he achieved extraordinary results. On his return from successful trips he continued to submit his pottery to older experts in order to get their judgment, which virtually always coincided with his. It was not long before the older experts were consulting him to learn his opinion of the date of given pottery.
The archaeological surface exploration which he initiated in 1932 developed into a full-scale survey in which he fixed the location of sites by the best available previous surveys and from his own triangulation where necessary. The survey extended over Transjordan from
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the Syrian boundary to the Gulf of Aqaba in the south, including all Gilead, Ammon, Moab and Edom. After 1948, when it was no longer possible to explore Transjordan, he shifted his work to the Negev of Israel.
Nelson Glueck’s work has been criticized by European scholars jealous of competition and skeptical about work done by Americans but there is nowhere any justification for the criticism. In the overwhelming majority of the 2000-odd sites which he has examined for pottery remains, there is very seldom any stratification. In sites which were reoccupied there are often separate areas strewn with potsherds of different periods but in most sites we have pottery of only one period. Even where he had to date the occupation of stratified mounds by the pottery found on the surface and slopes or in valleys below the sites, his results are remarkably complete. At the very least, he has proved that such mounds were occupied in certain periods, even if an occasional phase of occupation is missed. Here we must remember that nearly all his work in Transjordan and the Negev was in virgin territory, archaeologically speaking; no expert had trod the ground before and nobody would have dreamed of dropping sherds from one site on another – as has happened too often in recent years.
If there were any doubt about the correctness of his results it should be removed by their extraordinary consistency. He was able to show that there was an important occupation in Transjordan during Early Bronze, and that many sites in different areas of the districts explored go back even earlier to the Chalcolithic Age of the fourth millennium. He found that after about 1800 B.C. there was almost total absence of surface remains in Transjordan except in parts of the Jordan valley and northern Gilead. There was a gap of at least four centuries between the early part of the Middle Bronze and the end of the Late Bronze (18th-13th centuries) in virtually all sites which he examined. Then there was another prolonged gap in Transjordan and the Negev between the 6th century B.C.E. and
the last century B.C.E., followed by intensive occupation in Nabatean, Roman and Byzantine times. Sedentary occupation in these areas decreased rapidly after the end of the Byzantine period and declined even faster after the twelfth-century Crusades and especially after the Turkish Conquest in the early sixteenth century.
Nelson Glueck’s proof of the periodicity of occupation on the fringes of the desert and the sown must be attributed to human intervention and cannot have anything to do with alternating wet and dry periods as believed by such geographers as Ellsworth Huntington and still accepted by a good many historians and sociologists.
Nelson Glueck has by no means limited himself to surface exploration. He has also excavated at a number of places, including especially the important sites of Tell el-Kheleife and Jebel Tannur. He is undoubtedly right in identifying Kheleife with Ezion-geber, Solomon’s port on the Red Sea, from which the joint Sidonian-Israelite expeditions to Ophir set sail. In this connection it is interesting to note that he exhibited unusual intellectual honesty and willingness to change an archaeological interpretation defended for many years (which I and many other scholars had accepted). On going over his excavation records a few years ago in preparation for a volume on the site, he saw that he had been wrong in explaining the building remains as copper refineries. I still think there was some melting and casting of copper at the site but he is undoubtedly right in greatly reducing its significance. Primarily Ezion-geber was a seaport. Recent attempts to locate Solomon’s seaport on the Red Sea at Jeziret Far’on, ‘The Island of Pharaoh,” are absurd! All we know of the archaeological remains on this island are opposed to the identification, while Kheleife has exactly the archaeological history which biblical tradition requires for Ezion-geber. The lowest occupation remains certainly date from the age of Solomon. The account of the destruction of the ships of Judah in the time of Ahaziah by a storm which “broke them up” support Nelson Glueck’s identification. No place would suit the situation in question as well as
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Kheleife, with its broad stretch of nearly flat sandy beach, without protection against sudden storms.
Jebel Tannur is the first important Nabatean sanctuary to be excavated, and the sequence of sculptural styles and minor remains there is of considerable importance for the history of Nabatean and East-Roman art and religion. This has been brilliantly described by the excavator in his recent “Deities and Dolphins.” Here Nelson and I have the only scholarly difference of opinion I can recall – and it is very minor – I should date the Tannur sculpture roughly about a century later than Nelson. If differences of opinion among scholars were never any greater than this, scholarly discussion would become dull indeed!
Nelson Glueck’s contributions to a correct evaluation of the historical role of the Nabateans is very great. This Arab merchant people of the last centuries B.C.E. and the first centuries C.E. was particularly resourceful in utilizing the scanty water supply of the desert as fully as possible. Their methods of irrigation now attract worldwide interest because they can be adapted to modern deserts, especially in the Middle East. As might be expected, the Israelis are far ahead of their neighbors in utilizing such methods, which they have applied and improved by experiment. Some day we may see the now too often wasted waters of flash floods utilized as fully as the Nabateans did, especially in Roman times.
Nelson Glueck’s exploration of copper-mining sites in the Arabah was one of the principal factors in stimulating the early interest of modern Israel in the mineral resources of the Negev. His archaeological work has been followed up by Beno Rothenberg and Yohanan Aharoni, with the aid of specialists in metallurgy. His own work was, in my opinion, decisive in fixing both character and chronology of the ancient metallurgical operations south of the Dead Sea. For one thing, the early Iron Age pottery which has been found at many of these sites is, in my opinion, definitely tenth century and thus probably Solomonic and not early Edomite. Every new discovery
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of pottery convinces me more strongly that Nelson is right in his chronology and that Aharoni and Rothernberg are wrong.
Still more important for our understanding of biblical history are the results of exploration of the Negev of Western Palestine, were he discovered a surprising number of Middle Bronze I sites from the 20th-19th centuries B.C. In the desert southeast of Beersheba he has discovered very many sites occupied during this period – most of them only then, with no sign of earlier or later occupation. The explorer called special attention to the fact that many round stone huts were found near places where it was possible to catch water in pits for short-time storage, or behind dry dams long enough to wet the ground in order to raise fast-growing crops before the long dry season set in. He noticed that many of these sites were on caravan roads and that they suited both time and geographical background of Abraham’s career remarkably well. I was rather dubious until his former assistant Beno Rothenberg, with the aid of Yohanan Aharoni, pushed the exploration of the Negev south of the Egyptian border in the winter of 1956-57. As they proceeded southward they found more of the same pottery and the same round house foundations. In addition, the location of these sites on caravan routes leading from the Kadesh-barnea oases to the southern end of the Isthmus of Suez became more and more obvious; there was no longer any earlier or later occupation – all pottery remains found along the ancient caravan routes dates from the same period, 20th-19th centuries B.C. There was nothing earlier and nothing later!
Six years ago I saw that the finds of Rothenberg and Aharoni confirmed Nelson Glueck’s point of view entirely and made it possible to extend and generalize his tentative conclusions with the aid of a wealth of untapped material, both archaeological and documentary. Since I am dealing with this matter in detail in my book “Yahweh and the Gods of Canaan,” which should be published in a few weeks, I will not dwell on the matter here. The exciting thing is that Nelson Glueck’s explorations again make it possible for us to reconstruct a vital phase of Israel’s history: the early Patriarchal Age of the Hebrew people!
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I heartily recommend renewed study of Nelson’s four volumes, “The Other Side of Jordan,” “The River Jordan,” “Rivers in the Desert,” and “Deities and Dolphins” as the most fascinating and instructive series of books on biblical archaeology that exist. Of course, he has published many other volumes, but most of these are not easy reading, since they consist almost entirely of archaeological data and interminable lists of place names and periods – the raw material of history.
I should like to say a few words about Nelson Glueck, the explorer. In the course of countless miles travelled by motor, on horseback and on foot he has had innumerable adventures with sometimes hostile Arabs and a much more hostile environment, where lack of food and water were only minor obstacles about which no serious explorer would worry. Besides ever-menacing desert and sometimes threatening men, there were hostile beasts, though mostly quite small, yet scorpions can inflict painful and even dangerous wounds, lice carry typhus, and fleas can be the most unpleasant pests of all. Though old hoboes like me are disdained by fleas – possibly because my first twelve years were spent in a Latin American country where fleas are perhaps even more numerous than in the Near East, there are many archaeologists on whom fleas leap with enthusiasm. Nelson belongs to this category, like the famous Semitist Enno Littmann, who published a marvelous book “About the Oriental Flea” (Vom morgenlandischen Floh), fleas torture him. I shall never forget waking up accidentally to hear him say to another would-be sleeper “That guy Albright is so tough the fleas won’t bite him,” I confess that no self-respecting flea has ever bitten me, so far as I know. But since my parents suffered through twelve years in South America from these pests, I can sympathize. After a few words of intended sympathy I went to sleep again on the stone floor, leaving my students to cope with the tiny monsters as best they could.
On the other hand, Nelson Glueck got along magnificently with the Arabs, who liked him as a person and respected his courage and
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endurance. In fact, I have known few other explorers who established such excellent relations with the Arabs. To this mutual liking may be attributed part of his success in locating and exploring sites.
The most important factor in his archaeological success has, however, been his intense interest in the work he was doing and his extraordinary tenacity in carrying out his plans. I will leave to others the explanation of his remarkable success in arousing interest, creating enthusiasm, and organizing the institution which he now heads. Not least of its branches in the new archaeological institution which he has founded in Jerusalem and which is contributing so magnificently to the cooperative enterprise, shared by Jews and Christians, of reconstructing the historical background of their common faith in Israel’s God.
Hebrew Union College Jewish Institute Religion
Office of the President
December 12, 1967
Mr. Edgar A. Hahn, President
The Louis D. Beaumont Foundation
800 National City-E. 6th Street Building
Cleveland, Ohio 44114
Dear Mr. Hahn:
My warmest thanks for the generous $5,000.00 check from the Beaumont Foundaiton to the Hebrew Union College. We are all deeply grateful.
I am taking the liberty of sending you a copy of the Diary I kept in Jerusalem last summer, and also a copy of a talk that Professor W. F. Albright delivered recently at a dinner in honor of my wife and myself.
With most cordial greetings,