BLOG 362 August 28, 2017
Hey! I’m back from Alaska. My trip took me up to the edge of the Arctic Circle and through Denali National Park. Beautiful beyond expression! I saw bears, caribou, and even wolves. It’s hard to believe, but in about 20 days the hotels and tourist sites shut down for winter which lasts until May. I’d love to tell you all about the experience, but this blog is about the Middle East, not the Northern Frontier. So, lets’ hop across the globe and check in on what’s happening lately.
Two items that won’t make your local newspaper are worth noting.
Recent archeological digs at Beit Habek have recently uncovered the lost city of Julias believed to be the birthplace of the Apostle’s Andrew, Philip, and Peter. In the Upper Jordan Valley near a delta entering Lake Kinneret or the Sea of Galilee, the Kinneret Institute for Galilean Archeology made the amazing discovery. The ancient site of Julias or Bethsaida is mentioned in the New Testament, but the exact location has been debated. More authentication is yet to come, but a silver coin from the period of Emperor Nero was uncovered. In addition, coins from the first to third centuries turned up. Anyone interested in the archeology of ancient Israel will find this new discovery to be significant.
The second story comes to us from the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization. Long recognized as operating with a decidedly anti-Semitic bent, they’ve done it again. In 1982, UNESCO suggested Jerusalem’s Old City belonged to the Arabs even though the city has Jewish, Armenian, Christian, and Jewish sections. They also stated that the Christian Church of the Nativity is a possession of Palestine. On July 7, 2017, in a secret ballot UNESCO recognized the Tomb of the Patriarch’s as part of the “State of Palestine.” Three countries objected, six abstained, and 21 approved. Prime Minister Netanyahu immediately called the vote and decision “delusional.”
Obviously, the Bible in Genesis 25:7-10 records the burial of Abraham and his family in Hebron in the cave of Machpelah. Since the days of King David B.C.E., Jews have lived there. Islam was not even created until the seventh century C.E.. The Six Day War brought the return of the Western Wall and the Tomb of the Patriarchs back under Israeli control after years of strife.
Because of the divisive decree by UNESCO, Prime Minister Netanyahu withdrew Israel’s $1 million a year funding to the United Nations and will use the money to build a museum of Jewish heritage in Hebron. Educational Minister Naftali Bennett said after the vote, “… time and again UNESCO denies history and distorts reality; knowingly serving those attempt to erase the Jewish state…” He noted Israel will not cooperate with UNESCO while it remains a political tool rather than a professional organization.
For decades, the United Nations has been losing ground with people who want it to succeed. I’ve been there and walked through their headquarters in New York City. They have a potential to accomplish many important objectives. The July 7 vote wasn’t one of them.