Jordanian destroyed Tiferet Israel Synagogue in Jerusalems Old City

On December 3rd, 1969, Archeologist Nahman Avigad released the first report from the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem’s excavations that began shortly after the Six-Day War and the reunification of Israel’s capital. The 1969 report was only the beginning of a fourteen-year mammoth excavation project that would be led by Nahman; yet was enough to reconstruct at least 900 years of Jewish history in the city of Jerusalem.

Although Jews and many Zionists figures always had a keen interest in archeology within the ancient parts of Jerusalem, The Ottoman, British, and finally Jordanian rule of “The Old City” prohibited any financed exhibitions from moving forward. 

The conquering of Zion’s gates from Jordanian rule was executed by Israel Defense Forces paratroopers along with the firepower of the Armored Corps tanks. The vigorous fighting, accounting for many casualties on both sides, resulted in the historically famous Hebrew statement: “Har Ha'Bayit Be'Yadeinu” (“The Temple Mount is in our hands”).

Jordanian rule and the overall neglect of the Jewish Quarter within the city, including the disrespectful use of the Western Wall as a garbage dump, is said to be a part of the broader Pan-Arab strategy at the time to undermine Jewish historic claims of the Holy Land. 

Naturally, the Israeli government was eager to clean up the city and expose the extremely rich Jewish culture that was buried within. Physically cleaning the garbage from the Jewish Quarter took a few months in itself, but immediately afterward the planning of a large-scale excavation began.

Layer by layer and very meticulously, the full connection of Jerusalem to all human civilization was exposed. Israel’s finest archaeologists along with many from around the world came to help in this massive project. Among the initial findings were hundreds of ancient, Hebrew-minted coins, a 2,200-year-old plaster depiction of The Temple’s “Menorah” and a burned large family’s house from the time of the Jewish revolt against the Romans. The excavations would later lead the archeologists to discover ruins that are from the First Temple era (Solomon’s Temple). 

The findings reported by Nahman Avigad were being spoken of all over the globe and seen by some as proof of the biblical narratives. Although the findings have helped document the rich history of all three monotheistic religions, they were extremely important to the Jewish Diaspora and the Israeli government.

The excavations, which continue till this day, helped further reveal Jewish livelihood within Jerusalem and were a turning point for the Zionist claim to the land of Israel. Today, Jewish presence in Jerusalem can be proven as far back as 3000 years, helping to undermine the Palestinian narrative that Jews were not here with tangible, touchable evidence.

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