A month-old Islamic dig on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount to replace faulty electrical cables has damaged an ancient wall that is likely a remnant of the Second Temple, Israeli archaeologists said Thursday.
The work, which is being carried out with the approval of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and the state-run Antiquities Authority, has been repeatedly condemned by independent Israeli archaeologists, who are calling for its immediate halt.
“The Israeli Government is lending a hand to the destruction of one of the most important archaeological sites in the world,” said Bar-Ilan University archaeologist Dr. Gabriel Barkai at a Jerusalem press conference.
Barkai said the dig, which involves tractors and other heavy construction equipment, has created a 400-meter-long and 1.5-meter-deep trench on the site, destroying layers of ancient remains.
Among the antiquities that have been damaged are a 7-meter-wide wall that apparently dates back to Second-Temple times and was likely part of the Temple courts, according to Israeli archaeologists from the nonpartisan Committee Against the Destruction of Antiquities on the Temple Mount.
Hebrew University archaeologist Dr. Eilat Mazar said that the Temple Mount had become “one big construction site,” and blasted the government for authorizing “rampant barbarism and vandalism” there.
You can let the Israeli Antiquities Authority (which according to the article has turned a deaf ear to the protest of people who should know what’s going on, namely archaeologists) know what you think of this historical, scientific, and religious vandalism by going to the web site and giving them a piece of your mind. If you do, remember to be polite, respectful, and cognizant that this is Israeli and Jewish history we’re talking about. References to rebuilding the Temple and the Second Coming won’t get you anywhere, even if they had anything to do with the subject at hand. Let them know that as one who values the history of Jerusalem and the Jewish people, you urge them to stop the Islamic authorities (the Waqf, who deny that anything has been damaged) from destroying antiquities valued the world over.