Tel Hebron Archaeological Garden Wows Crowd at Grand Opening

Modern Israelis met ancient Jewish history at gala event at archaeological excavation.

17.10.18, 20:10
The Tel Hebron archaeological garden was inaugurated in a special ceremony on Wednesday. The excavations are now open to the public where finds from the Second Temple Era were discovered.
Two mikvot (plural for mikvah) were discovered next to wine presses leading archaeologist to deduce that the winemakers used the ritual baths to purify their bodies before making wine that was delivered to the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. An olive press for the manufacture of oil was found as well as a pottery kiln which probably made vessels to store and transport the wine and oil. The traditional steps leading down into the mikvah is the same used by Jews today.
Speaking at the inauguration ceremony was Prof. David Ben Shlomo of Ariel University, co-director of the excavation. He together with Prof. Emanuel Eisenberg from the Israeli Antiquities Authority uncovered the finds in 2016 with the assistance of the Civil Administration’s archaeology unit. 
World-renown Israeli singer David D'or performed at the event. Known for combining his operatic multi-octave vocals with modern pop beats, D'or represented Israel in the Eurovision song contest and regularly sells out concerts around the world.

חונכים את אתר תל חברון! עכשיו על הבמה David D'or במופע מיוחד, הצטרפו לשידור החי!

Posted by ‎חברון - מערת המכפלה‎ on Tuesday, October 16, 2018
Deputy Defense Minister Eli Ben Dahan, who helped promoted the project said, "we stand here at the birthplace of Jewish history, in the city of our forefathers, so that we can educate our children, grandchildren and future generations about this place. Hebron is the eternal city of the people of Israel and we will never move from here, nor from anywhere in the entire Land of Israel."
Brigadier-General Achvat Ben-Hur of the Israel Defense Forces Civil Administration  stated, “we are happy and excited to unveil another piece of Jewish history and to make it accessible to the general public. The Civil Administration has been working for a year to excavate the findings and to open an archaeological site that will attract new tourists to Judea and Samaria.” 
Other speakers at the event included Avraham Ben Yosef, head of the Hebron municipal committee, Member of Knesset Uri Ariel, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, and Shaul Goldstein, Head of the Israel Nature and Parks Authority. Prior to the official ceremony, lectures and torus were given by Prof. Gershon Bar-Kochba, author of the recently published Inscription: Stone, Wood and Copper in the Cave of the Patriarchs and Noam Arnon, author of HaMaarah: Discoveries and Studies at the Cave of Machpela.

Earlier in the day prior to the event, an anti-Israel agitator from the Youth Against Settlements organization attempted to disrupt the site. The foreign funded Emek Shaveh NGO posted a video on their Facebook page of police maintaining order while the agitator tried to muscle his way into the archaeological garden.
Tel Hebron is known in Hebrew as Tel Hevron and in Arabic as Tel Rumeida. It is also home to the Tomb of Jesse and Ruth, a holy site that was venerated for generations by Jews. Near by are ancient steps that date back to the Bronze Age which were discovered by Prof. Eisenberg in the 1999 excavations. It was here that one of the King's Seals was discovered. Originally uncovered in the 1960s, the LMLK Seal is an embossed stamp with the words "To the King, Hebron" in paleo-Hebrew. So far hundreds stamped on pottery shards were discovered throughout the Judea district. Historians think the clay vessel with bore the seals were royal property distributed throughout the ancient Jewish kingdom and may have originated in Hebron.  

Prof. Eisenberg returned to assist the new excavations which are located near the Cyclopean walls. The dig not only uncovered ancient history, but also helped clear away the mounds of garbage and debris that collected over the years in the relatively empty field.

The inauguration comes after a busy period for Hebron. Less than a week ago, UNESCO bashed Hebron in a document entitled Occupied Palestine. The United Nations body issued a report that included an annex which declared the Tomb of Machpela an integral part of the Occupied Palestinian Territory. 

Then on Sunday the Israeli government approved the allocation of funds to move the army base in the Hezekiah quarter to make way for a new 31-unit apartment complex which will include two kindergartens and a public park. 

The new archaeological park and announcement of the new housing comes weeks before the annual Shabbat Parshat Chayei Sarah weekend. Tens of thousands are expected to visit Hebron on the Sabbath in which the Torah portion referencing the Tomb of the Patriarchs is read. The story of Abraham's purchase of the Cave of Machpela for his beloved wife Sarah takes on special meaning when read at the very site it happened. 
The site is operated by the Nature and Parks Authority and is open to the public twice a week, on Wednesdays and Fridays. The entrance is free of charge. It is best to arrange tours in advance by calling 072-221-3660. 

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Dedication of new Biblical Tel Hebron site | 117 Images
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