The Israel Antiquities Authority has announced a rare find of "tremendous historical significance," it announced Tuesday: a fragment of a stone engraved with an official Latin inscription dedicated to the Roman emperor Hadrian.
IAA researchers stated during the announcement that the stone fragment, found during a series of excavations north of Damacus Gate, may be among "the most important Latin inscriptions ever discovered in Jerusalem."
Researchers say the significance of the inscription stems from the fact that it specifically mentions the name and titles of Hadrian who was an extremely prominent emperor, as well as a clear date - a tangible confirmation of the historical account regarding the presence of the Tenth Legion in Jerusalem during the period between the two Jewish revolts against Roman rule.
Dr. Rina Avner and Roie Greenwald, excavation directors on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, spoke to the press about the discovery.
“We found the inscription incorporated in secondary use around the opening of a deep cistern," they said, in a statement. "In antiquity, as today, it was customary to recycle building materials and the official inscription was evidently removed from its original location and integrated in a floor for the practical purpose of building the cistern."
"Furthermore, in order to fit it with the capstone, the bottom part of the inscription was sawed round," they added.
The size and clarity of the letters make the discovery important, they said. The inscriptions, consisting of six lines of Latin text engraved on hard limestone, was read and translated by Avner Ecker and Hannah Cotton of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
The English translation of the inscription reads, "To the Imperator Caesar Traianus Hadrianus Augustus, son of the deified Traianus Parthicus, grandson of the deified Nerva, high priest, invested with tribunician power for the 14th time, consul for the third time, father of the country (dedicated by) the 10th legion Fretensis Antoniniana."
“This inscription was dedicated by Legio X Fretensis to the emperor Hadrian in the year 129/130 CE," Ecker and Cotton concluded, adding that the find is the second half of a single inscription.
The first was discovered nearby in the 19th century and was published by the pre-eminent French archaeologist Charles Clermont-Ganneau; it is currently on display at the Studium Biblicum Franciscanum Museum - also known as the the Faculty of Biblical Sciences and Archaeology of the Pontificia Universitas Antonianum - in Rome, Italy.
Only a small number of ancient official Latin inscriptions have been discovered in archaeological excavations throughout the country and in Jerusalem in particular.
Once the excavation findings are published the inscription will be conserved and put on display for the public.
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat was not aware that the Gerrer (Gur) hassidic sect forbids men from kissing each other, and planted two kisses solidly on the cheeks of a guest at the wedding of one of Barkat's aides, who is hareidi.
MK Yaakov Litzman (UTJ) immediately explained to Barkat that he had transgressed. Barkat was unapologetic: He asked pointedly: "What do you mean, it's forbidden? What are they, Muslims?"
Facebook video courtesy of Boaz Ben Ari, Hareidim10. Video may require clicking to be visible.
Faten Nassraldin, 34, from Dalit El Carmel, is expected to soon become the first female Druze officer in the Israel Police, the corps announced on Tuesday.
Nassraldin began her tenure at the Israel Police four years ago, in the Criminal Investigations division in Zichron Ya'akov (near Haifa).
But on Tuesday, she received her post and pin as a platoon commander, at a ceremony at Masada.
"I decided to become an officer myself because I wanted to contribute as much as possible to the country and to the police," Nassraldin stated. "I came here to prove to everyone and myself that I can succeed."
Nassraldin hails from a family with a history of police work, and she spent her childhood summers at work with her Superintendent father instead of at summer camps.
The Druze community in Israel, which is Arab but not Muslim, is known throughout Israel for serving in the IDF, especially in combat units, although a minority of northern Druze is pro-Syrian.
Several Druze soldiers are now senior commanders, such as Big. Gen. Rassan Alian, who bravely returned to the battlefield after being severely wounded during Operation Protective Edge in Gaza. There are numerous Druze in the Israel Police, including officers, but Nassraldin will be the first female Druze officer in the force.
MK Moshe Feiglin (Likud) reacted Tuesday to news that the first Aramaean baby has been registered in Israel, following the decision to recognize the Aramaean nationality, by calling for the Jewish state to recognize another nationality – the Jewish one.
In 2002, then-Interior Minister Eli Yishai (Shas) passed a decision through the Knesset's Constitution, Law and Justice Committee, mandating that the word “Jewish” in the “nationality” rubric in the ID cards of Jewish citizens be replaced with a row of asterisks.
He did so in order to avoid complying with a High Court decision that would have forced the government to write “Jewish” in the ID cards of people who underwent a Reform or Conservative conversion, but were not recognized as Jewish by the Orthodox stream.
"Since the days of the Oslo Accords, the Jewish nationality became a string of asterisks in the empty space of our ID cards,” wrote Feiglin on Facebook (the Hebrew word for asterisk is a diminutive of the word for 'star' -- ed.). “We became a sort of UFO 'nation of all its citizens,'” he added, employing a favored leftist phrase often used to denote a multinational or non-national state.
"The return to the Jewish identity, bringing back the Jewish nationality to the Israeli ID card – in the widest sense – is this generation's mission,” he concluded. “On a personal note, this should be the first mission of the new Interior Minister.”
One of two Canadian soldiers run over by an Islamist extremist has died from his wounds Tuesday morning, according to NBC news.
Late Monday night, Canadian police shot dead the attacker - a "homegrown" jihadist fanatic - after the 25 year-old man attacked soldiers without warning in a parking lot in his hometown.
Martin Couture-Rouleau, a resident of the town of Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu 40 km (24 miles) from Montreal, attempted to run over two soldiers late Monday night.
Rouleau had allegedly called the police in the middle of the attack, according to the Le Paris newspaper, claiming it had been "in the name of Allah."
A 4-km (2.4 mile) car chase ensued, ending when the assailant's car turned over into a ditch. Police were forced to shoot him dead after he ran at them with a knife.
While Quebec police did not say whether the soldiers were in uniform, it has been confirmed that one was critically injured. The murdered soldier's name has not been released at the request of his family.
“The individual who struck the two [Canadian armed forces] members with his car is known to federal authorities, including the Integrated National Security Enforcement Team,” said a statement from the Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper’s office.
“Federal authorities have confirmed that there are clear indications that the individual had become radicalized.”
Neighbors told Reuters on condition of anonymity that Rouleau had converted to Islam last year, and had been gravitating toward Islamism ever since.
His Facebook page is a photo of the flag of the Islamic State (ISIS) with the caption: "there will be no surrender. Victory or martyrdom in the path of Allah." He ranted against local Muslim groups, claimed that Al Qaeda is not responsible for the September 11, 2001 attacks, and called to stop US aid to Israel, as well.
Roulleau apparently tried to join ISIS in Iraq, according to the Toronto Star, but was prevented from leaving Canada by Border officials. Border police had had his name listed as a potential Islamist and prevented him from leaving due to security concerns, officials said.
The attack surfaces after a number of Westerners released an ISIS propaganda video threatening their countries of origin and calling on Islamists abroad to join the group in Iraq and Syria.
Several weeks ago, the group also published guidelines for Muslims in Canada and elsewhere to carry out terror attacks abroad, "in any way possible," encouraging them to kill "non-believers" - specifically military personnel.
But Ray Boisvert, a former assistant director for intelligence at the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) spy agency, told the Guardian soon after the attack that Roulleau was probably a "lone wolf" - and that attacks like these may be difficult to prevent.
“It reflects what’s going on in a very active threat environment. You have far too many targets and far too many active targets,” Boisvert said.
Monday's attack also follows a similarly bizarre incident in Oklahoma, where a man also ascribing to ISIS's beliefs beheaded a co-worker earlier this month.
US officials strenuously denied any link between Islamism and the murder, however - even after later reports indicated that the assailant had been "shouting Islamic phrases" during the attack.
The funeral of Israel's first religious female IAF navigator, Lt. Tamar Ariel z"l, will be held in the cemetery in her home community of Masuot Yitzhak on Tuesday.
New details about Ariel's death during the avalanche earlier this month that ravaged Nepal's Thorong La mountain pass were revealed to Galei Yisrael radio Monday.
A survivor, Eitan Idan, revealed to the radio that Tamar had been hurt along the hike, and that he and two friends had been tasked with helping her down the mountain during the storm. Only Idan survived.
"It really took a lot of strength and it was very difficult for her," Idan said. "I helped her a little, but mostly Nadav [Shoham, also killed - ed.] and Shani [another hiker - ed.] did, encouraging her to go as fast as possible to the safe point."
"But it was really difficult, and she fought, the entire time, to continue walking - much more than any other person would have," he continued. "It just showed me how strong she was."
Despite this, Tamar just fell into the snow, he said - and none of them were able to pick her up and continue. A difficult decision had to be made: leave her and survive - or stay, and have the entire group die in the mountain pass.
They made the decision in the heart of the storm.
"Nadav and I understood that we were running out of strength," he recounted. "We were able to take a step or two, but no more than that. From the outset we knew that it may be one last chance - we're talking about hours of walking here - and she was falling every time we let her go."
She fell into the drift. The group left her.
"We were exhausted," he said. "We knew we couldn't really continue. I made a decision and said to Nadav: 'let's just keep going - we'll leave her here and keep going. Even if we took her, we would never catch up, we'll just be lost in this storm.'"
"It was an impossible situation." he added.
Nadav remained silent at the decision, Idan recounted. He was not pleased.
"The man would never leave someone behind," he said, "but as soon as I said it, he was quiet, and he probably realized that there was no choice. We barely had any strength for us to move ourselves."
After half an hour, Idan said he also encouraged Nadav and Shani to leave him in the drift, as well.
"At that I just said to Nadav and Shani: 'I can't go on. Leave me here and just keep going - I don't want to hold the group back. You will die here."
Idan somehow survived the night, and when rescue crews found him in the morning, he thought everyone else had, as well.
But the crews soon informed him that Nadav had frozen to death. "Suddenly, you find out your best friend is dead," he said.
Idan concluded that, despite the grave implications of his decision, there is nothing he could have done.
"There is no such thing as black and white here," he said. "There is no right and wrong, and there is no right decision or wrong decision: it was just an instinct in the moment. The decision that was obvious to me was that if we had all stayed, we'd all be dead."
A nation in mourning
Before she is laid to rest later Tuesday, the nation has gathered to remember Ariel, and noted her modesty and courage to the Israeli press and public.
Ariel, 25, was the third of six children in her family, Yediot Aharonot notes. The daily had conducted an in-depth interview with her upon her graduation from her IAF course in 2012.
Ariel, who was the daughter of a longtime moshav resident and an immigrant from Puerto Rico who made Aliyah out of Zionist ideals, was raised in religious settings her entire life.
She noted at the time to the daily that an officer's course "had never been her dream" but that, after two years of National Service - serving as a leader in Bnei Akiva - she simply felt she wanted to dedicate her all to the State of Israel, even if her religious beliefs set her apart.
"After two years of national service, it was a surprise to our family when she said she did not contribute enough to the State, and decided to join the Army," Ronen Shoval, the founder of rights group Im Tirzu and Ariel's cousin, revealed on Facebook overnight Monday/Tuesday. "But if Tamar wanted it, she would take it through to the end, and she went to the Pilots' Course."
"As we stood in the crowd at the end of her course, our hearts were bursting with pride," Shoval recounted. "Our Tamari, from a tiny moshav in the South, had finally reached the sky."
At the ceremony, Tamar spoke about who she was and the novelty of being the first religious IAF navigator.
"I did not come to the IAF as a flag-carrier for Zionism, or for religious women in general," she stated at the time. "It just happened naturally."
"During training camp and flight school, my wearing a uniform skirt instead of pants seemed strange at first. Some approached me with interest, with curiosity," she recounted.
"They asked me about saying prayers, about shmirat negia [the practice of not touching men outside of immediate family - ed.], about modesty, about keeping Shabbat," she continued. "I kept everything."
"I even laughed about the benefits of wearing a skirt, I didn't have to always keep rubber bands on hand to tuck my pants into my shoes [like the other officers]," she laughed.
"But in the end, on base, in the same work uniform as everyone else, I fit in," she added.
Shoval noted Monday that her modest interview stood out, and showed Ariel's true character.
"At the end of the course, the media chased her," Shoval added. "Tamar, as usual, was modest. Tamar is so special not because she was good at everything she did, but because she was modest in all ways and went out in the world with good values and in the pursuit of truth."
"From an early age, she was always special: a quiet girl with golden hair who grew up to be a God-fearing woman who wanted to reach the highest heavens," he continued. "May her memory be a blessing."
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has announced that he opposes the Conversion Bill sponsored by Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and her Hatnua party, and that he supports the hareidi position regarding conversions, reported Amit Segal on Channel 2 Monday.
After months in which heavy pressure against the bill was brought to bear by hareidi factions, elements in the Jewish Home and the chief rabbis, Netanyahu decided to remove the bill that was sponsored by MK Elazar Stern (Hatnua) from the agenda of the next government session.
Netanyahu reportedly told the heads of the coalition factions that if the law comes up for a vote as a privately sponsored bill, he will make sure it does not pass.
If the report is accurate, Netanyahu's decision could lead to a coalition crisis, since Livni has threatened in the past that she will bolt the coalition with her party if the law is not advanced.
The bill would allow the rabbi of any city to open a religious court for conversion – thus ending the Chief Rabbinate's control of the conversion mechanism. The Jewish Home demands – along with the Chief Rabbis – that only a rabbi who is recognized as being capable of acting as a dayan (religious court judge) or one who has been approved for performing conversion by the Chief Rabbinate will be able to open a beit din for conversion.
"In the face of the wave of anti-Jewish legislation, we will take action to strengthen the Jewish identity of the state of Israel,” Jewish Home Head Naftali Bennett told his faction's MKs several months ago.
Rabbi Eli Sadan, founder of the first and leading pre-military yeshiva academy in Eli, says the State of Israel is not yet ready for a Torah-observant IDF Chief of Staff. He later added that he feels the same way regarding a religious prime minister.
Speaking with Channel 10, Rabbi Sadan says that given the situation in Israel today, "the appointment of an observant Chief of Staff would be a calamity. The Chief of Staff must be in the national consensus so that he can lead the army forward."
"I don't want there to be, for even one moment, a feeling in the country that the religious are forcing themselves on the public and leading the country to a place that most people don't want to go. That would be terrible, it would destroy the country."
Rabbi Sadan qualified this by saying that he is not referring to a religious candidate for the position who enjoys wide national support.
In the very same interview, Rabbi Sadan, a veteran of Yeshivat Merkaz HaRav Kook, explained openly that his purpose in founding the Eli pre-army yeshiva academy was to "change the spirit of the manner in which top officers speak and express themselves."
He further acknowledged that his goal was to prevent another withdrawal from Israeli territory – "but not via mass refusal of orders. Rather, if there are 20 religious division commanders in the army, the entire decision-making process would be different; withdrawal would not even be an option."
The full interview was broadcast this evening (Monday) on Channel 10.
Rabbi Sadan further acknowledged that he hopes to bring about a change in the Mossad, the Shabak, the IDF, the State Prosecution, and academia, in order to effect a "national change of spirit."
However, he said, "I know that present-day State of Israel is comprised of many different population sectors, which must be ever-so-delicately held together."