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Monday, July 16, 2007

History returning home: The tablet with Siloam Inscription may be 'lent' to Jerusalem

Seven hundred years before the common era, according to the Old Testament, the Jewish king Hezekiah had a tunnel built to divert the water supply of Jerusalem. The diversion of the water sources is described in the books of Kings and Chronicles:
2 KINGS 20:20 And the rest of the acts of Hezekiah, and all his might, and how he made a pool, and a conduit, and brought water into the city, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?
2 Chronicles 32:2-4  And when Hezekiah saw that Sennacherib was come, and that he was purposed to fight against Jerusalem, He took counsel with his princes and his mighty men to stop the waters of the fountains which were without the city: and they did help him. So there was gathered much people together, who stopped all the fountains, and the brook that ran through the midst of the land, saying, Why should the kings of Assyria come, and find much water?
2 Chronicles 32:30 This same Hezekiah also stopped the upper watercourse of Gihon, and brought it straight down to the west side of the city of David. And Hezekiah prospered in all his works.
 Palestinian Arabs and their apologists, including Nadia al Hajj,  insist that the biblical accounts of Jewish rule in Jerusalem are fabrications.
But Hezekiah's  tunnel exists, and an inscription was found, in ancient Hebrew, at the place where the hewers of stone met, nearly three millennia ago. The inscription, somewhat damaged, states:
 .. the tunnel ... and this is the story [the thing - "dvar"] of the tunnel while ... the axes were against each other and while three cubits [were left] to cut? ...the voice of a man ... called to his fellow, for there was a through-passage ["Zedah"] in the rock, from the right ... and on the day of the tunnel [being finished] the hewers struck [literally "hit"] each man towards his fellow, ax against [literally: "on"] ax, and the water went from the source to the pool for two hundred and a thousand cubits. and one hundred (?) cubits was the height over the head of the stone hewers.
For many years, the incription has been in a museum in Istanbul. According to the office of Jerusalem Mayor Lupolianski, it may  now be 'lent' to the city of Jerusalem:
Following a meeting between mayor Lupolianski and Turkish ambassador to Israel, Mr. Namik Tan, it was agreed to look into the option of lending the tablet with Siloam inscription to the city of Jerusalem.

The 2,700-year-old tablet, which is now presented in the Archeology Museum in Istanbul, holds a great historical and cultural significance to the Jewish people. It contains testimonies from the days of the first temple and describes the construction of the tunnel by king Hezekiah. The tunnel was dug in order to maintain water supply to besieged Jerusalem. The tablet was discovered in 1880 by the British and taken by the Ottoman rulers when they left the region in 1917, after world War 1.

These days there have been indications that Turkey sees Lupolianski's request in a positive light. Therefore, the tablet might be returned to Jerusalem as a gesture of goodwill and as a sign of friendship between the 2

The municipality sees it as a great archeological and cultural achievement.

Throughout the years, attempts have been made in order to bring the tablet back to its natural environment -Jerusalem .However, back then these attempts did not succeed.

The mayor, on his part has, agreed to promote a plan to build a monument to commemorate the Turkish soldiers who died on Israeli land/here during World War one.

Gidi Schmerling,
Municipality's spokesman
Ami Isseroff

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors. Originally posted at Please do link to these articles, quote from them and forward them by email to friends with this notice. Other uses require written permission of the author.


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