What's the Big Deal About Archeological Findings Anyway?
In the latest issue of the journal Azure, David Hazony has an article entitled "Facts Underground" which discusses the ramifications of the recent discoveries in the City of David that go a long way towards proving the existence of the Davidic monarchy and the centrality of Jerusalem to the Jewish People as a thriving center in the Land of Israel.
The NY Times reported on the potential signifigance of the find as follows:
The find will also be used in the broad political battle over Jerusalem - whether the Jews have their origins here and thus have some special hold on the place, or whether, as many Palestinians have said, including the late Yasir Arafat, the idea of a Jewish origin in Jerusalem is a myth used to justify conquest and occupation.
Before I go any further, I want to state that for the last year, I have been a supporter (financially) of Amutat El Ad - the organization that is responsible for restoring the City of David to its former glory - by moving in Jewish families, by ensuring that all those who want to learn about the history of biblical Jerusalem are able to do so, and by continuing to excavate the area, so that discoveries like the one in the article above can remove any doubt of the authenticity of our claim to this holy city.
Yet, at the same time, a part of me is asking, what's the big deal that archeologists may have discovered King David's Palace? How is it going to change the way we relate to Jerusalem?
1st, is the State of Israel going to say, now that this has been uncovered that there is nothing to talk about in Jerusalem - that the Arab nations of the world can go take a hike and stop holding their breath, because all of Jerusalem will remain in Jewish control?
If so, then why not apply that same logic to the Temple Mount, or places throughout Judea and Samaria where there is irrefutable proof to the existence of the Jewish People, as is described throughout the Bible and Prophets?
2nd, what if they wouldn't have discovered this palace - would that mean that our claim to Jerusalem is not 100% solid? Must we prove our right to the land through archeological excavations? If we believe that the Land of Israel belongs to the Jewish People, then what does it matter if we can prove it archeologically or not?
Don't mistake what I am saying here as implying that I am against excavations which link us to our past. I believe that these excavations can go a long way to helping every Jew to feel a direct link to his ancestors that walked through the Land of Israel during the time of the Bible, and that is an amazing thing. However, I do not believe that these excavations will help Israel justify its claim to the Land of Israel in the eyes of the world.
3rd, I do not see the Arabs relinquishing their claims to the Land of Israel, in general, and to Jerusalem, in particular, because of this discovery or any other that has been made, or that will be made in the future. What is essential is for us to believe fully in our right to the Land of Israel, whether archeological evidence exists to support our claim or not. I believe that discoveries such as the one at the City of David should not be presented in the light of "Now, we have proof that there were Jews in Jerusalem", rather our attitude should be one of, "Once again, we see that the words of the Bible and Prophets are true, and how fortunate are we to have merited to bring them to life".
As is the case with the discovery of David's Palace in the City of David, Israel has shown a willingness to dig and reconnect with her past by bringing the truth to the surface (literally), for all to see. The question that remains is will she have the courage to act upon what she has unearthed?