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Emet m'Tsiyon

Thursday, December 15, 2011

UNESCO Presented Ancient Israeli Mosaics -- Once Upon a Time

UNESCO was not always as hostile to Israel as it is now. This UN body, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, was once not as corrupt as it is today. As recently as 1965, UNESCO published --together with the French publisher Flammarion-- the book Israeli Byzantine Mosaics [French title: "Mosaiques Byzantines Israeliennes", by Ernst Kitzinger (Paris: Flammarion 1965). At that time, UNESCO wanted to promote art to the masses. So they published, with Flammarion, a series called Great Art in Pocket Editions [Grand Art en Editions de Poche]. Israeli Byzantine Mosaics was part of that series. I bought it at the UN building in New York in those days. As I understand, books in the series were also published in English and maybe other languages besides French.

The mosaic was a highly developed art form in the Byzantine period preceding the Arab-Muslim conquests. It did not die off in the East --including Israel-- immediately after the conquest but it died out gradually, slowly, as did other features of civilization. Many more mosaics from that period have been found in Israel since Kitzinger's book was put out by UNESCO. Some of the mosaics are Jewish, as at Beyt Alpha and Tsipori [Sepphoris], others are Christian and pagan [early in Byzantine times]. Yet the techniques and workmanship are strikingly similar, indicating that the same workshop or workshops served Jews, Samaritans, Christians and pagans.

Here are two of the Jewish mosaics:

Huldah [location]: Mosaic floor with seven-branched menorah [candelabrum] from the Holy Temple in Jerusalem plus other Jewish ritual objects. These latter are, from right to left, a shofar [ram's horn used on the Rosh haShanah holiday]; an incense shovel as used in the Temple; an etrog [citron in English], a citrus fruit used on the Sukkot holiday; and what appears to be a lulav, a palm frond, also used on the Sukkot holiday. The Greek inscription says "Praise for the People." The mosaic is dated to the 6th century.

Beth Alpha [location -- Beyt Alfa בית אלפא]: Mosaic floor. The Binding of Isaac was a favorite Jewish theme in that historical period, since it is the story of the Jews' forefather being saved from death at the last moment by God. This theme appears in a number of Jewish mosaics from the Byzantine period which followed --as we know-- the destruction of the Temple in 70 CE [Hurban haBayit] by Roman legions and their auxiliary forces [including Arabs], and the exclusion of Jews from Jerusalem by Emperor Hadrian in 135 CE. The names Abraham [אברהם] and Yits'haq [יצחק = Isaac] written in Hebrew appear over the heads of those two persons, along with the Hebrew words Al Tishlahh [אל תשלח]. These words mean: "Do not send", part of the words of God's angel to Abraham in Genesis 22:12 , Biblical reading portion: Vayera. The Biblical verse is: Don't send your hand against the boy and don't do anything to him. A modern Jewish translation gives this as: Do not raise your hand against the boy, or do anything to him [The New Jewish Publication Society translation; Philadelphia: JPS 1985]. This mosaic too is dated to the 6th century.

The general importance of the Jewish mosaics is that they refute the present claim of the "Palestine Liberation Organization" and its offshoot, the "Palestinian Authority" that there is no Jewish history in the Land of Israel, the country that they now call "Palestine," the name imposed on the country by the Emperor Hadrian after he had suppressed the Jewish revolt led by Bar Kokhba, 132-135 CE. Note that two languages appear in the inscriptions on these mosaics, Hebrew and Greek. Arabic does not appear. The PLO's denial of Jewish history in the country is made in the PLO charter, Article 20:
The claim of historical or religious ties between the Jews and Palestine does not tally with historical realities nor with the constituents of statehood in their true sense. [PLO Charter, article 20]
The fact that photos of these mosaics were published by UNESCO is doubly important since UNESCO in recent decades has gone along with the lies of the PLO/PA, the Arab states, and the OIC [Organization of the Islamic Conference]. The OIC dominates UNESCO as it does the UN "human rights council" and the UN generally, with 56 or so UN member states belonging to it, more than a quarter of all UN member states. Recently, the UNESCO has admitted "palestine" as a member although Arab domination of the country goes back only to the Arab conquest, completed in 640 CE.

The PLO/PA intends to use UNESCO to impose its false version of history and to assert Muslim domination over Jewish holy places and historic sites in the country which have long been controlled by Muslims [such as the Temple Mount and the Tomb of the Patriarchs/Cave of Machpelah in Hebron]. More recently, in the 1990s, the PLO/PA has claimed Rachel's Tomb in Bethlehem and Joseph's Tomb in Sh'khem [Nablus] as Muslim holy places, although in the past Rachel's Tomb was seen as a Jewish shrine and Joseph's Tomb was shared by Jews, Samaritans, Christians and Muslims.

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  • This is highly informatics, I've joined your feed and look forward to seeking more of your magnificent post. Also, I have shared your site in my social networks!Thanks for writing the pattern.

    By Anonymous pay per head, at 6:28 AM  

  • Hello, Thank you for sharing this valuable information here. I am a mosaic artist and looking for this old pocket book (Publisher Abrams,Inc) about the Israeli ancient mosaics. I had the original book in the past but now i cant find it anywhere I think I've lost it. Could you tell me the exact name of the writer of this book or image of the book cover and isbn number of this book please so may be I can find it somewhere on the internet.


    By Blogger Basak Altin, at 5:11 PM  

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