For those who are home, and for those who are on the way. For those who support the historic and just return of the land of Israel to its people, forever loyal to their inheritance, and its restoration.
In a Decision the High Court of Justice Handed Down Yesterday: The Archaeological Research in the City of David is in the Public Interest
In the past week the Supreme Court, replying as the High Court of Justice, dismissed two petitions that were submitted against the Israel Antiquities Authority concerning the excavations the IAA is conducting within the precincts of the "Walls Around the Old City" national park, at the City of David in Jerusalem.
The petitions were submitted by residents who live near the place where the excavations are being carried out, when in the opinion of the Israel Antiquities Authority these residents are being incited by other factors whose considerations are political and improbable.
One of the excavations is being conducted in an area known as the "Givati Car Park", which is located south of the Old City's southern wall, adjacent to Ophel Road. Numerous layers of antiquities were revealed in this excavation. Among other things, a very impressive structure was found that is probably a public building and dates to the Late Roman period. Remains from the Early Islamic period were uncovered, as well as extraordinary remains from the Second Temple period. All of the remains were scientifically excavated, in meticulous work, whilst photographing and documenting everything.
In the second excavation - for which a decision was handed down yesterday (Monday) - a drainage channel structure from the Second Temple period was exposed that extends over a distance of many dozens of meters. The drainage structure is surprisingly well-preserved and one can walk through it upright, for most of its length. The excavators were aware of the structure's existence; nevertheless, the segment that was excavated was only recently exposed.
The archaeological excavations that the Israel Antiquities Authority is conducting in the City of David are exposing Jerusalem's magnificent past, in all of the periods. These finds are of utmost importance to the Jewish people in particular and world culture in general. The high court accepted the position of the Israel Antiquities Authority pertaining to the great importance of the excavations and the general public interest in uncovering the antiquities.
Below is the concluding paragraph from the court's ruling issued by Justice Edna Arbel: "The picture that was presented to us shows that the damage to the property rights of the petitioners - as much as such damage does indeed exist - is minor. As stated, the petitioners did not argue that any damage was caused to their houses and the respondents explained that the activity on the land is indeed underground, but does not extend as far as the houses of the petitioners. Contrasting the asserted damage is the important public interest in carrying out the work. Surely, revealing the secrets of the past, which have been hidden for hundreds and thousands of years in the bowels of the earth, is an essential part of the archaeologist's research. From the standpoint of public interest, conducting this research is multi-faceted, whether because of the contribution there is in understanding the history of the country and the history of the Jewish people or because of the contribution there is in understanding historic events that have importance that is not just limited to the Jewish people and its history. In this context I will refer to what I have already said in High Court decision 3702/05 - Ma'oz vs. Israel Antiquities Authority (unpublished, 11.106). It is the legal position in the case that conducting an archaeological excavation in a place where it benefits developing the infrastructure in the region and improving the welfare of the residents is in the public interest. This being the case, when the petitioners failed to point out real damage to their property, it seems that there is no justification in harming or restricting the public interest in conducting the excavation work on the land. If my opinion will be heard, I will recommend to my colleagues that the petition be rejected and the petitioners be required to pay the attorney fees of each of the respondents for the sum of 10,000 NIS and court expenses."
I visited Hevron in November 2000 after the outbreak of the Rosh Hashanah War to see what could be done to assist in the face of the growing daily attacks on the community. After returning to work for the community in the summer of 2001, a bond and a love was forged that grows to this day. My wife Melody and I merited to be married at Ma'arat HaMachpela and now host visitors from throughout the world every Shabbat as well as during the week. Our goal, "Time to come Home!"