In Israel, archeology is far more than just science.
Indeed, perhaps more than any other country, the stakes of antiquities unearthed here could not be higher in terms of geopolitical implications used by warring factions to determine “facts on the ground” in the most contested region in the world.
The battle between right- and left-wing ideologues is evident at archeological sites in east Jerusalem and the West Bank, where discoveries are routinely exhibited to the world as evidence of Israeli sovereignty in the Jewish homeland or as an occupier.
The two main opponents in the ongoing war over rightful sovereignty between Jews and Palestinians are the left-wing archeological political activist NGO Emek Shaveh, and its right-wing counterpart, the City of David Foundation (also known as Elad).
The former is primarily funded by European countries with a decidedly “anti-occupation” stance, while the latter deems the term “occupation” an incendiary insult to a people with thousands of years of history in Jerusalem.
This protracted war came to a fevered pitch in May, when UNESCO approved a resolution rejecting Jewish ties to Jerusalem – including its holiest site, the Temple Mount – prompting claims of flagrant antisemitism against the international body.