Following Unesco’s decision on Wednesday to ignore all Jewish ties to Jerusalem, the Israel Antiquities Authority released a rare papyrus document mentioning the city of Jerusalem in Hebrew. The Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) revealed the first non-biblical source of the city of Jerusalem, dating back to the First Temple in the seventh century 7 BCE.
Israeli archeologists deciphered two lines of ancient Hebrew script as, “From the king’s maidservant, from Na’arat, jars of wine, to Jerusalem.” The 2,700 year old wine order describes the shipment of wine to Jerusalem, the capital city of Judea at the time.
“The document represents extremely rare evidence of the existence of an organized administration in the Kingdom of Judah,” Dr. Eitan Klein, deputy director of the IAA’s Unit for the Prevention of Antiquities Robbery said in a statement. “It underscores the centrality of Jerusalem as the economic capital of the kingdom in the second half of the seventh century BCE.”
The document was originally found by antiquities robbers in caves in the Judean Desert and later seized by the IAA a couple of years ago. The document was released on Wednesday.
Yoli Shwartz, the authority’s spokesperson, said that the timing of the release was “completely coincidental.” and had nothing to do with Israel’s diplomatic battle against Unesco, reported the New York Times. The unveiling of papyrus document was previously planned to be shown at an archeology conference at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem on Thursday.
Israeli Politicians took advantage of the opportunity to discuss the irrationality of the U.N.’s decision to stop recognizing the Temple Mount as a holy site for Jews.
"The discovery of the papyrus on which the name of our capital Jerusalem is written is further tangible evidence that Jerusalem was and will remain the eternal capital of the Jewish people,” said Miri Regev, Israel’s Minister of Culture and Sports in a statement after Unesco called Israel’s holy site by its Arabic name.
“The Temple Mount, the very heart of Jerusalem and Israel, will remain the holiest place for the Jewish people, even if Unesco ratifies the false and unfortunate decision another ten times,” she added.
The dry climate of the Judean Desert preserved the papyrus for over 2,000 years.