Researchers say ancient Philistine town located in Israel

A skeleton discovered at the excavation site of the first Philistine cemetery ever found in the Mediterranean coastal Israeli city of Ashkelon, on June 28, 2016 shows. (File/AFP/Menahem Kahana)
Updated 08 July 2019
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Researchers say ancient Philistine town located in Israel

  • Researchers in Israel they’ve found the site of an ancient Philistine town mentioned in the bible
  • The site, Khirbet Al-Rai, is located near Kiryat Gat in central Israel

JERUSALEM: Researchers in Israel said Monday they have pinpointed the site of an ancient Philistine town mentioned in the biblical tale of David seeking refuge from the Israelite king Saul.
Ziklag was a town under the rule of a Philistine king in nearby Gath after the ancient “sea peoples” began arriving in the region in the 12th century BC, the researchers say.
A biblical tale says the town became the unlikely seat of David before his anointment as king in Hebron following Saul’s death.
Ziklag’s location has been the subject of scientific debate, with 12 possible locations named in southern Israel.
None of the sites, however, had the necessary evidence of consecutive Philistine and Israelite settlement to fit what is believed to be the historical narrative, the Israeli Antiquities Authority said in a statement.
Now researchers from the IAA, Hebrew University and Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia, say they have found a Philistine-era settlement under a rural one from the historical era linked to the biblical King David.
Those findings have led them to believe it is Ziklag, the statement said.
The site, Khirbet Al-Rai, is located near Kiryat Gat in central Israel.
Researchers have excavated finds typical of the Philistine civilization as well as pottery vessels connecting it to the historical era identified with the biblical David, the statement said.
The Philistines are believed to have arrived in the region in the 12th century BC, with DNA tests on their bones recently suggesting their origin to be in southern Europe.
They ruled what is today part of central and southern Israel and the Gaza Strip and were a feared enemy of the Israelites.
In the biblical narrative, David sought refuge in Ziklag from Saul, who was trying to kill him.
David fled the boundaries of the Kingdom of Israel to the coastal area under the rule of the Philistines.
As relayed in the first book of Samuel, when Saul heard David was in the Philistine city of Gath, “he sought him no more.”
David then requested — and received — the town of Ziklag, which remained property of Judean kings, the bible says.


Aramco attacks solidify Iran’s ‘enemy’ status among young Arabs

Updated 54 min 12 sec ago

Aramco attacks solidify Iran’s ‘enemy’ status among young Arabs

  • Iran denies involvement in the attacks, which initially halved oil output from Saudi Arabia
  • Saudi Arabia featured prominently in the Arab Youth survey in several ways

LONDON: Tehran-backed attacks on Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities will only add to the view among young Arabs that Iran is an “enemy,” a panel of regional experts said on Monday.

According to the Arab Youth Survey, which was published in May by the PR consultancy ASDA’A BCW, 67 percent of the region’s youth saw Iran as an enemy, as opposed to 32 percent who saw it as an ally.

However, members of a panel discussion at Chatham House, in London, said the attacks on the Saudi Aramco sites, as well as Iran’s seizure of a UK-flagged oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz, have solidified, if not increased, negative views of the country.

“I would imagine that the tensions demonstrate that the findings in the report hold. They may even have increased perceptions of Iran being an enemy,” Dr. Simon Mabon, senior lecturer in international relations at Lancaster University, told Arab News.

CaptionTehran-backed attacks on Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities will only add to the view among young Arabs that Iran is an “enemy,” a panel of regional experts said on Monday. (AFP)

Iran denies involvement in the attacks, which initially halved oil output from Saudi Arabia. Responsibility was claimed by Yemen’s Houthi militants, an Iranian-aligned militia fighting the Arab coalition in Yemen’s civil war.

However, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said last week: “Amid all the calls for de-escalation, Iran has now launched an unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply…There is no evidence the attacks came from Yemen.”

The survey’s results also showed the US becoming perceived more and more as an enemy rather than an ally since Donald Trump became president, with 59 percent of the youth seeing it as the former. This is a 27 percent rise in negative perception from 2016’s survey result.

“This is where we see what’s called the Trump effect…you don’t have to look too far. Look at all the policies he made, the travel bans, and all those kinds of things,” Sunil John, founder ASDA'A BCW, said.

Saudi Arabia featured prominently in the survey in several ways. When asked which countries had grown in prominence in regional and international affairs, 37 percent of young Arabs named the Kingdom as the biggest gainer in influence this year, with the UAE coming in second at 27 percent.

“We’re moving from the power hubs of Baghdad and Cairo to those of Riyadh and Abu Dhabi,” John added.

The eleventh annual survey is based on 3,300 face-to-face interviews with Arabs between the ages of 18-24, split equally between men and women, in January this year.