Associated Press

An unusual artifact was discovered during an excavation by the Israel Antiquities Authority prior to the construction of a girls’ school by the Jerusalem municipality.

The find dates to different phases of the Middle Canaanite period (2200-1900 B.C.) and the last years of the First Temple period (8th-7th centuries B.C.), and includes a handle engraved with the name “Menachem,” written in ancient Hebrew script. It was recently exposed in an archaeological excavation the Israel Antiquities Authority is conducting near the Mount of Olives in preparation for the school.

The Israel Antiquities Authority’s excavation director, Dr. Ron Beeri, said: “This important find joins similar names that were found in archaeological excavations in the Ancient East and in Israel in particular. The names Menachem and Yinachem are expressions of condolence – possibly related to the death of family members.”

This is the first time that a handle with this name has been found in Jerusalem.

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Dr. Beeri said such names already appeared earlier in the Canaanite period: The name Yinachem was found written on an Egyptian pottery sherd that dates to the 18th dynasty, and the name Yinachemu is mentioned in the El-Amarna letters (from the 14th century B.C.) as the name of an Egyptian governor on the Lebanese coast.

This is the first time that a handle with this name has been found in Jerusalem. The name Menachem is known from the corpus of Hebrew or Phoenician names and seals that bear this name were found in Israel, Assyria, Cyprus and Egypt.

The name Menachem Ben Gadi is mentioned in the Bible. He reigned as king of Israel for 10 years in Samaria and was one of the last kings of the Kingdom of Israel. According to Second Kings, Menachem Ben Gadi ascended the throne in the 39th year of Uzziah, king of Judah.

Menachem, king of Israel, is also mentioned in the texts of the king of Assyria, Tiglath-Pileser III, as “Menachem of Samaria” and as one of the kings from whom he received tribute.

David Bedein can be reached at dbedein@israelbehindthenews.com

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David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com and www.cfnepr.com. A new site,unrwa-monitor.com, will be launched very soon.

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