Rare mosaic vandalized in Valley of Elah (YNetNews.Com -Yedioth Internet) Yair Altman Published: 04.24.12, 20:36)
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Mosaic wall dating back to 563 AD shattered to pieces by anonymous
assailants. Initial investigation suggests extremist haredi elements
A rare mosaic from the Byzantine era was vandalized this week in
Khirbet Hanut, located in the Valley of Elah. Initial estimates
suggest that extremist haredi elements may have been behind the act.
The mosaic, which dates back to 563 AD, was discovered during
excavations in 1986. It has an inscription written by a head of a
monastery that was active during the inception of Christianity.
According to an initial investigation, anonymous assailants arrived
at the site and shattered the mosaic, scattering the pieces around
The culprits also sprayed a slogan on the wall nearby, reading: "The
magnitude of destruction equals the magnitude of desecration."
Tomer Zacks, a tour guide who witnessed the destruction, told
Ynet: "This is not the first time I witness the vandalism of
antiquities by extremist haredi sects around this area. Six months
ago I saw a similar act in Hirbat Madres. I think the two incidents
may be connected."
Zacks added that he just saw the mosaic on Sunday, and when he came
back for the second time this week he was shocked to discover that
nothing was left of it. "Antiquities Authority supervisors had just
finished collecting 23 bags full of the shattered pieces and told me
that there is no budget to reconstruct it," he said.
"This is shocking," Zacks noted, "This mosaic survived 1,500 years. I
was always scared something like this would happen because it was
completely exposed, but visitors always respected the place."
(Copyright 2012 © Yedioth Internet 04/24/12)
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