The inscription from the tunnel king Hezekiah dug to secure the water supply of Jerusalem during the siege of the Assyrians is to be loaned to Israel by the Turkish government (“Hezekiah Inscription to return to Israel”, Jay Bushinsky, Washington Times, 5 September 2007, http://washingtontimes.com/article/20070905/ FOREIGN/109050039/1003).

Discovered in 1880 by a Jewish boy, the inscription was removed by the Ottoman Turkish authorities who ruled Palestine at the time and has been kept in the Museum of the Ancient East near the Topkapi Palace, Istanbul.

Twenty years ago Jerusalem Mayor Teddy Kollek asked for the return of the inscription, and in August this year Mayor Uri Lupolianski raised the request again when he met with Turkish Ambassador Namik Tan. The ambassador agreed for it to be returned on loan for study and public display.

The Siloam Inscription was engraved in ancient Hebrew letters in the tunnel’s limestone wall and describes the dramatic moment when stonecutters working from either end met in the middle.

Gabriel Barkay, a senior archaeology lecturer at the Bar-Ilan University, said,

“A segment of the tunnel wall’s surface had been flattened and smoothed so that the inscription could be carved into the limestone.”

In the face of the Assyrian threat, Hezekiah secured the water supply of Jerusalem by constructing the tunnel. It deprived the enemy of water (2 Chron 32:2–4) while connecting the spring of Gihon to a pool within the city walls (2 Chron 32:30; 2 Kings 20:20). The pool of Siloam, as it became known (Neh 3:15), was later the scene of the restoration of sight to the man born blind when he obeyed Christ’s command to wash in its water (John 9:7).

Water is used as a symbol of the Word of God (Eph 5:26), and it can enlighten our eyes so that we may see clearly the way to the Kingdom. Let us draw from its waters every day (Psa 19:8).

Alternative education for Israeli youth at risk

An alternative approach to secondary education has been introduced for young men who have dropped out of the conventional school system in Israel (“New Yeshiva Takes Torah Studies on Land Rovers”, Ezra HaLevi, IsraelNN.com, 31 August 2007, http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/ News.aspx/122536).

Founded by Rabbi David Samson, the school, called Yeshivat Lech Lecha (meaning ‘Get thee out’ school: based on God’s words to Abraham in Gen 12:1), takes students and teachers on Land Rovers to a different part of Israel for a study expedition twice a week. Students study the Bible, geography and history in the Judean Desert and engage in rock climbing and other extreme sports to increase selfconfidence and encourage exercise.

“There are some people that just cannot be confined to the walls of a classroom,” says Rabbi David Samson. “Just being inside of a conventional classroom causes them to become depressed and they simply can’t learn. These youths cannot function in the conventional educational system. After being dismissed from their high schools, they often begin to view themselves as outcasts who cannot succeed.”

Like other modern nations, Israel struggles to find solutions to social dysfunction among the young. Where modern educational institutions sometimes fail to provide for the individual needs of students, alternative approaches often succeed. Only when Christ is on earth again and guides humanity with wisdom shall meaning be restored to life and each person achieve their full potential (Isa 11:1–5).