(Jerusalem Post) We are lucky to live in the land of Israel, where every step we take is also a step into a thousand-year-old history. However, this often creates tension between the immediate needs of people living in the present and the imperative to preserve our ancient past.
At the moment, a remarkable drama is being played out in the city of Beit Shemesh. Netivei Israel (the road authority) has built much of – and is planning to complete – a full modern four-lane highway, Route 38, which has already been finished from Sha’ar Hagay to Beit Shemesh and is ultimately meant to reach Ramat Beit Shemesh. The road is critical to enable rapid and convenient transportation for the existing and expanding population of the city (currently about 120,000).
However, the planned road runs right through Tel Beit Shemesh, a well-known archeological site. The tel has been a known site for decades. By law, one must do a “salvage archeological dig” before building a road to determine whether there are important artifacts there. In the salvage digs carried out at a cost of more than NIS 60 million at Tel Beit Shemesh, Netivei Israel discovered findings far more extensive than they had expected.
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