Preserving Our Heritage: Israel’s Endeavor to Safeguard Biblical Archaeological Sites

In an announcement that illustrates the nation’s dedication to its historical legacy, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared this Monday that Israel will fortify and restore archaeological sites in Samaria and Judea. These sites, bearing invaluable relics from our past, have unfortunately been subjected to desecration by vandals.

The proposed infrastructure investment is a long-awaited response to the decades of damage and neglect these historical sites have suffered, caught in the crossfire of Israeli and Palestinian control.

Netanyahu, in his weekly cabinet meeting, proclaimed, “In every corner of Judea and Samaria, one needs only to put spade to ground to uncover archaeological finds that attest to our deep roots in the Land of Israel. These are our roots and this is our land.”

He further expounded that this initiative will not only preserve our historical legacy but also stimulate tourism, education, and wider knowledge of these significant sites that narrate the history of our people in Judea and Samaria.

The approved proposal prioritizes the restoration and protection of four to seven key sites of particular interest to tourists in the biblical heartland. The precise sites, yet to be disclosed, will be the focus of a 120 million shekel ($33 million) program. This program includes enforcement and protection measures, such as the installation of cameras and drones, alongside infrastructural development.

Earlier this year, Israel’s Cabinet endorsed an additional 32 million shekels, approximately $9 million, towards the rehabilitation and development of Sebastia/Shomron, a significant archaeological site that once served as the capital of the Kingdom of Israel nearly three thousand years ago.

This is in line with the coalition agreement between the Likud and the Otzma Yehudit Party of National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, who enthusiastically supports this initiative. The agreement pledged a sum of 150 million shekels ($41 million) towards the preservation of these historical landmarks.

Heritage Minister Amihai Eliyahu (Otzma Yehudit) expressed his enthusiasm for the project, asserting that “Our history does not stop at the Green Line. This major investment of the government of Israel in the preservation, safeguarding, and development of heritage sites in Judea and Samaria is great news for [the] settlement [movement] and Zionism.”

An additional 20 million shekels ($5.5 million) will be allocated to maintain and enhance the Hasmonean winter palace complex, a site of exceptional historical value on the outskirts of Jericho. The initiative will also include the development of a safer and more accessible route to this site.

Israel’s commitment to preserving these archaeological treasures reflects our enduring connection to our history and heritage. We understand the value of our past as a guide for our future. By safeguarding these sites, we ensure that future generations can learn, appreciate, and be inspired by our shared history. We celebrate our rich past and reaffirm our commitment to a future where the values of peace, learning, and respect for history remain at the forefront of Israeli society.