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Bibi Saves Temple Mount Archaeology Project

Israeli archaeologists sifting (Photo: IAA/ASHERNET)

The Temple Mount, the nexus of continuing conflict between Israel and the Palestinians who also try to claim the holy site as their own, was the site of sad news earlier this week, as the closing of a project to search for its artifacts was announced. But now, The Times of Israel's Ilan Ben Zion and Sue Surkes report, PM Netanyahu has assured the diligent archaeologists searching for the site's secrets that their work will continue to be funded:

A project to search for archaeological artifacts in soil removed from Jerusalem’s Temple Mount in the 1990s will continue, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office announced Wednesday, saying it had secured funding to keep it afloat.

On Monday, the Temple Mount Sifting Project, headed by archaeologist Gabriel Barkay, had announced it was on the verge of closure after the Ir David Foundation, commonly known as Elad, which had financed it for 12 years, was pulling its funding.

“The Ir David Foundation, headed by David Be’eri, will continue to fund the important project,” the Prime Minister’s Office said Wednesday...

Tens of thousands of tons of dirt — roughly 400 truckloads — were excavated by heavy machinery, without the supervision of archaeologists, and dumped outside the Old City.

The piles of earth sat in the Kidron Valley for over four years until the sifting project began in 2004. Since then, more than a quarter of a million volunteers from around the world have taken part in sifting through the dirt piles and picking out archaeological fragments...

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