On the same day that UNESCO, the United Nation’s world heritage organization, voted to adopt a controversial resolution that Israel claims deletes Jewish ties to Jerusalem holy sites, Israeli archaeologists made a fragment of an ancient text available Wednesday that shows the earliest known Hebrew reference to the city important to Christians, Jews and Muslims.
The text fragment, on an 11 centimeter by 2.5 centimeter piece of papyrus, dates back to the 7th century B.C.E, long before the Bible was written, according to the Israel Antiquities Authority. The paper was presented in Jerusalem shortly after the UN resolution passed, Reuters reported. The Hebrew script reportedly details the payment of taxes or transfer of goods to storehouses in Jerusalem.
“From the king’s maidservant, from Na’arat, jars of wine, to Jerusalem,” the papyrus reads.
The script was discovered after robbers plundered a cave and the Antiquities Authority says that the document is “the earliest extra-biblical source to mention Jerusalem in Hebrew writing.”
The script is seen by Jewish officials as contradictory to the UNESCO resolution, which refers to areas around an important Jerusalem compound with significance to both the Jewish and Muslim religions as only a “Muslim holy site of worship.” Jewish people know the central site as Temple Mount and Muslims know it as Haram al-Sharif.
“Hey UNESCO, an ancient papyrus dating to the 1st Temple 2700 yrs ago has been found. It bears the oldest known mention of Jerusalem in Hebrew,” Ofir Gendelman, a spokesman for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, wrote on Twitter after the papyrus was publicly released.
The issue of what to call the holy site has had implications across the globe and politicians internationally have weighed in. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has said that it is “disappointing and wrong” that UNESCO was “considering a resolution on Jerusalem that fails to recognize and respect the deep and historic ties of the Jewish people to Jerusalem and its holy sites.” Her main rival, Republican Donald Trump, has also criticized the effort.