CITYsights: Buried treasure in Begin’s backyard

Scrolls found at Ketef Hinom are the oldest existing manuscripts of biblical verses.

April 26, 2011 18:11
1 minute read.
The Menachem Begin Heritage Center, Jerusalem.

menachem begin heritage center. (photo credit: iTravelJerusalem)

For the fifth episode of iTravelJerusalem’s CITYsights, we head westward into modern Jerusalem, to a surprising site located just to the west of the Old City, at Ketef Hinom, literally in the backyard of the Menachem Begin Heritage Center.


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The first episode: Jerusalem as never seen before

If in previous episodes we delved into the City of David to see what life was like inside First Temple-era Jerusalem, in this week’s video we take a look at a series of burial caves in the suburbs of the biblical city. These caves, which were excavated in the 1970s by archaeologist Gabriel Barkay, revealed a plethora of fascinating artifacts, including many fully intact earthenware jugs and jewelry.

However, the most important find was a pair of silver amulets with scrolls bearing biblical inscriptions, including the Priestly Blessing, which is recited in synagogues to this day. These tiny slips of parchment predate the Dead Sea Scrolls by some 700 years, making them the oldest biblical manuscripts yet uncovered.

Check out the video for the full story and stay tuned for more episodes of CITYsights. is a new online international travel portal offering all the latest information on things to do and places to stay in Jerusalem.

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