The day before Iranian major general Qasem Soleimani’s first funeral in Iran, he had four of them, a friend and I went on a search for a good hardware store in and around the Jerusalem suburb of Abu Gosh. My friend Derek (not his real name), an American expat who has lived in the Jerusalem area for over two decades, had remembered patronizing an exceptional building materials outlet in that quiet and diverse little village, once known in Arabic as Qaryat al-’Inab (“Grape Village”), and where modern archaeological excavations have uncovered three Neolithic settlement phases, the middle phase of which has been dated to the 7th millennium BCE.
The ancient place, now bordered on the south by six frantic lanes of the Tel-Aviv—Jerusalem Highway, has been identified with the biblical site of Kiryat Ye’arim, (Hebrew: “Village of Woods”), where , according to the sixth chapter of Samuel, the Ark of the Covenant was taken after it had left Beit Shemesh.
The hardware store we eventually found was very old too.[Read more…]