Critical Time for the Temple Mount Sifting Project – You Can Make a Real Difference

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Shalom Friends,

I may have asked you before to support the Temple Mount Sifting Project, and I don’t feel so comfortable asking it again, but I do so because this time it is really critical and the success of the campaign is likely to lead the government of Israel to announce the establishment of a Temple Mount Heritage Fund that will mainly support the Sifting Project.

In order for the Prime Minister to see that there is broad public support for the project and that the campaign will succeed, it is vital important that in the first week we will reach as many donors as possible. Please support us again (any amount will help, there is also great value to the number of contributors), and please distribute the video. The next 48 hours are critical!

These are the remnants of the past of all of us that may be forgotten!

Link for donations on the campaign website:


Direct link for sharing the video on Facebook:


Sincerely and with thanks,

Zachi Dvira


Important Note: Two days ago a generous donor, Edward Baumstein, pledged to match all donations made through the crowdfunding site in the following 72hrs. There are still another 24 hrs left so donate now!

In Response to the Prime Minister

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Press Release: A solution has still not been found for resuming the sifting of the Temple Mount soil

Representatives from the Prime Minister’s office have contacted us, the directors of the Temple Mount Sifting Project in order to assess the issue of the Temple Mount soil and consider ways to support the research and resumption of the sifting.

We value the Prime Minister’s efforts to resolve the issue, and thank the Ir-David foundation for their long collaboration with our project. However, the scientific research is separate from the touristic activity which was, until recently, run by the Ir-David Foundation. The sifting and research are licensed by the Israel Antiquities Authority and directed by Dr. Gabriel Barkay and Zachi Dvira under the auspices Bar-Ilan’s University’s Institute of Archaeology. The research is funded by the “Israel Archaeology Foundation” which promotes archaeological research. Funding the research of the Temple Mount finds must by managed by an organization whose primary impetus is scientific rather than focused primarily on tourism.

The overlap between the touristic activity and the scientific-archaeological research caused ruptures between the Temple Mount Sifting Project directors and the Ir-David foundation, leading the Ir-David Foundation to halt the funding for the sifting activity two weeks ago. Consequently, we concluded that it is best not to renew the sifting before securing the full funding for the research of the artifacts already found by the project.

Since 2010 we have worked hard at fundraising for the research of the finds. In October 2016, we were pleased to hear of the Prime Minister’s wish to support the project, and we met with him four months ago. Since the promised support has not been received or further discussed, our depleting funds forced us to launch our current crowdfunding campaign which we hope will achieve its goal of funding the research of this important material in 2017 while we continue to apply for grants and search for donors who can fully fund our project until the complete publication of our research.

We have not yet received any commitment from the Prime Minister’s Office or any other governmental entity regarding any kind of funding for our scientific research, though another future meeting is now being arranged. We are glad to discuss funding solutions which would enable us to continue the research as well as resume sifting the soil in the Emek Zurim National Park or anywhere else.

“We thank the Prime Minister for bringing this important topic into his agenda.”

Just a Reminder:

If you want to help, consider donating to our campaign HERE.

How Can I Help?

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Hi everyone,
Here’s the deal. The sifting has stopped, we are about to close down completely, and we need your help. Please donate to our campaign now AND share our video. The first 48 hours of the campaign are key to its success and we either get all of the funding or none of it.

Click Here for the Link to Our Facebook video

Why the first 48 hours are critical:

  1. Headstart, which is hosting our campaign promotes projects that score high in their algorithm. We have a good chance of having them promote our campaign, and reaching many new people, if we have a lot of donors, a high percentage of our campaign fulfilled, and all of that within the first 48 hours.
  2. People give when they see others giving. The more people who donate, even small amounts, shows everyone visiting the campaign that a lot of people think this project is important.

AND 3. There is a good chance that the government will create a foundation for the heritage of the Temple Mount and will partially fund our project, but we need to show the Prime Minister that there is wide reaching support for this project.

Thank You

We are overwhelmed by the amount of positive feedback we have been getting about this campaign! We want to give a big thank you to the 127 supporters who have already backed our campaign. Only a few hours in, and we are 13% of the way toward our goal. You are making us see how important this project is to you. It is sometimes easy to forget the larger goal of protecting this heritage when we are bogged down by the day to day running of things, but you are the people that we work for and we truly appreciate your interest and support. You are our backbone and our purpose.

Dear supporters, we are relying on you now, since all else has failed. If you have ever learned anything from our project, please don’t let our 12 years of effort and work go to waste.

Help now at our Giveback.co.il Campaign Page


Share our YouTube Video

Is this the End of the Sifting Project?

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To all of our friends and supporters,

We have an important announcement to make. We want to make our official announcement that the sifting of material from the Temple Mount has stopped. This is due to a number of different reasons including lack of funding and differences between the directors of the Sifting Project and the Ir David Foundation that has, until now, funded the operation of the Sifting Site at Emek Tzurim. We will not resume the sifting until the publication of research on the finds that we have already recovered has been fully funded and completed.
natanWe apologize to all those planning to come and sift with us. Ir David will continue to sift archaeological material at Emek Tzurim through the Antiquities Authority, but it will not be related to our project in any way. We will miss all of you, and hope that you will join with us when we are able to restart the sifting in the future. To date, we have sifted through about 70% of the material taken out of the Temple Mount in 1999. As you know, this is the first archaeological material ever to be researched from within the Temple Mount itself. We have recovered innumerable artifacts and have brought about huge discoveries through our research. Yet more research is needed on many objects. Completing the research on these objects may cause us to change our methodology or approaches to the material, and we want to ensure that there is unsifted material on which to use a new methodology if needed. Though unexpected, the stopping of our sifting could be a good thing for our project’s methodology in the long run.

Project directors meet with Prime Minister, Netanyahu

All of this change in our organization also forces us to face the realities of the funding deficit of our research. We have spent a good portion of the last 6 months trying to gain concrete promises of government support for our project, but nothing yet has been announced despite vague promises from the Prime Minister himself. We are now launching a crowdfunding campaign aimed at our Israeli supporters in the hope that this will help us last the year. You are also invited to help with this campaign.

We are sorry for sending this disturbing message, especially before the holidays, but we believe, and want you to believe, that everything that happens is for the best. The Sifting Project is now entering a new era and the future may conceal some new surprises.

With so much gratitude for your support through the years,

Dr. Gaby Barkay, Zachi Dvira, and the staff of the Temple Mount Sifting Project


Sneak Peak: Christianity on the Temple Mount

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ch Hey Everyone,

We here at the Sifting Project find artifacts from across the rich history of the Temple Mount. We truly are doing our best to research and preserve the history and heritage of everyone associated with the Temple Mount, from Jews to Pagans to Christians and Muslims and all those in between. I know we have recently written a lot about the Jewish connection to the Temple Mount, so today, we are going to focus on another important group with a major connection to the Temple Mount: Christians.

St. Joseph’s Day

You may not know this, but March 19th (yesterday) is commonly recognized as St. Joseph’s Day! It is widely celebrated by many sects of Christianity across the world and has particular importance in parts of Italy, Malta, Spain, The Philippines, and in New Orleans. In Christianity, St. Joseph was the husband to Mary and the foster-father to Jesus. He is the patron saint of all manner of working people, and he himself was known as a carpenter. He is also the patron saint of pregnant women and unborn children, fathers, travelers, immigrants, and of the dying.

From the Temple Mount

One of the special finds we have uncovered from the Temple Mount is a bronze Catholic medal in Spanish from the 1800’s depicting St. Joseph. On one side, it depicts St. Joseph holding an infant Jesus in his right hand and a lily in his left. In Spanish it reads,  “S. Jose R.P.N.” (Rogad Por Nosotros) meaning St. Joseph pray for us. On the other side, it shows the Holy Spirit as a dove with rays descending to two hearts. In Spanish it reads, “Corazones de Jesu y Maria” meaning Hearts of Jesus and Mary. It also says “Roma” or Rome along the bottom edge. The suspension loop on ours is broken, and unfortunately I cannot show pictures to you all today because it has not been officially published. However, it is almost identical to this one (below) that our researcher discovered on eBay.

St. Joseph holds a special place in Christianity and many places and churches all over the world are named after St. Joseph, including the Spanish form, San Jose, which is the most commonly named place in the world. In popular religious iconography he is associated with lilies (as in our medal) or a spikenard (muskroot). He is typically portrayed as an older man, usually as a marginal figure next to Mary and Jesus. Some statues of Joseph show his staff topped with lily blossoms, and he is often accompanied by carpentry tools.

So from our office to yours, and all the workers out there, have a wonderful day!

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