Ruth Lieberman

Be’eri massacre: Lessons from an archaeologist

Aren Maeir, at the Be'eri home of a family murdered on October 7, 2023. (courtesy)
Aren Maeir, at the Be'eri home of a family murdered on October 7, 2023. (courtesy)

In my spare time, I’ve become an archaeologist.

It’s not all about rocks. Look closer, listen well, and you’ll see and hear our history coming alive. The mystery of uncovering the stories of our past is one of the most exciting opportunities to bring it into our present. Stand with the Bible, read ancient Assyrian texts, visit the sites of our ancestors, and you’ll be part of why we are who we are today.

But that’s the romantic part, and we are at war. So what’s the connection?

The war on Israel has put archaeology to a different, more gruesome use. The unfathomable massacre in the south has left hundreds of people unidentified, even today. One of the creative ways to solve this is to harness the expertise of leading Israeli archaeologists, to work through remains for identification, in one of the most humane, sensitive operations of this horrendous war.

I promise not to be more graphic here. We have all had enough pain, and we pray for a swift, conclusive end to this time. But I do ask that you read this important testimony and view one of six short documentations by a leading archaeologist whose heart-wrenching experiences down south must be shared far and wide:

* * *

My name is Aren Maeir and I’m a professor of archaeology at Bar-Ilan University, and, years ago, an officer in an elite special forces unit in the IDF. I have decades of experience in archaeology, and conduct one of the largest and well-known excavations in Israel (at Tell es-Safi/Gath, Philistine Gath, home of Goliath; I have many online followers in things relating to archaeology.

Three weeks after the October 7th massacres, I was invited by the IDF Spokesperson Office to visit the massacre sites, to see the sites, and spread the word about the horrors that occurred. When I visited (with a videographer), even though the bodies of those murdered had already been removed, tangible and horrible evidence of these horrific events could be vividly seen.

At the Be’eri home of a family murdered on October 7, 2023. (courtesy)
Following the visit, I wrote several pieces about this, and made a few videos, two longer ones and six short ones. The short clips are particularly powerful, as they very clearly pound in the message of the horrors that occurred at these sites, in a very emotionally moving way, but without showing too gruesome sights. In particular, as an archaeologist, I bring a perspective of someone who has studied destructions of the past. And, in fact, my colleagues from the Israel Antiquities Authority, whom I visit in one of the videos, had to conduct archaeological excavations to recover remains of some of the barely surviving remains of some of the victims. These are unbearable, important testimonies.

See my first hand video testimonial of my visit to the October 7th massacre site at Be’eri at the excavations of the remains. It is the second of the six clips of my visits there. Hard stuff…

I believe that since almost three months have passed since the massacres, it is imperative to again and again remind the world what happened, what type of horrible terrorists Israel is fighting against and why Israel must continue fighting against them until a comprehensive victory, otherwise, this will happen again!


Prof. Aren Maeir



About the Author
Ruth Lieberman is an Israeli-based political consultant and licensed tour guide, combining her love of Israel with political acumen to better Israel's standing both at home and in the eyes of the world. She has consulted for political leaders in Jerusalem and in Washington, from work on election campaigns to public advocacy and events. Her tours in Israel connect Biblical history to modern realities, to highlight Israel's achievements and promote its policies. She's also added 'archaeologist' to her title, working on an advanced degree in the field.
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