The last thing the two restoration artists expected was to find inscriptions in Arabic, almost 150 years old, on the walls of the small stone house in Tel Aviv’s German colony.
Carefully removing the layers from the interior walls with sharp knives, the artists have been searching for inscriptions and drawings from the second half of the 19th century made by masons from the Temple Society, the German Protestant sect that built the colony.
“We’ve been scraping the walls here for a few days,” says Ben Buchenbacher, pointing at the stone pillars behind him. Built in 1872, the pillars are adorned with German inscriptions, which was to be expected, but also with Arabic ones. “We didn’t expect to find something so special,” he says.
The inscriptions are religious in nature, consisting of verses from the Old and New Testaments. An Arabic one says, “For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem” (Isaiah 2:3). Another reads, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom” (Psalms 111:10 ). Other inscriptions speak about the “Kingdom of Allah.”
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