Biblical Archaeology Review 36:3, May/June 2010

First Person: My Sulkha with Shuka

By Hershel Shanks

Longtime BAR readers and even more recent ones are familiar with the fact that the director of the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA), Shuka Dorfman, has refused to speak to me since 2002—now more than seven years.a My efforts at reconciliation have been rebuffed. But I have never ceased trying.

Last December I called Shuka’s office and left him a message: I am going to be 80 years old, the message said, and I would like you to give me a birthday present—shake my hand. You don’t have to speak to me, just shake my hand.

The next day the phone rang. I picked it up, and the voice on the other end said, “This is Shuka Dorfman.”

“Shuka!” I exclaimed. I could hardly believe it.

“Let’s make shalom, peace,” he said. “I have no hard feelings.”

I welcomed the gesture and said that I would come to Jerusalem and we would have a sulkha, which is Arabic for a peace dinner.

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