On my bench of today are soldiers waiting for a train at the Lod railway station.
Lod is a city between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, near Ben-Gurion Airport.
Lod has been much in the news this week because . . .
because of its incredibly beautiful 1,700-year-old mosaic! It was discovered in a salvage dig in 1996. But because money could not be found for its conservation, it was covered over with dirt again.
Made around 300 C.E., the mosaic is one of the biggest and most magnificent mosaic floors ever found in Israel. Just imagine, ~9 x 17 meters, that's 180 square meters! No people in it, only ships and animals.
The great news is that grant money from America was given and last week the mosaic was re-exposed, after 13 years! It is being lifted up and will go to the lab of the Israel Antiquities Authority for restoration and preservation.
The project will take about two years. Meanwhile a nice park will be built. The mosaic will then be exhibited in situ for the general public and the residents of the area. The citizens of Lod are proud of their mosaic and want it back.
Before they get it back, however, part of the mosaic will be on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
Unfortunately I was not able to get to Lod to see the mosaic on Thursday and Friday, when it was open for viewing for just two days.