THE HIDDEN SCROLL
MAIN CHARACTERS and EXCERPTS from THE HIDDEN SCROLL Book
THE PROTAGONIST AND HIS COMPANIONS
Avner Amram - A professor searching for the hidden scroll wrtitten by Judah the Maccabee
Armand LeCorbellier - Dean of Archaeology at the Sorbonne
Shimon Mizrachi - Dean of Archaeology at the Hebrew University
Menachem Amram - Colonel in the Israeli Army. Brother of Professor Amram
THE ANTAGONIST AND HIS MAIN COMPANIONS
Haj Amin Al-Husseini - The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem. Founder of the Bismillah Organization
Ibn-Najad - The first Director of Bismillah
Bashir - Son of Ibn Najad. Second director of Bismillah
MAIN SUPPORTING CHARACTERS
Alberto - A Tour Guide in Rome
Elaine - First wife of Professor Avner Amram
Daphna - Second wife of Professor Avner Amram
Farid - Son of Bashir
EXCERPT 1 - 1973 - A PARCHMENT
“Where is the parchment now?”
“It’s in our laboratory, Menachem. It wasn’t easy getting it from the army. The red tape bureaucracy of the Mossad presented obstacles we had to overcome. It required some arm twisting and intervention by the Minister of Defense before I obtained authorization to have the parchment consigned to us.”
“Is it of any value?”
“Its inscription is of special relevance to our research in trying to fill in the missing information from
another parchment, the one discovered at Tel Dor in 1970. I wondered if this monastery parchment holds information which could help us solve the mystery of the Tel Dor parchment.”
“Can you tell us about its content?” Avner asked.
“Avner,” responded the professor,“you'll be surprised, even stunned, when you read the inscription.”
Avner listened impatiently.
“It's in ancient Hebrew script almost the same as the text given to me by General Yadin after his initial evaluation of the Tel Dor parchment in 1970. However, it includes an additional paragraph at the beginning that I couldn't immediately decipher. On the back of the parchment, we found another paragraph which we didn't decipher yet. It's a fragment of a
larger sheepskin scroll. We're trying to determine the connection between the two parchments.
Naturally, nothing can be concluded until Dr. Ben-Horin provides her carbon dating report.”
Avner reflected on what he should write in his notepad.
Could it be part of the Judah Maccabee scroll?
Something is very strange. It's very unusual to have any writing on the back of an ancient parchment. The added inscription on the back of the parchment could be the key to understanding this parchment.
I’ll have to solve this puzzle.
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EXCERPT 2 - 1931 - THE DALAI LAMA PARCHMENT
The Dalai Lama appointed a senior council member to prepare a contingency plan on how Tibet could defend itself by supporting the British against insurgents or invaders. He wanted to protect the autonomous independence of Tibet and its unique culture.
“We must learn from other nations,” he said to his Council members. “We must gather information about other nations which have been overrun by invading armies. To avoid losing our Tibetan culture, we must learn from them how to conduct our life, if Tibet ever becomes occupied by foreigners.”
“Shamar should be consulted on this matter,” interrupted his aide Tsarong Dzasa. “He is the most experienced diplomat that we have. With his wisdom, he could bring new ideas and draft guidelines for
such a contingency plan.”
“I already assigned that task to Shamar last night,” responded the Dalai Lama. “As our Ambassador to New Delhi, he escorted the British messenger from India. He is waiting to be invited to join us.”
He instructed his secretarial aide to bring Shamar to the meeting.
“Your present visit to Lhasa is of great importance,” said the Dalai Lama to Shamar after his arrival. “You have already been informed about the reason for this meeting. Please repeat to our council members your advice on this matter, and how we can learn from the experience of other nations?”
“Your holiness, you have taken the proper first steps,” responded Shamar. “You are our great leader, and you are also a philosopher who has studied and written many words of wisdom. I want to provide
information about a unique people.”
“Which nation do you refer to?” asked the Dalai Lama. “Are you thinking about the Indian people?”
“India is only one of the protectorates of Britain. India certainly has a long history of peace and war that is known to you. However, none of the British protectorates has a documented history that could compare to that of Palestine. It is a small territory that was part of the Ottoman Empire until the Great World War. The League of Nations gave it to Britain after the war with a mandate to prepare it as an independent homeland for the Jews who were exiled from it by the Romans. The Jewish people have a documented history dating back to Biblical times over a period of more than three thousand years.
“When I arrived in Lhasa yesterday, one of my assistants in Tibet gave me two items which I brought with me. They are surely of interest to us because they are about the Jewish people. He informed me that they were found last week in a cave in a Tibetan mountain.”
Shamar retrieved a small package from his bag and presented it to the Dalai Lama.
“What are these items?” asked Thubten Gyatso.“The cylinder includes an ancient document,” responded Shamar while opening it. “It includes a parchment with an inscription we cannot decipher. I inspected the strange letters that appeared on the parchment, but I cannot read them. I think that it is an ancient Hebrew inscription.”
“How do you know that it is in Hebrew if you can’t read it?” asked the Dalai Lama.
“I do know that the other item found with the parchment belongs to the Jewish people,” responded Shamar. “It is an ancient Shofar, the ram’s horn that Jewish people use as a musical trumpet on their High Holidays. It is similar to the ones used by Joshua during the battle of Jericho.”
“What is your recommendation?” asked the Dalai Lama.
“The parchment may have significant information,” said Shamar.“We should keep the two items in a safe location until we find a Jewish scholar who could evaluate them and decipher the parchment inscription.”
The Dalai Lama instructed his aide to find such a scholar. He wanted to learn more about the findings, but other matters of state took priority.
Thubten Gyatso was familiar with the history of the Jewish people, but he wanted to learn more on how they survived during two thousand years of exile. He knew about their Biblical history, about their exile
to Babylon and their return to rebuild their destroyed temple. He was always amazed by the ability of the Jewish people to endure and survive twenty centuries of wandering from country to country as refugees. He knew that they suffered many pogroms in many countries, tortured by
the Spanish Inquisition and expelled from Spain and Portugal in the 15th century. However, he knew very little about their recent history, and he wanted to know how that nation survived all these catastrophic events. He wanted to learn more.
The thirteenth Dalai Lama, Thubten Gyatso, never had his question answered. He died in 1933.
The new Gyatso was chosen to be the next Dalai Lama in 1935 when he was still a child. In 1940, he started a ten-year regency period under the tutorship of monks selected by his predecessor.
In 1950, the new Gyatso assumed full responsibility as the fourteenth Dalai Lama.
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EXCERPT 3 - 1973 - THE SINAI DESERT
The light of the partial moon was hazy at that late hour of the night. The blanket of sand formed by desert winds on both sides of the deserted road in the Sinai desert reduced the visibility considerably. Lieutenant Dromi and his twelve Israeli soldiers were on patrol along the Suez Canal, looking for infiltrators from Egypt. They walked in a single column in complete silence, all wearing wraparound army goggles to protect their eyes from the blowing sand.
“Have you heard about the Egyptian Army’s maneuvers across the canal?” a soldier whispered to his friend.
“Stop talking,” the lieutenant whispered back. “You are on patrol. I want complete silence.”
The patrol kept moving.
“I hear something on our right,” a corporal whispered. “It could be an animal, maybe a cat.”
The patrol stopped.
A shadowy figure approached the side of the road, gradually revealing itself as human. The absolute silence was disturbed by the sound of steps that grew louder as the approaching figure materialized as a young man.
“Halt!” the lieutenant addressed the stranger in Arabic. “Don’t move and raise your hands.”
“Don’t shoot,” the man stopped. Shaking with fear, he raised his hands. He wore a lightweight jacket with a kaffiyeh wrapped around his face and covering his head. The weight of his backpack caused him to stoop forward.
Lieutenant Dromi disarmed him, tied his hands, and instructed Corporal Daniel to take two soldiers to escort the prisoner back to base for interrogation.
* * *
“Halt!” the three soldiers heard a cry in the dark.
All four stopped and dropped to the ground. The three soldiers aimed their guns in the direction of the caller.
“Don’t move!” they heard a call from behind them. It was in Hebrew with a heavy Arabic flavor.
“Don’t shoot!” cried the prisoner in Arabic. I am an Arab.
“I know, we followed you when you were arrested.”
The prisoner was shaking with fear. He got up and walked toward the second caller who untied his hands, instructing him to collect the rifles.
In the dark of night, the desert wind continued to howl.
“Come closer,” their leader called to the soldiers. Two soldiers advanced.
“Where is the third one?” asked the Arab prisoner.
There was no answer.
The corporal retrieved his .45. With two consecutive shots, he killed the two Arabs and called on the prisoner to lie down.
“Your friends are formidable, but they are no match to Israeli soldiers.”
“One is the Bismillah guy who hired me,” he said, still shaking.
The corporal and two soldiers escorted the prisoner to base.
The prisoner was a drug smuggler—just like the other three the patrol had caught in the previous week. This one was different. He was more than a smuggler. The interrogators discovered a document hidden in the lining of his jacket.
The Yom Kippur War erupted two weeks later.
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