After a quarter century as director of the Israel Exploration Society (IES), on January 1, 2010, 92-year-old Joseph Aviram will assume the position of president. Hillel Geva, Aviram’s second in command, will become director. Alan Paris, longtime editor at IES, will become deputy director.
Aviram, who began his work with the IES in 1949, has spent several decades as “the man behind the curtain” of Israeli archaeology, bringing countless excavations and publications to fruition. He orchestrated the expedition to survey and explore the caves of the Judean Desert, which resulted in Yigael Yadin’s momentous discoveries in the so-called Cave of Letters. (Aviram also led one of the four teams of explorers.) He helped organize the great excavations at Hazor and Masada in the 1950s and 1960s, and under his leadership the IES cosponsored numerous major excavations, including Beth She’arim, Tell Qasile, Ramat Rah.el, Arad, Lachish, Dor, Yoqne’am and—in Jerusalem—the Jewish Quarter, the City of David and the area adjacent to the Temple Mount.