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 that we had to
overcome. It required some armtwisting
and intervention by the
minister of defense before I
obtained authorization to have the
parchment consigned to us.”
“Is it of any value?”
“It’s 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,” responded the professor,“you will be surprised, even
stunned, when you read the
Avner listened impatiently.
“The inscription is in ancient
Hebrew script. It seems to be 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 could not
immediately decipher. On the back
of the parchment, we found another
paragraph, which has not yet been
deciphered. It is a fragment of a
larger sheepskin scroll. We are
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
Something is very
strange. It is 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
“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
The Dalai Lama instructed his aide to find such a scholar. He
wanted to learn more about the findings, but other matters of state
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
“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
“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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