The 11 cm by 2.5 cm (4.3 by one inch) piece of papyrus, dated by the Israel Antiquities Authority to the 7th century B.C., was presented at a news conference in Jerusalem shortly after Paris-based UNESCO adopted a resolution that Israel said denied Judaism's link to the ancient city.
Two lines of ancient Hebrew script on the fragile and faded artifact suggest it was part of a document detailing the payment of taxes or transfer of goods to storehouses in Jerusalem "From the king's maidservant, from Na'arat, jars of wine, to Jerusalem," it reads.
The Antiquities Authority said its investigators had recovered the document, described as "the earliest extra-biblical source to mention Jerusalem in Hebrew writing", after it was plundered from a cave by antiquities robbers.
For Israel's government, the papyrus is a rebuttal to UNESCO, the UN scientific and cultural organization, which is regarded by many Israelis as hostile. Arab members of UNESCO and their supporters frequently condemn Israel.
"Hey UNESCO, an ancient papyrus dating to the 1st Temple 2700 yrs ago has been found. It bears the oldest known mention of Jerusalem in Hebrew," Ofir Gendelman, a spokesman for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, wrote on Twitter.
Emmanuel Nahshon, a spokesman for Israel's Foreign Ministry, called Wednesday's vote in Paris by UNESCO's World Heritage Committee "a piece of rubbish"…”