Your email is not valid
Recipient's email is not valid
Submit Close

Your email has been sent.

Click here to send another

Excerpt: Solomon’s Island

The Internet says the Lost Temple of Israel is hidden in the South Pacific. A reporter went to investigate.

Print Email
Speared reef fish for sale in Kadabina, Malaita, Solomon Islands. (Matthew Fishbane)
Related Content

My Hunt for Solomon’s Temple

The Internet says the ruins of the First Temple are in the South Pacific. Matthew Fishbane went to find them.

Israel at the Ends of the Earth

Why do island nations like Palau and Nauru vote with Israel at the U.N.? Israeli aid has something to do with it.

This is an excerpt from “Solomon’s Island,” a multimedia e-book Tablet Magazine published this week with The Atavist. To buy the full story, visit The Atavist.

Buy at The Atavist

One afternoon, a little over a year ago, I received a more or less random-seeming email from a colleague that had no particular connection to either of our busy professional lives. The main purpose of such emails, containing links to the weirder corners of the Internet, is to waste time, and having some time on my hands that day, I followed the two links inside. The first was to a Facebook post, on which I viewed a lo-res video of Papua New Guinea’s Gogodala people—in grass skirts, their bodies decorated with palm leaves, body paint, feathers, shells, and other accessories, and with one man wearing barnacle goggles—singing the Shema, the holiest of Hebrew prayers. When I followed the second link in the email, I came across the text of a 2006 book titled Bine Mene: Connecting the Hebrews, by “geoscientist” Samuel Were, which made a linguistics-based case for a tribe of ancient Israelites who “journeyed down to Lake Tanganyika and in an unexplained way ended up in Fiji.” Elsewhere that day, as the result of my research (or Google searches), I found this: “Growing numbers of evangelical Christians in North Malaita believe that the Lost Temple of Israel lies hidden at a shrine … in the mountainous interior of their island.”

It was one of those frigid city days that make it easy to want to go—anywhere. I clicked over to Google Maps, punched in “Malaita Province,” then zoomed out and sat back and considered what now appeared to be the makings of a truly great story—the kind I could tell in hotel bars for the rest of my life. A story about how the Internet said Solomon’s Temple was on Malaita in the Solomon Islands, an archipelago whose half a million people inhabit nearly 1,000 atolls, islets, reefs, cays, and islands including Guadalcanal, the site of the famous World War II battles—and about how I actually went there to see myself, which is something that very few of us do anymore, which is a shame, because the mysteries of the world are only revealed in person. How did the destinies of Israelites and the inhabitants of the most remote member of the British Commonwealth become intertwined? What did this Solomon’s Temple in the Pacific islands look like? I then bought a ticket online—which was surprisingly cheap, considering that I would be traveling 8,505 miles, or one-third of the way around the circumference of the globe.

Which is a short way of explaining how, by late spring, I came to be seated in the black leatherette of an Air Pacific red-eye, reading Conrad’s Victory en route to the South Pacific by way of LAX. I transferred to Air Nadi, where I took my seat in a hand-me-down Boeing behind a sandal-and-skirt-wearing member of Fiji’s National Rugby Delegation. In Suva, we were met by customs agents and Mormons wearing skirts and sandals, and by a Tiki band. Live orchids hung over the bathroom stalls. From Vanuatu’s Bauerfield International Airport, named for the American World War II fighter pilot Harold Bauer who made 11 enemy kills, we flew low over Guadalcanal’s Weather Coast, across unbroken green canopy on volcanic slopes, and touched down in Honiara, capital of the Solomon Islands—on the site of the Japanese-built landing strip that in 1942 was a fulcrum of Pacific theater supremacy before America dropped the bomb.

Jonathan, a diminutive, trim islander who sat next to me on the last leg from Vanuatu, introduced himself and inquired about the purpose of my journey.

“I’ve come to meet the Malaitans,” I explained, as he downed as many free international-flight gold-label SolBrew beers as he could. “I’m told they have a kinship with Israel. I’ve read that Solomon’s Temple is buried in the bush.”

“Matthew,” he said. “I believe God has sent you here.”


Before departing from New York, I called my bank and phone provider to flag my upcoming travel. They told me flatly that the Solomon Islands don’t exist. It was a thought that followed me through the quiet strangeness of Honiara, a dusty capital with a single main road named for the Spanish navigator Álvaro de Mendaña de Neira, the first recorded European to make landfall here in 1568. Mendaña claimed to have rediscovered the site of King Solomon’s mines, the El Dorado of the Pacific. Now there were right-hand-drive cars, the South Seas Evangelical Church and hundreds of other churches, the Hot Bread Kitchen, Club Paradise, a colonial-era Chinatown, distribution facilities for SolBrew, lackluster government buildings, shipping agents, and a university, along with the headquarters of Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation radio, and commemorative World War II sites.

The King Solomon Hotel was fully booked, so I settled in to the Mother’s Union resthouse, run by nuns, which Jonathan had suggested as a godly alternative to the Pacific Casino Hotel, with its karaoke bar and “penthouse suites,” or the Japanese-owned Mendana. The lazy, barefoot pace of things seemed governed by the chewing and spitting of betel nut, a mild stimulant made from the blood-red seed of the areca palm. At first glance, the city appeared locked in a battle between sidewalk betel-nut-spitters and store and restaurant owners who fought the rust-colored gloppy splatter with NO SPITTING signs—a battle that neither side appeared to be winning.

1 2View as single page
Print Email

I heard the Palestinian authority has already claimed the Solomons and has asked the UN to condemn the jews for claiming Muslim holy sites for their own.

But Hamas is challenging the PA’s claim to the Solomons. They’re organizing a demonstration; you know, lots of unemployed male bodies belly-to-back, side-by-side, sweating, fists waving, chanting, marching in lockstep . . . .

Why fight over a lousy sliver of desert, when your people can have a tropical island?

I thought this article was going somewhere it really didn’t i thought he was going to start talking about the recently confirmed to be 20,000 year old megalithic site at Gunung Padang, java, indonesia. now if that turned out to in some way be a jewish site from 20,000 years ago, then i’d say history needs to be rewritten, just the fact that they found something in Indonesia that shows proof of high civilization durring the ice age on a lost continent then yeah Atlantis and mu, are all verified now. indonesia was once a long land mass connecting asia to Australia (and you can see the connection to this day on google earths sea floor maps)and the continent of zealand which also sunk when the ice age ended and sea levels rose. the earliest account of Atlantis was from Plato and he got it from Egyptian priests, It’s much more likely that atlantis was in the pacific and indonesia since a trade route from the atlantic to egypt would require circumnavigation of africa and thats not practical, they could’ve gone through the straight of gibralter as the legand describes but if that were the case why didn’t they make contact with the greeks but they did with the egyptians, no its more likely that egyptians had a trade route going up and down the gulf of suez along the north coast of the indian ocean and to indonesia(atlantis)

Wow, so the article is meant to be about some possible Israeli history and connections with the island but you spend maybe a paragraph talking about it. Then you blather on about the countries recent history and the traits of the people. While it’s great that you’re getting out to see these places, your article seems so confused. By the way: “most remote member of the British Commonwealth” is a load of rubbish, they have far more remote and isolated islands dotted around the world.

Thanks for your note, Liam. In case it isn’t clear by the display copy, this is an excerpt.

gee I guess then that evil moon G_D haShem did have a temple but NOT in palestine.. what a shocker I ask to re-examin that torah of hate and inbreedin gof talomudic porn teaching as well .. through hasbara even the holoHOAX is started to be real in that little mind of the goyim

Artemis1000 says:

God protect the Solomon islanders from the same fate as the Palestinians.

Adiva Sotzsky says:

I am just back from Israel and celebrating Yom Yerushalayim where a very spirited group of folks from Papua were dancing and singing up Ben Yehuda street waving the Israeli flag and singing Israeli songs— this article helps put this awesome experience into perspective— thanks


Your comment may be no longer than 2,000 characters, approximately 400 words. HTML tags are not permitted, nor are more than two URLs per comment. We reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments.

Thank You!

Thank you for subscribing to the Tablet Magazine Daily Digest.
Please tell us about you.

Excerpt: Solomon’s Island

The Internet says the Lost Temple of Israel is hidden in the South Pacific. A reporter went to investigate.