The young Ta'amireh shepherd was certainly unaware of destiny when his innocent search for a stray goat led to the fateful discovery of Hebrew scrolls in a long-untouched cave.
The first trove found by the Bedouins in the Judean Desert consisted of seven large scrolls from Cave I.
The unusual circumstances of the find, on the eve of Israel's war of independence, obstructed the initial negotiations for the purchase of all the scrolls.
At the time, however, he was vociferously opposed by a number of scholars who doubted the antiquity as well as the authenticity of the texts.
Lingering in the memory of learned circles was the notorious Shapira affair of 1883. Shapira, a Jerusalem antiquities dealer, announced the discovery of an ancient text of Deuteronomy.
The Temple Scroll was acquired by Yigael Yadin in 1967 and is now housed alongside the first seven scrolls in the Shrine of the Book at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.
All the remaining manuscripts, sizable texts as well as minute fragments, are stored in the Rockefeller Museum building in Jerusalem, the premises of the Israel Antiquities Authority Père de Vaux gradually realized the need to identify a habitation site close to the caves.
Shortly before the establishment of the state of Israel, Professor E. Sukenik of the Hebrew University clandestinely acquired three of the scrolls from a Christian Arab antiquities dealer in Bethlehem.
The remaining four scrolls reached the hands of Mar Athanasius Yeshua Samuel, Metropolitan of the Syrian Jacobite Monastery of St. In 194-9 he traveled to the United States with the scrolls, but five years went by before the prelate found a purchaser.
Since 1947 the site of these discoveries-the Qumran region (the desert plain and the adjoining mountainous ridge) and the Qumran site have been subjected to countless probes; not a stone has remained unturned in the desert, not an aperture unprobed.