Today, our Jewish friends celebrate the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur, which is the holiest day of the year for the Jewish people.
Today, our Jewish friends celebrate the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur, which is the holiest day of the year for the Jewish people.
Hours before Rosh Hashanah started in Israel, hundreds of Muslim worshippers threw rocks at police officers and Jewish visitors at Jerusalem’s Temple Mount on Wednesday morning, according to Israel Hayom. A large police force was summoned to the scene to calm the situation, and no injuries or damage were reported.The officers managed to subdue the rioters, some of whom were wearing face masks. Many fled into nearby mosques when the police arrived. A large police presence remained on site, and entry to the Temple Mount was not restricted.
Police sources said that they were not surprised by the violence and that police had advance knowledge of plans to riot on the Temple Mount. Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino said he planned to closely monitor the deployment of police units in the area over the course of the holiday.
The rock-throwing incident occurred one day after the head the northern chapter of the Islamic Movement, Sheikh Raed Salah, was arrested on his way to a press conference in eastern Jerusalem. Police suspect that Salah meant to incite his followers to instigate violent clashes on the Temple Mount during the Jewish holiday.
Salah’s arrest was apparently in response to a speech the sheikh gave at Kafr Qara near Haifa. The outspoken cleric had accused Israel of being behind the recent political crisis in Egypt and throughout the Arab world. He also said the Jerusalem police force planned to torch the Temple Mount during the High Holy Days.
Wishing all our Jewish readers a happy and blessed New Year – Shana Tova!
The Jewish New Year is explained here.
I’ve long considered myself a ‘friend’ of Israel, but I have to ask: What are they thinking firing ballistic missiles at a time like this?
Israel tested a U.S.-backed missile system in the Mediterranean on Tuesday but did not announce the launch in advance, prompting a disclosure by Russia that kept the world on edge as the United States weighed an attack on Syria.
The morning launch was first reported by Moscow media that quoted Russian defense officials as saying two ballistic “objects” had been fired eastward from the center of the sea – roughly in the direction of Syria.
The news ruffled financial markets until Israel’s Defence Ministry said that it, along with a Pentagon team, had carried out a test-launch of a Sparrow missile. The Sparrow, which simulates the long-range missiles of Syria and Iran, is used for target practice by Israel’s U.S.-backed ballistic shield Arrow.
“Israel routinely fires missiles or drones off its shores to test its own ballistic defense capabilities,” a U.S. official said in Washington.
Western naval forces have been gathering in the Mediterranean and the Red Sea since President Bashar al-Assad was accused of carrying out an August 21 gas attack in his more than two-year-old conflict with rebels trying to topple him.
Damascus denies responsibility for the incident. U.S. President Barack Obama had been widely expected to order reprisal strikes on Syria last week but put them off to seek support from Washington lawmakers first.
With U.S. action on Syria delayed as Obama confers with Congress, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has sought to play up the Jewish state’s ability to deal with its foes alone. On Tuesday, the rightist premier spoke of anti-missile systems as a national “wall of iron”.
“These things give us the power to protect ourselves, and anyone who considers harming us would do best not to,” he said in a speech.
Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon shrugged off a question from reporters on whether the launch might have been ill-timed. He said Israel had to work to maintain its military edge and “this necessitates field trials and, accordingly, a successful trial was conducted to test our systems. And we will continue to develop and to research and to equip the IDF (Israel Defence Forces) with the best systems in the world.”
Arrow designer Uzi Rabin said tests of the anti-missile system are planned “long, long in advance” and generally go unnoticed. “What apparently made the difference today is the high state of tension over Syria and Russia’s unusual vigilance,” he told Reuters.
A Russian Defence Ministry spokesman quoted by the Interfax news agency said the launch was picked up by an early warning radar station at Armavir, near the Black Sea, which is designed to detect missiles from Europe and Iran.
RIA, another Russian news agency, later quoted a source in Syria’s “state structures” as saying the objects had fallen harmlessly into the sea.
The Russian Defence Ministry declined comment to Reuters…
‘Ill-timed’ indeed. But perhaps a show of force?
The Via Dolorosa Experience is a new movie that follows the Franciscan friars and other Christians (from all over the world) on their weekly Friday walk and prayer along the Via Dolorosa, the Way of the Cross, in Jerusalem.
From the about page:
…. In recent years, we have met with thousands of pilgrims who flock to Jerusalem from every corner of the world with one goal – to follow the footsteps of Jesus here and to be closer to God. The highlight of their visit is participation in the Franciscan weekly Friday walk and prayer on the Way of the Cross, along the Via Dolorosa.
Since the inception of JerusalemExperience.com, we have received very strong and emotional emails from our followers all over the world, telling us how each of our videos took them on a virtual and spiritual tour to the places where Jesus actually walked and preached the words of God. These feedbacks were the seeds for the idea of creating The Via Dolorosa Experience DVD. We want to convey this spiritual experience of walking and praying the Way of the Cross along the Via Dolorosa here in Jerusalem to people anywhere in the world. To those are fortunate already to have been in Jerusalem, we offer to relive this experience…
Here’s the trailer:
You can watch the movie online here. It cost a little but is well worth it.
A BAR advertisement has been labeled “defamatory” by 16 faculty members of Tel Aviv University’s Institute of Archaeology.
The ad, placed in repeated issues of BAR, features a picture taken at a lecture given by Tel Aviv University professor Yuval Goren reporting on his excavation at Tel Sochoh, about 29 miles southeast of Tel Aviv. In the picture, Professor Goren stands beside a screen showing a mechanical excavator, often referred to as a backhoe or bulldozer, in operation at the site.
In the latest version of the ad, the picture is headed: “Cater-Pillaging—The Stratigraphy of Tel Socoh,” a pun on the name of the Caterpillar company that manufactures bulldozers, backhoes and similar equipment, and characterizes Professor Goren’s excavation as pillaging.
The advertisement in BAR was paid for by Robert Deutsch, a leading Israeli antiquities dealer, a lecturer at Haifa University, a former member of the staff of Tel Aviv University’s excavation at Megiddo, a sometime BAR author and a recently acquitted defendant in the famous forgery trial in Jerusalem clearing him of all charges.
The use of mechanical equipment in a professional archaeological excavation is usually considered a cardinal sin, although it is permitted in some circumstances, such as the clearing of topsoil, not involving actual archaeological excavation.
Professor Goren maintains in a statement that his use of a backhoe occurred not on the tell at Tel Sochoh, but “in a valley south to it,” where he had found “waste remains of a ceramic workshop.” His first attack on this area (Area B) was to measure standard 5x 5 meter squares, one of which can be seen in the picture, followed by careful excavation by hand. After a week of digging and finding nothing, Goren decided to finish the job with “a [mechanical] digger to make sure that no archaeological remains existed at what was apparently virgin soil.”
The statement by Tel Aviv University archaeologists states that “There was no use of a mechanical excavator on Tel Socoh. The slide shown in the ad illustrates work carried out in a wadi (valley) near the mound, as a sequel to a systematic manual excavation from the surface. . . This is a common method in archaeology.”
“Is it in the wadi?” Deutsch responds. “Or is it on the slope of the tell,” where it is clear from the picture that the excavation was begun in a standard five-meter square? Deutsch adds that if, as Goren claims, it is so common to use these mechanical diggers, why is it that in 20 years at Megiddo, the university’s major excavation where he worked, he never saw a bulldozer, “not on the tell and not on the lower terraces.”
Perhaps some of our readers who are better informed on archaeological practice will weigh in on whether bulldozers are justified—or common—in the circumstances described at Tel Sochoh.
In the Huffington Post:
The ruins of this ancient complex sit on dunes by the sea, a world away from Gaza City’s noise and bustle. Up in the sky, birds compete for space with children’s kites flying from a nearby farm.
St. Hilarion’s monastery, a reminder of the time in late antiquity when Christianity was the dominant faith in what is now the Gaza Strip, is one of many archaeological treasures scattered across this coastal territory.
But Gaza is one of the most crowded places on earth, and the rapid spread of its urban sprawl is endangering sites spanning 4,500 years, from Bronze Age ramparts to colorful Byzantine mosaics, experts say.
Archaeologists, short of funds and unable to find sufficient trained local staff, say they are scrambling to find and protect the monuments. Some are left open to the weather. Others are engulfed by new development projects.
“Archaeology in Gaza is everywhere,” says French archaeologist Jean-Baptiste Humbert, who excavated in the territory from 1995 to 2005. He says it was once a “very rich oasis, with gardens, cities and you have settlements, dwellings, fortresses, cities everywhere, everywhere.”
The strip of land on the Mediterranean, sandwiched by Israel and Egypt, is now largely isolated, but once was a thriving crossroads between Africa, the Levant and Asia.
Today, about 1.7 million Palestinians are squeezed into about 360 square kilometers (140 square miles), an area roughly twice the size of Washington, D.C.
The need for housing is in Gaza greater than that for preserving ancient artifacts, said Humbert, who is affiliated with the Ecole Biblique, a French academic institution in Jerusalem…
How far would you go to get your cinnamon fix? If you lived in the Levant 3,000 years ago (a region that includes modern day Israel), very far indeed new research indicates.
Researchers analyzing the contents of 27 flasks from five archaeological sites in Israel that date back around 3,000 years have found that 10 of the flasks contain cinnamaldehyde, the compound that gives cinnamon its flavor, indicating that the spice was stored in these flasks.
At this time cinnamon was found in the Far East with the closest places to Israel being southern India and Sri Lanka located at least 3,000 miles (nearly 5,000 kilometers) away. A form of it was also found in the interior of Africa, but does not match the material found in these flasks.
This discovery “raises the intriguing possibility that long-range spice trade from the Far East westward may have taken place some 3,000 years ago,” researchers write in a paper to be published in the journal Mediterranean Archaeology andArchaeometry. Although cinnamon can be purchased today at any grocery or bulk food store, 3,000 years ago, people in the Levant would have needed to take part in trade that extended beyond the edge of the known world in order to acquire it, something this discovery suggests they were willing to do.
This trade may go back ever further into antiquity and involve other goods and parts of the Middle East. The researchers note, for example, that black pepper from India has been found in the mummy of Ramesses II, a pharaoh of Egypt who lived more than 3,200 years ago…
Archaeologists digging at a site north of Tel Aviv have uncovered ancient coins and jewelry in a mysterious garbage dump, the Israel Antiquities Authority said in a statement.
Located near the ancient city of Apollonia-Arsuf, the Byzantine refuse pit is one of many unearthed in the area. But unlike the other garbage dumps, the pit measures more than 100 feet in diameter.
As they dug into it, the archaeologists found a hoard of 400 Byzantine coins, 200 intact Samaritan lamps and gold jewelry amid animal bones, pottery and glass fragments.
Most objects date to the 5th-7th centuries A.D.
What was a 1,500-year-old treasure doing in a garbage pit remains a mystery, said archaeologists Oren Tal of Tel Aviv University and Moshe Ajami of the Israel Antiquities Authority.
“The large amount of usable artifacts in the pit raises questions. Noteworthy among the jewelry is an octagonal ring with parts of verses from the Samaritan Pentateuch engraved in Samaritan script,” Tal and Ajami said.
One side reads: “Adonai is his name,” the other side: “One God…”
Approximately a dozen discovered Samaritan rings have been recorded so far in scientific literature.
“This ring constitutes an important addition given the assemblage in which it was discovered,” the archaeologists said.
The site once served as the agricultural hinterland of Apollonia-Arsuf, which is located west of the excavation area and what is today the Apollonia National Park.
Excavations conducted there from the 1950s until the present indicate that the site was inhabited continuously for more than 1,500 years — from the Persian period in late 6th century B.C. until the end of the Crusader period in the 13th century.
Populated by both Christians and Samaritans during the Byzantine period, Arsuf featured industrial quarters with wine presses, olive presses, plastered pools and kilns for the productin of raw glass.
The site was conquered by the Crusaders in 1101 and by the middle of the 12th century was turned over to the one of the aristocratic Crusader families, becoming the center of a feudal manor. In 1241 a fortress was built, and in 1261 control of the fortified city was handed over to a Christian military order called the Kinghts Hospitaller.
By the end of the Mamluk siege in 1265, Arsuf was destroyed.
“Since its defeat, the site has never been reoccupied,” the archaeologists said.
In addition to the mysterious pit, Tal and Ajami unearthed the remains of wine and olive presses, as well as ruined walls that were apparently part of buildings meant to serve local farmers.