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August 29, 2015 / 14 Elul, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘Arava’

Ancient Leviathan Fossils Found in Arava Valley

Wednesday, February 11th, 2015

The land that runs along the edge of the southern end of the Dead Sea, near a certain section close to Masada, is soft and white. Although there are steep mounds of chalky white deposits that seem to stand guard along a path that moves inward towards the cliffs that rim the sea, they too are brittle, delicate and soft. They crumble at a touch.

One can climb those mounds, reach the top and then slide down just for fun. Desert tour guides sometimes take their private clients there to do just that – especially if there are children along for the tour.

The entire area, you see, was actually an ancient seabed. So it should come as no surprise that the remains of what may have been the Leviathan were found in southern Israel, researchers announced Tuesday.

Thirty fossilized remnants of the Elasmosaurus, described by Dr. Sarit Ashckenazi-Polivoda in an interview with The Jerusalem Post as the “cousin of dinosaurs” were found in the Arava Valley between 2012 and 2014.

During the period from which the fragments came – some 85 million years ago – the area was covered in ocean water 200 meters deep, the researcher said. “All of Israel was under water until 20-30 million years ago,” she told the Post. “The sea had a lot of algae and plankton that bloomed then, that attracted a lot of fish that fed on the algae, which the reptile ate.”

No one knows how or why the creatures from that period became extinct, but they disappeared about 66 million years ago, she said. Global changes such as volcanic eruptions that warmed and cooled the environment and caused changes in the ocean, as to the fish and algae, certainly could have contributed.

A dinosaur footprint was also found in Jerusalem in the 1980s, she said, and a 75 million-year-old reptile skeleton was found in the Negev in 2005.

The Elasmosaurus remains are currently on display at Hebrew University.

‘Race against Time’ To Contain Oil Spill Disaster in Eilat

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

The Israeli Environmental Protection Ministry said that the crude oil leak in southern Israel was four times bigger than first believed, and that as much as 1.3 million gallons of oil have polluted the Evrona Nature Reserve in Israel’s Arava area.

Ecologists have warned that it is very difficult to fully assess the damage caused to the reserve’s ecosystem, and that the area’s rehabilitation could take years.

The pipeline, which is maintained by the Ashkelon-Eilat Pipeline Company (AEPC), was breached last Thursday night, at a site some 12 miles north of the southern resort town of Eilat, sending crude oil gushing across an area stretching some four miles.

Rains in southern Israel on Tuesday skipped over the Arava, easing observers who feared that precipitation would speed up the flow of oil to Eilat.

Ministry officials criticized AEPC for using the operational confidentiality it is afforded under its license to conceal the magnitude of the leak. According to Israel’s Channel 2, the Environmental Protection Ministry has shut down the pipeline—a major oil conduit running between the Mediterranean and the Red seas—barring AEPC from resuming its operations pending a full review of its permit.

The Environmental Protection Ministry and the Israel Nature and Parks Authority have launched an emergency operation to try to contain the pollution. More than 20,000 tons of contaminated soil had been removed by cleanup crews by Tuesday morning. An Environmental Protection Ministry official on Tuesday defined cleanup efforts as “a race against time.”

Eilat resident Lisa Mellish has filed a $96 million class action lawsuit against AEPC on behalf of the residents of Eilat, saying they were exposed to toxic fumes as a result of the leak. The lawsuit alleges gross negligence on the company’s part, which it says resulted in the ecological disaster in the Arava.

AEPC issued a statement about the leak saying the company “followed all emergency protocols from the moment the leak was discovered and reported it to all necessary bodies in real time.”

(Israel HaYom/Exclusive to JNS.org)

 

 

 

Huge Oil Spill near Eilat an Ecological Disaster

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014

Thousands of gallons of oil spilled in nature reserves in ecological-sensitive Arava region near Eilat Wednesday night, causing a major ecological disaster.

Highway 90 north of Eilat has been closed to traffic, which has been re-routed to Route 10, to the west. A tractor hit the three-foot diameter Eilat-Ashkelon pipeline at the pumping station during routine maintenance work.

Oil spilled for more than an hour until the flows stopped and flowed for miles in a dry river bed and on the highway. The flow was stopped near the Jordanian border.

The spill will severely damage the existence of animal life and vegetation, and the absorption of the oil in the ground will cause irreversible damage to the Arava.

New Solar Energy Fields Launched in Negev and North of Eilat

Monday, April 7th, 2014

A solar energy company headquartered at a Conservative Jewish kibbutz spread its solar energy investments with the launch of six new solar fields in the Negev and Arava, north of Eilat, on Monday.

The $150-million projects cover 128 acres on moshavim and kibbutzim.

Arava, based on the Ketura Kibbutz in the Arava, approximately 43 miles north of Eilat, also has begun construction of a 150-acre solar energy farm near Ketura and which will be able to supply more than a third of Eilat’s electricity’s needs

“Now that the current quotas have been utilized, the time has come to launch the economic tariff era, and to build scores of additional projects, all of them in the Negev and Arava, ventures which long ago demonstrated eligibility for tariff approval, ventures which can be hooked up to the national grid within a year of publication of the second campaign series,” said Arava Power CEO Jon Cohen said.

Arab has been an innovator in clean energy. It recently installed the world’s first automated cleaning system with 84 robots for its solar 28,000 panels.

The kibbutz is environmentally oriented in other areas besides solar energy.

Its operates Algatechnologies, a leading manufacturer and supplier of natural algae astaxanthin. The company announced on Monday the launch of a new products, called AstaPure® 20% astaxanthin oleoresin, which “offers much smaller, friendlier sized capsules without changing or reducing the astaxanthin dosage,” according to Efrat Kat, Director of Marketing and Sales at Algatech.

Algatech’s cultivation process employs a closed system that remains completely exposed to natural sunlight.

AstaPure products are used in multiple forms of dietary supplements, “cosmeceuticals,” foods and beverages.

Pete Seeger Leaves Behind Complicated Legacy on Israel

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

Legendary folk singer and political activist Pete Seeger, who died on Monday in New York City at the age of 94, left behind a complicated if not questionable legacy when it came to Israel.

Famous for 1960s hits like “If I Had a Hammer,” “Turn, Turn, Turn,” and “Where Have All the Flowers Gone,” Seeger was also well known for speaking out for worker’s rights and participating in the civil rights movement.

He drew headlines in 2011 for coming out in support of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, expressing support for the BDS group Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD).

According to an ICAHD press release, Seeger had donated portions of the royalties from his 1960s hit “Turn, Turn, Turn” to the group.

On the other hand, Seeger participated in an online peace rally for the Arava Institute, an environmental academic program in Israel, in 2010. However, after discovering that Arava had ties to the Jewish National Fund, Seeger said, “I support the BDS movement as much as I can.”

 

Proof of ‘Solomon’s Copper Mines’ Found in Israel

Sunday, September 8th, 2013

Tel Aviv University archaeologists claim that recent excavations prove that copper mines in Israel thought to have been built by the ancient Egyptians in the 13th century BCE actually originated three centuries later, during the reign of the legendary King Solomon.

The description of “King Solomon’s copper mines” is based on a novel that placed them in the Israeli kingdom, but archaeologists, until now, have dated them to ancient Egypt.

“The mines are definitely from the period of King Solomon,” says Dr. Ben-Yosef. “They may help us understand the local society, which would have been invisible to us otherwise.”

Based on the radiocarbon dating of material unearthed at a new site in Timna Valley in Israel’s Arava Desert, the findings overturn the archaeological consensus of the last several decades. Scholarly work and materials found in the area suggest the mines were operated by the Edomites, a semi-nomadic tribal confederation that according to the Bible warred constantly with Israel.

Now a national park, Timna Valley was an ancient copper production district with thousands of mines and dozens of smelting sites.

Last February, Ben-Yosef and a team of researchers and students excavated a previously untouched site in the valley, known as the Slaves’ Hill. The area is a massive smelting camp containing the remains of hundreds of furnaces and layers of copper slag, the waste created during the smelting process.

In addition to the furnaces, the researchers unearthed an impressive collection of clothing, fabrics, and ropes made using advanced weaving technology; foods, like dates, grapes, and pistachios; ceramics; and various types of metallurgical installations.

The world-renowned Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit at the University of Oxford in England dated 11 of the items to the 10th century BCE, when according to the Bible King Solomon ruled the Kingdom of Israel.

The archaeological record shows the mines in Timna Valley were built and operated by a local society, likely the early Edomites, who are known to have occupied the land and formed a kingdom that rivaled Judah. The unearthed materials and the lack of architectural remains at the Slaves’ Hill support the idea that the locals were a semi-nomadic people who lived in tents.

The findings from the Slaves’ Hill confirm those of a 2009 dig Ben-Yosef helped to conduct at “Site 30,” another of the largest ancient smelting camps in Timna Valley. Then a graduate student of Prof. Thomas E. Levy at the University of California, San Diego, he helped demonstrate that the copper mines in the valley dated from the 11th to 9th centuries BCE — the era of Kings David and Solomon — and were probably Edomite in origin.

The findings were reported in the journal The American Schools of Oriental Research in 2012, but the publication did little to shake the notion that the mines were Egyptian, based primarily on the discovery of an Egyptian Temple in the center of the valley in 1969.

The Slaves’ Hill dig also demonstrates that the society in Timna Valley was surprisingly complex, and the smelting technology and the layout of the camp reflects indicate that thousands of people were needed to operate the mines in the middle of the desert.

“In Timna Valley, we unearthed a society with undoubtedly significant development, organization, and power,” says Ben-Yosef. “And yet because the people were living in tents, they would have been transparent to us as archaeologists if they had been engaged in an industry other than mining and smelting, which is very visible archaeologically.”

Archaeologists would probably never have found evidence of its existence if it were not for the mining operation even though the society likely possessed a degree of political and military power.

Ben-Yosef says this calls into question archaeology’s traditional assumption that advanced societies usually leave behind architectural ruins. He also says that the findings at the Slaves’ Hill undermine criticisms of the Bible’s historicity based on a lack of archaeological evidence.

It’s entirely possible that Kings David and Solomon exerted some control over the mines in the Timna Valley at times, he says.

Arava Solar Power Company Secures $204 Million Finances for Solar Projects

Friday, May 25th, 2012

Israel’s Arava Power Company has closed on financing for eight solar power projects worth $204 million.

Arava, based in Kibbutz Ketura in southern Israel, will build five solar energy fields in the Negev. The company also will be building three solar projects in the kibbutz communities of Kerem Shalom, Mishmar HaNegev and Bror Hail.

“We are helping to fulfill David Ben-Gurion’s vision of turning the Negev into the center of solar energy production,” said David Rosenblatt, co-founder and vice chairman of Arava.

“These installations to be built in the Negev Desert are yet another step towards energy independence for the State of Israel and a greener future for generations to come,” said Jon Cohen, CEO of Arava.

Israel’s Public Utility Authority in March granted Arava a license for the country’s largest solar energy field to go online at Kibbutz Ketura. Construction on the $150 million Ketura field is set to begin at the end of this year and is expected to be completed in mid-2014, according to Arava.

In February, Arava was granted the first-ever license for a solar project in the Bedouin community; it is being funded by the U.S. government.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/arava-solar-power-company-secures-204-million-finances-for-solar-projects/2012/05/25/

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