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August 30, 2014 / 4 Elul, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Arava’

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.

Israel’s First Massive Solar Farms Receive Licenses

Thursday, March 15th, 2012

Israel’s scorching-hot desert will soon be home to massive solar energy farms, bringing Israel closer to its goal of reliance on renewable energy.

The Public Utility Authority on Monday issued nine licenses to establish Israel’s first large-scale solar energy farms.

The largest license was granted to Solar Energy at Kibbutz Gevim in the northwestern Negev, followed by licenses for a group of companies related to Gush Katif evacuees in Moshav Ohad, Zmorot Solar park, Arava Power Company at Kibbutz Ketura in the souther Arava Desert, and Gilat Energy at Gilat, a moshav between Beersheba and Ofakim.

The Arava Power company hopes to have its $150 million, 150,000 panel, 40 megawatt solar field up and running by 2014 on 600 dunams of barren kibbutz-owned land formerly home to a mango grove.

The power from the photovoltaic fields of Kibbutz Ketura alone will be enough to run one third of Eilat, one of Israel’s most popular tourist destinations and one of its biggest energy gluttons, being situated at Israel’s southern-most point, at the bottom of the burning Negev desert.  The switch to solar is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 60,000 of carbon dioxide, 160 tons of sulfurous oxide, and 126 tons of nitrous oxide per year.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/israels-first-massive-solar-farms-receive-licenses/2012/03/15/

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