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May 4, 2016 / 26 Nisan, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Ashkelon’

Unique 1,800-Year-Old Sarcophagus Found at Ashkelon Building Site

Thursday, September 3rd, 2015

A unique and extremely impressive stone sarcophagus approximately 1,800 years old has been exposed at a building site in a new neighborhood being built in Ashkelon.

This occurred during an overnight operation between Tuesday and Wednesday carried out by inspectors of the Israel Antiquities Authority’s Unit for the Prevention of Antiquities Robbery, the Southern District of the IAA, and patrol officers and detectives from the Ashkelon police station.

The find is among the rarest sarcophagi ever discovered in Israel. The coffin, made of hard limestone, weighs approximately two tons, is 2.5 meters long, and is sculpted on all sides. A life-size figure of a person is carved on the lid of the sarcophagus.

A wreath coming out of the upper edge of the sarcophagus, which is decorated with bulls’ heads. The wreath consists of acanthus leaves together with pinecones and fruit. A grape cluster is in the center of the wreath, and a rose-like decoration is also displayed in it.

A wreath coming out of the upper edge of the sarcophagus, which is decorated with bulls’ heads. The wreath consists of acanthus leaves together with pinecones and fruit. A grape cluster is in the center of the wreath, and a rose-like decoration is also displayed in it.

The unique artifact was repeatedly struck by a tractor in different places, scarring the stone and damaging the decorations sculpted by an artist on its sides. The irreparable damage was caused by the contractors who encountered the impressive sarcophagus during the course of their work.

They decided to hide it, pulling it out of the ground with a tractor while aggressively damaging it, and then concealing it beneath a stack of sheet metal and boards. They poured a concrete floor in the lot so as to conceal any evidence of the existence of the antiquities site.

Information received by the IAA’s Unit for the Prevention of Antiquities Robbery about unlawful activities at the construction site led to a nighttime search being conducted in the area. A close examination of the area revealed the sarcophagus and the lid concealed there.

The sarcophagus lid and the sarcophagus during the initial cleaning.

The sarcophagus lid and the sarcophagus during the initial cleaning.

Five Palestinian Arab construction workers from the Hebron area were detained who were sleeping at the building site. During investigation of the laborers at the Ashkelon police station, it became clear that the sarcophagus was excavated last week. When questioned, they showed the investigators photos and videos taken at the time of the sarcophagus’ discovery and while removing it from the ground.

Later that night, two building contractors were detained who are residents of the city and were responsible for the construction work at the site. The contractors were questioned under caution on suspicion of not reporting an ancient discovery and on suspicion of damaging an antiquities site and its artifacts – an offense punishable by five years imprisonment.

“This is an extremely serious case of damage to a rare antiquity of unprecedented artistic, historical and cultural importance,” said Amir Ganor, head of the Inspection Department at the Israel Antiquities Authority.

“The IAA is attentive to development needs and the needs of the public, but will strictly enforce the law against those who knowingly damage antiquities, which are assets belonging to us all.

“Out of consideration for the owners of the lots, we permitted building in the new neighborhood of villas, on condition they would report any discovery of antiquities in the area right away and immediately halt work until the arrival of our representative.

Hana Levi Julian

Update: Iron Dome Anti-Missile Batteries Deployed in Southern Israel

Thursday, August 20th, 2015

Iron Dome anti-missile defense systems were deployed Thursday in areas between the coastal port cities of Ashkelon and Ashdod. The system was also deployed Thursday in the northern Negev city of Be’er Sheva, where the system has not been deployed since last summer’s Operation Protective Edge against Hamas and allied terrorists in Gaza.

Security coordinators for communities in the Gaza Belt and other districts in southern Israel have been warned of possible rocket fire by Gaza terrorists.

Rocket fire was launched at northern Israel from the Syrian side of the border late Thursday afternoon. Two rockets exploded in open fields in the Galilee Panhandle, setting ripening crops ablaze. Two more rockets exploded in the Golan Heights and ignited fires in fields there as well. Firefighting crews were backed by by firefighter aircraft in helping to extinguish the flames.

Israel Defense Forces and local security personnel have been placed on high alert in response to the deteriorating health condition of Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist Mohammed Alla’an, hospitalized at Barzilai Medical Center.

The Gaza-based, Iranian-backed PIJ terror group has threatened to launch attacks against Israel if the hunger-striker dies.

Alla’an, who was held on administrative detention in connection with terror activity, has caused himself brain damage after refusing to eat for more than 60 days. It is not clear whether or not the damage is reversible.

Israel’s High Court of Justice order the state to suspend Alla’an’s detention and to allow his family unrestricted visitation. However, he and his family will need to seek permission from the Court if he chooses to seek leave or seek care elsewhere.

Alla’an was resedated Wednesday evening for the second time in a week due to his medical condition.

Hana Levi Julian

Air Force Hits One Lonely Terror Target after Missile Attack

Thursday, July 16th, 2015

The Israeli Air Force struck a solitary “terror infrastructure” target early Thursday morning in “retaliation” for a missile attack south of Ashkelon.

No one was injured, and no damage was reported in the rocket attack, so the IDF decided to act “proportionately” to the nth degree and strike back at only one target, without injuring a terrorist.

The rocket exploded in the Ashkelon Coastal Region second after an early warning siren was heard at 2:02 a.m.

The IDF spokesman stated:

The rocket landed in an open area adjacent to the city of Ashkelon, no injuries were reported.

In response to this attack, IAF aircrafts targeted a terror infrastructure in the Gaza Strip.

IDF Spokesman, Lt. Col. Peter Lerner: ‘The time was 2 AM in Israel when sirens sounded in the Lachish region, a frightening wake up call, alerting civilians to rush to shelters.

The repeated rocket fire at Israel does not only put the lives of hundreds of thousands of civilians at risk but it [also] is a deliberate decision to target civilians. No person should live under the threat of terrorism, always fearing what will come next, and whether they will find shelter in time to save their lives.

The IDF said it views the attack “gravely and will not tolerate any attempt to harm Israeli citizens.”

Therefore, it attacked “a” terror target.

Not many people will sleep well tonight in southern Israel.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

‘Hamas is Responsible For My Son. They Cannot Shirk Responsibility’

Thursday, July 9th, 2015

The mother of a (possibly) mentally ill young man who crossed the southern border of Israel into Gaza is blaming Hamas for her son’s captivity.

A second civilian, also in his 20s, is being held captive in Gaza as well. All information about the second man, a Negev Bedouin resident of the town of Hura, has been censored, however.

Avraham Mengisto’s mother told media in a briefing today (Thursday, July 9) while meeting with Ashkelon Mayor Itamar Shimoni that she holds Gaza’s ruling terror organization responsible for the welfare of her 28-year-old son.

“Hamas is responsible for my son’s fate,” his mother said. “They cannot shirk their responsibility. I [also] hope the state will not cease to act for his return.”

The mayor visited her at the family home in Ashkelon on Thursday after the news of Avraham’s disappearance was cleared for publication. “The family is going through a very difficult time, after the double tragedy that they’ve endured,” Shimoni said. “Askelon Municipality’s social services department has been accompanying them since the first moment. We embrace the family and send them strength and hope that Avraham will be back with his family quickly,” he added.

Speaking on behalf of the family, Avraham’s brother Ilan subsequently said “[We] have decided to behave with restraint and give the government time to get our brother back home and we also ask the people of Israel to show restraint… The family considers this a humanitarian issue and we call on the international community to get involved and work to secure the release of my brother,” he said. “I ask that Hamas consider the condition of my brother and release him,” he added.

Information about Avraham’s disappearance 10 months ago only became public today due to the lifting of a gag order.

Mengisto left his home in Ashkelon early on September 8, 2014, and apparently kept walking along the shoreline until he crossed the border into Gaza. This is not the first time that Mengisto has gone missing; there have been three reports of similar incidents registered with the social services department, although none involved a border crossing.

Mengisto’s mother Agernesh lives in Ashkelon, and his father Ayele lives in central Israel. He is one of nine children in the family.

According to the Defense Ministry there is no concrete information as to his fate; IDF Coordinator for Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) Yoav Mordechai told media, however, that current information indicates Mengisto is being held by Hamas.

A military source said Mengisto had initially been arrested by Hamas after crossing the border in September, but the terror organization said it released him because he was not a soldier. The source said there have been several attempts since that time to negotiate for his release.

A Hamas source in Gaza told Ynet that Mengisto is no longer in the region; the source said the Israeli exited the enclave via the tunnels in the southern border town of Rafah, and headed into Egypt.

Mengisto’s grieving mother added that despite her efforts to remain strong, “It hurts me. Since he disappeared, my life has come to a stop.

“Every day I wait for him to come through the door and say ‘hello.’ I pray for his return, and ask anyone who can help us to do so.”

Hana Levi Julian

UN Equates Israel With Hamas, Both Off UN Blacklist

Tuesday, June 9th, 2015

The United Nations equated Israel on Monday with the Iranian-backed Hamas terror organization that rules Gaza.

The UN left both Israel – the sole democracy in the Middle East – and the terrorist group off its blacklist of those who violate children’s rights during conflicts.

UN special envoy for children and armed conflict Leila Zerrougui of Algeria had listed both Hamas and Israel in the report she sent for final approval to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, according to UN sources.

Israel was subjected to sharp criticism by Zerrougui for the impact on children created by its 2014 counter terror war against the terrorists – who for years rained down rocket fire on Israeli children and their families.

On Monday, UN Security Council members received the draft as well. But it was Ban with whom the final decision rested. Sources told journalists the secretary-general elected to strike both Israel and Hamas from the list.

The decision, said the sources, was highly unusual.

Meanwhile, Gaza terrorists are again testing Israel’s resolve. On Saturday night, civilians were sent racing to their bomb shelters once again when a Grad Katyusha rocket was fired at southern Israel from northern Gaza.

The rocket was intercepted by the Iron Dome anti-missile defense system, indicating that it had been heading directly for a major population center. Shrapnel from the destroyed rocket was later identified on the outskirts of the coastal city of Ashkelon.

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon warned Monday that Israel will not “allow anyone to disrupt the lives” of her citizens.

Speaking at an awards ceremony attended by IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot that was held at the home of President Reuven Rivlin in Jerusalem to honor IDF reservists, Ya’alon said, “In recent days we received another reminder about the complexity of the situation in Gaza.”

Ya’alon spoke of “a hostile entity controlled by a murderous terrorist organization, Hamas, which is also challenged by terror gangs affiliated with global jihad.”

Israel, he said, is maintaining a “determined and decisive policy, one that is measured and responsible… If we are required to, and we continue to be challenged, we will not hesitate to act,” he warned.

Hana Levi Julian

Religious Mailmen Complain They Have to Deliver Missionary Propaganda

Friday, May 29th, 2015

Religiously observant mailmen in Ashkelon are pleading with the Yad L’Achim  anti-missionary organization to intercede on their behalf so that they don’t have to deliver missionary material to tens of thousands of homes.

The mailmen had asked their employer, Israel Post, to be excused from the task on the grounds that it offends their religious sensibilities, but their request fell on deaf ears.

Yad L’Achim appealed directly to Israel Post to order that delivery of the offensive material, produced by a local Baptist cult, be immediately suspended. One of its legal advisers, Moshe Morgenstern, clarified that distribution of the flyers, in Hebrew and Russian, was a violation of the law banning attempts to entice minors to convert.

Morgenstern stressed that children, who arrive home from school before their parents and collect the mail, are the first to be exposed to the material.

Yad L’Achim launched a counteroffensive and distributed flyers to the city’s 35,000 households warning of the dangerous material in their mailboxes and calling on them to throw it out.

Israel Post told Israel Radio that the subject was “under investigation.”

Yad L’Achim stated:

It is encouraging to see how the Jewish heart is awake, as seen by the initiative taken by the mailmen in contacting us, and in the many Ashkelon residents who were shocked to see missionary material in their mailboxes and immediately called  us to express their pain.

On the other hand, it hurts to see time and again how the Israeli authorities to turn a blind eye to the missionary programs that continue unabated.

Israeli law does not forbid missionary activity among adults, and the law against proselytizing minors is not strictly enforced.

Missionaries have claimed that “more Jews have converted to Christianity than in the 1,900 years before that.”

Jews in the Diaspora also are under the constant zeal of missionaries, some of whom fanned out at the Celebrate Israel Festival in Los Angeles last week.

Jews for Judaism Rabbi Bentzion Kravitz wrote in the Los Angeles  Jewish Journal:

Dozens of missionaries descended on —– or invaded — the Celebrate Israel Festival in ways that I never thought possible….

Jews for Jesus distributed literature inside the park…. [A] second group of burly men.…could be described as bikers or former inmates who have accepted Jesus. Their T-shirts were…inflammatory, with statements that you must accept Jesus or go to hell. …

Beth Emunah Messianic Synagogue, which professes belief in Jesus as the Messiah and God, officially had a booth at the festival. I believe its members’ presence violates Jewish law and a long-standing understanding of The Jewish Federation and board of rabbis banning their inclusion in Jewish events….

Contrary to what some people say, the threat of missionaries targeting Jews for conversion has not disappeared. In fact, it is more prevalent than ever.

Rabbi Kravitz added that Israel’s Channel 2 recently reported that there are more than 20,000 “Messianic believers in Jesus” in Israel.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

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.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/huge-oil-spill-near-eilat-an-ecological-disaster/2014/12/03/

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