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December 5, 2016 / 5 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Dead Sea’

Winter Rains Arrive in Israel, Flash Flood Warnings Issued

Thursday, October 27th, 2016

“…. I will give rain for your land at the proper time, the early rain and the late rain, and you will gather in your grain, your wine and your oil.” (Deuteronomy 11:13-21)

The winter rains arrived right on schedule this Thursday, sweeping through northern Israel and then spreading to the central region before reaching the Negev.

In the south and eastern parts of the country, forecasters warned residents to beware of flash floods, in particular in the dry desert areas around the Dead Sea, where low-lying roads are easily flooded.

Foreign hikers and tourists driving through the area are often suddenly caught unawares during such rainstorms.

The rain was expected to be accompanied by a rise in the temperatures, and high winds, but forecasters said the mercury would drop to seasonal levels by Friday with the rain tapering off.

Hana Levi Julian

Ein-Gedi Scroll Target of Hi-Tec Recovery Mission

Thursday, September 22nd, 2016

Prof. Brent Seales and his team from the University of Kentucky have further unlocked the text in the ancient Ein-Gedi scroll — the very first, severely damaged, ink-based scroll to be unrolled and identified noninvasively. Through virtual unwrapping, they have revealed it to be the earliest copy of a Torah book – Vayikra-Leviticus – ever found in a Holy Ark.

“This work opens a new window through which we can look back through time by reading materials that were thought lost through damage and decay,” said Seales, who is a professor and a chair of the Department of Computer Science at the University of Kentucky. “There are so many other unique and exciting materials that may yet give up their secrets — we are only beginning to discover what they may hold.”

Seales and his team have discovered and restored text on five complete wraps of the animal skin scroll, an object that likely will never be physically opened for inspection.

In a study published in Science Advances Seales and his co-authors, including researchers from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, describe the process and present their findings, which include a master image of the virtually unrolled scroll containing 35 lines of text, of which 18 have been preserved and another 17 have been reconstructed.

“We are releasing all our data on the scroll from Ein-Gedi: the scans, our geometric analysis, the final texture,” said Prof. Seales, adding, “We think that the scholarly community will have interest in the data and the process as well as our results/”

The software pipeline, referred to as “virtual unwrapping,” reveals text within damaged objects by using data from high resolution scanning, which represents the internal structure of the 3-D object, to digitally segment, texture and flatten the scroll.

In 2015, Seales and his team revealed the first eight verses of the Book of Vayikra in the scroll, which is at least 1,500 years old and was badly burned at some point. Due to its charred condition, it was not possible to either preserve or decipher it. However, high resolution scanning and virtual unwrapping has allowed Seales to recover substantial ink-based text at such high quality that Jerusalem’s Hebrew University scholars can now conduct critical textual analysis on it.

“With the aid of the amazing tomography (imaging by sections) technology we are now able to zero in on the early history of the biblical text, as the Ein-Gedi scroll has been dated to the first centuries of the common era,” said Hebrew University’s Prof. Emanuel Tov, co-author and leading scholar on textual criticism of Hebrew and Greek bibles. Hebrew University’s Prof. Michael Segal also worked with Tov on the textual criticism. The text of the scroll and its analysis is published in Textus, the journal of the Hebrew University Bible Project.

The scroll was unearthed in 1970 in archaeological excavations in the synagogue at Ein Gedi in Israel, headed by the late Prof. Dan Barag and Prof. Ehud Netzer of the Institute of Archaeology of the Hebrew University and Yosef Porath of the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA). The IAA’s Lunder Family Dead Sea Scrolls Conservation Center, which uses state of the art and advanced technologies to preserve and document the Dead Sea scrolls, enabled the discovery of this important find.

“The discovery of text in the Ein-Gedi scroll absolutely astonished us; we were certain it was a shot in the dark, but the most advanced technologies have brought this cultural treasure back to life,” said co-author Pnina Shor, curator and director of the Israel Antiquities Authority’s Dead Sea Scrolls Project. “Now, in addition to preserving the Dead Sea Scrolls for future generations, we can bequeath part of the Bible from a Holy Ark of a 1,500-year old synagogue.”

JNi.Media

Salt Cave Collapses Near Lot’s Wife in Sodom — Family Escapes

Saturday, September 10th, 2016

An avalanche of rocks caused the collapse of at least one of the salt caves around the area of Sodom, near the site where the formation known as Lot’s Wife stands, as the Sabbath drew to a close on Saturday.

The caves are located along the Israeli shoreline of the southern end of the Dead Sea.

Members of a family who were reportedly the last people to explore the cave told Ynet they had barely stepped into the cave before hearing the rumble of the rocks. That prompted them to hurry out of the cave.

The family said they did not hear or see any signs that anyone else was located deeper in the cave at the time.

Rescue teams rushed to the site nevertheless, in order to rule out the possibility that anyone might have been trapped under the rubble.

A larger cave system in the same general area known as the “Flour Cave” due to the flour-like consistency of the sandy floor of the cave was officially closed to the public a number of years ago, also due to an avalanche.

Numerous tremors and small earthquakes in the area have destabilized the delicate geological balance in the region, endangering the ancient caves and archaeological treasures they may contain. The Israel Antiquities Authority has launched an initiative to save as many of those artifacts as possible, as soon as possible, before they are lost to nature — or cave robbers.

"Lot's Wife"

“Lot’s Wife” / Photo by Mark A. Wilson / Wikipedia.

Hana Levi Julian

Palestinian Authority Tries to Grab Dead Sea Oil Reservoir

Monday, May 2nd, 2016

The Palestinian Authority is claiming that Israel has no right to use an oil reservoir near the Dead Sea, according to a report posted late Monday night (May 2) on Twitter by Arab affairs journalist Khaled Abu Toameh. The Palestinian Authority claims the area is “under Palestinian sovereignty according to international law.”

Frankly, the argument is total hogwash. The site isn’t even anywhere near the 1949 Armistice Line, also known as the infamous “Green Line.”

The reservoir, worth $321 million, is within the Hatrurim oil and gas exploration license in the Dead Sea area. A report quoted by the Globes business news site states with 100 percent geological certainty that the reservoir could contain between 7 and 11 million barrels of oil.

It is located on a ridge high above the southwestern end of the Dead Sea, in an area called Tzuk Tamrur. The site is not far from the northern Negev city of Arad, which is perched atop the highest ridge that overlooks the southernmost section of the Dead Sea. Tzuk Tamrur is situated halfway down the road that winds down from Arad to Ein Bokek, the area in which all the luxury hotels are located along the southern Israeli shore of the Dead Sea.

The Hatrurim Formation or Mottled Zone is a 36 sq. mile geologic formation with outcrops all around the Dead Sea Basin, including the Negev Desert, the Judaean Desert, and western Jordan. It includes impure limestone along with coal-bearing chalk and marl. The rocks have been subjected to pyrometamorphism resulting from combustion of contained or underlying coal or hydrocarbon deposits. The formation is named for exposures in the Hatrurim Basin which lies west of the Dead Sea.

In 1995 Israel’s Delek Group Ltd. discovered oil after carrying out an initial drilling in the area to a depth of two kilometers. But the firm decided not to pursue further exploration because the price of oil at the time was not high enough to justify the cost of development.

Last December, the Israel Opportunity Energy Resources LP was awarded a 25 percent share in the license along with two other Israeli partners. An Israeli geologist also received a share in the license, as did a firm from Cyprus.

Hana Levi Julian

Palestinian Authority Activists Sue for Billions from Sheldon Adelson, Pastor John Hagee, Ahava and More

Tuesday, March 8th, 2016

A group of Palestinian Authority activists hope to win billions from United States supporters of post-1967 development in Judea and Samaria.

They’re suing Jewish and Christian business tycoons, religious groups and companies involved in Israeli communities developed after the Six-Day War, and hoping to reap $34.5 billion.

The lawsuit was filed in the Federal District Court of Washington D.C. this week by PA activist Bassem Tamimi and 35 others, according to Qatar-based Al Jazeera.

Unsurprisingly, the Arab network did not name the other plaintiffs in the suit, nor did it reveal details about the charges leveled against the defendants.

The trial is not expected to start until at least five years from now – if at all.

Named in the lawsuit are: Las Vegas casino magnate Sheldon Adelson Real estate tycoon Irving Moskowitz World-renowned Pastor John Hagee Christian Friends of Israeli Communities Dead Sea cosmetics firm Ahava Industrial mega business Israel Chemicals Ltd

All of the above have allegedly had some type of involvement in communities located on territory claimed by the Palestinian Authority to be land the entity wishes to take for its hoped-for independent future state.

Hana Levi Julian

Foreign Ministry Slams Video Showing EU Ambassador to Israel as Hannibal the Cannibal

Monday, February 29th, 2016

The Israeli government is very displeased with a video produced by the Jerusalem’s Periphery Forum depicting the European Union Ambassador to Israel as a killer cannibal.

Foreign Ministry Director-General Dore Gold condemned the use of a cannibal mask on the image of a diplomat as being disrespectful.

European Union Ambassador to Israel Lars Faaborg-Andersen was depicted as Hannibal Lecter, the serial killer featured in The Silence of the Lambs.

The group posted the film clip to its Facebook page on Sunday night.

On the video, the narrator says: “He’s the man that stands behind the illegal building around Route 1. He is creating facts on the ground so that there can be contiguous territory for a terrorist state in the future.

“It would be unthinkable for Israeli ambassadors in Europe to create outposts for the refugees. In that same way we can’t let Andersen challenge us by acting in a way that endangers all of us. We’ll have to restrain Andersen.”

The outposts referred to in the video are the illegally-built structures built by Arabs – many funded by the European Union – that keep popping up among the Judean Hills along Route 1 as it descends to the Dead Sea from Jerusalem.

Hana Levi Julian

Arad Mayor, Chabad Rabbi Invite Tourism to Israel’s Sunny South

Sunday, February 14th, 2016

Two completely different people, albeit both “Aradniks,” both turned up at the International Tourism Expo in Tel Aviv last week.

Arad Mayor Nisan Ben Hamo personally led a team at the Arad booth in promoting his city as an attractive tourist destination with “magic in the air,” as the city slogan says. Arad has long been renowned for its excellent air quality; it’s the place where doctors in Israel have always sent children and adults with asthma and other breathing difficulties.

The city is located on a ridge overlooking the southernmost tip of the Dead Sea at approximately the same elevation as Jerusalem, so its air is crisp, but dry with a Negev breeze. Because it is farther south, however, the temperature is warmer. Tourists often have to be reminded to drink due to the breeze and the dry heat, which does not register as much.

Also at the Expo were Dead Sea Chabad emissary Rabbi Shimon Elharar and Associate emissary Rabbi Tzachi Francis, promoting their project, the Masada Experience.

For several years Elharar has performed Bar and Bat Mitzvah ceremonies atop the windswept fortress of Masada. Francis – who has also been a professional actor – also participates as “The Ancient Rabbi of Masada” for the young honoree and family.

“It’s amazing that the mayor would be so dedicated that he would come to an expo to answer questions and advocate for his city,” Elharar told JewishPress.com. “I was impressed. He came to our booth and it really added to our traffic!

“People came by to make a “l’chaim” with Mayor Ben Hamo in honor of Rosh Hodesh Adar (the first day of the Hebrew month of Adar) – it really created a festive atmosphere, and set the stage for the upcoming holiday of Purim,” he said.

More than 25,000 people turned out for the Expo, held Feb. 9-10.

Hana Levi Julian

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/arad-mayor-chabad-rabbi-invite-tourism-to-israels-sunny-south/2016/02/14/

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