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May 6, 2015 / 17 Iyar, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Dead Sea’

ISIS Fighters in Syria May Be Felled By Lesions (Not Legions)

Tuesday, April 7th, 2015

To everything in its season, and so the tide has turned once more in the Middle East. What bombing could not end, God’s Mighty Hand may accomplish with a tiny fly.

Fighters for Daesh, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist organization, are now being attacked by a terrible skin disease called Leishmaniasis.

Two types of the disease have been identified in the region: Leishmaniasis major, and Leishmaniasis tropica. Both are carried and transmitted by parasites hosted on sand flies in the environment.

Although an article by Hadassah Medical Center says the disease cannot be transferred from person to person, researchers found in a study published in The Journal of Infectious Diseases in 2003 that such transmission may indeed be possible, since parasites can jump.

An outbreak of Cutaneous Leishmaniasis (CL) in the Galilee region of northern Israel in 2003 was discussed in the article which noted 33 cases in four villages and in the city of Tiberias were diagnosed between 1996 and 2003. The disease, which spread through parasites and sand flies, had mutated from its predecessor, Leishmania major and other tropical diseases.

CL due to Leishmania major as opposed to MCL and VL (two other forms) was defined as being zoonotic and much more difficult to treat. The cutaneous lesions were said to last much longer and the disease was described as life-threatening if it progressed to visceral leishmaniasis (VL). The study found that rock hyraxes found in northern Israel around Lake Kinneret were the most probable reservoir hosts for the parasites that carry the disease.

If that is true, then so too is it likely that ISIS fighters are facing a difficult time because it was mentioned that the parasites also jump from person to person, as well from the living animals around them.

More to the point, the disease is caused by poor hygiene and bad living conditions; it has affected at least 100,000 people in Syria, according to the latest reports. It can result in open flesh wounds, ulcers, an enlarged spleen and liver, anemia and ultimately lead to death.

Although it’s pretty easy to treat, there are very few medics and trained medical professionals left in Syria and ISIS-controlled Iraq who know how to manage it.

Volunteers with the Doctors Without Borders organization of course know how to handle it – but since ISIS is deeply dedicated to kidnapping, torturing and murdering those helping hands, it’s not likely they are going to see any help from them. Ditto for Syrian government troops for the same reason.

Ironically, a new project was launched last year by the Israeli Pharmaseed research company to track down a treatment for this disease.

Four partners were recruited for the project. Two of the four — the Dead Sea and Arava Science Centers – identified 70 plant extracts that may be relevant for fighting the parasite.

The Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, meanwhile, will test the efficacy of the extracts on leishmaniasis samples.

Pharmaseed is coordinating the project and is responsible for safety tests, and for assessing the potential efficacy of the extracts being tested.

Jordan University of Science and Technology Prof. Nabil Hailat will carry out advanced live and clinical trials (on humans) in Jordan, which should yield the test results.

Chabad Sends a Seder to Soldiers in ‘The Middle of Nowhere’

Sunday, April 5th, 2015

In the middle of nowhere, a group of Israeli soldiers guarding the nation’s border with Jordan prepared to meet the Sabbath Queen with a canned Passover Seder.

But facing the holiday with army-issue rations was not a pleasant prospect. So as the sun began to sink closer to the horizon, the men put their heads together.

Who could possibly provide a decent meal for these guardians of Israel on the eve of the Festival of Freedom – out in the middle of nowhere?

“Call Chabad,” advised one of the soldiers. Quickly someone Googled a number and came up with Rabbi Shimon Elharar, Chabad-Lubavitch emissary and head of Chabad of the Dead Sea.

A quick conversation ensued. Food he could provide; of course he had the contacts.

But who could get it to the soldiers in time for the holiday? They were, after all, literally in the middle of nowhere. Just about inaccessible. The sun was nearing the horizon. No Jew could make that trip and get back in time without desecrating the Sabbath.

And the soldiers could not leave to pick it up.

Enter a hero named Azmi, a righteous Arab Gentile who certainly will have his place in the World to Come. Azmi picked up the food from a restaurant where Passover preparations had been made.

At 6:30 pm, Azmi delivered the food to a position designated by the soldiers, just in time for them to set up before the start of the special Passover Sabbath seder.

“Today by chance I met an IDF soldier at one of the checkpoints at the Dead Sea,” Rabbi Elharar told JewishPress.com in an exclusive interview. Hearing his voice, I asked if he had been among those who were assigned to guard the border on Friday night and when he said “yes,” I asked how the seder had gone.

“What a huge smile lit his face!” the rabbi said. “He said ‘Yes indeed, the messenger made it on time. We were so amazed. We had a great holiday celebration.

“Wow – Chabad really is everywhere.”

Jordan, Israel Sign Historic Red Sea-Dead Sea Rescue Deal

Friday, February 27th, 2015

Jordanian and Israeli officials signed a multi-million dollar deal on Thursday to rescue the Dead Sea from oblivion. The ceremony took place on the Jordanian shore of the Dead Sea, with Israel’s National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Minister Silvan Shalom signing on behalf of the Jewish State. His Jordanian counterpart, Water and Irrigation Minister Hazim el-Naser, signed on behalf of the Hashemite Kingdom.

The historic project began with a memorandum of understanding signed in Washington by Israeli, Jordanian and Palestinian Authority leaders on Dec. 9, 2013.

The $800 million agreement authorizes the construction of a 65 to 80 million cubic meter capacity desalination plant in Aqaba, Jordan. The plant is to produce potable water that will benefit both nations.

In return for its purchase of some 45 m.cu.m. of potable water annually from Jordan, Israel will add 50 m.cu.m. To its current annual sale of water to Jordan from Lake Kinneret (the Sea of Galilee) in the north.

A 200-kilometer pipeline will supply Red Sea saltwater to replenish the shrinking waters of the Dead Sea, also benefiting both Israel and Jordan, whose borders share the shorelines of the lake on each side.

The memorandum of understanding worked out in 2013 also called for Israel to faciliate the direct sale of an additional 20 m.cu.m. of water from the Mekorot national water company to the Palestinian Authority.

Since the PA violated the terms of the Oslo Accords and unilaterally applied to the United Nations for membership as an independent Arab country – albeit within the current borders of Israel – many things have changed. The move circumvented any need to negotiate the issues of boundaries, security and economic or infrastructure issues with Israel and resulted in the two sides generally putting aside any further talk of joint projects.

“We are going to provide water from the Israeli system to the Palestinians at points where they need water, and we are going to start discussing with them as soon as possible,” Maya Eldar, an adviser to Minister Shalom told The Jerusalem Post.

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.

US Beauty Pageant Winners Uncover Media Lies in Visit to Sderot

Monday, October 6th, 2014

“If Israel had a ‘cover’ title based on what the media portrays, it would be ‘danger,’ ‘warfare,’ ‘disagreement,’ ‘pain,’ ‘death,’ ‘conflict’… and yet after just the first day I realized that this couldn’t be any further from the truth,” said Alicia Monique Blanco, Miss Arizona USA 2009.

The trip was organized by The Face of Israel organization, which offers tours for influential global figures. In Israel, the beauty queens visited all of the standard tourist destinations—like Jerusalem’s Old City, the Dead Sea, and Yad Vashem—but they also got off the beaten path with visits to the rocket-battered city of Sderot and Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon.

“[Israelis] have created an exquisite, highly innovative country that provides job security, democracy, health insurance, and top-quality education to people of all religions and races. Most importantly, they value life over death,” said Kristen Dalton, Miss USA 2009.

This article was published by JNS.org as an exclusive from Israel HaYom.

Anti-Israel BDS Protesters Target Kedem Cosmetics in Manchester

Sunday, August 17th, 2014

Riot police in the British city of Manchester have had their hands full this summer trying to keep people safe when they shop at the Israeli-owned Kedem Cosmetics shop on King Street.

Products from Caesarea, a town located along the Mediterranean coast, are sold in the shop, along with Dead Sea products from Israel.

“This shop has been under siege for weeks from pro-Palestinian protesters in a smart part of Manchester’s shopping area. Things have got ugly,” a source told TheJewishPress.com on condition of anonymity.

The shop has been the focal point of a campaign to denounce Israel over its counter terror Operation Protective Edge, which started last month to silence the incessant rocket fire raining down on southern Israeli civilians.

Pro-‘Palestine’ demonstrators – some of whom could easily be called rioters – have abused and shoved the store’s staff. Others block customers from entering the shop, a source said. At least one “protester” was arrested last month on charges of disturbing the public order, according to the Manchester Evening News. Riot police were required to maintain order on several occasions.

A counter protest group also appeared to support Israel in front of the shop, a British-registered company.

A protester from ‘Palestine Solidarity,’ John Nicholson of Longsight, told MEN he had been demonstrating in front of the shop for ‘six days running to try and close down Kedem, a shop selling Israeli goods.”

A spokesperson for Greater Manchester Police told MEN, meanwhile, that police were present to maintain “lawful and peaceful protest” but that there had been “no reports of any serious disorder” and that protests had “passed peacefully.”

Negev Loses Airport Night Trains

Thursday, June 12th, 2014

Residents of southern Israel – particularly those living in the periphery communities in the Negev – will no longer have the option of taking the train to and from the airport after 11:00 p.m.

A spokesperson for Israel Railways told The Jewish Press on Thursday morning the service just didn’t pay for itself. “The government and the railway company made the decision together,” said the spokesperson, who added the figures totaled only an average of five or six riders per night on the line. “It wasn’t cost effective.”

Instead, it was decided the Metropoline Bus Service will take over the route, she said. Bus #469 will begin at the Arlozorov station in Tel Aviv and then make a stop at the airport, travel to Kiryat Gat and then go to the central bus station in Be’er Sheva.

That’s a solution for folks who live in the city of Be’er Sheva itself, perhaps – but what about those who live in the small periphery towns where bus service doesn’t exist overnight?

“Tough luck, baby,” said one consumer. “We’re stuck with paying hundreds of shekels for travel after 11 pm, just like we always have – and that after first spending hours traveling to the other cities just to get a little closer. Instead of paying NIS 600 to get home, I end up paying NIS 300 from Be’er Sheva, but spend three more hours after a 12-hour flight and another hour or more in baggage claims. Forget it.”

The Negev region comprises 60 percent of the nation’s land mass – but its travel network has yet to be developed to the point that even half of its communities have any access to railway service at all.

When asked why there is still no railway branch route to Arad, for example — while Dimona, a city of similar size and population, has had one for several years – the spokesperson for Israel Railways could not find a reason. Arad, a ‘clean air’ resort town located about 45 minutes east of Be’er Sheva and 25 minutes west of the Dead Sea, is in the midst of a major development boom due to the expansion of Route 31, which runs between the two points.

The Nevatim air base is located near Route 31 – described in Hebrew media as ‘death road’ due to the high number of motor vehicle fatalities that have occurred along the highway — as is the Nahal army base at Tel Arad.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/negev-loses-airport-night-trains/2014/06/12/

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