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December 9, 2016 / 9 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Galilee’

Arab-Israeli Couple Arrested, Accused of Joining ISIS

Thursday, October 20th, 2016

by Ilana Messika The District Attorney in the Northern District Court in Haifa filed indictments Thursday against an Arab-Israeli couple accused of visiting an enemy country and joining the ISIS (Da’esh) terrorist organization.

Wisam and Sabrin Zabeidat of the northern Galilee community of Sakhnin were detained at Ben Gurion International Airport on September 22 upon their return from Iraq with their three children.

Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) investigators said that prior to their departure on a family holiday in June 2015, the couple watched ISIS videos and TV programs. After traveling to Romania with their children, they proceeded to Turkey by car, where a resident of the Israeli Arab village of Umm al-Fahm helped smuggle the family across the Turkish border with Syria.

The family was taken by ISIS near the Syria-Turkey border and their Israeli passports confiscated. Wisam Zabeidat was separated from his family and sent to Iraq, where he received both military training and religious indoctrination about the ideology of ISIS. Following his training, Wisam took part in operational activities of ISIS such as defending the Islamic State facilities and raids on Iraqi army positions. During one raid, he injured his leg and was treated at a hospital in Mosul.

The investigation also revealed details about unsanitary living conditions under ISIS rule. The family lived in crowded homes, often with patients suffering a variety of serious diseases, and often without access to water, electricity, food or medical care. According to reports, the children were scheduled to begin military training at the age of eight.

On June 2016, a year after their departure, the couple decided to return to Israel due to worsening conditions in Iraq. They tried to cross the border into Turkey several times and by various methods, made difficult by the extensive smuggling network that controls the passages. During one attempt they were fired upon by both the Turkish army and ISIS. Eventually, the family made it back to Turkey, but they were arrested by Turkish police and sent to a detention camp before being released after several days. The family then flew to Ben Gurion International Airport, where they were arrested upon arrival.

Statistics released in July 2016 show that many Israeli Arabs have been arrested for attempting to join the Islamic State (ISIS / Da’esh) terrorist group. More than 40 Israeli citizens have joined ISIS in the last two years, according to the Shin Bet intelligence agency, and the group has had important influence on several terror attacks in Israel in recent months. For example, the two Palestinian Authority Arab cousins who carried out a shooting attack at the Tel Aviv Sarona market were inspired by ISIS, although they had not apparently received any direct assistance or operational guidance from the group.

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Island Reappears in Drying Lake Kinneret While Jordan Keeps Siphoning

Tuesday, September 6th, 2016

Aerial photographs shot by a drone operated by Rahaf, a company specializing in photography and documentation projects from the air, show the dreaded “Kinneret Island,” which appears in Israel’s northern lake whenever the dry season claims significant portions of the lake’s water.

According to Pinhas Green, Deputy CEO of the Kinneret Authority, “since the beginning of summer the Kinneret level has gone down by 40 inches, placing it at 14.76 inches below the lowest red line. The level is very low. The drought arrived early this year. … We should all pray for an exceptionally rainy winter.”

To be full, the Kinneret is currently missing 180 inches (38 ft.).

Israel transports water from Lake Kinneret, or the Sea of Galilee, to the population centers of Israel, as well as to Jordan. The lake supplies only about 10% of Israel’s drinking water needs, but under the terms of the Israel–Jordan peace treaty, Israel also supplies 50,000,000 cubic meters (1,765,733,336 cubic feet) of water annually from the lake to Jordan. In recent years the Israeli government has made extensive investments in water reclamation and desalination infrastructure in the country. This has allowed it to significantly reduce the amount of water pumped from the lake annually in an effort to restore and improve its ecological environment, as well as respond to some of the most extreme drought conditions in hundreds of years which the lake’s intake basin has frequently experienced since 1998.

It is expected that in 2016 only about 25,000,000 cubic meters (880,000,000 cubic feet) of water will be drawn from the lake for Israeli domestic consumption.

Jordan, on the other hand (the folks who gave you the Islamic Waqf on Temple Mount), which hasn’t made an investment in water preservation, will continue to receive more than a billion and a half cubic feet of water every year.

JNi.Media

‘Tent-In’ Protest Planned in Galilee Over Development Cutbacks

Sunday, August 28th, 2016

The ‘Change Direction’ organization, which encourages civil activism in the Galilee Panhandle, has called for a “tent-in” demonstration to be held Monday at 4 pm in the region, the Hebrew-language NRG news outlet reported Sunday.

The demonstration is being called to protest a government decision to shelve a long-standing plan to develop the northern region. The decision came as part of the general state plan to trim down the national budget.

The “tent-in” is slated to take place in Metullah near the ‘Pri Metullah’ packing house. Protest signs are be distributed at the site to residents of the region, organizers said.

Earlier this year, a new luxury hotel opened in the Upper Galilee on land owned by Kibbutz Kfar Giladi after having been under construction for the past five years. The Galilion hotel — which features 120 luxury rooms, a large conference center, health spa and swimming pool — was to be part of the opening of an industrial center.

The site was to include a farmers’ market, a spa health club and restaurants, as well as tourist attractions featuring observation balloons flying over the Galilee and Mount Hermon, scheduled to open later this year. Organized walking and driving tours were to be launched in the Agamon Hula Nature Park for bird watching as well.

Hana Levi Julian

Rare Roman Period Frescoes Discovered in Galilee

Wednesday, August 10th, 2016

A team from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem has discovered hundreds of fragments belonging to frescoes from the Roman period in the Zippori National Park, west of Nazareth in Upper Galilee. The fragments, which contain figurative images, floral patterns and geometric motifs, shed light on Zippori (Sepphoris), which was an important urban center for the Jews of the Galilee during the Roman and Byzantine periods.

The discovery was made this summer in the excavations at Zippori, conducted in memory of Ursula Johanna and Fritz Werner Blumenthal of Perth, Western Australia. The excavations are directed by Prof. Zeev Weiss, the Eleazar L. Sukenik Professor of Archaeology at the Hebrew University’s Institute of Archaeology.

The frescoes decorated a monumental building that was erected in the early second century CE north of the decumanus, a colonnaded street that cut across the city from east to west and continued to the foot of the Acropolis. The building, whose function is not clear at this stage of excavation, spread over a wide area, and the nature of the artifacts discovered indicate that it was an important public building. At the center of the building was a stone-paved courtyard and side portico decorated with stucco. West and north of the courtyard, several underground vaults were discovered. Some of these were used as water cisterns and their construction was of high quality. The monumental building was built on the slope and the vaults were designed to allow the construction of the superstructure located on the level of the decumanus (an east-west-oriented road in a Roman city).

The monumental building was dismantled in the third century CE for reasons that are unclear, and replaced by another public building, larger than its predecessor, parts of which were uncovered during this digging season. The monumental building’s walls were dismantled in antiquity and its building materials — stone and plaster, some colorful — were buried under the floors of a newly established Roman building on the same location. Hundreds of plaster fragments discovered during this excavation season were concentrated in one area, and it seems that they belonged to one or several rooms from the previous building.

Guilloche, in a fresco from Zippori, dating from the early Second Century CE (Photo: G. Laron).

Guilloche, in a fresco from Zippori, dating from the early Second Century CE (Photo: G. Laron).

The patterns on the plaster fragments are varied and are decorated in many colors. Among them are geometric patterns (guilloche) and brightly colored wall panels. Other fragments contain floral motifs (light shaded paintings on red backgrounds or various colors on a white background).

Particularly important are the pieces which depict figures — the head of a lion, a horned animal (possibly a bull), a bird, a tiger’s hindquarters and more — usually on a black background. At least one fragment contains a depiction of a man bearing a club. Research on these pieces is in its early stages but it is already clear that at least one room in the building was decorated with figurative images, possibly depicting exotic animals and birds in various positions.

A bull's head in a fresco from Zippori, dating from the early Second Century C.E. (Photo: G. Laron)

A bull’s head in a fresco from Zippori, dating from the early Second Century C.E. (Photo: G. Laron)

The population of Zippori prior to the Great Revolt against the Romans was not very large, and archaeological finds dating to this period are particularly notable for the absence of figurative images – both humans and animals. The construction of the Roman city of Zippori after the Great Revolt, in the late first century and the second century CE, is indicative of a change in the attitude of Galilean Jews toward Rome and its culture. The city gained the status of a polis thanks to its loyalty to Rome during the Great Revolt, and constructed monumental public buildings, as befit a polis, that stood out in the urban landscape. This building boom also included the monumental building discovered north of the decumanus whose walls were decorated with frescoes, and whose remains were discovered during this season.

The new finds in Zippori contribute significantly to the research of Roman art in Israel. To date, excavators have uncovered the walls of several public and private buildings from Roman Zippori (second and third centuries CE) which were decorated with colorful frescoes in geometric and floral patterns. This season’s finds are the first, only and earliest evidence of figurative images in wall paintings at the site. The finds date to the beginning of the second century CE. Parallels to these finds are virtually unknown at other Israeli sites of the same period. Some panels bearing depictions of figures were discovered a few years ago in Herod’s palace at Herodium, and according to Josephus (Life of Josephus 65-69) the walls of the palace of Herod Antipas in Tiberias were also decorated with wall paintings depicting animals; but beyond that, no murals with depictions of figures, dating to the first century and the beginning of the second century CE, have been discovered to date in the region.

The discovery in Zippori is unique and provides new information regarding murals in Israel under Roman rule. Zippori is well known for its unique mosaics. The newly discovered frescos are now added to the city’s rich material culture. While the earliest mosaics discovered at the site date to around 200 CE, the ancient frescoes precede them by about a hundred years and are thus of great importance.

These finds raise questions relating to their socio-historic background. Who initiated the construction of the monumental building that was discovered north of the decumanus? Who is responsible for choosing the patterns that adorn the walls, and for whom were they intended?

The various finds uncovered throughout the site indicate that Zippori, the Jewish capital of Galilee, was home to many Jewish inhabitants throughout the Roman period, but the city also had a significant pagan community for which the temple was built to the south of the decumanus, opposite the monumental building, parts of which were discovered this season. It is difficult at this stage of the excavation to determine who was responsible for the construction and decoration of this monumental building. However, the new finds clearly reflect the multi-cultural climate that characterizes Zippori in the years following the Great Revolt, in the late first century and the second century CE.

JNi.Media

High School Students Help Discover a Unique 1,600 Year Old Pottery Workshop in the Galilee

Wednesday, July 27th, 2016

By Michael Zeff/TPS

Galilee (TPS) – High school students assisting an Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) archaeological survey discovered an ancient Roman pottery workshop in the Western Galilee.

“We have been conducting a large scale survey and excavations in the town of Shlomi at the request of the local municipal council and the Israel Lands Authority for the past six months, ” IAA geologist Anastasia Shapiro told Tazpit Press Service (TPS). “We unearthed an impressive factory for the manufacturing of jars, urns, and various vessels as part of the project.”

According to Israeli law, IAA experts must conduct an archaeological survey of any construction site before issuing approval to begin building on it.

The pottery factory, which includes a unique kiln, storehouses, water basins, and mosaic floors, was dated by the IAA to the late Roman Period, roughly 1,600 years ago.

“The kiln, which was only recently discovered, is the ‘cherry on top’ for this excavation,” Shapiro explained to TPS. “As archaeologists, we have encountered many ancient kilns, but they were all built or constructed out of stone. This one, however, is the first to be discovered that was actually excavated into the rock.”

According to Shapiro, it is very rare to discover a complete kiln as they tend to break or be destroyed with time. In this case, the entire structure of the kiln has been preserved as it is made out of one piece of solid rock.

“There is no other known discovery like this. It is simply one of a kind,” said Shapiro.

IAA archaeologists also concluded that the pottery workshop itself was an important, thriving one. The ceramic debris that was discovered around the kiln indicates that two types of vessels were manufactured by the workshop–storage jars that could be transported overland and amphorae that were used to store wine or oil to be exported from Israel by sea.

The discovery was aided by a large group of high school students from neighboring communities and from the cities of Nahariya and Qiryat Bialik.

“The students who volunteered on this project since May exposed the walls of the ancient workshop prior to the discovery of the kiln itself, as well as other features of the complex, such as water holes and mosaic floors,” explained Shapiro.

The students who assisted in the discovery were part of a large group of students who have been participating in archeological excavations in six different sites around the Galilee. The Ministry of Education has been encouraging Israeli teens to enhance their education outside of the classroom in order to increase student involvement in various public projects in neighboring communities.

“One can learn a lot during a history lesson in school, but there’s nothing like actually holding history in one’s hands,” Gilad Zinamon, an IAA education coordinator, told TPS.

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Secular Israeli Parents Say Religious Summer Camps ‘A Better Deal’

Thursday, June 30th, 2016

Secular Israeli parents are enrolling their children in Orthodox Jewish summer camps this year, despite the dress code requirements.

The reason? It’s just a better deal.

Prices for summer camps in Israel are soaring, with fees for the typical municipal program costing as much NIS 3,000 for even the youngest campers in the kindergarten “bunks.”

In the religiously observant summer camps, children are required to dress modestly; girls wear skirts and sleeves, and boys wear yarmulkas. A resident of Bat Yam interviewed by the Hebrew-language Mynet website said it was a matter of being practical. “Instead of paying 3,000 shekels for a daughter at an urban camp I pay 450 shekels,” he said. “What does it matter if the child needs to go with a skirt? If the secular summer camps want us, they have to cut prices.”

In accordance with the Ministry of Development of the Periphery and the Galilee, a certain percentage of the students are entitled to subsidized municipal camp scholarships. But many families are not entitled to these benefits and face skyrocketing costs in having to find ways to keep their children busy during the hot summer months.

For working parents, that dilemma is a nightmare. “When I opened the envelope with the registration form for the municipal summer camp for my children I was horrified,” Natalie S. told JewishPress.com. A resident of the northern Negev development town of Arad, she and her husband both work full time.

“There was no way that I and my husband could afford more than 2,000 shekels per child for each of our two toddlers for a two-week program this summer, and to keep the kids home was simply not an option,” she said. “It’s not fair. How do people do this, and what are we supposed to do with them the rest of the summer? How am I supposed to keep my job while we figure this out?”

In Bat Yam, a number of secular families decided the solution lay in a network of private hareidi-religious summer camps where the fee was barely a fifth of the price. One of the parents interviewed by Mynet declined to reveal the name of the camp, fearing their children would be rejected, since they did not share their secular beliefs with the camp.

“I am sure the director knows the truth and there are many families like ours,” the parent said.

One of the camps operated in the city this summer is Bnei Zion, associated with the Sephardic religious Shas party and designed for school-age girls. The tuition is NIS 450 for a three-week session, including Fridays, according to the camp’s director, Yosef Rachamim. The program includes field trips, inflatables, a trip to the Jaffa port, a picnic, a barbecue, swimming pool time and other attractions.

Hana Levi Julian

IDF Begins Military Drills in Northern Israel

Wednesday, April 13th, 2016

Residents in northern Israel may hear explosions or see military vehicles passing by in the next few days.

The IDF Northern Command is conducting military drills in the Galilee and Golan Heights, beginning Wednesday and continuing through the rest of this week.

The sound of artillery and other ordnance is to be expected.

Last week the Da’esh (ISIS) terrorist organization abducted 300 cement workers and contractors from the Al-Badia company in Dumeir, about 28 miles from Damascus, according to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

A new round of peace talks between opposition forces and the Syrian government were scheduled to start Wednesday (April 13), but were not to include Da’esh (ISIS), Al Qaeda, Army of Islam or any other radical Islamist group such as the Al Qaeda-linked Jabhat Al Nusra (Al Nusra Front) group.

Da’esh and related terror groups are largely in control of Syrian territory close to the border with Israel.

Syrian sources said Tuesday that Da’esh now controls 90 percent of the Yarmouk refugee camp on the outskirts of Damascus, home to Arabs from the Palestinian Authority.

The camp is also a major base for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terrorist organization, which has ties to the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

Hana Levi Julian

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/idf-begins-military-drills-in-northern-israel/2016/04/13/

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