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December 25, 2014 / 3 Tevet, 5775
 
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘King David’

Arab Terror Hits Hard at Jerusalem Hotel Occupancy Rate

Sunday, November 23rd, 2014

The occupancy rate in Jerusalem hotels has plummeted by nearly 50 percent in the wake of recent Arab terror.

“Thirty percent of our clients, Israelis and foreigners already in Israel, called following the running over of bystanders by a terrorist driving a car and asked to move their tour route from central Jerusalem to the Biblical Zoo, which is fenced in and secured at the entrance, or to Tel Aviv,” Yossi Griver, co-owner of Zuzu Motoric Tourism, told the Globes business newspaper.

A veteran tour guide told The Jewish Press Sunday, “Tourists are cancelling trips they scheduled with me. They don’t even come from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.”

The war in Gaza last summer was a financially deadly strike at tourism, which had been at record highs before Hamas started pummeling Israel with missiles as far north as metropolitan Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

“The escalating security situation in the city has dealt another blow to tourism, already hit hard by Operation Protective Edge,” said Alfred Akirov, owner of Alrov, which operates David Citadel and Mamilla Hotels in Jerusalem.

Occupancy rates at Jerusalem hotels now are 35-40 percent, compared with the usual seasonal rate of 65-70 percent.

The city of Jerusalem and businesses are trying to attract business with free tours and discounts, but it is difficult to overcome a mood of fear, exactly what terrorists want to drive in the hearts of Jews.

Jerusalem tour guide Ron Peled told Globes, “There is a dramatic plunge of 80-90 percent in the number of Israeli tourists visiting Jerusalem. Would you take your kids on a trip to Jerusalem now? If you were invited to a bar mitzvah at the Western Wall, would you go? It’s not a sure thing.

“A large number of the tour guides in the city have no work because of the situation that has prevailed since Operation Protective Edge. There is a more moderate decline. You can still see tourists in the city.”

Guy Klaiman, general manager of the recently opened Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem Hotel, is more optimistic, if for no other reason than radical Islamists have attacked throughout the world.

“Tourists regard these things differently these days,” he told Globes. “They understand that there is no safe place in the world, and that part of life today is taking some risks. It’s not safe in London, either. When I worked there, we had to deal with terrorist explosions. Being a Jew in Antwerp is not exactly safe now, either.”

What Did King David Drink? Israeli Wine Researchers Aim to Revive Ancient Libations

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

ARIEL, West Bank (JTA) — The small cardboard box in Elyashiv Drori’s palm looks like it’s full of black pebbles.

Closing the box quickly, he explains that it cannot be open for long. The pebble-like pieces, which were uncovered in an archaeological dig near Jerusalem’s Old City, are in fact remains of a kilo of grapes stored nearly 3,000 years ago. They were preserved under layers of earth from the era when David and Solomon ruled over the Land of Israel.

Next to his laboratory at Ariel University, Drori — an oenophile who has judged international wine competitions — already has barrels of wine made from grapes that have grown in Israel for two millennia. Finding a living sample of the 3,000-year-old grapes will be the next step in his years-long quest to produce wine identical to that consumed in ancient Israel.

“It’s not interesting to make chardonnay in Israel because there’s chardonnay that comes from California,” said Drori, the agriculture and oenology research coordinator at the Samaria and Jordan Rift Center of Ariel University. “But if you can make wine in Israel that isn’t elsewhere and that connects to the history here, that’s much more interesting.”

Today there are hundreds of Israeli wineries, but they largely use varieties of grapes that are indigenous to Europe. By finding and growing grapes native to Israel, Drori hopes to bring Israeli winemaking back to its roots.

One major hurdle: The area’s past Muslim rulers prohibited alcohol consumption for centuries, and many indigenous grape varieties all but fell out of use. But some of the grape varieties survived.

Cremisan Cellars, a winery outside Bethlehem run by Italian monks, has produced a dry white wine called Hamdani Jandali that is made from two species indigenous to the area. Drori has found mentions of Jandali and Hamdani grapes in Second Temple-era texts from 2,000 years ago, and is preparing to showcase kosher wines made from the grapes at a festival next summer.

With funding from the Jewish National Fund as well the city and national governments, three years ago he sent a team of Ariel masters’ students on treks across Israel to find grapes growing in the wild. After three years of searching across the country — with tips from hikers who had seen wild grapes — the students found 100 varieties of grapes unique to Israel. Of those, at least 10 are suitable for winemaking.

“I understood how much local species are connected to their countries,” said Yakov Henig, one of Drori’s student researchers. “Every nation has its species, and we have a culture and tradition of making wine. This is connected to our identity.”

Drori’s next goal is to match the wild grapes to grape seeds and remains found in ancient archaeological sites. If a seed has survived the centuries with its shape intact, Udi Weiss, an archeo-botanist at Bar-Ilan University, will create a 3-D scan of the ancient grape seed and determine based on its shape whether it matches grapes that grow now.

“We want to get to a place where there will be a kind of fingerprint for the species we found all over Israel,” said Weiss, who works with Drori. “My hope is that I can say that a sample is exactly the shape of a seed I found in David’s City in Jerusalem.”

To tackle the challenge of grape remains whose shapes have been distorted, Drori has enlisted Mali Salmon-Divol, a biologist specializing in DNA analysis who has begun sequencing the genomes of the indigenous Israeli grapes. Once Salmon-Divol has a record of each species’ DNA, she will sample the DNA of the ancient grapes and see how they line up.

Rolling Stones into Shavuot

Friday, June 6th, 2014

Since the start time of The Rolling Stones concert was rolled ahead to 9:15 to allow for travel time after the end of Shavuot, I thought it would be fun to roll the opposite direction back into Shavuot.

If you read through the articles written before the concert, there were three main themes: 1) The Rolling Stones were performing in Israel; 2) The concert was scheduled to begin the night after Shavuot; and 3) BDS wasn’t working … again.

Now that we’ve isolated these three, let’s work to conceptualize them. Beyond the recent headlines, there is some enduring message here. Some inner reason why this story was so attractive and intriguing for so many. While we know what happened to make these recent headlines, we’d like to now ask why?

Why I am writing this?

To help us all see the bigger picture. While it may seem that our interests travel from one unrelated headline to the next, there are correspondences interweaving all these stories together. In this respect, the billions of pages that comprise the internet are indeed a www (world wide web). The challenge is in finding the correspondences between them and knowing what sites or data to leave out entirely.

Stones, Shavuot, and BDS

Back to our three. The first conceptual leap we’d like to take is to leap past this particular band, and into a concept called “rolling stones.” Even if future headlines speak about a rock band by another name, or something else to do with stones (e.g., arab stoning attacks), then we are still able to weave them together in our www of concepts. For instance on JewishPress.com, the article “Rolling Stones Play Tel Aviv” was posted 15 minutes before, “64 Stoning/Firebomb Attacks Over Shavuot.

Thinking conceptually enables us to acknowledge the relationship between the two, and open our eyes to begin appreciating (and promoting) the Divine Providence. Since King David passed away on Shavuot the ‘rolling stones’ that came to mind was the ‘stone’ that killed the Philistine giant Goliath.

What about BDS? Instead of a physical stone slung against the Philistine Goliath, the performance of The Rolling Stones in Israel was seen as a proverbial ‘stone throw’ against BDS and a fictionalized nation called the Palestinians. We have now corresponded all three of our concert headline themes with the original David and Goliath ‘headline.’

Why is conceptualization needed?

Because now we can begin to appreciate the why behind the what of the headlines.

For instance, while the band presently consists of four members, a fifth was invited to join them on stage (according to one report, for the first time in 40 years). Where did this thought to invite him on stage come from? That the four ‘stones’ should become five ‘stones’? From our original ‘headline’ of David placing five stones in his slingshot. While David killed Goliath with one stone (Samuel 1 17:49), David had put five stones into his slingshot (verse 40).

In contrast to the hate-filled stones thrown by arabs, as mentioned previously, the ‘stones’ thrown by Jews are non-physical stones of love. This is the inner lesson that 50,000 attendees in Tel Aviv hoped to receive yesterday. How to throw stones of love.

Because of the Divine Providence in the date chosen (presumably the band didn’t know the Jewish significance of the day beforehand, nor the significance of inviting a fifth ‘stone’ on stage), and because they went against BDS, even though the tickets were pricey, and the heat sweltering, the event was a near sellout. But while many of us were attracted to attend or read about the event, now comes the challenge to take these messages home.

Yom Yerushalayim: Reunification of a People and a Past

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

By Dr. Elana Heideman and Anat Goldberg

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There has been a continuous Jewish presence in Jerusalem, and our connection to and passion for the city has been preserved as a memory by Jewish people around the world.

Though the modern state of Israel was born in 1948, for years Jews were cut off from the Old City of Jerusalem and the Kotel, the Western Wall – the heart of the Jewish people, the axis of our collective national and historical identity, the center of our faith, and the focus of the history of the Jewish people for generations.

Throughout Israel and around the world, on the 28th of the Hebrew month of Iyyar, this year on May 7-8, we celebrate being reunited with the city of Zion, Yerushalayim Shel Zahav, our only Jerusalem. 

History shows that it was the Jews who have made Jerusalem important to the world.

In 1004 BCE, King David established Jerusalem as the capital of the Kingdom of Israel (2 Samuel 5:6). Following the first exile, he proclaimed: “If I forget you Jerusalem, let my right hand lose its strength. Let my tongue cling to my palate if I fail to recall you, if I fail to elevate Jerusalem above my highest joy.”

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Three times a day, or even just twice a year, for thousands of years, Jews turn their faces towards Jerusalem and the Temple Mount and pray for a return to Jerusalem and to Tzion.

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From the Album The Great Victory in Pictures, 1967

When we build our houses we are to leave a square un-plastered, we keep a symbolic menorah on our shelves, and we break a glass at weddings in memory of the destruction of Jerusalem as a sign of our continued hope and commitment.

Memory and connection were kept alive and the Jewish people lived with Jerusalem forever in our hearts.

In the spring of 1967, a war was forced upon us by the Arab countries that surrounded Israel who attacked the Jewish state, determined to destroy her. Instead of suffering defeat, Israel won the war in just six days.


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VIDEO: Witness the reunification of the Jewish People to our holiest site on earth


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On June 7, 1967 — More than 3000 years after King David sanctified it as the capital of Israel and the city of the Temple, and nearly 1,900 years after it fell and was torn from us during the destruction of the Second Temple, Jerusalem was united and once again was restored as the capital of the Jewish homeland.

The Israeli Knesset passed laws to protect holy sites and ensure freedom of worship to all. Since this important day in history, Christians, Muslims and Jews have all been granted full religious and cultural freedom in the holy city. Additionally, Arabs living within Jerusalem’s municipal boundaries are granted Israeli citizenship.

In a statement at the Western Wall, Minister of Defense Moshe Dayan indicated Israel’s peaceful intent and pledged to preserve religious freedom for all faiths in Jerusalem:

“This morning, the Israel Defense Forces liberated Jerusalem. We have united Jerusalem, the divided capital of Israel. We have returned to the holiest of our holy places, never to part from it again. To our Arab neighbors we extend, also at this hour—and with added emphasis at this hour—our hand in peace. And to our Christian and Muslim fellow citizens, we solemnly promise full religious freedom and rights. We did not come to Jerusalem to conquer the Holy Places of others, and not to interfere with the adherents of other faiths, but in order to safeguard its entirety, and to live there together with others, in unity.” - Moshe Dayan June 7, 1967, Iyar 28 5727

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When Israeli soldiers liberated the Temple Mount area, site of the Western Wall, the holiest site in Judaism, they found the area to be covered in filth, neglected in every way imaginable.

No Sovereignty Grab by Vatican at King David’s Tomb For Now

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014

The Vatican has confirmed it has no plans to attempt a sovereignty grab at King David’s tomb, at least at this point.

In an interview posted this week on the Vatican Insider website, Jerusalem-based Bishop William Shomali confirmed that Pope Francis is going to celebrate Mass in the Cenacle – the upper room which is considered holy to Christians because they believe it is the place where Christianity’s founder, Jesus, celebrated the Last Supper.

A niche on the lower level of the same building is alleged to be the burial site of the Biblical King David, marked by a large cenotaph-sarcophagus set up by 12th century Crusaders. However, most scholars consider this attribution to be incorrect; in Kings I 2:10[13] the burial site of the ancient Biblical king is said to be “in the City of David”, identified as the eastern hill of ancient Jerusalem, rather than in what is today called Mount Tzion, the western hill of the ancient Old City of Jerusalem.

The site is one of many located in the area claimed by the Palestinian Authority for its hoped-for independent Arab state within Israel’s borders. The PA has insisted in talks that Israel hand over all of the areas of Jerusalem restored in the 1967 Six Day War — including all Jewish holy sites — so it can establish a new capital city there. PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has also said repeatedly that he will never allow any Jew to set foot on “Palestinian land” once borders for a new PA state are established.

Shomali, who was born in the PA and is auxiliary-bishop of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, confirmed the Pope is expected to celebrate Mass in the room. However, he firmly denied the Holy See had any intention of attempting to take control of the site from Israel.

“There is some opposition (to celebration of Mass at the site) but it is coming mainly from ultra-Orthodox Jews who have misunderstood the event,” he told Vatican Insider. “They thought the Pope is coming to receive sovereignty over the Cenacle. This is not true! The Pope and the Vatican do not want sovereignty; they only want more use of the place in the early hours of the morning for masses and for prayer,” Shomali explained.

All of the tickets for the visit of the Pope to Bethlehem and for the Mass there are exhausted, he added, noting that 10,000 were distributed and that many asked for more. “This is different from the two previous papal masses in Bethlehem, when John Paul II and Benedict XVI came,” he said. “It means that this Pope attracts crowds.”

Israeli security is expected to be extremely tight and for the two days the Pope will be in the country, travel within Jerusalem and surrounds will be difficult.

Government Plan to Hand King David’s Tomb to the Vatican?

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

Is there a deal in the works to hand the Tomb of King David over to the Vatican?

Rumors of such an agreement appear to have enough substance to have prompted Deputy Transportation Minister Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) to write a query to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

Hotovely reminded the prime minister of the importance of the tomb of the Biblical monarch, noting its sanctity to the Jewish nation. She warned Netanyahu not to make the same mistake with King David’s Tomb that previous administrations made with the Temple Mount – that is, handing sovereignty over the sacred site to a foreign power.

In the case of the Temple Mount, the Jordanian-linked Islamic Waqf Authority controls all matters over the site, even though it is located in the heart of Jerusalem’s Old City and is the holiest place in the Jewish faith. Because the Waqf is in control, Jewish access to the Temple Mount is severely restricted – and Hotovely warned Netanyahu that handing the Tomb of King David to the Roman Catholic Vatican could create exactly the same situation for Jews there too.

There has not yet been any announced response to Hotovely’s letter.

Although an Israeli government source has denied any intention of transferring control over the site to the Vatican, other sources have said otherwise – including journalist Gulio Meotti, an editorial contributor to Arutz Sheva, who maintains there is truth to the rumors a deal is still in the works.

King David Drafted Torah Scholars Into His Army

Thursday, March 20th, 2014

The Prophet Yeshayahu says (Isaiah 55:8-9): “ ‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,’ declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.”

The thoughts of man, even those of the greatest talmid chacham, cannot fathom the thoughts of the Creator, for many of the Torah laws run counter to human logic.

For example, if a nine year old breaks a neighbor’s window, it’s logical to think the parent is financially responsible. However, when one’s cat breaks the neighbor’s flowerpot it is accepted that the owner is not financially culpable. In fact, according to Torah law, the opposite is true: a parent is not financially responsible for a child’s actions but is responsible for damage caused by his material possessions.

Another example is a kohen who fathered a child by a woman he is prohibited from marrying. The child is a chalal (devoid of any kohanic sanctity), but the father who transgressed remains a valid kohen. And there are many more examples.

The Mishnah in Kiddushin 76a states:

A kohen who wishes to marry must investigate the genealogy of the woman of his choice in order to establish that she is halachically permitted to marry a kohen. However, if she is the daughter of a kohen who served in the Temple [whose genealogy was already confirmed] or the daughter of a member of the Sanhedrin or the daughter of a soldier in King David’s army, he need not investigate the woman’s genealogy.

The Gemara explains that King David drafted into his army only the most genealogically and spiritually suitable. David’s logic was that in war, Hashem weighs the relative merits of the litigants. Therefore, it is essential that our side be overwhelmingly more righteous than the enemy.

How different are our thoughts from those of the great King David.

Today’s yeshiva world might be prepared to accept the idea that those who are not learners be drafted, but certainly not the outstanding learners. In contrast, David and his advisers saw the Torah truth to be just the opposite – they knew the best fighters would be the most gifted talmidei chachamim, bringing with them Torah and mitzvot as the efficient weapons for victory.

In my 22 years of serving in an anti-aircraft unit of the Israeli Air Force and later as a paramedic in civil defense, I witnessed the influence a single religious soldier can have on a unit.

For example, the religious soldier organizes minyanim. The general atmosphere is much improved, with a discernibly more serious attitude. During my service, my tefillin were in use overtime, and Shabbat became a time for serious discussion about many areas of life and a time when the non-observant soldiers and officers got a taste of Torah – for some, it was the first time in their lives they had heard the chachmah of Torah.

There are many rabbis and lay people who define themselves as religious Zionist haredim. Many learn Torah no less than non-Zionist haredim, and all are as scrupulous in keeping mitzvot as the most meticulous non-Zionist haredi. They serve in the army, many as officers with some reaching the highest ranks. These people can be found in all areas of technology, commerce, academia, the arts, etc.

I humbly feel I am part of this group of religious Zionist haredim.

The divide between the two groups of haredim is wide and growing wider.

The non-Zionist haredi camp has brought with it the ways of the galut. After 2,000 years of our incredible suffering in exile, Hashem opened the gates to Eretz Yisrael. Life in the Holy Land as an independent nation requires that we leave behind the accumulated psychological baggage of the galut, where the non-Jew did the “dirty work.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/king-david-drafted-torah-scholars-into-his-army/2014/03/20/

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