Israel’s Water Authority announced Sunday that due to the rain this weekend some 60 mm of water was gathered in cisterns in the northern region and a total of 30 mm of water fell in the center of the country.
Since the Sabbath, the water level in Lake Kineret, also known as the Sea of Galilee, rose another two centimeters, nearly one inch.
The Kinneret is Israel’s largest reservoir of drinking water.
The level of the lake now stands at -212.77 cm, which is 23 cm above the lower red line — the mark which is considered dangerously low.
The Kinneret lacks only 3.97 meters more until it is filled to capacity — and rain is predicted for parts of Israel on Sunday.
Lake Kinneret is a little ‘under the weather’ these days, according to Israel’s Water Authority.
The northern body of water which is Israel’s main source of drinking water is also known as the Sea of Galilee. It started this year “rainy season” with a head start but now is showing signs of heading into a drought level.
Israel’s Water Authority reported Tuesday that the lake’s water level has dropped four centimeters below the “lower red line,” and stands at 213.04 meters below sea level.
“Kinneret water level declines at the end of December are unusual circumstances, occurring most recently only in 2008,” the Water Authority said in a statement.
On Tuesday morning, a very brief flash of rain swept across the northern Negev – but it had no effect on the level of the lake.
An inscription in Hebrew letters engraved on a large, 1,500-year-old marble slab, first of its kind to be found in Israel, was excavated in the Kursi Beach National Park on the east coast of the Sea of Galilee. The inscription confirms for the first time that the ancient settlement in the area was Jewish or Jewish-Christian. The common assumption has been for years that this was the location of the settlement of Kursi or “Land of the Gergesenes,” which is mentioned in Matthew 8:28. Now, that assumption has received significant support.
Prof. Michal Artzi of the Institute for Maritime Studies at Haifa University said that “this first evidence of the existence of a Jewish settlement strengthens the theory, which until now was considered folklore, that the settlement is Kursi.” Artzi is the director of the excavation, along with Dr. Haim Cohen, in collaboration with the Israel Antiquities Authority and the Israel Nature and Parks Authority.
The existence of an ancient settlement at the site, on the northeastern coast of the Sea of Galilee, was already known in the 1960s, when the remains of a large pier were discovered below sea level. Later, a short distance away, the remains of a city were found, whose main characteristics made it appear like a Byzantine Christian site. The entire complex became a national park in 1980, and was given the name Kursi, after a nearby Syrian village. The sharp drop in the water level of the Sea of Galilee allowed researchers to return to the location of the breakwater, and after intensive work they realized that the ancient harbor is much bigger than they had thought, and may even be a separate settlement. They were surprised to find there a 59.05 by 27.6 inches marble tablet, with an Aramaic inscription in Hebrew letters. Two of the words on the tablet are “Aman” and “Marmaria.”
Apparently the Hebrew inscription was probably engraved in 500 CE, and according to the researchers, there was a Jewish settlement there which evolved into a mixed town. “The existence of a Jewish settlement on the eastern shores of the Sea of Galilee is a very rare thing. Until now we had no proof that Jewish settlements, which have disappeared over the years, actually existed during that period on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, except for the town of Migdal,” said Prof. Artzi.
Besides its testimony of the existence of the Jewish roots of the excavated settlement, the tablet is unique in other ways: it is the first of its kind found in Israel. Most inscription tablets of that period were made of mosaic; this is the first ever inscription on a slab of marble, specially commissioned from Greece. The inscription is at the entrance to an interior room in a building which probably was a synagogue.
“The inscription consists of eight lines, which means it is very detailed,” said Prof. Artzi. “Usually you won’t find so many words in Hebrew letters engraved in stone, so that the person to whom it was dedicated had to have had a huge impact on the local people. There is no comparable dedication in details and cost in all the archaeological discoveries found in Israel to date.”
An Israeli company is building wind energy farms for the first time in the country in 30 years. .
Afcon Holdings, a part of the Shlomo Group, is building two farms that will house 25 wind turbines each in Ramat Sirin and Ma’aleh Gilboa, south of the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee).
The turbines will produce 21 megawatts of electricity at any moment and will become operational in 2016, reported Yediot Acharonot.
Israel’s first wind farm was built 30 years ago in the Golan Heights,
The plan for a wind farm at Ramat Sirin was approved 10 years ago after the National Planning and Building Board’s committee rejected augments by the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel that the farm will damage a scenic open space.
The new wind farms did not receive a green light also overcoming several hurdles by Israel’s Electric Authority and the IDF. Geographically, there are also few sites in Israel with winds strong enough to justify a wind turbine farm.
Some environmental groups also oppose wind farms due to fear that the turbines could harm birds.
The new turbines will measure 29 meters (95.1 feet) each and will produce 850 kilowatts of energy an hour per turbine.
Investigations by the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) have led to the arrest of 24-year-old Meir Ettinger, grandson of the late Rabbi Meir Kahane, on suspicion of nationalist crimes.
Sources said he was not specifically accused of involvement in last Friday morning’s firebombing of two homes in the Samarian village of Duma, where an 18-month-old baby died in the ensuing fire. The baby’s mother and a brother suffered serious burns.
Ettinger has been described as “the unofficial leader of the hilltop youth and has been barred from Judea and Samaria since January. Police arrested him in Safed (Tzfat).
His grandfather Rabbi Kahane, who was assassinated in 1990 in New York City, founded the nationalist Kach movement that the Israeli government eventually outlawed after Kahane was elected to the Knesset.
Ettinger allegedly was the mastermind who organized the arson of a church on the shores of the Sea of Galilee (Kinneret) in June and for which the Shin Bet has arrested five suspects.
It can easily be speculated that interrogations of the suspects exposed enough evidence for the Shin Bet to arrest Ettinger.
He is scheduled to appear in court this morning (Tuesday), where police will almost certainly ask that he remain in custody until the end of judicial procedures.
The government this week approved “administrative detention” for so-called Jewish terrorists, a move that makes it easier for the court to put Ettinger in jail for several months pending a trial.
Ettinger has denied that there is an underground movement in Israel but has written on his website that mosques and churches are places of “pagan worship” and that
He also wrote:
There is no terrorist organization, but there are lots and lots of Jews, much more than what they think, whose ladder of values is completely different from that of the High Court of Justice or the Shin Bet.
Ettinger wrote on Arutz Sheva in May:
The Nationalist Crimes Unit [of the Shin Bet] was created three years ago by Tzipi…to eradicate nationalist crimes, i.e. actions of what are known as Jewish ‘rebels’ who, for their part, feel that they are acting to prevent the further deterioration of the state of Israel.
The officials in this unit harass those they suspect and try to put as many as possible behind bars….
When a Jew’s blood is spilled in a terror attack, they go from yeshiva to yeshiva, town to town, to insure that there will be no response, other than an op-ed column by a family member…..
The fact is that the security services have been acting for a long time now as if the main enemy of the State of Israel is Jewish children who move to the hills of Judea and Samaria (‘Hilltop Youth’) and that helping these youngsters is akin to treason….
Police have arrested five hilltop activists who allegedly were behind the June 18 arson at the Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes at Tabgha on the shores of the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee).
The Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) and police announced Wednesday afternoon that the suspects also have been involved in other hate crimes.
The arrests are a major victory against “price tag” vandals who have blackened the image of residents of Judea and Samaria, especially those who live in hilltop communities.
Indictments were filed against two suspects,20-year-old Yinon Reuveni of the western Negev town of Ofakim; and 19-year old Yehuda Asraf of Elad, a predominantly Haredi city in central Israel.
Administration steps will be taken against the other three.
All five suspects are “hilltop youth” and some of them have a record of violent activity.
Police and the Shin Bet said that Reuveni recently had been barred from Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria for xi months because of suspicion that he was involved in several “price tag” attacks in the Old City and against Arabs in Judea and Samaria.
The other suspects are 18-year-old Mordechai Meyer, of Maaleh Adumim, 24-year-old Moshe Orbach of Bnei Brak and “John Doe” of Ramle, located near Ben Gurion Airport.
Meyer recently was served with an injunction barring him from Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem due to his suspected involvement in several incidents of arson. Orbach and “John Doe” also have lived in various hilltop youth outposts and also is suspected with several hate crimes.
The Shin Bet and police stated:
This group operates in the context of an ideological infrastructure composed of a limited number of hilltop youth activists. This infrastructure has operated since 2013 and holds to an extremist ideology that aspires to change the regime and bring about the redemption via various stages of action.
The infrastructure sought to hit ‘weak points’ in the State of Israel in order to arouse dialogue and win adherents and also tried (unsuccessfully) to disrupt the May 2014 visit of Pope Francis.
It added that the ringleader of the infrastructure now lives in Safed (Tzfat) and has recently lived in various hilltop youth outposts. He also has been served with an administrative order barring him from Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem for one year.
The infrastructure began with mainly anti-Christian activity, including the vandalism of the Dir Rafat monastery in April 2014.
In the past year, the infrastructure began to commit more significant terrorist attacks of arson against Arab homes in Judea and Samaria.
The blog of the head of the group on the “Jewish Voice” site on May 20 of this year sought to encourage attacks on Christian religious sites and stated, “Only those who deny idolatry and fight against Christianity and aspire to remove the churches from the Holy Land – they are called Jews.”
Marc Grossfield is a typical entrepreneur who managed a number of successful businesses and eventually sold his marketing promotions company to a public company.
Through family connections, he hooked up with Eddie Philips of Millennium Imports and soon he was learning about such upscale brands as Chopin and Belvedere. Eddie seized the opportunity about 35 years ago when Poland was undergoing its transition from Communism and managed to become the sole importer of the upscale Belvedere Vodka.
It was a time when Absolut virtually controlled the luxury market with an average bottle selling for $15. Eddie took the luxury Belvedere brand with its beautiful bottle to the next level, commanding double what Absolut was charging and he was an instant hit.
According to Marc, Eddie did not keep the success to himself, donating as much as $25 million to Jewish causes. He eventually sold Belvedere to Louis Vuitton LVMH “for hundreds of millions of dollars” and then sold Chopin.
Meanwhile Marc was not only transitioning to Vodka thanks to his mentor Eddie Phillips but also becoming increasingly spiritual. The Gold family in Israel turned out to be a perfect fit.
The family, originally expelled from Russia in 1824, moved to Safed (Tzfat) along with the entire community where they continued to make vodka in the finest Russian tradition. This art was passed on from father to son, today run by Yossi and his dad Joseph Gold.
Yossi’s journey took him to the Israeli Air Force, then to medical school, to Brazil where he became a plastic surgeon and then to Germany to perfect the art of making vodka.
Marc’s mission was to have the Gold’s produce vodka out of the seven species of the land of Israel (i.e. figs, dates, pomegranate, wheat, barley, olives, grapes) so that Jews who wish to make a blessing over the original seven species could do so, and even a non-practicing Jew or non-Jew could feel some spirituality in making a toast.
He even imported sand from Israel to put a handful into every fancy bottle of Aviv. The water is from the Kinneret, the Sea of Galilee.
Vodka is made from 40% alcohol and 60% water. There is even symbolism in the triangular shape of the bottle, representing body, mind and spirit. “The bottom is bigger,” says Marc, “representing kindness. Aviv was launched on Thanksgiving 2013 and in its first year stacked up well against such brands as Grey Goose, Ciroc and Belvedere. It is selling well in such wine and spirit chains as Lund’s and Byerly in Marc’s hometown in Minneapolis.
It is also distributed by Royal Wine in many areas and is certified kosher by the Orthodox Union (OU).
This article was written by Menachem Lubinsky for Kosher Today.