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August 31, 2015 / 16 Elul, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Negev’

Makhtesh Ramon – The Ramon Crater

Monday, June 1st, 2015

The Ramon Crater in Israel’s south is the world’s largest “makhtesh- 40 kilometers long, between 2-10 kilometers wide and 500 meters deep.

It wasn’t made by a meteor or a volcano, but rather, it was created by erosion. There once was an active volcano in the northern end.

There are 5 Makhteshim in Israel, and 2 more in the Sinai.

An Israeli Rancher Son’s Story of Land and Survival

Friday, May 22nd, 2015

Eight years ago, an Israeli rancher from Moshav Zippori in the Lower Galilee region reached a breaking point. Thieves and marauders had been targeting Chaim Zilberman’s sprawling ranch; his land was burnt black and cattle fences cut down. On the verge of bankruptcy, the rancher told his family during a Friday Shabbat dinner one night that he would no longer be able to hold onto the ranch.

His son, Yoel Zilberman, who had served in the Israeli navy’s elite commando unit known as Shayetet and fought in the Second Lebanon War, sprang into action. In officer’s training course at the time, Zilberman took army leave to set up a guarding outpost on his father’s land. A Bedouin family from a local tribe had been invading his family’s territory for years, and had even threatened to murder Yoel’s father, while slaughtering the family’s cows without any police intervention.

“I took with me an Israeli flag, two mattresses, 40 books and set up camp on this secluded area of our ranch guarding the land from encroachers,” Yoel Zilberman, 30, told Tazpit News Agency in an interview. “I told my dad that we were not going to abandon our land to criminals.”

Zilberman, along with buddies from the army and area friends, began to patrol some of the 5,000 dunams of land (about 1,200 acres) of his family’s ranch, driving away the thieves. He soon realized that land encroachment was not only his family’s problem as other ranchers from the region reached out and asked him for help.

In 2007, Zilberman, along with On Rifman from the Negev established HaShomer Hachadash to help farmers and ranchers in both Negev and Galilee guard their properties and maintain their farms; preventing arson and theft and strengthening farmers. Today, thousands of volunteers are part of the movement, undergoing intensive training, patrolling the land from observation posts strategically set up in the Negev and Galilee to guard farms when local law enforcement remains unequipped to do so.

A third generation Israeli rancher, Yoel Zilberman, 30, was born and raised in Moshav Zippori, a community whose residents were once mostly farmers. His grandparents came to Israel after the Holocaust and were the first founding couple of the moshav.

For Zilberman, the Shomer Hachadash movement is not only about protecting the land but also connecting to it.

“The younger generation of Israel today doesn’t understand the significance of our land,” believes Zilberman. “They know all about Harry Potter but nothing about [Labor Zionist leader] Berl Katznelson.”

“Over the years, we’ve had volunteers from all over Israel including secular Israelis from Tel Aviv and families from Jerusalem as well as volunteers from around the world, come to reconnect to the land, to the outdoors, to the history and heritage of our nation,” he explained.

“Guarding the land brings people of right and left ideologies together. The responsibility to help Israel’s farmers is bigger than politics.”

“Israel is a land of milk and honey but honey and milk don’t simply grow on trees. It is something that man has to help make happen,” asserted Zilberman.

Volunteering with Shomer Hachadash involves not only helping protect farmers and their land, repairing vandalized areas and doing farm work, but also spending time learning Zionistic and Biblical texts related to the land. Shomer Hachadash also has leadership pre-army programs designed for high school graduates before entering the army.

“We are not a religious family but we were raised with very strong Zionistic values,” Zilberman told Tazpit of his family. He believes that” the personality of the Jewish people originated from the Land of Israel.”

“We lose our soul when we distance ourselves from the land. Our identity depends on the connection we share with this land.”

Furthermore, Zilberman sees Bedouins as part of Israeli society and knows many who are good neighbors to local farmers. “It is always a minority that causes problems. There are many Bedouins in the area with whom we are very good friends, and have good relations. These Bedouins want to stop the criminal activity in their villages, caused by the same criminals who encroach on state land.”

“When Mark Twain visited the Galilee, he said it was desert. Today it looks like the Garden of Eden because of the farmers. Every Jew wants Israel to be a Garden of Eden for all, including for minorities.”

Earlier in the week, Shomer Hachadash’s founder and CEO received the 2015 Moskowitz Prize for Zionism, an annual award given to those who put Zionism into action. Zilberman, who lives today in Kfar Adumim with his wife and children, told Tazpit upon receiving the prize that “I am not one for prizes or awards. But it is important to be a role model for young people and show that real change can take place with hard work. That’s the message I want to instill.”

Update: 2 Rockets Launched at Israel from Gaza

Thursday, April 23rd, 2015

10:22 PM Walla reports that according to an IDF source, 3 rockets were launched. At this point they do not think it was Hamas who launched them.

10:16 pm No specific terrorist group in Gaza has yet claimed responsibility for the rockets.

9:55 PM Reminder from the IDF: If you hear the Red Alert siren or a rocket explosion, enter your bomb shelter and stay there for 10 minutes.

9:34 PM Rockets were launched from Beit Hanoun in Gaza.

9:30 PM (updated) First rocket landed near a town near Netivot and Sderot. The second rocket is believed to have fallen short and landed in Gaza, but that is not confirmed.

9:20 PM There is still confusion as to where the second rocket fell.

9:09 PM Channel 2 TV reports, 2 explosions near Merchavim region in the south. IDF on the way.

NO INJURIES REPORTED.

9:04pm As of this time, there are no reports of rocket landings in Southern Israel…or damage.. or Iron Dome…still waiting for confirmation.
Some unconfirmed reports of a muffled explosion. IDf is checking.

9:02 PM Not clear yet if the rockets are real, false alarms, or Hamas test rockets that came too close to Israel.

8:58pm Rocket alerts just went off along the Gaza border and central Negev.
A lot of alerts.

Ancient Grape Seeds in Negev May Help Re-Create 1,500-Year-Old Wine

Thursday, February 12th, 2015

Archaeologists have discovered 1,500-year-old grape seeds in the Negev Desert for the first time and which were used to produce “the Wine of the Negev” — one of the finest and most renowned wines in the whole of the Byzantine Empire.

A joint study by University of Haifa and the Israel Antiquities Authority at the Byzantine city of Halutza (found the seeds that were of a variety that did not survive to present days.

“Our next task is to recreate the ancient wine and perhaps we will then be able to reproduce its taste and understand what made the wine of the Negev so fine,” said the excavation director, Prof. Guy Bar-Oz of the University of Haifa.

“The vines growing in the Negev today are European varieties, whereas the Negev vine was lost to the world. Our next job is to recreate the ancient wine, and perhaps in that way we will be able to reproduce its taste and understand what made the Negev wine so fine,” he added,

Archaeologists know of “the Wine of the Negev” or “Gaza Wine” — named for the port it was sent from to all corners of the empire — from historical sources from the Byzantine period. This wine was considered to be of very high quality and was very expensive.

No one knows what made it so fine because the variety did not survive.  In earlier excavations in the Negev, archaeologists found the terraces where the vines were cultivated, the wineries where wine was produced, and the jugs in which the wine was stored and exported, but the grape seeds themselves were not found until the new discovery.

The archaeologists found the ancient grape seeds in one of the Halutza refuse dumps that were preserved almost completely intact and now mark the boundaries of the ancient city.

The researchers found a particularly high concentration of fragments of pottery vessels used for storage, cooking and serving, which included a significant number of Gaza jugs used for storing the ancient Negev wine. The archaeologists also found a wealth of biological remains, including bones of Red Sea fish and shellfish from the Mediterranean that were imported to the site, which indicated the vast wealth of the Byzantine city residents.

The next stage of the study is to join forces with biologists to sequence the DNA of the seeds to discover their origin.

The archaeologists are asking, “European varieties require copious amounts of water. Today it is less of a problem thanks to technology, but it is unlikely that was the case 1,500 years ago. It is more interesting to think of local grape varieties that were better suited to the Negev. Maybe the secret to the Negev wine’s international prestige lay in the method by which the vines were cultivated in the Negev’s arid conditions.”

Negev Development Stalls Amid Layoff at Israel Chemicals Factory

Tuesday, February 10th, 2015

Residents of the Negev woke up this week to face layoffs of more than 140 workers by the Israel Chemicals’ Bromine Compounds factory.

The move comes in the wake of similar layoffs in at least three other factories around the southern Dead Sea region.

Employees at the factory demonstrated Tuesday at the corporation’s headquarters in Be’er Sheva to express their dismay.

Dead Sea Works factory employees joined them in a solidarity move; they too face massive layoffs but are hoping to stave off the pink slips in negotiations. Israel Chemicals owns both factories.

It’s not that the corporation profits are down: the bromine industry is still very healthy, and dividends have risen. So has the salary of the CEO, according to Ynet. But many factories in the Negev have been downsizing. It costs money to move product across the vast region and the railway system that could – and should — do it most efficiently simply does not exist.

One of the centerpieces of the Netanyahu administration this term has focused on the prime minister’s vow to upgrade and update infrastructure development in southern Israel.

Residents in the Negev have heard those promises from politicians before and most have learned to accept them for what they usually are: well-meant vows that rarely materialize.

In the past several years, a massive project was undertaken to rework Negev infrastructure. An entire network of new highways are still in the process of being constructed; old roads were torn up and repaved.

But little else was done; the antiquated railway network has yet to be expanded, for instance. Although a branch line goes out to Dimona, the equally distant development town of Arad, for instance, has yet to receive one.

Once home to Motorola, the famed Arad Towels factory and a host of other manufacturers – but no longer – Arad is now struggling to survive. Numerous business firms have left for more accessible places with more favorable special business tax deals, and possibly better security. Many of the town’s founding residents have left as well.

Located at one of the farthest edges of the periphery, Arad was promised a rail line years ago but has yet to see it. There is only one road out to the Dead Sea and Be’er Sheva – Highway 31 – and if that is blocked, the residents are locked in. Good jobs are scarce in Arad, and residents who work in the closest major city – Be’er Sheva – must commute by inter-city bus to get there. That means a local bus ride of 15 to 20 minutes, another hour-long bus ride to Be’er Sheva, and then possibly a third bus ride to work, of undetermined length.

Employers in Israel often pay a stipend for travel to the job, but generally not enough to cover three bus trips each way. The work day for an average commuter in Arad lasts at least 10 hours, if not more, and it often costs their employers in productivity as well as morale and turnover.

It’s one reason some people in Arad abandon the option of traveling by bus and now travel by car. But that comes with a price as well: Those in private vehicles, like bus drivers, recently faced the risk of being pelted with rocks by young Arabs near two Bedouin towns along Highway 31. The attackers were egged on by agitators and organizers from central and northern Israel according to local sources. At least 60 suspects were rounded up and questioned after a recent attack; many were arrested.

The latest move by manufacturers at the Dead Sea is guaranteed only to exacerbate the tension and misery permeating the southern region, where development was to flourish this year in the wake of attacks by Hamas.

New York Female Lone Soldier Overcome Cancer to Be IDF Officer

Thursday, December 4th, 2014

Rotem Chiprut, a ”lone soldier” from New York, has shown the IDF how much she is a real fighter by overcoming cancer and a discharge from the IDF to return as an officer

Under the heat of the Negev sun, Rotem was one of officer cadets standing at attention with their weapons in hand after having completed their officers’ training course after four months of intense training in leadership, management, and professionalism.

Her story is unique, one of a young how has proven Herzl’s phrase, “If you will it, it is no dream.”

Originally born in New York, Rotem moved to Israel at the age of just a few months. After spending 12 years growing up in Israel, her family moved back to the United States where she finished high school in New Jersey.

Upon completing high school, Rotem planned to follow the same path as her friends: attend a college and study for a bachelor’s degree. She began the process of registering for university when her family took a trip to Israel. “I saw the soldiers on the street and realized that people my age were all a part of something bigger,” she remembers. “I also wanted to protect my country and be a real part of my country.”

After a long discussion with her parents, Rotem immigrated to Israel with the goal of joining the IDF. “I was so excited to enlist,” Rotem recalls. “When I first put on my uniform I was so proud of myself. I said to myself ‘I came here to do something, and I’m here. I did it.’”

Rotem serves in the IDF as a lone soldier – one whose parents live outside of the country. “I am technically far from my family and home, but I am always at home here in Israel,” Rotem proudly states.

In the middle of her service, Rotem decided she wanted to become an officer. During her processing for officers’ training school, Rotem went for a physical and blood test when she got news that changed her life forever.

“They sat me down in the doctor’s office and told me that they found out I had cancer in my thyroid gland,” she recounts stoically, “and that I needed to leave the army to have surgery.”

“When I found out I couldn’t continue the officers’ course I cried a lot because [the Officer Training School] is the place I wanted to be and it was really important to me.” Shortly after, Rotem underwent surgery on her thyroid gland, was discharged from the army, and sent home to rest for two months.

“Every day I felt I wanted to go back to my base. I didn’t want to be at home for two months; I really wanted to be in the army.”

Recovery and Re-enlistment

“Little by little I understood that I wouldn’t be able to join the army with the same status I had before,” Rotem discloses. “They told me I could join the army as a volunteer but not with the same job.”

After writing multiple letters and appealing to various army offices, Rotem got word that she would be able to re-enlist with the same position in the army. She not only did she get to re-enlist, but she also would be allowed to attend the officers’ training course even though she had missed the deadline.

“The moment they told me I had cancer, I didn’t think about my health at all. It sounds crazy, but I cried not because I had to undergo surgery, but because I had to leave the army,” Rotem added. “I knew I would be ok and that everything would pass, but I didn’t know if I could rejoin the army, and that was the reason I came to Israel and the reason I left everything behind [in the United States].”

Negev Bedouin and Galilee Arabs Join Rock-Throwing Hat Festival

Monday, November 10th, 2014

Bedouin rock-throwers the area of the city of Hura, north of Be’er Sheva, lightly injured a bus passenger in a rock-throwing attack Monday afternoon.

In the north, Israeli Arabs hurled rocks at a bus near Nazareth, in the Lower Galilee, causing damage to the bus but no injuries.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/negev-bedouin-and-galilee-arabs-join-rock-throwing-hat-festival/2014/11/10/

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