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October 10, 2015 / 27 Tishri, 5776
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Negev’

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.

Controversy Bubbles Up in SodaStream Bid to Leave Samaria

Tuesday, November 4th, 2014

SodaStream International, an Israeli firm, has announced a deal has been finalized to close its factory in Mishor Adumim – an industrial park in the Samaria city of Maale Adumim, ten minutes north of Jerusalem – and move to southern Israel. Negotiations have been in the works for months.

The company and anyone associated has been harassed unmercifully by the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement due to the location of the factory, which was built in an area developed by Israel after the 1967 Six Day War.

That includes actress Scarlett Johansson, who quit her post as a spokesperson for the far left Oxfam International nonprofit organization after being hassled for her ties to SodaStream.

But BDS activists somehow missed the point that the factory emphasizes co-existence in its even-handed approach to hiring some 500 Palestinian Authority Arabs as well as Jews.

With the closure of the factory, PA Arabs are the ones whose livelihoods will be hurt the most; many will find it difficult to replace their wages and working conditions (on-site mosque, etc) locally. Most may be unable to cross into pre-1967 Israel to replace their current jobs within a reasonable distance.

Even more ridiculous is the fact that SodaStream never should have been a target in the first place. Mishor Adumim was always seen as a place that would remain under Israeli control, according to the 1993 internationally-recognized Oslo Accords, signed both by Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

Nevertheless, the international BDS movement has been tracking and harassing SodaStream for quite some time and apparently, it intends to continue despite the disappearance of any reason to harass its target.

One would think activists with the group would be lifting glasses of the bubbly to celebrate SodaStreams move across the so-called “Green Line” into pre-1967 Israel.

But not so. Now the group is claiming it will continue its boycott because SodaStream will move its factory next year to Lehavim, near Be’er Sheva, in the “Naqab.”

The move will bring the company a savings of two percent, officials say.

But BDS insists the factory will displace Bedouin residents of the “Naqab” – that is, the Negev. How the construction of a factory in Lehavim, an existing town, will displace Bedouin residents in the vast expanse of a region that comprises literally 60 percent of Israels land mass, is anyone’s guess.

But somehow, the BDS people have managed to twist their logic around that pretzel.

Israel, meanwhile, is providing an incentive grant of $20 million for the new factory as part of its effort to encourage revitalization in the south.

Will SodaStream try to obtain work permits for its current Arab employees? Yes, says CEO Daniel Brinbaum, of course. He will welcome them at the new plant as well – but they will face a daily trip of up to 60 miles from the original work site.

Co-existence does not go out of style in a corporate culture simply because a factory relocates. It just may be that those PA Arabs who are unable to move south with SodaStream into pre-1967 Israel will end up being replaced by Negev Bedouin.

Jews and Bedouin in southern Israel have been living and working together for decades, BDS notwithstanding. In the south, Israelis have no reason to prove anything to anyone, least of all to activists with an agenda to stir up trouble without necessity. Survival is everyone’s main priority, first and last.

Warning Sirens of Rocket Attacks Wail in Gaza Belt Communities

Sunday, October 19th, 2014

Israelis in at least half a dozen Gaza Belt communities woke up to the sound of Color Red early warnings of incoming rocket attacks from Gaza shortly after 7:15 a.m.

The fact there were two separate warnings makes it less likely the sirens were activated because of a technical problem, but the IDF said the sirens were a false warning, and no rocket explosions were heard.

We have been down this road before, where a “false warning” does not necessarily mean that Gaza terrorists did not launch rockets to test new weapons or that the missiles simply exploded within Gaza, short of their target in Israel.

Hamas has bragged that it has continued its manufacture of weapons since the temporary cease-fire two months ago.

The Jewish Press Forces Change in Ban Ki-Moon’s Announced Agenda

Monday, October 13th, 2014

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s press secretary hastily called The Jewish Press Monday night to announce that Ban will visit rocket-battered communities in southern Israel as well as devastated areas of Gaza.

The phone call would not be news if it weren’t for the fact that that the visit to the Negev was not previously announced by U.N. officials nor by Ban, who made special mention to journalists in Cairo Sunday that “I am announcing today that I will visit Gaza on Tuesday to listen directly to the people of Gaza, survey the situation for myself.”

We don’t usually like blowing our horn, but when Ban’s press secretary calls us directly to ask us to publicize a previously unannounced omission, it deserves attention because it only shows how biased the United Nations really is.

We asked Ban’s press secretary Stefan Dujarric why the official U.N. press releases made such a big deal out of the misery in Gaza without any mention of Israel.

The omission was an ”unfortunate error,” he explained, adding he will “look into” how it happened.

For the record, Dujarric said of Ban’s itinerary, “He will go to Kibbutz HaShlosha near and will meet with inhabitants of the kibbutz and with families impacted by the rockets and relatives of people who lost loved ones, and he will meet with them privately.”

We give the press secretary credit for admitting there was an “unfortunate error” but also suggest that the error goes a lot deeper.

It probably was not intended. It simply is natural, part of the inherent pro-Arab, pro-Hamas and anti-Israel agenda of the international community’s hold on the United Nations.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/the-jewish-press-forces-change-in-ban-ki-moons-announced-agenda/2014/10/13/

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