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September 17, 2014 / 22 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘rocks’

Machtesh Ramon

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

Machtesh Ramon is considered by some to be the most exquisite site on the planet. Located south of Beersheba in the Central Negev, not only is Machtesh Ramon the most spectacular geological sight in Eretz Yisrael, it contains within it some unique geological formations that are not found anywhere else on earth. A machtesh (erosion cirques or box canyon) is a geological window, giving us a look into the Earth’s crust. Unique to the Negev and Sinai deserts, only 7 machteshim have been identified, Machtesh Ramon, Machtesh HaGadol, Machtesh HaKatan and two even smaller ones on Har Harif in the Negev; there are also two in the Sinai.

The term machtesh is a geological term borrowed from the word machtesha “mortar” (as in mortar and pestle). Both the Machtesh Katan (Small) and the Machtesh Gadol (Large) look like mortar bowls in which grains are pounded with a pestle. This “look” holds true for both the Small and the Big Machteshim, but not for Machtesh Ramon which is stretched out and narrows at one end – resembling the shape of an elongated heart.

These enormous, craterlike machteshim are neither meteorite craters nor volcanic calderas, although they are frequently described as craters. Machtesh Ramon is an erosion landform, actually a valley surrounded by steep walls and drained by a single wadi (riverbed). The name Ramon is probably from the Arabic “Ruman” meaning “Romans,” and probably linked to a trail that the Romans built here.

Machtesh Ramon has pretty impressive measurements, making it the largest machtesh in Eretz Yisrael. This makes it the largest on earth as no other part of the globe has this phenomenon. The crater is 45km long, 2-10 km wide (28 miles long and five miles wide) and 500 m deep. Its deepest point is Ein Saharonim (Saharonim Spring) – which also contains the Machtesh Ramon’s only natural water source and sustains much of the wildlife in the machtesh including ibex and onagers.

The onager, or wild ass (the biblical pereh), was an animal that had disappeared from Israel. In 1983, two herds of onagers were successfully re-introduced at two locations: Machtesh Ramon and at another site in the Arava Desert. They are the smallest of wild horses and cannot be domesticated. In Roman times, the meat of an onager was considered a delicacy. Some other animals in the vicinity are leopard, striped hyena, sand fox, Dorcas gazelle and the fat desert rat. A variety of plants grow in the Ramon area, including Atlantic pistachio trees, buckthorn, globe daisy, tulips and other bushes and shrubs.

Machtesh Ramon contains many types of rocks including clay hills – known for their fantastic red and yellow colors – as well as forms and diverse colorful sandstone.

At the borders of the crater impressive mountains rise. Har Ramon (Mt. Ramon), at the southwest corner of the machtesh, is one of the highest peaks in the Negev (3,400 feet – 1,037 m.), Har Ardon (Mt. Ardon) at the north-eastern end, and two table-like mountains – Har Marpek (Mt. Marpek – “Elbow”) and Har Katum (Mt. Katum – “Chopped”) are along the southern wall. Giv’at Ga’ash, a black hill in the north of the machtesh was once an active volcano.

Shen Ramon (Ramon’s Tooth) is made of molten rock which hardened while underground. This black sharp-edged rock later rose up through cracks in the Earth’s surface, and today stands in striking contrast to the nearby creamy colored southern wall of the crater. In the centre of the machtesh is Ha-Minsara (The Carpentry Shop), a low hill made up of black prismatic rocks. It is the only place in the world where prisms made of heated sand turned into liquid – and then when cooled naturally formed rectangular and hexagonal prisms that look like woodchips left behind by an indifferent carpenter. Also, vertical dikes of magnum that squeezed upward through fissures can be seen at various spots through the machtesh.

The ruins of a large prehistoric stone structure known as Khan Saharonim are found in the Machtesh. It lies along the ancient Incense Route, a trade route used by the Nabateans, and is the remains of a caravanserai, a roadside inn where the travelers would rest and recover from the day’s arduous journey. Dozens would gather and camp together and regroup before moving forward in an effort to protect themselves from bandits hiding out in the desert. These ruins acted as a way station for the traders and their animals (khan is the Arabic word for a caravansary) as they proceeded further westwards to the Mediterranean seaport city of Gaza. Not far away to the north are the ruins of the ancient Nabatean city of Avdat.

Arab Attacks 60 Year Old Man at Abraham’s Well in Hebron

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

A video uploaded to YouTube by English Spokesperson for Hebron David Wilder shows a stream of blood on the rocks of the Abraham’s Well underground spring, following a near-fatal rock attack by a local Arab on a 60 year old Jewish man who came to immerse in the spring.


Jewish tradition connects the Patriarch Abraham – the central figure connecting Judaism and Islam and one of three great Jewish patriarchs buried in Hebron – with the small natural spring, saying it was the place where Abraham and his wife Sarah would go to purify themselves.

On Wednesday, a 60 year old resident of Kiryat Arba went to perform a cleansing immersion at the site, and when he reached the bottom of the stairs, was attacked by an Arab who threw a large rock at his head.  The man was found unconscious on his back at the bottom of the stairs leading to the well.  He regained consciousness at a Jerusalem hospital, to which he was evacuated by paramedics.

Now You See Them, Now You Don’t

Thursday, May 31st, 2012

Camouflaged IDF fighter jets fly low and fast inside the Ramon Crater in the Negev Desert.

Hundreds of millions of years ago, the Negev desert was covered by an ocean. Slowly, it receded northwards, leaving behind a hump-shaped hill. The hump was slowly flattened by water and climatic forces.

Five million years ago, give or take a year, the Arava Rift Valley was formed, with rivers changing their courses, carving out the inside of the crater which was a softer rock than that overlying. The crater bottom continued to deepen at a much faster rate than the surrounding walls, which gradually increased in height.

As the crater deepened, more layers of ancient rock were exposed with rocks at the bottom of the crater being up to 200 million years old. Today, the crater is 500 meters deep with the deepest point being Ein Saharonim (Saharonim Spring) which also contains the crater’s only natural water source which sustain much of the wildlife.

We have no idea how those two jets were made…

PA Child Terror Leader Sentenced, Released

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

An Israeli military court Tuesday sentenced  Bassem al-Tamimi, a 45 year old Palestinian man who encourages Palestinian youth to attack Israeli soldiers with projectiles, was sentenced to 13 months in jail.

Al-Tamimi, who garnered the support of the European Union, which criticized Israel for imprisoning him, was released after the trial, having served all 13 months while awaiting trial.

Al-Tamimi’s tactics have been called child abuse by some, who accuse him of manipulating children to endanger themselves and others in a street war against Israel.  Amnesty International called al-Tamimi a “prisoner of conscience,’’ and celebrated him as a protest leader.

As of Late Friday Afternoon, ‘Global March on Jerusalem’ Fails to Ignite Mass Clashes with Police, Army

Friday, March 30th, 2012

Attempts by rioters throwing rocks at Israel Defense Force soldiers to conduct a ‘Global March to Jerusalem’ have, for the most part, been thwarted by Israeli authorities, who have maintained secure national borders and checkpoints inside the country on ‘Land Day’.

Organizers intended for a million Arabs from Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Egypt to infiltrate Israel’s borders and Palestinian Authority and Israeli Arabs to riot against Israeli army and law enforcement officers, with a goal of overcoming the obstacles to reach Jerusalem.

Beefed up security forces deployed on Israel’s borders and in sensitive locations throughout the country  remain on high alert, as news outlets from around the Arab world report that demonstrators are continuing to amass on Israel’s borders. Reports emanating from Jordan state that almost 20,000 people have gathered in order to converge on the Israeli border. Lebanese newspapers report that over 100 buses will be transporting Lebanese and Palestinian demonstrators to the Lebanese border.

More than a dozen Arabs have been arrested for throwing rocks at police near the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem’s old city (video by IDF Spokesperson’s Office).

Rioters Hurling Firebombs at IDF Forces in Bethlehem

 


AFP reported that more than 15,000 demonstrators in Jordan, waving Jordanian and Palestinian flags and carrying banners reading “Freedom for Jerusalem and freedom for Palestine,” and “Jerusalem, here we come,” joined in a peaceful sit-in at Kafrein, six miles from the border with Israel on Friday. Among them were opposition Islamist leaders and trade unionists,

“We will not forget you Jerusalem. Down with the Wadi Araba agreement,” they chanted, referring to the 1994 peace treaty between Jordan and Israel.

At the Kalandia checkpoint, north of Jerusalem, clashes began at around 12:30, after mosque Friday prayers. Dozens of young Palestinians threw stones at security forces manning the checkpoint.

Soldiers utilized the “screamer,”  which transmitts very high frequency sound to keep the rioters, and the “skunk,” which showered protesters with a liquid reminiscent of a stink-bomb.

A Hamas member of the Palestinian parliament, Ahmed Atun, who was expelled from Jerusalem a few months ago, received a light head injury and required treatment.

According to a report by Ynet, Palestinian politician Mustafa Barghouti was injured by a tear gas canister that struck him in the head, and was taken to a hospital in Ramallah for treatment.

The PLO Executive Committee has encouraged the protests, saying they are necessary “to affirm the Arab and Palestinian character of Jerusalem.”

The committee insisted that the only solution to the conflict would be the establishment of Jerusalem as the eternal capital of an independent Palestine.

“The land was and remains the essence of the conflict,” the committee continued. “Our people’s main battle is over the land.”

 

 

 

 

Fear and Loathing on the Mount of Olives

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

On Friday, February 24, I had the honor of guiding a distinguished group on a tour of the Mount of Olives cemetery in eastern Jerusalem. The group included two U.S. congressmen – Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) and Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, and Rabbis Abraham and Menachem Lubinsky, who have spearheaded the International Committee for the Preservation of the Mount of Olives.

I live near the cemetery in a Jewish enclave on the Mount of Olives in the mostly Arab neighborhood of Ras El Amud, across the valley from the Old City.

As we toured the ancient graveyard, I pointed out the layers of Jewish history before us. The Mount of Olives is the oldest existing Jewish cemetery, with 150,000 graves spanning 3,000 years. The biblical prophets Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi lie alongside modern day heroes like Henrietta Szold, the founder of Hadassah, Eliezer Ben Yehuda, who resurrected the modern Hebrew language, and Rabbi Shlomo Goren, chief rabbi of the IDF during the liberation of the Old City of Jerusalem and Hebron in the Six-Day War.

There are also signs of great pain. We saw the mass grave of forty-eight fighters who died trying to defend the Old City, which eventually fell to Jordan in the War of Independence. Those brave warriors’ bodies remained in the Jordanian-occupied Old City until 1967, when Rabbi Goren properly interred them in the cemetery. We also saw the remnants of the forty-thousand graves destroyed or vandalized in the 19 years of Jordanian occupation. In those years many Jewish headstones were used as Jordanian paving and building material.

Today, grave desecration is recurring at the Mount of Olives cemetery and the group saw firsthand the continuing travesty in the form of freshly smashed tombs and broken headstones.

But all is not dark. I told the group about the attempts at co-existence in our area. I showed the visitors Arab schools built by the Jerusalem municipality. I talked about shopping in Arab stores, being treated by Arab doctors, and talking Koran or Torah over coffee with my Arab neighbors.

I described my attempts to be neighborly and how I search for Arabs who want to live with us in decency and mutual respect. I reminded my audience that polls show that given the choice, some 70 percent of Arabs living in eastern Jerusalem would prefer living under Israeli sovereignty than under another flag.

As we came down the mountain, we entered my neighborhood’s traffic circle and stood in front of the mosque that has been cited for zoning violations as part of a large unauthorized expansion. I explained that I walk in this traffic circle daily and that while things seem calm right now, a Jihadist influence has radicalized some of the population and that violence can erupt at any moment.

Suddenly, as if on cue, rocks began to fly. The nature of these quick and life-threatening moments is that different participants can have disparate recollections of the details. I saw two projectiles for certain: one cement block hit a security vehicle and a stone flew in our direction, narrowly missing the group and the congressmen. Security personnel reacted quickly, drawing their weapons, but they were not as quick as the culprits, who escaped down into the Silwan neighborhood.

The group took the attack in stride, and the congressmen did not budge. I explained to them that while there is danger here, it should not translate automatically into fear. There are toxic elements that want to instill fear in our nation and in our neighborhoods so that we Jews will back off our 3,000-year-old claim to Jerusalem. They want us to be afraid to stand on this street corner but we won’t let those elements bully us like they do their own people, forcing our Arab neighbors to get in line and brainwash their children with hate.

As bad as the violent incident was, the distortion on the part of some commentators later showed how pernicious the hate is. One Jewish anti-Israel blogger basically called me a racist – and a provocateur for walking the streets of municipal Jerusalem. This blogger ironically accused me of planning to Judaize the Mount of Olives through ethnic cleansing while at the same time justifying the rock throwing and violence that is precisely aimed at driving Jews from the area.

His rhetoric mirrored the ugly words of the emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, who stated at the International Conference for Defense of Jerusalem in Doha: “We must act quickly to stop the Judaization of Jerusalem.”

He is right. We must act quickly. But we must act quickly to stop the toxic, peace-hating terrorists so that normal life for Jews and Arabs can become a reality. If the Doha-sponsored Jihad-friendly outlook wins the day, Jews would once again be evicted from the Mount of Olives, graves would once again be desecrated, and the Arabs living in those areas would be subjected to yet another repressive Middle Eastern regime.

Police: Arab Attack on IDF Soldiers – Case of Mistaken Identity

Sunday, February 26th, 2012

There has been a dramatic development in the investigation of the violent assault on two soldiers on Shabbat in Haifa. Channel 2 News reports that Police believe the attack was not carried out for nationalist reasons – as they had originally assumed – but resulted instead from mistaken identity.

Two youths were arrested overnight, and another four have been behind bars since yesterday. In interrogating the six suspects, police found that minutes before the violent attack, rocks had been thrown at the homes of the assailants, near Rambam Hospital in Haifa, and they went out into the street to take revenge. The two soldiers just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time.

Still, the account of the attack that was given by the two victims, both IDF soldiers in civilian clothing, was rife with descriptions of anti-Semitic slurs. Thus, whether those Arab assailants were out for Jewish blood or were merely looking to murder whomever dared throw rocks at their homes, the outcome is still extremely worrisome.

National Union Chairman MK Jacob “Ketzale” Katz this morning referred to the Haifa incident with strong language . “The Likud government headed by Netanyahu and Barak  failed,” he told Arutz 7. “If after 62 years of independence, anti-Semitic lynching takes place in downtown Haifa, it is clear to all that the Jewish people’s ability to deter such attacks has collapsed.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/police-arab-attack-on-idf-soldiers-case-of-mistaken-identity/2012/02/26/

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