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October 27, 2016 / 25 Tishri, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Sea’

3,500 Year Old Treasures Retrieved from the Sea by Electric Plant Worker

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016

Metal artifacts, the earliest of which are 3,500 years old, were recently presented to the Israel Antiquities Authority by a family that inherited them from their father who passed away.

The Mazliah family of Givatayim contacted a representative of the IAA and invited him to their home to examine numerous metal artifacts that were in the possession of their father, the late Marcel Mazliah. The family explained that their father, who was employed at the Hadera power station since its construction, retrieved many items from the sea while working there, and they thought the items looked pretty ancient. Indeed, the IAA representatives were surprised by what they found: metal objects, most of which are decorated, that apparently fell overboard from a metal merchant’s ship in the Early Islamic period.

An Israel Antiquities Authority employee examining the finds. Photographic credit: Amir Gorzalczany, Israel Antiquities Authority.

An Israel Antiquities Authority employee examining the finds. Photographic credit: Amir Gorzalczany, Israel Antiquities Authority.

According to Ayala Lester, a curator with the IAA, “The finds include a toggle pin and the head of a knife from the Middle Bronze Age (more than 3,500 years ago). The other items, among them two mortars and two pestles, and fragments of candlesticks, date to the Fatimid period (11th century CE). The items were apparently manufactured in Syria and were brought to Israel. The finds are evidence of the metal trade that was conducted during this period.”

A hand grenade hundreds of years old found at sea. Photographic credit: Amir Gorzalczany, Israel Antiquities Authority.

A hand grenade hundreds of years old found at sea. Photographic credit: Amir Gorzalczany, Israel Antiquities Authority.

Among the many artifacts is a hand grenade that was common in Israel during the Crusader, Ayyubid and Mamluk periods. The first grenades appeared in the Byzantine Empire, not long after the reign of Leo III (717-741). Byzantine soldiers learned that Greek fire, a Byzantine invention of the previous century, could be thrown at the enemy inside stone and ceramic jars. Later, glass containers were employed. The use of Greek fire and other explosives spread to Muslim armies in the Middle East, and reached China by the 10th century.

A short Hebrew Clip. Credit: Amir Gorzalczany, Israel Antiquities Authority.

A short Hebrew Clip. Credit: Amir Gorzalczany, Israel Antiquities Authority.

The Mazliah family will receive a certificate of appreciation from the Israel Antiquities Authority and will be invited to tour the IAA’s laboratories where finds undergo treatment and conservation.


Could the Dispute in the South China Sea Affect Debate Over Palestinian Statehood?

Sunday, August 14th, 2016

{Originally posted to the JNS website}

The photos, released earlier this week by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), show that China is building military aircraft hangars on the disputed Spratly Islands. That violates a promise China’s president, Xi Jinping, made to President Barack Obama less than a year ago, that “China does not intend to pursue militarization” of the islands.

Moreover, a United Nations tribunal ruled last month that China’s claim to the Spratly Islands and other nearby territories is “unlawful.” Yet the international community has taken no action against either the illegal Chinese occupation or China’s militarization steps.

Israeli policymakers might want to keep an eye on these developments. Israel’s leaders have said any future Palestinian state would have to be completely demilitarized. But can Israel rely on the international community to enforce the demilitarization rules if the Palestinians violate them?

Perhaps the most infamous experiment in demilitarization involved the Rhineland, an area of western Germany along the border with France, Belgium and Holland. The 1925 Locarno Pact, signed in the aftermath of World War I, required that the Rhineland be permanently demilitarized. But when Hitler sent his troops to occupy the Rhineland in March 1936, the Locarno signatories–Britain, France and Italy–stood idly by.

Pacifist sentiment was strong in England; treaty or no treaty, the Brits were in no mood to confront the Nazis. Lord Lothian, the veteran British diplomat, rationalized the militarization of the Rhineland as “no more than the Germans walking into their own backyard.” The French, who now found themselves within shooting distance of the Wehrmacht, were not quite so sanguine about the latest developments. But with France mired in economic troubles and national elections just months away, French Prime Minister Albert Sarraut was unwilling to risk a costly conflict with Hitler.

The United States was not a party to the Locarno agreement, but what President Franklin Roosevelt said mattered in the world arena. In this case, he didn’t say much. Determined to maintain friendly relations with Germany, FDR refrained from explicitly condemning Hitler’s Rhineland action. He would not even send U.S. observers to a League of Nations discussion of German aggression. Shortly after the Rhineland crisis erupted, Roosevelt headed off for a two-week fishing trip in the Bahamas, which coincidentally helped him evade questions about the controversy.

Israelis don’t need to go back to the 1930s for examples of how the world might respond if a Palestinian state began importing tanks or missiles. They have had some bitter experience in this area in recent decades.

The late Israeli diplomat and politician Abba Eban describes in his autobiography how the Nixon administration pressured Israel to accept a ceasefire in the 1970 War of Attrition, promising that Egypt would not be allowed to move its missiles close to the Suez Canal. “Within a few days of the conclusion of the cease-fire agreement,” Eban writes, “our head of military intelligence…was reporting…the Egyptians had begun to move their missiles forward as soon as the ink was dry on the agreement.” Nixon’s response “was evasive,” Eban charitably recalled. The U.S. administration “professed not to know that the violations were taking place.” No action was taken against the Egyptians.

An even more current example presents itself. The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), which consists of 10,506 soldiers (and 848 civilian advisers) is pledged to ensure that southern Lebanon is kept “free of any armed personnel, assets and weapons other than those of the Government of Lebanon and of UNIFIL deployed in this area.” That commitment from the international community is supposed to protect Israel’s northern border. Yet Hezbollah has stationed more than 100,000 missiles in that area, according to Israeli military estimates. The missiles are aimed at Israel. And UNIFIL refrains from intervening.

All of which leaves some Israelis wondering how international promises would fare if a demilitarized Palestinian state decided to re-militarize. When push comes to shove, would world leaders decide, as FDR did, to go fishing?


Dr. Rafael Medoff

Report: Between 700 and 900 Immigrants Died at Sea Last week

Sunday, May 29th, 2016

“We will never know exact numbers” of drowned refugees fleeing the Middle East and East Africa for safe haven in Europe, Medecins San Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) tweeted Saturday, estimating that as many as 900 had died last week. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said on Sunday that more than 700 had drowned.

According to Reuters, some 14,000 refugees have been rescued since last Monday, but there have been reports of at least three boats sinking. The number of dead is estimated based on survivor testimonies. These included Saturday interviews with immigrants at the Sicilian port of Pozzallo, resulting in accounts of a large, motorless fishing boat that capsized on Thursday with a large crowd of women and children on board.

According to testimonies, when the boat capsized, 25 passengers swam to the towing boat, and as many as 90 others were saved by 3 boats with MSF rescue personnel. 15 bodies were recovered, which means that at least 550 died, according to the UNHCR.

The rescued refugees last week included Eritreans, Sudanese, Nigerians and other West Africans. The boats have mostly left from Libya, where many women said the smugglers had beaten and raped them.

On Friday, an Italian Navy ship collected 45 bodies and rescued 135 people from a semi-submerged rubber boat, which normally carries about 300.

David Israel

A Soldier’s Mother: From the River to the Sea; from the Ghetto to the Free

Thursday, May 5th, 2016

Almost every year, I post or share this video.  It is, as the pilot would say later, the perfect example of the transition the Jewish people have made from the ghetto and the concentration camps, to the free people of Israel.

I can’t watch it without starting to cry. I can’t tell you how many times I have watched and listened…and each time, as I hear the pilot begin to speak, and I see Israeli fighter jets fly over Auschwitz as a tribute to the six million Jews murdered during the Holocaust, my eyes fill with tears, my heart hurts.

There are many videos of the Holocaust – this one is not so much about the Holocaust as a memorial to it. It’s been more than a decade since I was in Poland, since I entered a gas chamber and the lingering feeling of death. Every step was agony – to walk on blood and bones, to feel that every inch was covered in death and a thousand showers would never wash away the horror.

Tonight, as I sit here, a memorial candle burning nearby, I check the news. Five mortars were fired at Israel today…no, that’s wrong… “were fired” is passive and there was nothing passive about this action.

Earlier today, the Arabs fired five mortars at Israel today. Perhaps they know our minds are remembering but what they don’t know is that even when we cry… We watch, we see, we guard.

In the heavens above us, six million souls form a ring if protection as mighty and as precise as the greatest weapons we have developed.

Today our defense, our entire defense is the sum total of several amazing things – first and foremost is the protection of the God of Israel. Second are the prayers and faith of an entire nation. Third are the angels – souls of generations of Jews who never lived to see the miracle we live every day. Fourth are the amazing sons and daughters who have committed years of their lives to watching over our people, our land.

Watch our sons fly over Auschwitz – a message to the souls of six million. If we had been around, we would have moved heaven and earth to save you and so today, we do the only thing we can do – we remember you, we honor you. We bless your memory and keep it alive.

Paula Stern

Dead Sea to Yield 7 Million Oil Barrels

Sunday, May 1st, 2016

The Hatrurim oil and gas exploration license in the Dead Sea area contains an oil reservoir worth $321 million, according to a resources report published Sunday morning by the companies holding the license, Globe reported. The report states with 100% geological certainty that the reservoir could contain between 7 and 11 million barrels of oil. Some oil has already been produced from the reservoir, according to Globes.

The Hatrurim Formation or Mottled Zone is a 36 sq. mile geologic formation with outcrops all around the Dead Sea Basin, including the Negev Desert, the Judaean Desert, and western Jordan. It includes impure limestone along with coal-bearing chalk and marl. The rocks have been subjected to pyrometamorphism resulting from combustion of contained or underlying coal or hydrocarbon deposits. The formation is named for exposures in the Hatrurim Basin which lies west of the Dead Sea.

In 1995, Delek Group Ltd. carried out an initial drilling in the license, to a depth of two kilometers, and found oil. It was decided at the time not to pursue drilling oil there because prices at the time were too low to justify the endeavor, and Delek and Avner Oil embarked on off-shore digging instead.

25% of the Hatrurim license was awarded last year to Israel Opportunity Energy Resources LP and its partners.

David Israel

Ancient Leviathan Fossils Found in Arava Valley

Wednesday, February 11th, 2015

The land that runs along the edge of the southern end of the Dead Sea, near a certain section close to Masada, is soft and white. Although there are steep mounds of chalky white deposits that seem to stand guard along a path that moves inward towards the cliffs that rim the sea, they too are brittle, delicate and soft. They crumble at a touch.

One can climb those mounds, reach the top and then slide down just for fun. Desert tour guides sometimes take their private clients there to do just that – especially if there are children along for the tour.

The entire area, you see, was actually an ancient seabed. So it should come as no surprise that the remains of what may have been the Leviathan were found in southern Israel, researchers announced Tuesday.

Thirty fossilized remnants of the Elasmosaurus, described by Dr. Sarit Ashckenazi-Polivoda in an interview with The Jerusalem Post as the “cousin of dinosaurs” were found in the Arava Valley between 2012 and 2014.

During the period from which the fragments came – some 85 million years ago – the area was covered in ocean water 200 meters deep, the researcher said. “All of Israel was under water until 20-30 million years ago,” she told the Post. “The sea had a lot of algae and plankton that bloomed then, that attracted a lot of fish that fed on the algae, which the reptile ate.”

No one knows how or why the creatures from that period became extinct, but they disappeared about 66 million years ago, she said. Global changes such as volcanic eruptions that warmed and cooled the environment and caused changes in the ocean, as to the fish and algae, certainly could have contributed.

A dinosaur footprint was also found in Jerusalem in the 1980s, she said, and a 75 million-year-old reptile skeleton was found in the Negev in 2005.

The Elasmosaurus remains are currently on display at Hebrew University.

Hana Levi Julian

New Beach in Ashkelon Gender ‘Separate’

Wednesday, May 21st, 2014

Hareidi families may have a new option for swimming in the sea this season — but it’s questionable whether they’ll take advantage of it.

A new separate-gender beach has been created in the Mediterranean coastal city of Ashkelon, just in time for the hot summer.

But the Ashkelon city council was forced into a compromise with environmentalists who insisted that a mechitzah (divider) be installed only on land in order to avoid a risk to surfers. More divisions than not are likely to be created by the compromise that was worked out over the divider.

The beach has indeed been set up with separate areas for men and women, with a divider – but the divider ends at the shoreline.

For many observant Jews this is pointless, since men and women can still see each other once they have entered the water.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/new-beach-in-ashkelon-gender-separate/2014/05/21/

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