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April 16, 2014 / 16 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘tourism’

Rediscovering Hebron’s Jewish Past

Friday, January 10th, 2014

Back in the 1960s an archeologist from the United States, Prof. Philip Hammond, from the Princeton Theological Seminary, excavated in Hebron, in the area call Tel Rumeida, during the summer months of 1964, 1965, and 1966. He discovered many interesting artifacts on the south eastern side of the Tel, including the remains of walls so large and so old, that he called them “Cycloptic walls.”

Hammond’s findings were later documented by Prof. Jeffrey Chadwick of the Brigham Young University in his doctoral thesis. (See: Discovering Hebron, Jeffrey R. Chadwick, BAR 31:05, Sep/Oct 2005).

Later excavations were continued by Dr. Avi Ofer, between the years 1984-1986. He discovered what was called one of the most important archaeological finds, a tablet with writing on it, from the era preceding Abraham, probably a list of animals, perhaps utilized for sacrifice.

In 1998, archeologist Yuval Peleg literally fell into an underground room, near the present entrance into the neighborhood, where he discovered dozens of artifacts, including jars, jewelry, and other artifacts from the late Bronze era, that is, post-Patriarchs and Matriarchs.

However, perhaps the most astounding discoveries were those of Emmanuel Eisenberg, leading excavations for the Israeli Antiquities Department, in 1999. Among his finds were a 4,500 year old wall, that belonging to the early bronze era, which on a Biblical timeline is the time of Noah, and stairs, also over 4,000 years old, leading from the valley below into the ancient city of Hebron.

Eisenberg can also chalk up another amazing discovery: that of a home, 2,700 years old, from the time of King Hezekiah. In the vicinity of this home, also found were five seals, call ‘the King seals,’ bearing the impression of a bird, or a beetle, with the word ‘lemelech’ meaning ‘belonging to the King, written above the impression, and the word ‘Hebron’ in ancient Hebron, below it. These seals were embedded on the bottom of handles on clay jars containing food, to be distributed to soldiers in the then Judean army, who were fighting a war against Sancheriv, who also invaded Hebron and burned it to the ground. Stone pillars discovered at the site are stained with patches of black, which Eisenberg determined were from the remains of the fire which burned down Hebron.

The 1999 excavations revealed artifacts from 4,500 years ago, to about 1,500 years ago. One of the time periods unaccounted for is that of 3,000 years ago, when David began his reign as King of Judea in Hebron, where he ruled for 7 and a half years, before ascending to Jerusalem, establishing it as the eternal capital of the Jewish people. The present understanding, was explained to us by Eisenberg, is that most probably David founded the first City of David on the highest point of Tel Hebron, an area yet to be examined.

Until now. Until Sunday of this week. A few days ago Hebron joyfully greeted back Emmanuel Eisenberg, representing the Israeli Antiquities Agency, and Dr. David ben Shlomo from the Ariel University, who are jointly heading up renewed digging on Tel Hebron. The areas presently being excavated are labeled ‘plots 52 and 53,’ on the center-south-west section of Tel Hebron. The area is between 5 to 6 Dunam, that being some 1.5 acres or 6,000 sq. meters. The time needed to complete the excavation is dependent on the findings at the site, but it is possible that they could be completed by the end of this calendar year.

These renewed excavations are tremendously exciting. The thought of uncovering the original city of David, or even his palace, is mind-boggling. Why so? Hebron is the roots of Judaism, it is the roots of all of monotheism and I also call it the very beginnings of humanity. That being the beginning of the end of human sacrifice, with the belief of one G-d, a Deity rejecting killing of men, women and children as a means of worship. With Abraham, mankind starts to leave the barbarity of such acts and begins praying to one G-d. This is Abraham’s legacy.

Christians Lead Record Year for Tourism in Israel

Thursday, January 9th, 2014

Israel’s Tourism Ministry’s aggressive pitch to bring Christians to visit Israel has paid off with another record-breaking year for visitors, led by Americans and Russians who accounted for nearly 35 percent of tourists.

Three-quarters of the tourists visited Jerusalem, and 68 percent arrived at the Western Wall, Israel’s most popular attraction.

Only 28 percent of the visitors in 2013 were Jewish, reflecting the ministry’s campaign aimed at Christians, who accounted for 53 percent of incoming tourists. Half of them were Catholic.

Tourism now accounts for approximately 56 percent of the work force.

December saw an even greater increase in the number of visitors, with a 14  percent rise over the same month in 2012.. A visitor is defined as one who stays at least one night in a hotel. The number of day visitors decreased last month.

The average U.S. visitor spent $1,865 per trip, not including the flight.

German Grandmother Celebrates 104th Birthday by Dead Sea

Wednesday, January 8th, 2014

German tourist, Eleonore Kastner, affectionately known as Oma Ella, celebrated her 104th birthday in a Dead Sea hotel with 40 friends and family who traveled with her to Israel for the special event.

Since she turned 100 four years ago, Oma Ella had decided that the time had come to “live a little.” She has been celebrating her birthday each year in a different corner of the world together with her family. For her 100th birthday, Kastner celebrated at the Vatican.

During the following years, she marked 101 in Monaco, 102 in Austria and 103 in Munich.

Kastner, a devout Christian, has visited and prayed at Christian holy sites in the Holy Land, even traveling on a donkey to reach an isolated monastery in the Judean desert.

Kastner, who was born in 1910 in Kelheim, Germany, has accomplished some ground-breaking feats in her older age. She is thought to be the oldest person to tour the Himalayas and meet with the Queen of Bhutan, and is the oldest member of the Eurovision Club that travels to every song competition.

In addition, the German grandmother is considered to be the oldest person to have a Facebook page which she has already updated since arriving in Israel with a video greeting. She also appears in YouTube videos celebrating with youth at beer festivals in Germany, enjoying fairground rides and dancing to contemporary music.

And her secret for longevity? “Be healthy and enjoy a sweet schnapps every day!” is Kastner’s motto.

After she married in 1932, Kastner moved to Amberg, Bavaria where she raised four children, only one of whom is still alive. Her elder brother, who was born in 1906, was murdered in the Dachau concentration camp in 1943 after resisting the Nazi occupation.

During her visit to Israel, the Tourism Ministry presented Kastner with a birthday present: a silver-bound Bible along with a certificate of appreciation, nominating her as an ambassador of good will for tourism to Israel.

Ritz-Carlton Opens Hotel in Israel, Rents Suite for $2,500 a Night

Monday, December 16th, 2013

Israeli hotels have literally gone ritzy with this week’s opening of the $175 million Ritz-Carlton hotel in Herzliya adjacent to Tel Aviv, on Sunday. Rooms are available anywhere from $300 to $2500 a night, and its restaurant is kosher.

The Waldorf Astoria won will follow suit with the opening of its luxury hotel between Jerusalem’s Old City and the downtown area.

“The Ritz-Carlton chain is happy to open its first hotel in Israel and provide its guests from all over the world the opportunity to enjoy the service whose name precedes it and the award-winning guest experience,” said Ritz-Carlton president Hervé Humler.

Russia Gives Egypt Massive Bear Hug at US Expense

Friday, November 15th, 2013

Russia and Egypt are set to sign a major arms deal that is of similar value to the amount of aid the US had been sending to Egypt until it froze much of it last month, according to a report in Makor Rishon. The deal is valued at 1.2 billion Euro (1.6 billion dollars).

According to the report, unlike US aid, the Russian deal explicitly has no strings attached, and Russia says it will not get involved in local Egyptian politics.

Furthermore, at the meeting held two days ago, Russia said they would also direct Russian tourists to the visit the Egyptian pyramids, a move that would strongly bolster the local tourism economy that thrives mostly on those visits. Tourism is one of Egypt’s most important industries.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told General el-Sisi that Russia will support the Egyptian roadmap, respect the current [Egyptian] government, and have no intention of getting involved in the internal issues of another country.

He added that Russia is prepared to support Egypt in all areas to help restore the country. He described Egypt is a central partner in the Middle East with whom they have deep ties, and plan to deepen them further.

These statements are the exact opposite of those emanating from John Kerry and the US government, who have been placing conditions on continued US support for the current Egyptian government.

The Egyptian Foreign Minister was careful to point out that the new closeness between Egypt and Russia should not be viewed as coming at the expense of its relationship with the US.

Sure.

The US has tied aid to Egypt on progress towards democratic elections and a civilian government, while ignoring that democratic elections are what brought the radical Islamic Morsi government into power, that the Egyptian army was forced to overthrow.

Saudi Arabia has also pledged to match US aid to Egypt, as have some other Middle Eastern countries, making it unlikely that the US plan to reintroduce a radical Islamist democracy into Egypt unlikely.

First-Ever Meeting Between Tourism Minister and Latin Patriarch

Tuesday, October 15th, 2013

Israel’s Tourism Minister Dr. Uzi Landau held an unprecedented meeting on Monday with His Beatitude Fouad Twal, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, to discuss enhanced cooperation regarding pilgrimage to the Israel.

“This meeting heralds the beginning of enhanced and prolonged cooperation between the ministry and the Catholic Church. Pilgrimage serves as a bridge for peace, bringing together peoples and cultures from around the world,” Landau said.

Tens of thousands of Catholics from around the world will celebrate the Eucharist at Mount Precipice in Nazareth next month, led by the Latin Patriarch.

“We share both a mutual interest in providing hospitality and services for pilgrims and the goal that these pilgrims will return home as new ambassadors for the Holy Land, said the Latin Patriarch.

El Al Grounds Flights to Eilat Again, Fears Missile Attacks

Tuesday, September 24th, 2013

El Al announced it will halt all daytime flights to Eilat starting Thursday, two weeks after resuming flights based on an understanding with government aviation officials that a solution would be found to a new landing path that El Al considers too dangerous to use.

Terrorist attacks from the neighboring Sinai Peninsula have occasionally targeted Eilat with missiles, and El Al stated Tuesday, “We will not compromise the safety of our passengers. The new flight path to Eilat does not offer the proper safety level for civil aviation.”

El Al said it will continue its nighttime flight and will provide bus service to daytime passengers or refund their money for tickets already bought.

El Al suspended and then resumed flights to El Al two earlier this month after the Civil Aviation Authority allowed the airline to use the regular landing paths while a study was carried out on the new path.

Aviation officials have not changed the route, and El Al is standing by its position, although other airlines are using the new landing path.

El Al Reinstates Eilat Flights after Safety Concerns

Thursday, September 12th, 2013

El Al Airlines has reinstated flights to Eilat, after having cancelled its three daily daytime flights from Ben Gurion Airport on Tuesday because of concerns about the safety of new landing and takeoff designed to reduce the chances of a terrorist attack from Egypt.

The airline’s nighttime flights, whose routing had not been changed, were not cancelled. Other Israeli airlines that fly from Ben Gurion to Eilat have not cancelled their flights.

El Al said the new traffic patterns did not meet international aviation safety standards, but it reinstated the flights on Wednesday, after being given permission to use the old routes until a compromise is brokered.

Last month, Israeli authorities ordered the closure of Eilat’s airport based on a tip from Egyptian security services that a radical Muslim terrorist cell planned to launch mid-range missiles at the airport. In April, two long-range rockets fired from the Sinai Desert by an Islamist terrorist group hit Eilat.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/el-al-reinstates-eilat-flights-after-safety-concerns/2013/09/12/

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