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Posts Tagged ‘tourism’

Hamas Bulldozes UN Heritage Site for Terrorist Training Grounds

Tuesday, April 16th, 2013

Hamas has plowed over a 3,000-year-old harbor, designated by the United Nations as a World Heritage site, and has covered it with sand to prepare more training grounds for terrorists.

The terrorist organization explained that there is nothing wrong with plowing over history if it is good for the cause of the “resistance,” – read “terror and the end of Zionism.”

Hamas already has expertise in destroying buildings and land that can be used for the benefit of the local population.

In 2005, the Israeli government – the Sharon Chelm government – expelled 9,000 Jews from Gaza and withdrew every IDF soldier from Gaza in order to ensure that Hamas would no longer have any reason to attack Israelis. Since they never did have a reason in the first place, there was no logic in expecting Hamas to become civil. That is now history for future generations to ponder.

With the help of such saintly institutions as the World Bank, Israel agreed to leave standing the greenhouses, where Gaza Arabs earned a living, so that the Palestinian Authority could help the local agriculture blossom by using Israeli  technology already in place.

Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah faction at that time was in the same political bed as Hamas. After the expulsion, the PA regime destroyed the greenhouses and turned them into its own kind of future heritage site where men, women and children could learn to be martyrs and be prepared for 72 virgins.

Nearly eight years have passed, and the so-called military wing of Hamas, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, has now bulldozed a part of the ancient Anthedon Harbor in northern Gaza along the Mediterranean Sea to expand its training zone, journalist and former human rights researcher Abeer Ayyoub wrote for Al Monitor.

Here is what UNESCO says about the Heritage site, designated as such only last year after the location was discovered in 1997, uncovering mosaic floors with historical pillars from the Roman, Byzantine and Islamic ages.

“Anthedon is the first known seaport of Gaza, mentioned in Islamic literature with the names of Tida…The city was inhabited from 800 BC to 1100 AD…

“The acropolis of Anthedon shows archaeological remains dated from the late Iron Age II, Persian, Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine periods….

“The excavated site is about 20 dunam [5 acres] and consists of a 65-meter [213-foot] long mud-brick wall, formerly of the old commercial city center, which was part of the eastern extension of the harbor, and other earthen works…

“Anthedon represents a clear example among the seaports along the Eastern Mediterranean coast, demarcating the ancient trade route that linked Europe with the Levant during Phoenician, Roman, and Hellenistic periods…. The presence of massive earthen structure in the proximity of the sea as well as the rich underwater heritage, still to be explored, make Anthedon an excellent site for nomination to the World Heritage list.”

Its official designation as a Heritage site gave Hamas a wonderful opportunity to promote tourism, but things don’t work so logically in a terrorist regime.

In typical Orwellian language, the Tourism Ministry has stated it will not allow harm to monuments but that “the ministry appreciates the urgent need for using new pieces of land” due to the rising population.

And then there is the truth.

Deputy Minister of Tourism in Gaza Muhammad Khela told Al-Monitor that the location was taken for military use and not demographic purposes.

“We can’t stand as an obstacle in the way of Palestinian resistance; we are all a part of a resistance project, yet we promise that the location will be limitedly [sic] used without harming it at all,” Khela explained.

No harm will come to it – but.

Since Hamas needs money for the “resistance,” it does not have funds for excavation, so the solution of covering it with sand was really for the protection of the site.

The blame, of course, is UNESCO, according to Hamas. After all, it was the United Nations body that declared the harbor a Heritage site in the first place, and it obviously is the responsibility of the United Nations to do the preservation work so that Hamas can keep its mind on the resistance.

Hamas, like its rival Fatah faction headed by Abbas, is used to being on the world’s welfare rolls, but UNESCO explained to the Tourism Ministry it is not a funding agency.

Scottish Brewer from Gush Etzion Crafts Traditional Beer

Monday, April 15th, 2013

The Israeli beer industry includes a wide range of brew masters from native Israelis to North American immigrants whose microbreweries can be found across the country from the Golan, Western Galilee and Jezreel Valley, to Ein Hod and Emek Hefer in the north and in the Negev.

In the hills of Judea, Gush Etzion also has its very own brewery known as the Lone Tree Brewery. Established four years ago by David Shire, originally from Glasgow, Scotland and his wife, Miriam from Tunisia, along with an American couple, Yochanan and Susan Levin, the brewery offers a wide array of flavors to the Israeli market.

Most likely the only Scottish brew master in Israel and maybe even in the Middle East, Shire has been living in Israel for the past 30 years.  A biologist, who was studying for a PhD when he first made aliyah while working at Hadassah, Shire made a career switch to landscape gardening and eventually discovered the brewery business as well.

“Back in the UK, you feel as though you must have a certain professional status, but once in Israel, I found that this was largely not the case – it’s acceptable to work in all sorts of jobs. I would rather work in gardening and making beer than in a lab with mice,” Shire told Tazpit News Agency.

Growing up in Scotland, Shire was very familiar with beer and believed that there was a void to fill in the Israeli market. Along with his American counterparts, the Levins, who are also his neighbors in the Neve Daniel community, Shire and his wife discussed one night the possibility of opening a boutique brewery. “We didn’t necessarily drink a lot of beer growing up, but we knew what good beer is supposed to taste like,” said Shire whose mother still lives in Glasgow.

“With that in mind, we wanted to make the best beer possible,” Shire explained, pointing to a periodic table of beer styles tacked on the brewery wall.

The initiative didn’t begin with sweeping expectations. “We started out small, making our own styles of beer based on traditional recipes. The next step was to see if the beer would sell.”

In addition to creating seven unique flavors of beer which include London Pale Ale, Belgian Piraat Ale, California Steam Ale, and Extra Oatmeal Stout, an Irish flavor, Shire and his partners also had to come up with a unique label for their beer. “We wanted a name that would reflect that the beer was crafted in the hills of Judea, and therefore we chose Lone Tree, a symbol of this region.”

The lone tree is a 700 year-old oak tree that stands in Gush Etzion near the Alon Shvut community. The tree became a symbolic landmark to Jewish residents forced to leave behind their communities when Gush Etzion fell to the Jordanian Legion in May 1948. Among the heavy losses, the Jordanians destroyed Kibbutz Kfar Etzion, established in 1935 while also killing its 127 Jewish defenders the day before Israel’s Declaration of Independence. During the 19 years that Gush Etzion was under Jordanian control until Israel’s victory in the 1967 war, the children of Gush Etzion would go to certain observation points in Jerusalem to glimpse the oak tree from afar, dreaming of their return home.

Today, the Lone Tree Brewery, which is located a few minutes away from the famous oak tree, sells its brews across Gush Etzion and Jerusalem, producing a few hundred bottles each month with plans to expand. The brewery also makes specialty beers for Jewish holidays including a popular date and pomegranate beer for Rosh Hashana.

“There is something magical about making beer here in Israel,” adds Shire, pouring a glass of Extra Oatmeal Stout. “When tourists come to visit us, they get to experience phenomenal views of the Judean hills and the coast, soak in the area’s history, all while drinking a quality hand-crafted beer. It doesn’t get any better than that.”

The Lone Tree Brewery is located in the Gush Etzion forest in the Abu-Cleb Recreational Park, a 15-minute drive from Jerusalem.

China Chooses Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Dead Sea for Major Movie

Friday, April 5th, 2013

A major Chinese film company has chosen Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and the Dead Sea as scenes for what is expected to be blockbuster movie.

The Ministry of Tourism is investing more than $80,000 to help promote the film, with expectations that the exposure of Israel to Chinese movie-goers will attract them to visit.

Chinese stars are performing in the 95-minute film, 15 minutes of which will be produced in Israel, according to the Yediot Acharonot’s website.

The cast and production team are scheduled to arrive in the middle of the month to start filming.

 

 

New Passover Vacation Trend: Rent a Resort Home and Hire a Chef

Tuesday, March 19th, 2013

Approximately 60,000 Americans and Canadians will spend more than $200 million this Passover, and many of those with enough money are hiring a chef to cook for them in rented private homes in resorts, Kosher Today reported.

Scottsdale, Arizona’s Biltmore is sold out with nearly 1,000 guests coming next week, while many other Americans will celebrate the freedom from slavery at resorts and hotels in Europe and in Israel.

Jay Buchsbaum of Kedem told Kosher Today that more people are demanding not only better foods but also upscale wines. “They no longer are solidified with the Kiddush and sweet wines; they want cabernet sauvignon, merlot, cognac and champagne.” he said.

Ancient Liquid Extraction Installation Uncovered in Tel Aviv-Yafo

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

The Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) exposed the remains of a liquid extraction installation – most likely used for pressing wine from grapes – dating to the Byzantine period.

It is also possible that the installation was used to produce wine or alcoholic beverage from other types of fruit that grew in the region.

The find was made as part of an excavation being conducted in preparation for municipal infrastructure work for the Tel Aviv municipality.

IAA’s excavation director Dr. Yoav Arbel said, “This is the first important building from the Byzantine period to be uncovered in this part of the city, and it adds a significant dimension to our knowledge about the impressive agricultural distribution in the region in this period.”

Yaffo’s rich and diverse agricultural tradition has a history thousands of years old beginning with references to the city and its fertile fields in ancient Egyptian documents up until Yaffo’s orchards in the Ottoman period.

“The installation, which probably dates to the second half of the Byzantine period (6th century – early 7th century CE), is divided into surfaces paved with a white industrial mosaic,” Dr. Arbel explained. “Due to the mosaic’s impermeability, such surfaces are commonly found in the press installations of the period which were used to extract liquid.”

“Each unit was connected to a plastered collecting vat. The pressing was performed on the mosaic surfaces whereupon the liquid drained into the vats. It is possible that the section that was discovered represents a relatively small part of the overall installation, and other elements of it are likely to be revealed in archaeological excavations along adjacent streets which are expected to take place later this year.”

Following the find, the installation was covered as new infrastructures were laid in place above it without damaging it, enabling the continued work on the city’s infrastructure without compromising the preservation of the antiquities for future generations.

The Tel Aviv municipality is modernizing the underground infrastructure, roads and sidewalks. Overhead electrical and telephone wires are being lowered, and street furniture and landscaping are being added.

Missiles Targeted Israel’s Economy

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

The barrages of homemade Grad rockets and Iranian produced Fajr-5s that were fired by Tehran’s proxy Hamas and Islamic Jihad militias at Israeli population centers in southern and central Israel during the recent fighting were reportedly not only meant to kill and maim civilians but also to wreck Israel’s economy. The militias’ goal was to exact revenge on Israel, the U.S. and the EU for the stifling sanctions imposed on the Iranian regime.

Prior to the relentless rocket attacks on Sderot, Beersheba, Ashkelon and Ashdod, among other towns and cities, Israel’s Ministry of Finance said that despite a significant slowdown in various exports due to the EU’s ongoing recession, the Israeli economy was growing at a higher rate than the economies of the U.S., UK and EU. In addition, Israel’s foreign tourism industry was in the midst of its best year ever, with close to three million tourists having booked trips through the first quarter of 2013.

Several days after Fajr-5s were fired at Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, an Israeli Hotel Association executive told an Israeli business news site, “[It is] time to write off the winter season.” Sources say that a significant number of Christian groups canceled their pilgrimage missions planned for the forthcoming holiday season, while bookings from foreign individual tourists for the December-January winter vacation respite were down by nearly 25 percent. During a meeting of tourism industry leaders last Thursday, Israel Ministry of Tourism (IMOT) representatives said that, “The damage could be minimized, and it was estimated that the potential for rehabilitation is large in relation to other crises the industry has dealt with.”

The IMOT representatives stressed the urgency to implement rehabilitative actions because the tourism industry, unlike other industries, is highly unlikely to retrieve much of its lost revenue. They also said that a return to normalcy after the fighting is a crucial incentive for future tourists to visit Israel, thus enhancing the tourism industry’s ability to increase its profit margin. According to the IMOT, The Federation of Israeli Tourist Organizations has pledged to contact organizations that have canceled trips in an attempt to have them rescind their cancellations.

Tel Aviv, the headquarters of many of Israel’s major business entities (including the country’s stock exchange and a number of hi-tech and real-estate companies), was also battered during the past two weeks. Israel’s leading business dailies, Globes and Calcalist, reported that many foreign investors had stopped investing in the Israeli economy. This was especially so in the real-estate sector, as many foreign Jewish investors from Russia, France and the U.S. had been purchasing properties in a number of affluent Tel Aviv residential and commercial projects. The startling pictures of a severely damaged apartment building in West Rishon LeZion, less than five miles from Tel Aviv, in the aftermath of a Fajr-5 strike sent shudders throughout the Israeli real-estate marketplace. The damage to the relatively new building was estimated at nearly $1.5 million.

According to Israel’s Tax Authority, the overall indirect damage (loss of work and production) to the Israeli economy as a result of Operation Pillar of Defense is estimated at $100 million. But senior economists told Globes that when all of the damages are factored in, including damages to homes, infrastructure and tourism, the loss to the Israeli economy could approach $500 million.

Netanyahu Toys With Loyal Voters, Puts Yesha Report On Hold

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

What is the source of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s apparent scorn for the religious, Land of Israel-faithful public in Israel?

Over the years, starting from his first term as prime minister in 1996-99, and certainly since he was elected again three years ago, Netanyahu has mastered the art of showing friendship and warmth to the religious-Zionist community while keeping them at arm’s length politically. Though the moderate Jewish Home party was invited to join his coalition government, its influence is limited, as it has only three Knesset seats, the minimum permitted. Its counterpart, the less compromising National Union, was originally courted by Netanyahu but he never actually offered it a place in the government; many felt this was his plan from the outset.

In terms of facts on the ground, under Netanyahu a ten-month construction freeze was imposed on the Jewish towns in Judea and Samaria (Yesha); unofficially, it lasted even longer in many places. Not only that, but five apartment buildings in the thriving Givat HaUlpena neighborhood in Beit El were allowed to be dismantled, as was Migron nearby, and Givat Assaf and Amona are still on the chopping block.

But the blow Netanyahu dealt the residents of Yesha just this week possibly smarts the most of all. He decided, at least for now, to accept the ambivalent counsel of his Attorney General, Yehuda Weinstein, and not adopt the Levy Report. This, even though elections are coming, at which times incumbent candidates generally try to find favor with their natural constituencies.

What is the Levy Report, and what did Weinstein recommend? The report, prepared by a special commission headed by former Supreme Court Justice Edmond Levy, finds that Yesha is not “occupied” but is essentially Israeli. It similarly concludes that the outposts therein are not illegal under international law, and that Israel can and should legalize them as soon as possible.

Official government acceptance of the Levy Report would mean removal of the various bureaucratic and political obstacles that have rendered Jewish construction in Yesha so difficult over the years. Even more fundamentally, an Israeli government decision to this effect tells the Jewish and international communities in a very straightforward manner: “This is our land!”

The Levy Commission explains that Yesha, together with most of the rest of Israel, was assigned to the Jewish people back in 1920 by the leading powers of the time at the San Remo Conference, and later, by the League of Nations. After the 1948 War of Independence, Jordan “annexed” Yesha, but no one other than Pakistan and Great Britain recognized it. The 1967 Six-Day War enabled Israel to return to what had been legally granted the Jewish people 47 years earlier – such as Jerusalem suburbs Ramat Eshkol, Gilo, Ramat Eshkol, and the Old City.

Though the Arabs continue to term these Jerusalem neighborhoods “illegal settlements,” the Levy Report makes quite clear that these areas were never Jordanian but were allocated to the Jewish people. It also belies the false claim that Israel is in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention by building and settling Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem. The Convention, from 1949, details rules and guidelines for “occupied territories” – which Yesha is not, since it was not captured from its legal sovereign. In any event, the report states, the term “occupation” cannot apply to such a long period as 45 years, with no end in sight.

Netanyahu was said to be considering adopting merely the report’s conclusions but not the ceremonial declarations that Yesha is Israel’s, etc. The Land of Israel camp was gearing up to try to stomach this position, but then along came Attorney General Weinstein. In his letter to Netanyahu, he stated that with elections approaching, the government must “moderate its governmental activities.” Netanyahu jumped to interpret this as a ban on adopting the Levi Report altogether.

However, Weinstein’s letter actually does not come close to outlawing the report. For one thing, the current government was not toppled and did not lose its Knesset majority, and therefore it retains its mandate to govern as it sees fit.

In addition, a decision to adopt the Levi Report is by no means a “pre-election grab,” as the report has been on the public agenda since it was submitted three months ago.

Several Likud cabinet ministers, including Yisrael Katz, Silvan Shalom, and Limor Livnat, have gone on record in support of the Levi Report. Just this past Monday evening, mayors and activists from Yesha held a major meeting, demanding that the government fully adopt the Levi Report.

It remains to be seen whether the pressure will work – or if Netanyahu will continue to toy with the Land of Israel faithful, confident that once again many of them will work tirelessly for his reelection under the assumption that he is the least of the evils.

In addition to visiting Yerushalayim, there are many other ways readers can become effective advocates for keeping Jerusalem united under Israeli sovereignty. For information on bus tours in news-making areas of Jerusalem, send an e-mail to tours@keepjerusalem.org or visit the Keep Jerusalem-Im Eshkachech website at www.keepjerusalem.org.

Chaim Silberstein is president of Keep Jerusalem-Im Eshkachech and the Jerusalem Capital Development Fund. He was formerly a senior adviser to Israel’s minister of tourism. Hillel Fendel, past senior editor at Israel National News/Arutz-7, is a veteran writer on Jerusalem affairs. Both have lived in Jerusalem and now reside in Beit El.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/keeping-jerusalem/netanyahu-toys-with-loyal-voters-puts-yesha-report-on-hold/2012/10/24/

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