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April 25, 2014 / 25 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘tourism’

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.

Jerusalem Scores Media Victory, PA Keeps Lying

Thursday, October 11th, 2012

A big week for Jerusalem: Britain’s Press Complaints Commission ruled that newspapers may not refer to Tel Aviv as Israel’s capital, and Palestinian Media Watch publicized five recent examples of the Palestinian Authority’s ongoing attempts to erase Jewish history in Yerushalayim.

The British media flap over Jerusalem began six months ago, when the London-based Guardian correctly identified the holy city as Israel’s capital – and then was pressured to apologize for doing so. As a result, the media watchdog organization Honest Reporting filed a complaint with the UK Press Complaints Commission (PCC).

The PPC is a non-governmental regulatory body that can force media outlets to issue corrections of what it deems “inaccurate, misleading or distorted information.” At first the PPC rejected Honest Reporting’s complaint but reversed course after the latter initiated legal proceedings.

The PPC’s final ruling was that The Guardian was “wrong to refer to Tel Aviv as Israel’s capital,” as this “had the potential to mislead readers.”

Honest Reporting was justifiably proud. “The ruling set a precedent on British coverage of Israel,” the organization announced, “effectively barring all British publications from referring to Tel Aviv as Israel’s capital.” CEO Joe Hyams added the following practical ramification:

“Fatuous claims over the status of Tel Aviv as a means to delegitimize Jerusalem as Israel’s rightful capital will no longer be acceptable.”

The decision has already made its mark. Just in the past few days alone, two other British papers – the Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail – issued apologies for having referred to Tel Aviv as Israel’s capital. The Mail even went so far as to say it had “mistakenly suggested that Israel’s government was in Tel Aviv when it is, of course, in Jerusalem.”

Several countries had embassies in Jerusalem for decades after Israel declared its independence; unfortunately, not one now remains. Thus, the battle for international recognition of Yerushalayim as unequivocally and eternally Israel’s is far from over. But since the pen is often mightier than the sword, and the keyboard even more so, let us take hope from this media victory, and continue to work toward the day that the nations will realize, as the Prophet Isaiah foretold, that their “house of prayer for all peoples” is in truth the “house of the God of Israel.”

The Palestinian Authority, for its part, is doing all it can to promote the opposite of the above truth. Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) reported that the PA continues to deny both Jerusalem’s Jewish history and the Holy Temple’s existence. The PA consistently refers to the Beit HaMikdash as the “alleged Temple,” as if it never existed – thus denying the very Bible that more than 2 billion Jews and Christians (and many Muslims, at least in principle) swear by.

PMW notes that usage of the term “alleged Temple” to deny Jewish history has been PA policy under Mahmoud Abbas – known for his “moderation” – for many years. PMW issued a list of five recent instances, out of more than 100 since the beginning of 2011, of the PA libel that Israel plans to destroy the Al-Aqsa Mosque and replace it with the “alleged Temple.”

For instance, PA Minister for Jerusalem Affairs Adnan Al-Husseini called last month for an “aggressive Arab, Islamic, and international stand to protect the holy places of Islam and Christianity in Jerusalem, especially the Al-Aqsa Mosque.” He added that for a long time Al-Aqsa has been subject to premeditated Israeli steps aimed at dividing it, “thus facilitating the process of building the alleged Temple on its ruins.”

Similarly, the PA’s Islamic-Christian Council for Jerusalem and the Holy Places declared last month that Israel’s recent excavations beneath the Al-Aqsa Mosque foundations are “a final warning [before] the mosque’s destruction.” The council also declared that “Israeli occupation forces plan to damage and weaken the blessed mosque’s foundations, so that they will easily collapse at the first opportunity.”

In addition, council Secretary-General Dr. Hanna Issa called the digging under the Al-Aqsa foundations a “clear statement of the occupation’s intentions [regarding] the mosque, and its decision to cause its collapse and build the alleged Temple on its ruins.”

Many Jews who have dedicated their lives toward the rebuilding of the Beit HaMikdash hope the above warnings are both justified and correct, but fear strongly that they are not.

The Democratic Party And Jerusalem: Another Amendment Required

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

Once again we see that no matter what happens, Yerushalayim keeps popping up in the center of world events. Just last week, the Democratic Party was innocently preparing the re-election bid of the incumbent leader of the free world, when it abruptly found itself having to deal with a major brouhaha concerning its omission of Jerusalem from its platform – and an even larger commotion when it put it back in.

It was not immediately clear which part of the debacle – the beginning, end, or middle – was the most embarrassing, awkward and vote-costly for the Democrats.

It began when protests erupted from various quarters against the platform’s omission of Jerusalem. Among those complaining were the Orthodox Union, the Republican Jewish Coalition, and some Israeli Knesset Members. The OU stated, “At a time when Arab leaders persistently… deny the ancient Jewish connection to our holy city, the decision of national leaders of the Democratic Party to go silent on this issue is extremely disappointing… Jerusalem is Israel’s capital, and America’s national leaders do no service to the people of the Mideast or the world by refusing to acknowledge [this].”

An official Republican Party statement charged that the Obama administration is “painfully out of touch with the mainstream of the Jewish community, which knows that Jerusalem… must remain the undivided capital of the Jewish State of Israel.”

From both wings of the Israeli Knesset also came condemnation. Meretz party chair MK Zahava Gal-On expressed concern that Jerusalem was not “on the agenda of the Democrats,” while Deputy Knesset Speaker MK Danny Danon, of the Likud’s more nationalist wing, said the omission stemmed from Obama’s hostility to Israel. “The things Obama says about Jewish rights in Jerusalem are… an ongoing policy,” Danon said. “We can clearly say that he is no friend of the State of Israel.”

In response, the Democrats tried damage control, at Obama’s behest, but it backfired. At the convention itself, the party changed the platform, adding three short sentences about Jerusalem’s future as Israel’s undivided capital and it being subject to negotiations. This was supposed to be a nod to Israel’s supporters, though the thought of negotiating one’s holy capital with one’s enemies is not a particularly serene one; see below.

Approval of the change was supposed to be made official by a voice vote, requiring an “easy” two-thirds majority. It wasn’t so simple, however, and the chairman’s confusion was painfully apparent when the vocal “aye” and “nay” votes were heard equally loudly. He called for another vote, and then a third, with the same result each time – until finally he overrode both his hearing and democratic compunctions and declared, “In the opinion of the chair, 2/3 of the delegates have voted in the affirmative and the resolution has been adopted.”

Knesset Speaker Ruby Rivlin, the leading candidate to be Israel’s next president, said that the addition of Jerusalem to the platform was no reason for optimism, because its original omission had been no oversight. “I am certain that President Obama restored Jerusalem to the platform only because of political and electoral pressure,” Rivlin said, “and because of the sharp criticism in Israel and the U.S.”

The Republicans were also quick on the draw to capitalize on the Democratic flip-flop. The Republican Jewish Coalition released an ad for Jewish newspapers in states with sizeable Jewish populations, charging that the Democrats are “split when it comes to supporting Israel…. It’s become painfully clear that this party is no longer the Democratic Party of our parents’ generation.”

Even many Democrats are still unhappy with the corrected party platform. Some were disappointed that it still does not say Israel is America’s most reliable ally in the Middle East, while others bemoaned the lack of a declaration that the Arab refugee issue will be resolved only within the confines of a PA state.

And of course, the Palestinian Authority was quick to condemn. A top aide to PA leader Mahmoud Abbas said a failure to recognize the PA claims in Jerusalem, as in the revised platform, will “destroy the peace process” and lead to “endless war.”

This threat is actually somewhat laughable, in the light of a most fascinating development in the field of Israeli revisionist history. Renowned “New Historian” Prof. Benny Morris, famous for having publicized alleged Israeli massacres such as Dir Yassin and more, and for having refused to serve in the reserves in Judea and Samaria, has lately taken a decidedly hawkish stance. He said that it is mainly due to Arab intransigence and desire to destroy Israel totally that the current Mideast conflict “has no solution.”

Jerusalem, Washington, And The Iranian Question

Thursday, September 6th, 2012

The Jewish people have had bitter experience in recent decades with enemies who repeatedly vow to destroy them. Despite this, here are some of the arguments being presented as to why Israel should not attack Iran:

● Israel will require American support – meaning intelligence, equipment, diplomacy – for whatever actions it takes against Iran.

● An Israeli attack might not succeed, and/or might only delay the Iranian nuclear program.

● A strike could trigger rocket attacks against Israel, followed by a drawn-out war.

● Obama truly wants to prevent Iran from going nuclear, and an Israeli attack would weaken his hand.

On the other hand, here are some of the arguments in favor of a pre-emptive Israeli strike:

● Iranian leaders have repeatedly stated their goal of destroying Israel. Nuclear weapons will allow them to realize this goal – or to continue to threaten to do so while encouraging Hamas and Hizbullah to attack Israel.

● An Israeli attack will not lead to all-out war, for neither Iran nor Israel are interested in it; each side will carefully measure its actions and responses so as to ensure that war does not occur.

● Diplomacy has run its course, with even UN diplomats now saying Iran uses negotiations as a stalling tactic. Similarly, the sanctions are too late, as Israel can’t afford to wait a year or two to see if they will be successful.

● A Wall Street Journal editorial said that because of the U.S. presidential election, American opposition is no longer red but yellow. Washington knows the time to act against Iran is running out, and Obama will be hard-pressed to oppose an Israeli strike with Election Day approaching.

As the editorial put it, “If the U.S. has no serious intention to go beyond sanctions, Israel’s only alternative to action is to accept a nuclear Iran and then stand by as the rest of its neighbors acquire nuclear weapons of their own. That scenario is the probable end of Israel.” In short, it is a zero-sum game: Either Obama will go for it, thus “saving” Israel, or he won’t, and then Israel must attack.

This leaves the $64,000 question: Will Obama bomb Iran?

It is known that Netanyahu leans toward bombing Iran, and that his political ally on this is Defense Minister Ehud Barak. “Thwarting Iran’s nuclear ambitions will be difficult,” Barak has said, “but dealing with this challenge after they have been realized will be much more complex and dangerous.” He has also made it clear that a nuclear Iran will lead to an arms race in the entire Arab world, thus “destabilizing” the Middle East – quite clearly an understatement.

One of the major puzzles of Israeli politics has long been: What is Ehud Barak doing in Netanyahu’s government? Formerly head of the Labor Party, Barak heads the Defense Ministry and is even one of Netanyahu’s deputy prime ministers. It has long been surmised that Netanyahu keeps him around solely because he needs his experience, support and encouragement for a strike on Iran.

Following this logic, it is apparent that Netanyahu is truly quite strongly in favor of hitting Iran – because he pays a high political price for keeping Barak around, especially among his one of his most important voting blocs: The residents of Judea and Samaria (Yesha). As governor of the IDF-run region in his capacity as head of the Defense Ministry, Barak has repeatedly angered this sector with his refusal to approve Jewish construction, outposts and even towns in Yesha. He has ordered demolitions of houses and outposts, and many young activists have been arrested and even banned from Yesha under his watch.

Just this week Barak publicized a letter he wrote to Netanyahu “advising” him not to approve the College of Judea and Samaria in Ariel – in the heart of the Shomron – before the Supreme Court rules on it. Education Minister Gideon Saar and influential Likud MK Ze’ev Elkin were furious at Barak, saying he had pulled a “transparent” trick and violated the coalition agreement. Their anger only seems to underline their certainty that Barak’s “recommendation” will be in fact adopted – because ridding Israel of the Iranian nuclear threat trumps all.

Plans Underway, Experts Convened, to Revolutionize Jerusalem by the Year 5800 (2039)

Monday, September 3rd, 2012

The sale of a 185-room hotel at the entrance of Jerusalem on August 16 was not just a 17.5 million dollar real estate acquisition by Australian multi-millionaire Kevin Bermeister, but one investment in a broader and more calculated strategy to make Jerusalem a global tourism capital.

In an interview with the Jewish Press’s Yishai Fleisher, Bermeister, founding investor in Skype, founder of file-sharing network Kazaa, and builder of Australia’s largest video game distributor, discussed Jerusalem5800, his $30 billion dollar, 28 year project to revolutionize the city and quintuple its number of annual visitors.

Bermeister With Israel Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz discussing Jerusalem 5800

Bermeister With Israel Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz discussing Jerusalem 5800

“I’ve been coming to this city for 7 or 8 times 5 or 6 times a year… I’ve been walking the streets learning about the city and I’m fascinated by it, I love learning the I love the history, I love the archaeology, I love the Jewish culture, I’ve become more religious, there’s many, many aspects to my fascination with this city,” Bermeister told Fleisher.  Yet the fact that history and culture-rich Jerusalem has not advanced into a world class city the likes of New York City or Paris bothered Bermeister.  And he decided to do something about it.

Together with a team of activists, engineers, architects and environmental and demographics experts, Bermeister began work on a grandiose vision for the modern-ancient city, and entitled it Jerusalem 5800, after the beloved city and the turn of the Jewish century which will occur in less than 28 years on the Jewish calendar.

Much of the plan, made public at Jerusalem5800.com, revolves around taking the visitor on a historic progression through the city, starting in the west and working toward the south – which means redefining the entrance to the capital.

“I am a personal fan of the city reorienting its entrance from the west towards the south.  I think the south is the traditional entrance to the city from the time of Abraham, and in fact, it’s the right approach for tourists who are coming here to learn about the city,” Bermeister said.  “If you approach the Old City from the south, you begin your journey three and a half thousand years ago, and as you progress up towards the north, towards the Western Wall, the Kotel, you arrive at a period two thousand years ago, and then you can progress to the modern city which is of course in our present day.”

When they come, tourists of Jerusalem in the year 5800 (2039 on the Gregorian calendar), will enjoy an advanced public transportation system and will benefit from significantly more travel accommodations.

“I realized that industry here has not really fully developed, it’s not catered to the extent that it is in other cities, and I started to look at tourism specifically… in the last 10 years, only 300 hotel rooms have been built.  Once I discovered that fact, the light bulb went off…”

That burst of inspiration was partly the realization that investors stand to gain tremendous amounts by buying stakes in everything to do with Jerusalem tourism – particularly hotels which Bermeister hopes will house 10-12 million visitors a year by 5800, up from the current 2-3 million.

Bermeister is the first to admit that many of the projects Jerusalem 5800 are focused on making a profit for investors.

“The Leonardo hotel, for example, was one of those properties that we identified early. At the entrance to the city, adjacent to large zoning changes in Binyanei HaUma – which has recently been announced by the city – that would increase the density of building and perhaps provide us the opportunity to increase the density of zoning on our property and therefore improve the return on investment to our investors,” Bermeister said.

“[Jerusalem 5800] is a private/public partnership plan, and we’re trying to… develop the city into the future based on the prioritized return on investment to investors.  So [we’re focusing on] those projects that will be most interesting to investors the soonest.”

The hope is that more money will mean more progress for Jerusalem.  Jerusalem 5800 aims to “continue to encourage the development of a fund that would be supported by many more investors around the world who could put their funding and finance concentration into Jerusalem and into Jerusalem building,” said Bermeister.

But Jerusalem 5800 is not without its challenges.  Progress can be halting because of Jerusalem’s atypical status under the jurisdiction of both the city’s mayor and the prime minister of Israel.  The interests of various ministries and planning authorities must also be taken into consideration.

Not to mention the will of God.  “Everything we do anticipates a possible future – please God, there will be a Temple and people will come three times a year to Jerusalem,” Bermeister said.

“But the 28 year plan really focuses on the what we know and what we can do something about in physical terms in the city today.  Preparation of the city, taking advantage of the existing growth in global tourism, for which Israel is not obtaining its market share, and really to focus on making sure that we do obtain our market share of inbound tourism by addressing the issues of the Jerusalem city center and access to the Holy Basin.”

“So like Jews around the world who pray three times a day and sometimes a lot more, that the Temple will in our lifetimes become a reality, [the Temple] would become an amplification, a significant amplification of the present planning,” Bermeister said.  “But in any event, 5800 would enable that thinking and enable us to cope with that amplification….it also looks to the future and hopefully will enable the city to be ready for an event such as the Temple.”

“I’m looking forward to a very bright future and I think Israel and Jerusalem are key to the examples that …  Jewish people can set in the world, the way of thinking, the way of acting, and I think we have a responsibility to project in the world the way to make the world a better place.”

The hi-tech innovator’s plans, already 2 years in progress, include a Jerusalem regional airport in the Judean desert near Jericho, and underground traffic systems with service to the Old City.

Helping Romney Support Jewish Jerusalem

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

In the heat of the American election campaign, it’s fascinating to note the large part being played by Israel’s capital, Jerusalem – at least in the Mitt Romney campaign.

Earlier this month, the Romney campaign aired its first foreign policy television ad, which focused on Israel and President Obama’s apparent refusal to recognize Jerusalem as its capital.

“Who shares your values?” the commercial narrator asks as an image of Obama appears. “As president, Barack Obama has never visited Israel, and refuses to recognize Jerusalem as its capital.”

The final shot in the 30-second spot shows candidate Romney standing aside the Old City walls of Jerusalem, saying, “It’s a deeply moving experience to be in Jerusalem, the capital of Israel.”

He is far from the first U.S. presidential candidate to express sentiments so warming to the Jewish-Zionist heart and ear. Even Obama himself, when he was running for president four years ago, received thunderous applause at an AIPAC event when he promised, “Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided.”

Yet this didn’t stop Obama from taking a cold stance toward Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem once he assumed office. Can we assume a President Romney will be much different?

Romney’s strategists apparently feel strongly that his statements of solidarity with Jewish Jerusalem will help him in terms of both the Jewish and evangelical publics. But how likely is it that he will be pressured to actually move the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Yerushalayim if he moves into the White House?

The answer is that he would be quite strongly pressured to do so if knowledge and education about Jerusalem were more widespread. At present, understanding of Israel’s historical, national, security and international rights to a united Jerusalem under its sole sovereignty is lacking among the general public, American Jewry, and the political echelons of the administration.

We therefore present, once again, the Top Ten Reasons Why Jerusalem Must Remain Israeli and Undivided. Please clip and quote.

History: Jerusalem served as capital of a Jewish state as early as 2,880 years ago – and was never the capital of any other nation. The Arabs of the Land of Israel were never an independent nation – and certainly never claimed that Jerusalem was their capital. As a matter of fact, the original PLO Charter of 1964 does not even mention Jerusalem.

Sanctity: Jerusalem has been the world’s #1 holy spot for Jews from time immemorial, beginning with the Binding of Isaac on Mt. Moriah (Genesis 22:2) and continuing with the construction of the Holy Temples there. Jerusalem is mentioned 641 times in the Bible.

For Islam, which was founded when Judaism was about 2,500 years old, Jerusalem is only third holiest, following Mecca and Medina. Its sanctity in Islam is founded upon a supposedly miraculous horse journey taken by Muhammad to what the Koran obliquely calls “the farthest Mosque” (17,1); some Islamic commentaries say this refers to the site of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, while others say this refers to a mosque in Saudi Arabia. Otherwise, Jerusalem is mentioned zero (0) times in the Koran.

Historically, Islam acknowledges Jerusalem’s sanctity only when necessary, such as when Muhammad wanted to attract Jews to his new religion, or when Zionists began returning to the city and reawakening its Jewish character.

Legal Rights: Jewish legal Jewish rights to Jerusalem, as well as to Judea and Samaria, were unanimously and internationally recognized in 1922 by the League of Nations, based on the San Remo Conference of two years earlier. No similar rights were accorded to Arabs.

Demography: Jews have been the majority population in Jerusalem since at least the 1870s and have constituted the largest single group of inhabitants there since the 1840s. They have been living in the city continuously for nearly two millennia. Today, the Jewish population just in the areas liberated in 1967 (popularly known as eastern Jerusalem) is close to 250,000, compared to 208,000 Arabs in these areas (according to a Palestinian Authority census in 2008). Nearly half of all Jerusalem’s Jews live in these areas.

Strategic Importance: Holding on to the high ground in Jerusalem is of paramount strategic and security importance. Dividing Jerusalem will hand over all the high ground to the Arabs.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/keeping-jerusalem/helping-romney-support-jewish-jerusalem/2012/08/22/

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