This coming Yom Kippur will be the one 40 years after the Yom Kippur War in 1973. At that time I had recently arrived in Jerusalem with my wife Mary and my 11 month old son John to assume the position of Dean at the then Institute of Holy Land Studies (now the Jerusalem University College).
Today (September 12, 2013) the Israelis have released many documents concerning the commission that investigated the decisions of the Israeli leadership that led up to that war—in which the Israelis were ultimately successful, but initially was catastrophic for the Jewish state.
Israeli Knesset from the Israel Museum
For this new information I suggest a recent edition of The Times of Israel:
Golda Meir: ‘My heart was drawn to a preemptive strike, but I was scared’.
Account of King Hussein’s 1973 war warning still deemed too harmful to release.
Three years too late, Golda Meir understood how war could have been avoided.
On that fateful Yom Kippur our family was out strolling below the Knesset with Continue reading
In the 19th century Kfar Bir’im (ancient Bar’am) was occupied and settled by Maronite Christians. During Israel’s war of Independence (known as “the catastrophe” to the Arabs) the inhabitants were forced out of their village by the Israeli military forces with the promise that they could return after the fighting ceased. The displaced inhabitants settled in nearby Gush Halav and other villages.
View of the occasionally used Maronite Christian Church in Kfar Bir’im
that is located to the south of the synagogue at Baram.
Click on Image to Enlarge
The request/demand to return by these Arab Christians was tied up in the Israeli court system for years, but ultimately the court ruled against allowing them to return. Today the site is a National Park and boasts the best preserved ancient synagogue in the country.
Life on the Haram esh–Sharif (Temple Mount in Jerusalem) is not static but dynamic! Over the years the Muslims have been refurbishing older structures and completely remodeling others. In the process much debris has been discarded, some of which was from ancient structures—possibly even from the Second Temple Period.
A well-carved ancient capital that was on the debris pile
of the Haram esh–Sharif/Temple Mount
Click on image to Enlarge (or download if you wish)
Debris pile on the Haram esh–Sharif/Temple Mount
located east of the Dome of the Rock — July 2009
Click on image to Enlarge (or download if you wish)
For additional images of “Life on the Haram esh–Sharif/Temple Mount”
Posted in Archaeology, Artifacts, Daily Life, Israel "Modern", Jerusalem, Modern Middle East, Places in Israel, Temple
Tagged ancient structures, Capital, Debris, Haram esh–Sharif, Herod the Great, Herod's Temple, second temple, temple mount
In recent years there have been several articles and news items that argue that some of the timbers that were discarded after the remodeling of the el-Aqsa Mosque on the Haram esh-Sharif in Jerusalem are quite ancient—possibly even from the Temple that Herod built (the Second Temple) around 15 B.C.
Wooden debris—including timbers—stored just west of the Golden Gate on the Haram esh–Sharif/Temple Mount
Photo June 2009 — Click on image to enlarge and/or download
I thought I would share one of my pictures of such debris from a pile that was located just west of the interior of Golden Gate (to view exterior Click Here). Note especially the notched beams on the far side of the pile.
On of the more recent articles is that of Peretz Reuven, “Wooden Beams from Herod’s Temple Mount: Do They Still Exist?”Biblical Archaeological Review 39, no. 3 (May/June 2013): 40–47.
Posted in Archaeology, Artifacts, Israel "Modern", Modern Middle East, Places in Israel, Temple
Tagged Haram esh–Sharif, Herod's Temple, Mosque, Second Temple Period, Timbers, Wooden Beams
In April I revisited Antioch on the Orontes (= Syrian Antioch) as part of a personal tour in the area. Not many tour groups visit the area but when they do one of the “must see” places is “Saint Peter’s Church” — where Christians have worshiped since the fourth or fifth centuries A.D.
St. Peter’s Church in Antioch on the Orontes
Click on Image to Enlarge
While there, people usually reflect on the fact that there followers of Jesus were first called “Christians” (Acts 11:19–26) and from there famine relief was sent to Jerusalem (Acts 11:27–30). Paul began all three of his missionary journeys from Antioch (Acts 13; 15:35–41; 18:22–23).
I knew that the church was under repair but I drove up to it any way in order to get a fresh/clear image of Antioch from that vantage point. Well, the “repair” is under way and the church, and even the approach to it, is closed—and rocks Continue reading
Mark Wilson of the Asia Minor Research Center in Antalya Turkey comments that due to heavy rains the site of Miletus, including the grounds of the new museum and the 600 year old Ilyasbey Islamic Complex. This is due to the flooding of the Büyük Menderes River (the ancient Meander River).
The flooding of the South Agora
On the right (south) is the Ionic Stoa
The apostle Paul visited Miletus, modern Balat, at the end of his third missionary journey – about A.D. 57 (Acts 20:38). From there he summoned the elders from the church at Ephesus, 28 mi. [45 km.] distant (as the crow flies), and after speaking to them – this is the major speech recorded on his third journey – they had a tearful parting as Paul headed for Jerusalem where he would be taken prisoner. Miletus is also mentioned in 2 Timothy 4:20.
Ilyas Bey Islamic Complex = Mosque
At Miletus — Constructed 1404
Lion from the Bath of Faustina displayed on the grounds of the Museum at Miletus
To view, and/or download, 31 high resolution images of Miletus Click Here.
These images are for personal use and there is no cost
and no registration is necessary.
The Kishon River is well-known to readers of the Bible in conjunction with the stories of the prophets Deborah (Judges 5:21) and Elijah (1 Kings 18:40).
Due to pollution that began during the British Mandate and continued up until recent times, the Kishon River became so polluted that it was declared “dead.” Israel 21c has an interesting article (“Kishon River: From poison to pristine“) on how the river is already making a “come back” and that more restoration is in store for the future.
View looking north, from Mount Carmel, down on the Kishon River, Helkath (?), the western end of the Jezreel Valley and the western end of Lower Galilee
Some of the readers (stumblers–on–to) of this “blog” might be interested in the Israeli Defense Forces web site. It has some very interesting information on the current activities of the Israeli military.
All of us who have traveled in Israel and the surrounding countries are well-aware of the importance of the winter rains for the well-being of the inhabitants of the area, local agriculture, and the water supply in general.
If you wish to “keep up” on how the Sea/Lake of Galilee (the Kinneret) is doing a “fun” place to go is the Kinneret Bot where the water levels of the lake are reported frequently (especially when it has been raining).
In addition, the Israel Meteorological Service maintains a web page (available in Hebrew and English) where current conditions and weather forecasts are available. In the winter I find myself looking at the home page, the three day forecast, and also at the “Rain Forecast Maps.” I the summer I tend to look at the “Heat Stress” tab under “Observations” (what is the HS at the Kinneret? Masada?@#!).
These two sources may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I have found them interesting and thought some of you might as well.
The story of the blockage of the Jordan, so that Israel could cross from Transjordan into the Land of Canaan, has always fascinated readers of the Bible (Joshua 3-4; especially 3:14). In commenting on this passage bible geographers often cite “modern” blockages of the Jordan due to earthquakes including ones in 1547, 1906, and 1927 (for 27 hours; Zondervan Atlas of the Bible p.61).
On Friday, September 7, 2012 one of my favorite web sites, Israel’s History – a Picture a Day, posted five images of the devastation caused by the earthquake of 11 July 1927 — including a picture from the Matson collection showing the blockage of the Jordan! According to their commentary
its epicenter [was] located in the northern Dead Sea area, [and] the towns of Jericho, Jerusalem, Nablus (Shechem) and Tiberias were badly hit. An estimated 500 people were killed in those locations. Today, scientists believe the magnitude of the quake was 6.25
To view additional images of the Jordan River Click Here and Here.