Category Archives: Israel “Modern”

The Holiest Druze Site in Israel

On the road that leads to the top of the Arbel Cliffs, on the west side of Lake Galilee, there is a turn off that leads to the most sacred Druze site in Israel.  I have known about it for many years but only a month ago was I able to visit it for the first time.

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View from the Nabi Shu’ayb complex looking northeast. The Arbel Cliffs and the Sea of Galilee are visible in the distance.

This site is located on the lower northeastern slope of the Horns of Hattin and commemorates Nabi Shu’ayb (=”the prophet Shu’ayb” = Jethro).   The identification of Shu’ayb with Jethro, the father-in-law of Moses is a Muslim and Druze tradition.

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View of the entrance ways into the main room that houses the “tomb” of Nabi Shu’ayb.

In the picture above, note the man on the left who is putting on a gray cape that covers him from head to calf.  Of course, one removes their shoes before entering the room.  As a non-Druze I was not permitted to enter the tomb area via the main doorway, but had to enter and exit via a side door—I was escorted by a Druze elder.  I was not permitted to take pictures within the room.

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View of a courtyard with a fountain that is located west of main room that houses the “tomb” of Nabi Shu’ayb. No one used the fountain while I was visiting the site.

Since 1948 this shrine has been under Druze control (= holy property [wakf]).  It was rebuilt in the late 20th century and is a place of pilgrimage for Israeli Druze.  On April 25th, the Druze community has an annual meeting (celebration) here.  Usually new Druze soldiers in the Israeli army swear loyalty to the state at this site.

This is one of 4 or 5 places where Shu’ayb is said to be buried.  The main tomb of Shu’ayb is in Jordan and there are several candidates in Sinai.

To view 9 images of this sacred site Click Here.

For a quick overview of the Druze Religion Click Here.

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The Six Days War — Fifty Years Ago Today (June 5, 1967)

Fifty years ago today, 5 June 1967, according to the Gregorian Calendar, the Six Days War began.  At the time my wife Mary and I were students at the Institute of Holy Land Studies (now the Jerusalem University College) which then was located in a Christian Missionary Alliance building on 55 Street of the Prophets.  Much has been written about this war (see below for a great book on the subject) but I thought I would share eight pictures that I took at that time.

The spring class of 1967 at the Institute of Holy Land Studies (now “Jerusalem University College”) at 55 Street of the Prophets in then west Jerusalem.

In the center middle Gorgina “Snook” Young and behind her, to the right, Dr. G. Douglas Young (founder and visionary of the Institute of Holy Land Studies). Carl Rasmussen (red shirt on left) content provider to this site, and his wife Mary, blue dress front left.  Below and to the right of Dr. Young, Dr. Donald Dayton. Back left, Dr. Paul Ferris and below him to the right his wife Lois.

There were no “bomb shelters” in our area so we gathered in the lowest level of our three–story building.  Most of the other houses in the area were one–story tall, so the neighbors gathered in our building for protection.

The well-dressed lady with the poodle is Gorgina “Snook” Young, the wife of the founder of the IHLS, Dr. G. Douglas Young in our “shelter.”

The first night of the war the shelling was rather intense in our area.  Some plaster was falling off the walls but we were never directly hit.

Makeshift sleeping conditions in the basement.  My wife Mary is on the right side of the image.  The dresser is positioned to help prevent shattering glass from hitting the area.

Jerusalem city buses (that had transported troops who were fighting in the Old City and elsewhere). Note the blacked out headlights.

The Israel Defense Forces had called up all kinds of civilian vehicles to transport troops.

Looking down at one of the army vehicles outside our building.

During the war some of the Israeli troops rested during the daylight hours.  We offered them refreshing juice (mitz).

My wife Mary at the entrance to the YMCA in “West Jerusalem.”

The “joke” in Mary’s family is that two of her brothers served in the USA military, but Mary has been though 2 wars (yes, we were in Israel for the Yom Kippur War).

Sandbags in the windows of the hospital next to our school.

Sidelight: during the (1967) war Mary and I went to help at a hospital called Misgav Ladach.  Later, in 1977, our third son Andrew was born in that same hospital!

For a well–researched (and written) book on the war see Oren, Michael B. Six Days of War — June 1967 and the Making of the Modern Middle East. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002.

And for a recently disclosed Israeli Go Nuclear Option see Here  (I am glad we missed this one!).

Domus Galilaeae — Near Korazin

Visitors to Israel will often stop at the Second Temple/Talmudic site of Korazin (Chorazin: Matt 11:21; Luke 10:13) where an impressive basalt synagogue has been partially reconstructed.  To the west of Korazin, on the south side of route 8277 is beautiful is a Roman Catholic retreat center known as Domus Galilaeae.  It opened in 2000 and was blessed by Pope John Paul II.  It is generally not open to visitors so I thought I would share a few of my images of the place.

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View from the patio of Domus Galilaeae of Jesus teaching his disciples
In the background is the Sea of Galilee — 3 mi. distant

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The main chapel of Domus Galilaeae

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Library Reading Area
Inside of the beautiful deep blue plexiglass reading area
Note the desk and in the center is a scroll of scripture

To view additional images of the retreat center Click Here.

Jacob’s Well — Then and Now

SycharMap01Just to the northeast of the modern city of Nablus is the small suburb of Askar (New Testament Sychar).  It was in the vicinity of Sychar that Jesus met the Samaritan Woman at “Jacob’s Well” (John 4 and especially 4:12).

In 1860 the Greek Orthodox purchased the property and restored the crypt that included the famous 75 ft. deep well.  Although the foundation and walls of a church were begun in the 20th century, the church was not completed until 2007.

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View of the uncompleted interior of the Greek Orthodox Church in the 1970/s. The “outhouse-looking” structures are the entrance and exit to the subterranean well.

The image below is the current beautiful interior of the Greek Orthodox Church.

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Interior of the Greek Orthodox Church — 21st Century — Click on Image to Enlarge and/or Download

In the image above note the iconostasis and especially the two staircases down to the well.  Compare the current state of the church with its prior status pictured above!

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View of the grotto and the well head that is located under the altar area of the Greek Orthodox Church (ca. 1934). — This picture is from the Matson Photograph Collection, Library of Congress, call number LC-M32-A[P&P].

 Tradition has it, that this is the spot where Jesus, at mid-day, met the Samaritan woman who had come to draw water (John 4).

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View looking down from Mt. Gerizim, where the Samaritan Temple was built, at the Greek Orthodox Church built over the site of “Jacob’s Well” (see John 4).

 

Mysterious Bridge

Many of you have traveled across the Aijalon Valley (where the moon stood still; Joshua 10:12) and have seen the massive bridge that crosses the valley.

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High Speed Railroad Bridge across the Aijalon Valley.

The folk over at Ynetnews have posted an informative article, “Travelling the tracks to connect Israel’s largest two cities,” that describes the bridges and tunnels for the high speed railroad from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.  It will only take 28 minutes for the journey at speeds up to 100 miles per hour!

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Aijalon Bridge Detail — Photo: Sasson Tiram

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Jerusalem: Cutting Edge High Tech?!

And you (and I) thought Jerusalem was all antiquities and ultra religious people!

Well, did you know that:

Entrepreneur Magazine named Jerusalem among its top five places outside of Silicon Valley for tech startups to launch and thrive, calling Israel’s capital a ‘flourishing center for biomed, cleantech, Internet/mobile startups, accelerators, investors and supporting service providers.’

Jerusalem has 500 companies working in tech today.
7 High-tech industrial parks
500+ Startup companies
350+ Tech Events

HT  Israel 21c.

 

Palm Sunday and “Holy Week”

On Sunday, 29 March, Christians will be remembering Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem.

For those of you who might be looking for High Resolution images related to the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, the Last Supper in the “Upper Room,” and the events clustered around the final week in his earthly life I will be posting some useful links in the days ahead.

To view 10 images (with commentary) of a modern procession commemorating this event Click Here.

Use the following this link to find may High Resolution images related to Gethsemane, the Upper Room, a Rolling Stone Tomb, Gordon’s Calvary, the Garden Tomb, and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.