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15 October, 201415 October, 2014 0 comments Geography Geography

While Christians and other ethnic minorities face brutal persecution and even death across the Middle East at the hands of Islamic terrorists, Israel is the safest country in the region for followers of Jesus.

And despite a war that ravaged Israel all summer, a record number of Christian tourists came to Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles this past week during the weeklong Sukkot holiday.

The ICEJ's Feast gathering drew nearly 5,000 Christians from more than 80 countries this year, making it the largest Feast attendance in seven years. Prominent leaders of Jewish and Christian organizations took the occasion to call for action on behalf of the region's persecuted people.

Dignitaries including World Jewish Congress President Ron Lauder and Co-chairman of the Empowered21 Global Council and President of Oral Roberts University William M. Wilson joined ICEJ Executive Director Dr. Jürgen Bühler in signing a letter addressed to 120 world leaders.

"This letter gives an important voice to Christians who are being persecuted and even killed for their faith around the world, especially in the Middle East," Wilson said. "Most Christ followers in these difficult situations will not respond with violence and therefore need global governmental authorities to stand with them against these injustices."

Lauder has been outspoken about Jews needing to lend their support to persecuted Christians.


18 September, 201418 September, 2014 0 comments Biblical Archaeology Biblical Archaeology

The Israel Antiquities Authority a Byzantine era compound in Ramat Bet Shemesh containing an oil press, wine press and mosaics.


Beit Shemesh dig site

Griffin Aerial Photography Company, courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority.

According to Irina Zilberbod, an archaeologist with the Israel Antiquities Authority, "This was very likely a monastery".

Remarkable finds, including blocked cisterns, a cave opening and the tops of several walls were visible on the surface during an archaeological survey conducted on foot along the hills south of Bet Shemesh. The archaeological dig that ensued underground exposed numerous articacts indicating a prosperous lifestyle dating to the Byzantine period which was previously unknown.

The Israel Antiquities Authority press release described the findings as a compound continaining two regions - an industrial area and an activity and residential area. Within the industrial area a large and impressive olive press was exposed and a large winepress was revealed outside the compount containing two treading floors where the grape juices likely flowed to a collecting vat. The findings indicate that wine and oil production were important industries for the communities living in this area.


25 August, 201425 August, 2014 0 comments Events Events

Jerusalem Season of Culture will soon be showcasing the The Jerusalem Sacred Music Festival,   four days of exceptional world class music taking place at some of the most amazing cultural and historical venues throughout the city. The festival, now in its  year, brings together diverse artists from around the world who ascend to the world's holiest city to present and explore their own brand of ‘sacred' music. Whether you are Christian, Moslem, Jewish or any other religion, the Sacred Music Festival offers a cultural tour of music that is beyond one religion and is truly music to the ears of all. The Jerusalem Sacred Music Festival will take place from September 9-12, 2014.

20 August, 201420 August, 2014 0 comments History History

While a cornerstone laying ceremony was held recently for the rebuilding of the Old City of Jerusalem's Tiferet Israel Synagogue - dedicated in 1872 and dynamited by Jordan's Arab Legion in 1948, don't expect to see the 20-meter-high new / old Chassidic landmark reappear to its former glory anytime soon.

Speaking at the event in May, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat said, "Today we lay the cornerstone of one of the important symbols of the Jewish community in Jerusalem. The Municipality attaches great importance to the preservation and restoration of heritage sites in Jerusalem, and we will continue to maintain the heritage of Israel in this city."

Citing Lamentations 5:21, Housing Minister Uri Ariel added, "We have triumphed in the laying of yet another building block in the development of Jerusalem, a symbolic point in the vision that continues to come true before our eyes: ‘Renew our days as of old.'"

While the two politicians symbolically placed a stone salvaged from the ruined building, construction will take three years, according to the Company for the Reconstruction and Development of the Jewish Quarter in the Old City of Jerusalem Ltd. (JQDC) - a public company under the auspices of the Ministry of Construction and Housing. The project, budgeted at NIS 50-million, is being mainly funded by anonymous donors.

Fundraising to purchase the land for the Tiferet Israel, also known as the Nisan Bak shul, was initiated in

7 July, 20147 July, 2014 0 comments Geography Geography

You've been planning your Holy Land tour for a long time and you'll making your long awaited summer pilgrimage to Israel. You've packed your sunscreen, walking sandals and hat as well as all the appropriately cool clothing - after all the last thing you want is to be dressed too warmly when you are outside hiking around.


But what most people under pack - is water! And a bout of dehydration can truly ruin a trip.


What is dehydration? Dehydration occurs when the body looses so much salt and sugar it can no longer retain water causing a potentially dangerous physical condition that, in its most serious state, can be deadly. Symptoms include dizziness, blurred vision, quick heart beat, vomiting, hea

2 July, 20142 July, 2014 0 comments Tourism Tourism

The number of tourists visiting Israel continued its record climb in May as total tourism increased 17% over the same period in 2013 in 2013. Pope Francis's recent visit to Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Territories brought significant exposure to the region and is expected to prompt many more tourists, particularly Christian tourists, to visit the region.


Cultural tourism represents a growing market for Israel. With the Ministry of Tourism organizing many exciting cultural events such as the Israel Opera performing at two of Israel's UNESCO World Heritage sites including Masada and Acco, the Mozart Festival in Beersheva in May, Jerusalem Light Festival as well as world class musical and arts, the  area is growing in popularity as a cultural destination. According to Tourism Minister Uzi Landa, "Those that come to Israel will discover a country not only blessed with so many holy sites, but also spectacular landscapes, rich in history, culture and night life."


In 2013, approximately 3.55 million tourists visited Israel. Based on results so far this year, 2014 could be another record year  - with over 3.7 visitors - should the increase continue. However,  in the aftermath of the recent kidnappings and murder of three Israeli boys as well as a non yet confirmed revenge killing of an Arab boy in Jerusalem (today) - the recent tension in the region is expe

TagsTags: israel tourism 
2 July, 20142 July, 2014 0 comments Events Events

When you combine ancient medicines, miracles and faith - you get a fascinating remedy in the form of the new exhibition now on display at the Tower of DavidL Jerusalem: A Medical Diagnosis. With a view of Jerusalem through the lens of medicine and faith, the exhibit curated by Dr. Nirit Shalev-Khalifa, takes a look at the constant human struggle of a healthy life through the unique context of the holy city of Jerusalem.

The exhibit begins thousands of years ago - from the time of King David and King Hezekiah and continues up to the modern history of Hadassah and Shaare Zedek hospitals. Medicine in Jerusalem has always been a sequence of apostasy, sickness and epidemic intersected by an overriding story of healing, miracles and faith. This extensive exhibition draws inspiration from stories and medical cases, from doctors and pharmacies in the Old City and the new city, and from the many exhibits that are being shown to the public for the first time. The exhibition looks at the partnerships and contradictions found in the space between miracles and medicine.

Starting up in the Phasael Tower, and passing through the herb garden in the citadel's courtyard, and ending in the Crusader Hall, "Jerusalem: A Medical Diagnosis" recounts the uses and types of cures that have survived from Biblical times and reports on how sickness and plague have changed the fate of history. It shows how the holiness and stat

27 May, 201427 May, 2014 0 comments History History

An extremely rare seal of the Monastery of St. Sabas dated from the the Crusader period was discovered during excavations in Jerusalem. Unearthed a year and a half ago it was only now identified as a unique seal stamped by the laura - the Monastery of St. Sabas. The 800 year old seal bears a Greek inscription and the obverse side carries a figure. Dr. Robert Kool of the Israel Antiquities Authority conducted the examination of the seal and Prof. Jean-Claude Cheynet of France identified it as a seal stamped by the laura - the Monastery of St. Sabas during the Medieval period.

The archaeological salvage excavations occurred during the summer of 2012 at the Horbat Mizmil antiquities site which revealed the remains of a farmstead constructed during the Byzantine period (fifth-sixth centuries CE). The site was abandoned during the end of the Byzantine period, and then resettled during the Crusader period (eleventh-twelfth centuries CE), reaching its peak size during the Mamluk period (thirteenth-fifteenth centuries CE).


Seals were regularly used in order to ensure that documents would not be opened by unauthorized persons. Seals were generally affixed to a letter, and consisted of a bulla - two blank lead disks which had a string that passed through a channel between them. In sealing the letter these discs were pressed together with a pincher shaped object with dyes, creating a double faced seal.


Mar Saba is the Syr

25 May, 201425 May, 2014 0 comments Events Events

Pope Francis invited both Israeli president Shimon Peres and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to his Vatican home to pray together for peace.  The surprise invitation came after the recitation of the Regina Coeli following the celebration of Mass in Manger Square, Bethlehem, on Sunday morning. Given the fact that the pilgrimage has been promoted as one strictly of a spiritual nature, the invitation came as a surprise. Both leaders quickly accepted the invitation which is expected to take place before Peres steps down from his position later this summer.

After the mass in Bethlehem, the Pope flew by helicopter to Israel's Ben Gurion International Airport where many religious leaders and other dignataries awaited his arrival. President Shimon Peres welcomed Pope Francis to Israel in person this afternoon and recited the following welcome address:

"Your Holiness Pope Francis,


On behalf of the Jewish people and in the name of all the people of Israel, I welcome you with the age old words from the Book of Psalms: "Welcome in the name of the Lord."

25 May, 201425 May, 2014 0 comments Events Events


Pope Frances arrives to Bethlehem today for the start of a two day visit to the Palestinian Territories and Israel in a pilgrimage entitled "Peace, Faith, Tolerance". The Pope is making this historic visit accompanied by his very close friend, Abraham Skorka, former director of the Latin American Rabbinical Seminary in Buenos Aires, and Sheik Omar Abboud, a former secretary-general of the Islamic Center of Argentina. Both figures are involved in inter-religious dialogue.


Highlights of the visit include a mass in Bethlehem on Sunday as well as a meeting and prayer service with Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew who is based in Lebanon. It is the fi

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