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25 October, 201525 October, 2015 0 comments History History

Bethlehem, just 10km south of Jerusalem is recognized as the birthplace of Jesus and, as such, is considered an important pilgrimage site. However, the community is much more than that - in fact it is a complex village containing a number of historical quarters and officially became a city in the 19th century.

On Tuesday October 27, a unique two-hour Bethlehem walking tour , guided by an English speaking tour guide will be given of the seven historical quarters. Details include:



  • Starting point: Visit Palestine Center (just off Star Street)
  • Starting time: 3.00 pm., Tuesday 27.10.2015
  • Tour language: English. Guided by licensed Palestinian Tour Guides.
  • Cost per person: $15 (fifteen dollars)
  • Telephone: 970 2 277 1992


Tour Highlights include:


  • Introduction to Bethlehem and the tour at the starting point.
  • Hrezat Quarter: Follow Star Street, which was declared World Heritage Site as a pilgrimage route in 2012 together with Nativity Church.
  • The Manger Square: Inspect urbanisation processes and changes which have occurred over the last several years in Bethlehem
  • Discover the seven historical quarters: See the charm of the oldest cores of the different quarters away from main streets, like Kawawseh and Najajreh qu
24 July, 201524 July, 2015 0 comments History History

For the last 45 years a highly fragile mystery resembling a small piece of charcoal or two-day old dog poop has been ensconced in the bowels of the Israel Antiquities Authority here. Carbon 14 dated to c. 600 CE, the 7 cm long charred cylindrical shaped parchment was locked away in the IAA's offices in the sprawling campus of the Israel Museum. Protected by guards and doors with numeric locks, the tiny manuscript lay unread and illegible, defying scientists to discover a way to decipher it.

Excavating the 1,400-year-old Ein Gedi synagogue, archaeologist Dr. Dan Barag found the scroll and dozens more even smaller fragments among the ruins of the Jewish village's Torah ark. It was the first time texts had ever been found in the remains of a Torah ark. But the content of those texts remain tantalizingly out of reach.

Barag died in 2009 with the mystery still unresolved. But Dr. Sefi Porath, his co-excavator at the dig at the oasis on the western shores of the Dead Sea, never gave up hope that scientific advances would one day allow the leather scroll to be read.

Speaking at a press conference Monday at the IAA where the newly-deciphered biblical treasure - now revealing the text of Leviticus 1:1-8 in easy to read Hebrew albeit it with several lacunae - Porath grinned like a giddy teenager. "There was no such thing as a personal computer in 1970 when this scroll was discovered."

Even getting a telephone installed in Israel was no

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

6 October, 20136 October, 2013 0 comments History History

Over the last few years Taybeh has received generous support from international donors that have helped transform this once tired and collapsing village in to a well preserved and easily accessible tourist destination for pilgrims and other tourists seeking to acquaint themselves with the area's biblical history, unique landscapes and cultures.

During a glorious sunset, I am now able to walk down the village roads recently beautified and which now provide excellent access to Taybeh. The major street that leads directly into Taybeh from road 60 has been repaired and now provides good access to the village, situated only about a 5 minute drive from the major north south roadway in the Samarian region of the Palestinian Territories, and approximately 30 minutes from Jerusalem. Jericho, is but an easy 15 minute drive away.

But actually, if there is someone that is truly responsible for putting Taybeh on the spiritual map for every Christian it is Jesus Christ. After raising Lazarus from the dead, Jesus Christ came to Taybeh, which was known as Biblical Ephraim, to escape the crowds.

"Jesus therefore walked no more openly among the Jews; but went thence unto a country near the wilderness, into a city called Ephraim..." (John 11:54).

Thus, Taybeh became famous for receiving Jesus and the village received its new name in the 12the century when Saladin called the local Christians "Taybeen," meaning "good" or "pleasant." T

16 June, 201316 June, 2013 0 comments History History

"Wow, I thought Israel was a desert!" is a common comment heard from tourists when traveling in northern Israel. First time travelers are often surprised and awed by the beauty and greenery of the Galilee and the Golan Heights.

Taking visitors to the Banias National Reserve, (also known as Caesarea Philipi) is particulary enjoyable because it is a site that holds not only tremendous beauty, but is incredibly important to so many people and for various reasons: Jesus handed Peter the keys of the kingdom of heaven making it an important pilgrimage site; strategically it is a critical water source; aesthetically it is a nature lover's dream with its dramatic waterfalls, and a suspended trail over a powerfully flowing river while history enthusiasts will be awed by the Pagan temples, secret caves and ancient flour mills tracing many different civilizations and characters such as Herod the Great, Peter and Jesus, and even Mark Twain to name just a few of the characters who've traveled to Banias -Caesarea Philipi. Intrigued?
Read on...

Ancient people worshipped the natural beauty of the area for generations. The seeping rainwater at the springhead carved a large cave which was venerated by Canaanite cults and used to worship gods and goddesses throughout history.

The Seleucid Greeks carved a rock temple to their god Pan (half goat-half man, god of shepherds and nature) whom they believed helped them win a great battle here in 20

7 January, 20137 January, 2013 0 comments History History

Visit Bethlehem and sample the best of the biblical city over the course of one day.


Bethlehem is more than just the birthplace of Jesus Christ and a destination for Christian pilgrims. The city is a living, breathing piece of history both ancient and modern. Biblical architecture that spans eras is placed side by side with modern constructions resulting from decades of conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. Bethlehem's small size make it easy to walk around and, contrary to salacious headlines, the city is relatively peaceful and an important destination not to be missed.



A quick Google search explains getting into Bethlehem is immensely easier than trying to compromise on a two-state solution. The Jerusalem light-rail runs along Jaffa road for NIS 6.60 to the Damascus gate stop. When you exit the train the Arab bus station is behind you. The number 21 bus runs every 15 minutes and is NIS 7.60. The bus ride takes around 30-40 minutes and makes around 3 stops before it alights at the Bab al-Zqaq stop along the Jerusalem-Hebron Road in Bethlehem. From here, most main centers are walking distance but taxis are lined up with negotiable prices.

To leave Bethlehem to return to Jerusalem, take the same number 21 bus, on the same side of the street where you originally got off. If you're nervous about the direction of the route, just double check with the driver that he

TagsTags: bethlehem travel 
18 December, 201218 December, 2012 0 comments History History

A new digital library, stored on Google servers, and containing fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls was launched today by the Israel Antiquities Authority and Google Israel. The current library contains 4,000 high resolution scans of infrared photographs that were taken after being discovered iin the 1950's. An additional 1,000 new scans were specially constructed by the Israel Antiquities Authority.

The actual Dead Sea Scrolls are on display inside the Shrine of the Book exhibit at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. The scrolls were discovered in the 1950's in caves situated in the Judean Desert at the site of Qumran.

To learn more about the new Dead Sea Scroll library visit this link: http://www.deadseascrolls.org.il/





5 November, 20125 November, 2012 0 comments History History

Hanevim Street is known as the Street of the Prophets and runs east west from the Damsacus Gate in the East to Davidka Square in the West side of Jerusalem. Many major historic buildings are situated along the corridor, including the Ethiopian Church.


History of the Ethiopian Church in West Jerusalem


The Ethiopian community evolved around the Haneviim corridor in the 1880's and the church was built  along Ethiopia Street, that was purchased in 1888 just north of Hanevim Street.  Ethiopia Street bought in 1888, just north of Street of the Prophets.  Under the initiative of Empress Taytu Betul, Ethiopian Empress Taytu Betul was instrumental in encouraging other Ethiopian nobles and wealthy individuals to purchase  homes on Ethiopia Street and Street of the Prophets, which still belong to the community to this day.



21 August, 201221 August, 2012 0 comments History History

One of the hidden gems in Israel's north, which has recently undergone a major renovation, is Ramat Hanadiv. It is, in ,a botanical garden about 20 minutes from Haifa and about half an hour from Nazareth. However, it's so much more than that - it's also a tribute to Baron Rothschild, who helped to shape the successful return of the Jews to Zion.

Setting the Scene

Before we talk about Ramat Hanadiv, it's important to know just who is buried there and why they were so important. Interred in a special mausoleum at the site are Baron Edmund de Rothschild and his wife. The two of them were Jewish philanthropists in the 19th century who helped to found numerous towns and cities throughout Israel, including Petach Tikvah (which means the gateway of hope) and Rishon Letzion (the "First" of Zion).


Baron Rothschild is something of a mythical figure in Israel. At a young age, he devoted his life to bringing the Jewish people home and to helping them make a living working the land. He was instrumental in building the Carmel Winery in Israel (the full name was Carmel Mizrachi, meaning Carmel East, since the family owned a winery in Europe called Carmel as well).


He arranged to get cuttings of French varieties of grapes sent directly to the Holy Land (a feat almost unheard of befor

13 March, 201213 March, 2012 10 comments History History

As we reach deep into spring in the Holy Land, the blossoming of the almond trees in Ein Kerem is now at its glorious pink and white peak.

The charming village, with its narrow streets and alleyways nestled in the ancient terraced slopes west of Jerusalem between the Hadassah Hospital and the suburban sprawl of Har Nof, is a lush bustan (orchard) studded with historic churches, picturesque stone domed houses and quaint restaurants. A sunny warm early spring weekend is the ideal time to follow in pilgrims' footsteps, marvel at the town's beauty, and enjoy a rural repast.



ein Karem

An Art gallery in Ein Karem; photo courtesy Travelujah



Though today part of municipal Jerusalem, until 1948 Ein Kerem was a mixed Christian-Muslim Palestinian village known in Arabic as 'Ain Karim (the Noble Spring ) far from the city. Traces of settlement have been found here dating back to 6000 BCE. Following the April 1948 massacre at nearby Deir Yassin,

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