Message from the Holyland

Betlehem

The Bible tells of Bethlehem, which was also called "Efrat" in Genesis and in various other chapters. Rachel was buried on the road leading to Bethlehem ( "way to Efrat") north of the city , and Ruth the Moabite town lived on her return to Israel. According to the Book of Samuel, King David was born in the city which was anointed king by Samuel. After King David was exiled from the city, it was told that he missed the water well in the city, and three of his heroes brought him water from that well.

The city of Bethlehem is mentioned in the New Testament as the birthplace of Jesus Christ.

Ekron

Ekron was an ancient city in Israel first settled by the Canaanites in the Bronze Age. During the Iron Age, with the invasion of the Sea People, the city became an important Philistine city. At the end of the 8th century BC the Assyrians conquered the city and took over. At that time the city was known as a manufacturer of olive oil on a large scale.

Jericho

Jericho is a big oasis in a very arid area. The City served as a place of settlement over the years thanks to the nearby springs. The city draws its water from two sources: from the fountain of Elisha (Ein a-Sultan) and from a spring called Na'aran, which is about 3 km northwest of the spring Elisha.

According to a an accepted hypothesis, the city of Jericho is named after the moon cult rituals that was practiced there.

Ottoman Kisla digs reveal Herod the Great Palace in Jerusalem

In the past year, an archaeological dig took place in the structure just south of the Tower of David, in expectancy for the opening of the education center in the Tower of David museum.
Under the Turkish Kisla structure (that was erected back in the 19th century) were revealed 9 pools in various sizes that are dated back to the middle ages. Due to their shapes and findings within those pools, it is believed that they were used for coloring fabric or processing animal skins.

A renewed look at Herodium in light of new discoveries

Many years of searching for King Herod's tomb in lower Herodium, concluded that even if extensive preparations were made, the tomb itself was built and located elsewhere in the general Herodium area. As a result, the majority of the excavations were moved to the northeastern slope of the mountain. The work here brought forth not only the discovery of the Royal Mausoleum (and 3 extravagant sarcophagus relics), but also the discovery of a Royal Theater and the realization that mountain is artificial and the monumental steps were built only at the twilight of Herod’s life.

Hippos (Sussita)

The city of Hippos (Sussita) was the central city of the Golan during the Hellenistic and Roman/Byzantine periods. It is located on a diamond (or horse) shaped mountain which rises 350M (1148 feet) above the Sea of Galilee. Recent excavations revealed the impressive plan and structures of the city. During the Byzantine period there were eight churches, indicating its importance for Christians. The city was devastated by a massive earthquake in 749 AD which left it in ruins since then.

Church of Dominus Flevit

The little teardrop Church of Dominus Flevit, halfway down the western slope of the Mount of Olives, recalls the Gospel incident in which Jesus wept over the future fate of Jerusalem.
This poignant incident occurred during Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem on the first Palm Sunday, when crowds threw their cloaks on the road in front of him and shouted, “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!”

National Plan Launched to Excavate the Judean Desert Caves and Rescue the Dead Sea Scrolls

The Israel Antiquities Authority, in cooperation with the Heritage Project in the Ministry of Jerusalem Affairs, and together with the Minister of Culture and Sport, MK Miri Regev, is promoting a national plan for comprehensive archaeological excavations in the Judean Desert caves to rescue the Dead Sea Scrolls, which are among the earliest texts written in the Hebrew language.

Shivta- The desert city in the incense route

The four Nabatean towns of Haluza, Mamshit, Avdat and Shivta, along with associated fortresses and agricultural landscapes in the Negev Desert, are spread along routes linking them to the Mediterranean end of the incense and spice route. Together they reflect the hugely profitable trade in frankincense and myrrh from south Arabia to the Mediterranean, which flourished from the 3rd century BC until the 2nd century AD.

Qumran National Park

The Qumran site was discovered in 1946 by a bedouin boy, who went to find a lost goat, but instead found a cave in which clay pots were hidden. In these pots, a treasure of manuscripts was discovered. This discovery led to the discovery of over 700 additional manuscripts in this area.