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January 2011, Newsletter

February 2011 Newsletter

Reintroducing of the fallow deer

Google will digitalize the Dead Sea Scrolls

The Hebrew word of the month ????

Has the prophet Zachariah's tomb been found?


The Project of Reintroducing of Biblical Animals in Israel, Reported a Success Acclimitation of the Fallow Deer

Israeli nature lovers had a great year in 1962 when the parliament passed for the first time laws to protect Israel's nature. In 1964 Avraham Yoffe was nominated to be the founder and first CEO of the National Fallow DeerPark Authority, with the purpose of protecting animals, rivers and copies. Avraham Yoffe, a general in the Israel Defense Forces, built two facilities to reintroduce the wild animals. The first on Mt. Carmel and the second in the Arava Valley. The concept was not only to protect the wild animals, but to reintroduce the species that were extinct. Biblical animals were brought here from all over the world to populate and acclimatize, and to be later released in the wild nature. The uncompromised approach taken by Avraham Yoffe can be well demonstrated in the amazing story of bringing back the fallow deer to Israel. In the beginning of 1900s, the fallow deer was considered extinct until the 1950s when it had been found  in Iran. In 1978, Avraham Yoffe with the help of the zoologist Mike Van Grevenbroek and Itzik Segev, the last military attaché to Iran; were able to bring 4 fallow deer to Israel in the last El-Al flight from Teheran to Tel Aviv. They got through the mob revolting against the King Shah in the streets of Teheran, got approval from an anti-Israeli veterinarian and managed the complex mission of evacuating 1700 Israelis, and embassy's sensitive documents. This story has a very good ending. The fallow deer arrived in Mt. Carmel and were successfully populated and reintroduced. Today, an estimate of 500 deer live in Israel. Click here to learn more about this outstanding operation. The National Park Authority participates in educating travelers about nature, wild life and history, while restoring biblical sites and bringing them back to life. This approach is well defined with the mission statement of the National Park Authority "To be an organization that educates to love the Holy Land and Israel, love its values and heritage to the benefit of Israel's residents, and of all nations, today and for the next generations to come."

 In the book of Deuteronomy (14:5) the deer is listed as one of the animals the Hebrews were allowed to eat.


The Hebrew word of the month 

    ? ? ? ?


love, affection, fondness

The is word mentioned 13 times in the bible.

Here are two examples:

1. "Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs." Proverbs 10:12.


"???????? ????????? ???????? ????? ???? ?????????? ????????? ???????."


2. "Set me as a seal upon thine heart, as a seal upon thine arm: for love is strong as death; jealousy is cruel as the grave: the flashes thereof are flashes of fire, a very flame of the LORD." Song of Songs 2:4


????????? ???????? ??? ??????? ????????? ??? ????????? ???? ?????? ???????? ??????? ?????? ????????? ??????? ?????????? ????????? ???? ??????????????


In modern Hebrew the word is used as the biblical one. One of the most known companies that use the word ???? is the Dead Sea beauty products company "Aahava". The company produces beauty products based on the Dead Sea mud and minerals. The company developed desert agriculture nurseries for growing Aloe Vera, and using it with some of their products.  

Google will digitalize the complete Dead Sea scrolls

Google has teamed up with the Israel Antiquities Authority to make the Dead Sea scrolls available online for free. Google will sponsor 3.5 million dollars for this project. Only four trained workers will be allowed to access the scrolls and scan them to a digital format. A search function will be available in the original language the scrolls have been written, Aramaic, Hebrew and Greek. A translation to English will be available at the first phase and later on more languages will be added.   This might be a good solution to the accessibility and preservation challenges arising form handling the scrolls. Click here to read more.

Dead Sea Scroll

Has the Prophet Zachariah’s Tomb been Found?

The area southwest to Jerusalem is characterized by small hills, many caves and forests. This area was a favorite hiding place for the Jews during the Bar-Kokheva revolt against the Roman (132-135 AD). The Jews didn't have heavy armor and used the caves as their headquarters and hiding places. Many Hirbet Madras - Chruch Mosaicstimes a full hiding complex included oil presses, storage rooms, water wells and columbariums (a cave to grow doves). All rooms were connected through a few narrow tunnels to well hidden entrances. Hirbet Madras (an archeological site in this area) is known to be a site with caves, and many remains from the Roman times. The site is well recognized by hikers in Israel as the best place to crawl into history through these underground tunnels. In Feb 2011 a threat of  antiques theft forced a salvation excavation in Hirbet Madras, led by Amir Ganor and Alon Klein. An  impressive complex of basilica building, an underground tomb and a hiding complex have been uncovered. The basilica building is the most recent building found. It was a church built during the Byzantine period. The church was decorated with mosaics (well preserved) and eight marble columns imported all the way from Turkey. Behind the platform there were two rooms. The first room was decorated with a marble floor and Hirbet Madras Chruchthe other room led to an underground tomb. Underneath the church a hiding complex with rooms, water insulation, traps and storage rooms was found. The hiding complex is part of a large building from the Second Temple period. Among the many findings were coins from the Great Revolt of the Hebrews against the Roman (67-70 AD) and coins from the Bar-Kokheva Revolt (132-135 AD). Based on ancient Christian books that describe the finding of prophet Zachariah’s tomb in 413 CE and the building of a memorial church; researches who visited the site suggest identifying the tomb with the prophet. The mosaics have been covered and a restoration process will start shortly to allow opening this area for visitors. Click here to learn more about the new excavation.


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