Tag Archives: Middle East

The Bet Qama discovery

Numerous discoveries are made in Israel during the process of building a house, a road, or some other construction project. It becomes necessary to call the Israel Antiquities Authority so that an emergency excavation can be conducted.

Israel has a wonderful toll road (Highway 6) running from Galilee to the Negev. During preparatory work to extend the highway to the south, a settlement covering almost 1½ acres was uncovered in the fields of Kibbutz Bet Qama (Beit Kama) a few miles north of Beersheba. Shmuel Browns, Israel guide and blogger, attended a briefing by the IAA earlier in the week. He describes the discovery:

The site seems to have consisted of a large estate that included a tower, a church, residential buildings, presumably an inn for travelers, and storerooms, a large cistern, a public building and pools surrounded by farmland. Also found was a stone with a Byzantine cross in secondary usage.

Browns think this would be a good candidate for a monastery. He has granted permission for us to share this photo that he made during the IAA briefing.

The IAA explains the Beit Qama discovery. Photo by Shmuel Browns.

The IAA reports on the Beit Qama discovery. Photo by Shmuel Browns.

Take a look at the blog post with a half dozen nice photos by Shmuel Browns here.

The Press Release by the IAA may be read here.

I see that Carl Rasmussen has posted a blog here about the 5th century synagogue that was discovered during construction work in 1993 at Sepphoris. This site is only 3½ miles north of Nazareth, the early home of Jesus.

There is still a lot to be uncovered in the Near East. See my post about “Know but mostly unknown” here.

“Rejoice and be glad” you are not in Jerusalem

U.S. President Barack H. Obama plans a visit to Israel, the West Bank, Jordan, beginning Wednesday. Preparations are already under way. Arutz Sheva 7 reports here on the problems already evident.

In addition to the fact that Jerusalem is now one of the most difficult cities to navigate (my opinion based on 47 years of travel experience), the Passover is approaching. Jewish families must make many special preparations.

The President will be staying at the famous King David Hotel. If you planned to visit the Herodian Family Tomb behind the hotel, just forget it for a few days.

Over 5,000 police will be directly involved in providing security for Obama and his entourage, while hundreds of others will be helping out in indirect ways. For example, over 100 officers will be added to the police help line specifically to deal with issues called in by citizens relating to the Obama visit. Police will keep citizens updated on all aspects of the visit by phone and through social media.

Over 1,000 police alone will be deployed around the King David Hotel, where Obama will be staying, and will follow Obama around as he pays visits to people and institutions during his three day visit here.

Here is a photo of the King David Hotel from across the western part of the Hinnom Valley. It was taken either from the Protestant Cemetery, the Campus of Jerusalem University College, or a few meters to the north of that.

King David Hotel from the slope of Mount Zion. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

King David Hotel from the slope of Mount Zion. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Take a look at some of the traffic problems.

Already on Sunday, long before Obama arrives, traffic in Jerusalem was extremely choked, as police began setting up barricades, and many Jerusalemites took to the road to finish their Passover shopping while the roads are still open.

Among the roads to be closed sporadically during Obama’s visit will be Road 1, between Ben Gurion Airport and the entrance to Jerusalem, as well as main Jerusalem thoroughfares such as Herzl Boulevard and Derech Hevron [Hebron Road]. Police said they will make every effort to ensure that roads are closed only of absolutely necessary.

Several years ago I was in Jerusalem when President Clinton came to visit. Our hotel was far from the Old City, but policemen were stationed about a block apart. Nations normally enjoy these high level visits, but I am not sure this current one means very much, but it keeps Air Force One running. (O.K., you have a right to your opinion.)

HT: Barry Britnell