Monthly Archives: February 2015

The Jerusalem Cross




The ”Jerusalem Cross”, also known as ”Crusaders’ Cross”  is a Christian symbol consisting of a large cross surrounded by four smaller Greek crosses.

  It is the symbol of the ”Custody of the Holy Land”.

The middle of the big cross represents Jerusalem and stands for the Center of the Universe.


The five crosses together represent :

                          The five wounds on Jesus’ body when He was crucified. 

                          The hands, the feet and the wound underneath Jesus’ chest.

  The four small crosses represent  :

                          The four Gospels: Air, Earth, Water and Fire , together with 

                          The four directions in which Christ’s Word has spread around the world.



Herod the Great – the King of Judea

The suspended Palace - Masada

The suspended Palace – Masada

Herod, the king of the Jews, was actually not a Jew himself.

Herod was placed on the throne of Jerusalem by the Romans and was to reign for 37 years.

Mosaic at the western palace Masada

Mosaic at the western palace Masada

He was one of the most important figures in the history of the Second Temple period.

He was considered as a ‘converted’ Jew, but in fact King Herod was an Edomite,  Arab people presented in the Bible as descendant of Esau.

Not wanting to offend his Jewish subjects’ mosaics palaces never accounted for humans or animals, the King used geometric designs with only the seven species of Israel : 

                               barley, dates, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives and wheat.  

He died at the age of 67, a rare age in those days, which originated the expression

                                                                           ‘Old as Herod’



Mosaic at King Herod palace Masada

Mosaic at King Herod palace Masada



Herod’s Palace in Jerusalem


Herod's Palace in Jerusalem

Herod’s Palace in Jerusale                                          

                              Archaeologists say they have uncovered the remains of King                                                Herod’s palace in Jerusalem – and with it the site where the trial of                                                                            Jesus may have taken place.

The excavation of an old abandoned building near the city’s Tower of David Museum could have revealed the remains of a palace where the trial described in the New Testament took place, reports the Washington Post.

The building known as the Kishle is situated to the south ot the Tower of David and was built by Ibrahim Pasha, the Egyptian ruler in 1830, used as a military compound it became a police station and jail during the British Mandate.






The Byzantine monasteries and the ”Lauras”

The ''lauras'' in the Judean desert January 2015

The ”lauras” in the Judean desert January 2015

 The lauras (laurae in Latin) are a type of monastery,
consisting of a cluster of cells or caves.
They gave their name to the whole monastic ideology,
whose fascinating remains are the main
evidence of early Christian monasteries.

IIn the Orthodox Church and the Eastern Churches, a  laura is a religious institution where the monks  (from the latin word monachus: ‘single,solitary’), lived five days a week as hermits, scattered in remote populated areas. Saturday nights,  sundays and holidays were community days, on which the monks gathered under the leadership of an Abbot to sing,  take their meals together and receive instructions. They then joined their hermitage for the week charged with a food basket (cooked food, wine, etc …) This is a semi-hermit mixed monastic lifestyle.


Mar Saba February 2015

Mar Saba Monastery February 2015

Sabbas the Sanctified was born in 439 AD in Cappadocia he directed the great Laura Mar Saba for almost 50 years. During all these years he expanded the site to accommodate the hundreds of monks who lived in the area and built walls to protect the community.

Saint Sabbas lived about 10 years in a cave near the future site of the monastery. He found in this remote location, near a river bed the Kidron, the perfect place to gather and fully live his solitude.


The Kidron in the Judean desert in February 2015

The Kidron in the Judean desert in February 2015

In the time of Saint Sabbas a total of thirteen monasteries were established in the Judean desert, some of them have become famous in particular the Monasteries of Saint Martyrius and Saint Euthemius. The number of hermits went from hundreds to thousands during this period.

He influenced and reshaped the customs and lifestyle of the monks. He was the first among ‘the fathers of the desert hermit’ who formulated a set of written rules on the conduct and way of life of the monks in the Judean desert.

Saint George Monastery Wadi Qelt Judean Desert

Saint George Monastery Wadi Qelt Judean Desert


The Dead Sea’s … agony

The Dead sea

The Dead sea

                                The Dead Sea, in Hebrew called ‘Yam Hamelah’ meaning ‘Sea of Salt’
                                                is located at  422 meters below the sea level.

It has no fauna or flora, but it does contain omega 3, 6 and beta-carotene. The Dead Sea contains a  very high concentration of minerals such as sulfur, magnesium, bromine and phosphate. It also contains essential natural minerals like chlorine, iodine, calcium and zinc. They are all extracted for factories, which are situated at the southern end of the sea.

The Dead Sea is highly coveted for its many benefits and offers all kinds of therapies for the treatment of skin diseases, joint problems, respiratory problems and high blood pressure.

                         However, as the level drops about 1 meter per year, this sea may                                                                       disappear if we do not take care of it!

The withdrawal of the sea causes a phenomenon called ‘Sinkhole’, a spontaneous gulf that swallows anything.

These chasms arise from the interaction between fresh water and an underground layer of salt. The water dissolves the salt, creating a vacuum in the ground which results in the collapse of its surface.

                            There is at least one sinkhole per day around the Dead Sea,
                                                     which is highly alarming….                                                        

In Roman times, The Emperor Vespasian was not convinced that one could float in the Dead       Sea. As proof he took some chained slaves and threw them into the water and of course…..

                                                                THEY FLOATED !


An ibex on the shore of the Dead Sea near a sinkhole

An ibex on the shore of the Dead Sea near a sinkhole

– Sulfur – helps clean the skin
– Magnesium – helps in the metabolism of cells, strongly recommended to treat psoriasis
– Bromine – for its soothing effects
– Potassium – people with asthma find real relief to breathe salt vapors


DATES – Fruit of the Holyland

 palmiers dattiers

For all dates lovers….                                                                     

                                                                      DID YOU KNOW?

                               YOUR ARTERIES need DATES .. and they have all the qualities.

Israel is the country of dates. The Israeli Medjoul dates are the most coveted because of their softness, their flesh and their large size. They represent about 35 percent of the world market.

A sweet fruit, yet they do not raise cholesterol levels and even protect the arteries. They strengthen protection against heart attacks and stroke risk by lowering levels of triglycerides in the blood.

In the 1930’s the founder of Kibbutz Kinneret, Mr. Ben-Zion Yisraeli, made several trips to Egypt, Iraq, Kurdistan and Iran in search of date seedlings for transplanting in Israel. Nevertheless, the Medjoul varieties and Deglet Nour came decades later via California.

All varieties of dates are grown in Israel in areas that extend along the Jordan valley and the dattes 3Arava The Syrian-African fault that stretches from Lake Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) in the north and the Dead Sea in the south, offers the perfect conditions for growing hot dates.

The high temperatures are necessary for the fruit to ripen, and palms also need a lot of water. This is not always sufficient, but fortunately these trees develop easily with water even slightly salty and recycled water.

The harvest season of dates starts in late July and ends in October

According to scientific research, the pomegranate, grapes and olive oil are the three foods that can limit heart attacks and cerebral accidents. For a long time, the date did not have a good reputation among nutritionists: “They were suspected to be cholesterol bombs,” says one researcher. Yet the results are formal: eating 100 grams of dates daily for the period of one month does not raise the sugar level in the blood for even an inch. Instead, cholesterol is found decreased.

Remember the Rambam – Moses Maimonides (1135-1204) A Doctor and a Jewish philosopher as well as an Andalusian Rabbi .. To him the word health (in Hebrew BRIOUT) meant:

1- B- “Bolem” mitigate R- “rogzo” anger
2- I-  “iafchit” reduce O- “ochlo” his diet
3- U- “viagbir”  increase T- “tnouato” movement

The three principles of the Rambam remain valid.

Epidemiological studies have shown that risk factors for cardiovascular diseases which are primarily responsible for mortality are:

– Smoking, hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol A and / or detriglycéride)
– Hypertension,
– Diabetes, abdominal obesity,
– Stress, low daily intake of fruits and vegetables
– Lack of exercise, excessive alcohol consumptions

All of these risk factors can be reduced or eliminated.

                          Besides, did Einstein himself not nod to the medical by declaring:

                                 “A clever person solves problems, a wise person avoids them.”


A dates palm tree

A dates palm tree


The Unesco World Heritage


Massada fortress

Massada fortress         


On the list of UNESCO World                        Heritage


The Heritage is our legacy from the past and what we leave today for the future generations.                                           




Our cultural and natural heritage are both
irreplaceable sources of life and inspiration.

Places as unique and diverse as the wilds of the Serengeti National Park in East Africa, the Pyramids of Egypt, the Great Barrier Reef in Australia and the Baroque cathedrals of Latin America make up our world’s heritage.



What makes the concept unique world heritage is its universal application. The World Heritage sites belong to all peoples of the world, regardless of the territory where they are located.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) encourages the identification, protection and preservation of cultural and natural heritage around the world considered to be of outstanding value to humanity.

Pagoda Tel-aviv International Style

Pagoda Tel Aviv International Style








Locations of sites in Israel inscribed on the UNESCO list of World Heritage

– Masada (2001)
– The Old City of Acre (2001)
– White City – the Modern        Movement (2003)
– Incense Route -Cities of the Negev   Desert (2005) Such biblical
– Meggido, Hazor – Beer – Sheva (2005) – Baha’i Holy Places in Haifa and
  Western Galilee (2008)

International style tel aviv

International style tel aviv


– the caves of Nahal Me’arot / Wadi              el-Mughara (2012)
– The caves of Maresha and Bet Guvrin
  low Judea a microcosm of the country        caves (2014)
– Sites of Human Evolution at Mount Carmel:– Tel Aviv – “creative” city (2014)
Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls (1982) –   at the request of Jordan

Israel became a member of the Conventio of UNESCO Cultural Heritage in 1999

Neot Kedumim

Neot Kedumim

Neot Kedumim


Neot Kedumim, the                                                  

                                        Biblical landscape                          

                                                                                   Reserve in Israel,

We were all guides in this tour and had a Great Biblical Journey with Ronit  and                made fantastic discoveries about the Bible and learnt so much about biblical plants 

This unique recreation of the physical setting of the Bible in all its depth and detail allows visitors to see life as it was lived by our ancestors 3,000 years ago. More than a “garden” showing various plants, Neot Kedumim embodies the panorama and power of the landscapes which shaped the values of the Bible and provided the rich vocabulary for expressing those values Neot Kedumim is a Biblical Park on the way Tel-aviv/to Jerusalem on the 443 road.

Visit of Neot Kedumim

Visit of Neot Kedumim



The French Ambassador Residence in Jaffa



The French Résidence at Jaffa

The French Résidence at Jaffa

The Residence of the Ambassador of France is located in the Jaffa neighborhood of Ajami. It is a beautiful Bauhaus building in Modern style, overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.

This villa was designed and built in the years 1936-1938 by an architect named Yitzhak Rapoport. In 1949, the house was sold to the French Republic by the architect, who then transferred the amount of money he received to Ahmed Rahim, its owner who was living in Beirut.

Muhammed al-Rahim (Abu Hassan), an Arab notable from Jaffa, attended the Rotary Club where he met Jews, Arabs and Britishs. He became friendly with Yitzhak Rapoport, a well known and respected Jewish architect born in Ukraine, who built the French and the Dajani Hospitals in Jaffa. Y. Rapoport specialized in Modern International Style and Ahmed Rahim asked him to build a house for him in the neighborhood of Ajami.

The house of Ahmed Rahim would be built according to modernist criteria features, yet it would retain the ideology of a traditional Muslim family home in which public and private spaces were separated, as were rooms for women and men.

During the British Mandate in the 1920’s and 30’s, there was tension between Jews and Arab and pogroms were a constant threat. Despite that, the friendship of these two men would remain intact.

Times were very difficult for the architect. In order to oversee the building in construction, he had to wear a traditional Arab dress which allowed him to pass the lines separating the two communities and then he was taken to the site by car.

The two had a secret, however. Ahmed Rahim was the treasurer of the Arab Organization responsible for perpetrating attacks against Jews and Rapoport was a member of the secret service, the Haganah.

When the 1948 war broke out and the Arabs were defeated, Ahmed Rahim was a signatory to the surrender of Jaffa and decided to leave to Lebanon.  He entrusted the keys and title to his house only to Rapoport, in whom he had great confidence and considered him a true friend, who would defend its interests.

The building was purchased by the French Government in 1949 for 20,000 Pounds Sterling and became the private Residence of the Ambassador.

Oded Rapoport, son of Yitzhak, has himself become an architect. He said that every new tenant of the house wanted to carry out some changes and improvement in the villa.

Oded Rapoport was asked in the 80’s by a wealthy Palestinian from Gaza to build his villa. The first Intifada made it difficult for the architect who could not get to the construction site. Like his father, means were put in place and an ambulance of the Red Cross discretely drove him to the building site .


                      The Residence offers annual Operation ‘Open house’ ‘to the public.

The west corner of the résidence

The west corner of the résidence