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Unprecedented EU poll finds 90% of European Jews feel anti-Semitism increasing

 (AP Photo/Gil Michel)

(AP Photo/Gil Michel)

By Robert Philpot - December 10, 2018

LONDON — Nearly 90 percent of European Jews feel that anti-Semitism has increased in their home countries over the past five years, and almost 30% say they have been harassed at least once in the past year, reveals a major European Union report published on Monday.

The poll was carried out in 12 European Union member states, and was the largest ever of its kind worldwide.

Of the more than 16,000 Jews who participated in the online survey, 85% rated anti-Semitism the biggest social or political problem in the country where they live. Thirty-eight percent said they had considered emigrating because they did not feel safe as Jews.

Britain, Germany, and Sweden saw the sharpest increases in those saying anti-Semitism is a “very big” or “fairly big” problem. The highest level recorded was in France at 95%. Denmark saw the lowest level at 56%, while Jews in Hungary suggested that anti-Semitism was becoming less of a problem.

The UK results, experts suggest, may point to a “Corbyn factor” connected to the ongoing row over anti-Semitism in the British Labour party.

“Decades after the Holocaust, shocking and mounting levels of anti-Semitism continue to plague the EU,” said Michael O’Flaherty, director of the EU’s Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), which published the research. “In many ways,” he suggested, anti-Semitism had become “disturbingly normalized.”

Read More: Times of Israel

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Jerusalem World's Fastest Growing Tourism Destination

 (Photo: Reuters/Ammar Awad)

(Photo: Reuters/Ammar Awad)

By Eytan Halon - December 6, 2018

Jerusalem is the world’s fastest-growing tourism destination, a report by London-based market research company Euromonitor International revealed this week.

According to the report, incoming tourism to the Israeli capital is set to grow by 38% in 2018, courtesy of “relative stability and a strong marketing push.” Tourism in the city grew by 32% in 2017, the company said.

Read More: Jerusalem Post

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Trove of 11th century gold coins discovered in ancient Caesarea

 (Photo: Yaniv Berman, courtesy of the Caesarea Development Corporation)

(Photo: Yaniv Berman, courtesy of the Caesarea Development Corporation)

By Amanda Borschel-Dan - December 3, 2018

A treasure trove of 24 gold coins and a gold earring was recently discovered in a well-hidden bronze pot during ongoing excavation and conservation work in the ancient harbor of Caesarea. Found among the hoard of Fatimid dinars are six extremely rare 11th century Byzantine coins, of which less than a handful have been discovered in Israel.

“On the whole they are very, very rare,” said Israel Antiquity Authority coin expert Dr. Robert Kool in conversation with The Times of Israel from the windy coastal city of Caesarea. “These coins usually did not travel beyond the political borders of the Byzantine Empire.”

According to IAA archaeologists, all indications point to a treasure that was hidden during flight from the bloody Crusader battle of 1101 at the seaside stronghold, in which the ruling Fatimid empire was routed and its people massacred or taken as slaves.

Read More: Times of Israel

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Newly discovered caves may hold more Dead Sea Scrolls

 (Photo: Casey L. Olson and Oren Gutfeld, Hebrew University)

(Photo: Casey L. Olson and Oren Gutfeld, Hebrew University)

By TOI Staff - December 1, 2018

Archaeologists believe a pair of recently discovered caves at the site where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found may contain additional religious texts from antiquity.

Though no new manuscripts have yet been unearthed in the newly discovered caves at Qumran, archaeologists have discovered a number of objects indicating scrolls were stored there, among them jars, wrappings, and possible scroll fragments.

“This cave was robbed by Bedouins maybe 40 years ago,” archaeologist Randall Price explained to National Geographic, referring to one of two caves known as 53b and 53c.

“Fortunately for us, they didn’t dig very deep. Our hope is that if we keep digging, we hit the mother lode,” he added.

Read More: Times of Israel

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Ring of Roman Governor Pontius Pilate Who Crucified Jesus Found in Herodion Site in West Bank

 (Drawing: J. Rodman. Photo: C. Am)

(Drawing: J. Rodman. Photo: C. Am)

By Nir Hasson - November 29, 2018

The name of the man who ordered Jesus crucified and ran his trial, the ancient infamous Roman governor of Jerusalem, Pontius Pilate, has been deciphered on a bronze ring found in excavations at the site of Herodion near the West Bank’s Bethlehem, some 50 years ago.

The ring was found during a dig led by Professor Gideon Forster from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, a short time after the Six-Day War in 1968-69, as part of preparations to open the site to visitors.

Findings were recently handed over to the current team that works at the site, led by Dr. Roee Porath, also from Hebrew University.

The ring was one of thousands of items found in the dig. The famous name on it was discerned after a thorough cleansing, when it was photographed with the use of a special camera at the Israel Antiquities Authority labs. The inscription on what was apparently a stamping ring included a picture of a wine vessel surrounded by Greek writing translated as saying “Pilatus.’”

Read More: Haaretz

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Baltimore Ravens player chooses Israeli cause for NFL cleats campaign

By JNS - November 28 2018

Baltimore Ravens defensive tackle Michael Pierce chose Christians United for Israel’s Israel Collective as his cause for the National Football League’s “My Cause, My Cleats” campaign, featuring customized cleats.

The shoes consist of the Israeli flag at the cut length, the initials “IC” at the back” and a skyline of Jerusalem on the sidewalls.

Pierce has traveled to the Holy Land with the CUFI initiative to learn about Israel’s past and customs in furthering the relationship between the United States and Israel.

“The message for me is just the oneness and connectedness I feel with that land,” said Pierce. “To go over there and see the difference, to see just exactly how the culture is, I went to Shabbat dinner, I just enjoyed their company and learned so many different customs.”

Read More: JNS

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3,000-year-old ‘beka’ weight found from First Temple era

 (Photo of the 3,000-year-old beka stone weight by Eliyahu Yanai/City of David)

(Photo of the 3,000-year-old beka stone weight by Eliyahu Yanai/City of David)

By Israel21c Staff - November 27, 2018

An extremely rare artifact from the First Temple era, 3,000 years ago, was unearthed recently during the sifting of archaeological soil taking place in Jerusalem’s Emek Tzurim National Park: a tiny stone weight engraved with ancient Hebrew letters spelling “beka.”

The beka weight was used to weigh the half-shekel tax brought by adult Jews for the maintenance of the Temple and for the purpose of taking a census, as mentioned in Exodus 38:26: “One beka per head; [that is,] half a shekel, according to the holy shekel, for each one who goes through the counting.”

Archaeologist Eli Shukron, who directed the excavations on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority under the auspices of the City of David Foundation, explained that when the half-shekel tax was brought during the First Temple period, there were no coins, so they used silver ingots. A biblical shekel weighed 11.33 grams.

“In order to calculate the weight of these silver pieces they would put them on one side of the scales and on the other side they placed the beka weight. The beka was equivalent to the half-shekel, which every person from the age of 20 years and up was required to bring to the Temple.”

Read More: Israel21c

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Fizzy-water factory shows coexistence isn’t a bubble in conflicted Israel

 (Photo: Federico Maccioni/TimesofIsrael)

(Photo: Federico Maccioni/TimesofIsrael)

By Federico Maccioni - November 20, 2018

Twenty-nine year old Khadir Yousef gets up at three in the morning to travel from Ramallah in the West Bank to the SodaStream factory in the industrial park of Idan HaNegev, in Israel’s northern Negev. He does not return home until nine in the evening.

Dressed in a long-sleeved T-shirt and jeans, with a green security vest, he proudly shows this reporter a ready-to-ship soda-seltzer maker that the factory produces. SodaStream makes machines that carbonate home tap water in reusable bottles.

Alongside Yousef, who has worked for the factory for the past nine years, sat Teryaq (44), an Arab Israeli woman from Rahat. Sitting on her chair next to a conveyor belt, she said she has been working for the company for four and a half years. Next to her was Sharona Apterkar, an immigrant from India.

Like the magnificent Byzantine mosaic displaying images of birds and local flora that was discovered by archaeologists in 2013 near Kibbutz Beit Kama, in the Northern Negev Desert, SodaStream has built a mosaic of Israeli Jews and Arabs, Palestinians, Bedouins, Ethiopians, and Russians, who work together to produce the foot-and-a-half tall machines that turn still water into seltzer. Together, they have helped build up the fortunes of the fizzy-water firm that in August was acquired by PepsiCo for $3.2 billion.

Read More: Times of Israel

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Jewish State Appoints Christian Envoy to Muslim Country

 (Photo: Foreign Ministry)

(Photo: Foreign Ministry)

By Herb Keinon - November 15, 2018

The Foreign Ministry announced the appointment of George Deek as Israel’s next Ambassador to Azerbaijan on Thursday, making him Israel’s first ever Christian Arab ambassador.

Deek, a highly acclaimed diplomat, is currently a senior adviser to Director-General Yuval Rotem.

Deek joined the ministry in 2008, and served as deputy head of mission at Israel’s embassy in Norway from 2012 to 2015, and as deputy chief of mission at the embassy in Nigeria from 2009-2012.

“We are proud of his appointment, which perfectly symbolizes the integration of Israelis from different backgrounds in the representation of the state,” said Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon.

Read More: Jerusalem Post

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Newly revealed 5th century mosaics a kaleidoscope of Jewish and secular imagery

 (Photo: Jim Haberman)

(Photo: Jim Haberman)

By Amanda Borschel-Dan - November 19, 2018

A dazzling array of mosaics depicting biblical and historical scenes has been unearthed at a Late Roman-era synagogue in the Galilee’s ancient Huqoq village since 2012. With intricate attention to detail, each frame — until now kept under wraps — is worth thousands of words.

In conjunction with the publication in BASOR of a 70-page interim report of the excavations from 2014–2017, lead archaeologist Dr. Jodi Magness of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is permitting the rare release of never-before-seen full images of the startling scenes uncovered there.

The scenes vary from well-known religious stories such as Jonah and the Whale, Noah’s Ark, and Pharaoh’s soldiers being swept away by the Red Sea and swallowed up by dozens of fish, to the pagan zodiac at the floor’s center, as well as a portrayal of what may be the first purely historical non-biblical scene in a synagogue — complete with armored elephants.

In a phone conversation with The Times of Israel this week from the American Schools of Oriental Research annual conference in Denver, Magness said she is personally partial to the Jonah panel for its innate humor. In it, the prophet dangles out of the mouth of a Russian doll-like combination of three consequently swallowed fish as mythological harpies look on.

Read More: Times of Israel

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Israeli NGO sends aid to California in wake of unprecedented wildfires

 (Photo: Shutterstock)

(Photo: Shutterstock)

By Nicky Blackburn - November 19, 2018

Israeli NGO, IsraAID, is sending an emergency response team to California to help communities affected by the unprecedented fires that have killed 80 and destroyed over 13,000 homes and buildings. More than 1,300 people are still listed as missing.

The two blazes broke out 10 days ago in both north and south California and quickly spiraled out of control. The Camp Fire wildfire, which wiped out the town of Paradise in Butte county (population 27,000), is already the deadliest and most destructive fire in California history, torching an area the size of Chicago.

The Woolsey fire has burned over 98,362 acres in southern California near the border of Ventura and Los Angeles counties.

After a request from local communities, IsraAID is to conduct a needs assessment of the population in affected areas, promote community resilience and recovery, and distribute relief items to families currently staying in temporary accommodation after losing their homes in the fires.

Read More: Israel21c

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Fighting the Global Diabetes Epidemic with Israeli Innovation

 (Photo: Baz Ratner/Reuters)

(Photo: Baz Ratner/Reuters)

By Eytan Halon - November 13, 2018

Diabetes and its devastating complications are a growing, global epidemic. A major public health problem, diabetes has the potential to take over the lives of sufferers and exact an increasingly heavy price for the world's healthcare systems.

Some 425 million adults worldwide are living with diabetes today, with the figure set to rise to 522 million by 2030 and 629 million by 2045, according to International Diabetes Federation (IDF) estimates. Today, an incredible 12% of all adult healthcare expenditure is diabetes-related.

World Diabetes Day, created by IDF and the World Health Organization in 1991, is marked every year on November 14, the birthday of Sir Frederick Banting – the celebrated Canadian scientist who co-discovered insulin in 1922 – and seeks to boost public and political awareness of diabetes issues.

While there is currently no cure for either Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, a range of breakthrough Israeli medical technologies is changing the rules of the game for diabetics.

Although diabetes is often associated with insulin injections, Jerusalem-based Oramed Pharmaceuticals has developed an innovative oral insulin capsule that transforms injectable treatments into oral therapies. The capsules, for both types of diabetes, are currently in advanced Food and Drug Administration clinical trials.

Read More: Jerusalem Post

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'Suddenly I Saw Eyes': Jesus’ Face Discovered in Ancient Israeli Desert Church

 (Photo: Dror Maayan)

(Photo: Dror Maayan)

By Ruth Schuster - November 14, 2018

Precious little early Christian art has survived in the Holy Land, though this is where the religion itself was born. But now, an extremely rare depiction of Jesus from the early Christian era has been found in the ruins of Shivta, a large Byzantine farming village in the heart of Israel’s Negev desert.

“His face is right there, looking at us,” says Dr. Emma Maayan-Fanar, the art historian who finally noticed the wall painting a century after it was uncovered.

A first painting found by others in Shivta last year turned out to show Jesus’ transfiguration: the present team was the one to realize what the painting showed, but the drawing of his face did not survive the centuries. The second one shows his baptism and his face. Maayan-Fanar and the team – Dr. Ravit Linn, Dr. Yotam Tepper and Prof. Guy Bar-Oz of the Zinman Institute of Archaeology at the University of Haifa – described the find in the world archaeological journal Antiquity: "Christ's face revealed at Shivta".

Read More: Haaretz

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Despite Rocket Attacks, Israel Continues Delivering Supplies to Gaza

 (Photo: Ibraheem Abu Mustafa/Reuters)

(Photo: Ibraheem Abu Mustafa/Reuters)

By Anna Ahronheim - November 13, 2018

Despite the incessant Hamas rocket attacks against Israel on Tuesday, the Kerem Shalom border crossing was functioning normally, with dozens of trucks entering the Gaza Strip from Israel.

According to reports five gas tankers, 30 fuel tankers and hundreds of other trucks with humanitarian goods, delivered their goods to Gaza. Kerem Shalom is the main crossing for fuel and other merchandise between Israel and the Gaza Strip.

Read More: Jerusalem Post

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Christians and Jews Fight Antisemitism on U.S. Campuses

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By Maayan Hoffman - October 12, 2018

The Anti-Defamation League reported that antisemitic incidents were up 89 percent in 2017. On US college campuses, where the AMCHA Initiative tracks antisemitic activities, the number of incidents is most striking. And many of these events are tied to anti-Israel events and sentiments.

As a result, some Jewish students say they are hesitant to wear a Star of David pendant or kippah. They are afraid to express even left-leaning Zionist views for fear they will be marginalized, at best, or attacked, at worst.

“For supporters of the Jewish state, Jews who refuse to denounce the Jewish state, or sometimes just for Jews who are not card-carrying members of the anti-Israel movement, no treatment can be too harsh,” Jonathan Marks, chair of the Department of Politics and International Relations at Ursinus College in Pennsylvania, told The Jerusalem Report. “It’s hard to know how widespread this phenomenon is, but it’s a real thing.”

There is an incident nearly every month.

Read More: The Jerusalem Post

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In Europe, synagogues are fortresses. Is this the path for the US?

 (Photo: Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP/Getty Images)

(Photo: Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP/Getty Images)

By Cnaan Liphshiz - October 30, 2018

BRUSSELS (JTA) — Will security at American Jewish institutions now mirror that of Europe, with its police protection, armed guards, panic rooms and sterile zones at synagogues?

It’s a possibility that is being debated more seriously than ever before following the Tree of Life Congregation shooting Saturday in Pittsburgh in which a gunman killed 11 people.

Rabbi Jack Moline, president of the Interfaith Alliance, told The Washington Post that posting armed guards outside synagogues in some places would be “prohibitive” to Jewish communal life itself.

But Gary Sikorski, director of security for the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit, told the Detroit Jewish News that the idea, suggested by President Donald Trump after the attack, is “not a bad one.”

European security professionals say that even if Sikorski’s approach prevails, it will take at least a decade and hundreds of millions of dollars before US Jewry’s security infrastructure matches the European counterpart.

“The security doctrine you see in Europe is the result of decades of evolution,” said Ophir Revach, director of the European Jewish Congress’ Security and Crisis Center. “It was built on lessons from terrorist attacks in the 1960s and adjusted constantly. It’s pretty comprehensive.”

Read More: Times of Israel

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A Christian message about the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting: If you hate Jews, you hate Jesus, too

 (Photo: MENAHEM KAHANA, AFP/Getty Images)

(Photo: MENAHEM KAHANA, AFP/Getty Images)

By Russell Moore - October 29, 2018

On the Jewish Sabbath this week, a white-nationalist terrorist killed 11 worshipers at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue in what is being called the deadliest attack on Jewish people in American history. Sadly, at a time when it seems as though every week brings more bloodshed and terror in this country, we should not let the news cycle move on without a sober reflection of what this attack means for us as Christians.

Such is especially true as we look at a world surging with resurgent “blood-and-soil” ethno-nationalism, much of it anti-Semitic in nature. As Christians, we should have a clear message of rejection of every kind of bigotry and hatred, but we should especially note what anti-Semitism means for people who are followers of Jesus. We should say clearly to anyone who would claim the name “Christian” the following truth: If you hate Jews, you hate Jesus.

Anti-Semitism is, by definition, a repudiation of Christianity as well as of Judaism. This ought to be obvious, but world history, even church history, shows us this is not the case. Christians reject anti-Semitism because we love Jesus.

I will often hear Christians say, “Remember that Jesus was Jewish.” That’s true enough, but the past tense makes it sound as though Jesus’ Jewishness were something he sloughed off at the resurrection. Jesus is alive now, enthroned in heaven. He is transfigured and glorified, yes, but he is still Jesus. This means he is still, and always will be, human. He is still, and always will be, the son of Mary. He is, and always will be, a Galilean. When Jesus appeared before Saul of Tarsus on the Road to Damascus, the resurrected Christ introduced himself as “Jesus of Nazareth” (Acts 22:8). Jesus is Jewish, present tense.

Read More: Washington Post

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In first, Israeli minister makes state visit to Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi

 (Photo: Chen Kedem Maktoubi)

(Photo: Chen Kedem Maktoubi)

By TOI Staff - October 29, 2018

Israel’s culture and sports minister paid a state visit to the largest mosque in the United Arab Emirates on Monday, part of a historic trip that some have seen as signaling a slow rapprochement between Abu Dhabi and Jerusalem.

Miri Regev visited Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque accompanied by officials from the UAE, touring the the Muslim world’s third largest house of worship, after mosques in Mecca and Medina.

World leaders are frequently invited to visit the mosque, thus underlining the official nature of the trip, the first-ever official state visit by an Israeli minister.

Regev is in the country to watch the Israeli judoka team compete at the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam, which they are doing for the first time ever in an Arabian Gulf state under their national flag, after the UAE acceded to pressure from international sports officials.

“This mosque has a message of brotherhood and peace,” Regev wrote in the visitor’s book, in Hebrew. “I wish a good life and peace for all.”

Read More: Times of Israel

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Ancient inscription discovery thrills archaeologists in Israel

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By James Rogers - October 21, 2018

A unique 2,000-year-old stone inscription unearthed in Israel has thrilled archaeologists.

The find is the first full spelling of “Jerusalem” on a stone inscription, archaeologists recently confirmed. The artifact was found last winter during an excavation in the area of Jerusalem’s International Convention Center, known as Binyanei Ha'Uma.

Part of a stone column, the inscription mentions Jerusalem, written in Hebrew letters, and uses the same spelling as today, according to the Israel Antiquities Authority.

Written in the ancient Aramaic language, the inscription reads: “Hananiah son of Dodalos of Jerusalem.”

It is thought that Hananiah was an ancient artist-potter.

Experts have dated the find to the Second Temple Period, or the First Century A.D. “First and Second Temple period inscriptions mentioning Jerusalem are quite rare,” said Dr. Yuval Baruch, Jerusalem regional archaeologist of the IAA and Prof. Ronny Reich of Haifa University, in a statement. “But even more unique is the complete spelling of the name as we know it today, which usually appears in the shorthand version.”

Read More: Foxnews.com

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10 American Jewish baseball players to become dual Israeli citizens to boost nation’s Olympics bid

 (Photo: Matt Roberts/Getty Images)

(Photo: Matt Roberts/Getty Images)

By JTA - October 10, 2018

(JTA) — Ten Jewish-American baseball players will become dual Israeli citizens partly to help the country’s team make the 2020 Olympics.

Some of the players, who will visit Israel’s Interior Ministry next week to begin the process, also represented Israel in last year’s World Baseball Classic, where Team Israel shocked followers by reaching the quarterfinals.

Jewish Baseball News first reported the development on Wednesday.

While players in the World Baseball Classic only have to be eligible to be a citizen of the team’s country, players have to be actual citizens of the country they represent in the Olympics. They also must be citizens of that country for a year before they can start officially playing in pre-Olympic competition, which begins with the European Championship B Pool in the summer of 2019.

Read More: JTA

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