Thursday, May 21, 2015

2,000-Yr-Old Aqueduct Found in Jerusalem Sewer Project

May 21, 2015 - Archaeologists have exposed a section of the lower aqueduct which conveyed water to ancient Jerusalem more than 2,000 years ago.

The aqueduct was discovered by Gihon Company workers in the Umm Tuba quarter (near Har Homa) during construction of a sewer line in the neighborhood. 

The sewer line is part of an extensive project (directed by Gihon CEO Zohar Yinon) to install a modern sewer system for the benefit of the residents of Umm Tuba and Sur Bahar.  The Israel Antiquities Authority conducted an archaeological excavation there following the discovery of the aqueduct. 

A section of the aqueduct that brought water to ancient Jerusalem.
Photo: Assaf Peretz, courtesy of Israel Antiquities Authority
Excavation director Ya’akov Billig explained that the Lower Aqueduct to Jerusalem was constructed more than two thousand years ago by the Hasmonean kings in order to provide water to Jerusalem. It operated intermittently until about one hundred years ago. 

The aqueduct begins at the ‘En ‘Eitam spring, near Solomon’s Pools south of Bethlehem, and is approximately 21 kilometers long. 

“Despite its length, it flows along a very gentle downward slope whereby the water level falls just one meter per kilometer of distance,” Billig said. 

“At first, the water was conveyed inside an open channel, and about 500 years ago, during the Ottoman period, a terra cotta pipe was installed inside the channel in order to better protect the water”.

The aqueduct’s route was built in open areas in the past, but with the expansion of Jerusalem in the modern era, it now runs through the neighborhoods of Umm Tuba, Sur Bahar, East Talpiot and Abu Tor.

Since this is one of Jerusalem’s principal sources of water, the city’s rulers took care to preserve it for some two thousand years. It was only replaced about a century ago with a modern electrically operated system. 

Due to its historical and archaeological importance, the Israel Antiquities Authority is taking steps to prevent any damage to the aqueduct, and is working to expose sections of its remains, study them and make them accessible to the general public.

The Umm Tuba section of the aqueduct was documented, studied, and covered up again for the sake of future generations. 

Other sections of the long aqueduct have been conserved for the public in the Armon Ha-Natziv tunnels, on the Sherover promenade and around the Sultan's Pool. Additional projects are planned with themes that include the Lower Aqueduct.

The Israel Antiquities Authority added that it noted favorably the professional attitude and thorough efforts on the part of the Gihon Company regarding the excavation and discovery of antiquities.

Monday, May 4, 2015

'Racism' Israeli Style

Last week Israeli Ethiopian soldier Damas Pakedeh was beaten up in Jerusalem by a bad cop for no reason whatsoever.  By a miracle, the incident was caught on videotape.

Eventually other police officers intervened and stopped the crazy cop; the injured soldier was taken to the hospital to be treated for his injuries.

The incident was followed by massive, overwhelming daily protests against “racism” held in Jerusalem, some of which became violent. A number of other demonstrations – peaceful ones – were held elsewhere around the country as well. 

On Sunday, another huge demonstration was held in Tel Aviv. Although officials had already met with Ethiopian community leaders, anarchists and professional agitators worked hard to whip the crowd into a new frenzy. They were successful in blocking traffic and shutting down the Ayalon Highway in both directions and disrupting major arteries elsewhere in the city.

However, the violence and brouhaha did nothing to contribute to solving the problem of “racism.”  Discussions between Ethiopian community leaders and government heads did.

Representatives from all major government ministries were directed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to meet with Ethiopian community leaders in order to identify and resolve the issues of concern to the population.

On Monday, the prime minister also met with the young soldier who was wrongfully beaten up by police.

Netanyahu made it clear that he deplored the behavior: “I was shocked by the pictures that I saw,” he said. “We cannot accept this and the police are dealing with it. We need to change things....The police will do what must be done to fix itself but we must also fix Israeli society because we love you... We love the Ethiopian community and all Israelis are in this together. There is a deep problem here that needs to be resolved. We will fight this together.”

Also at the meeting was Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch, Police Commissioner Inspector-General Yochanan Danino and MK Avraham Naguisa. 

Danino informed the soldier the bad cop had been fired and that a plan to identify and improve the problems is being formed. “On behalf of the Israel Police, I regret this incident and as the prime minister said here, when I saw the clip, which speaks for itself, we dismissed the policeman immediately,” he said. 

“Usually this involves a long process but in this instance we did not wait.”

During the meeting the soldier described his family background. He told the prime minister that his mother passed away four years ago from an illness, and that his father had died 15 years ago – also from an illness – while the family was still in Ethiopia. 

Pakedeh lives with his brothers, he said, adding that his that his brother is also in the military, currently serving in the air force.

“We love our jobs and love to serve the country. We want to give of ourselves as much as we can and this is our goal,” he told Netanyahu. “For many years we dreamed of coming to the Land of Israel, all members of the Ethiopian community. We are trying to integrate as best we can in Israeli society and they should recognize us... 

“It is time for us to united. We must not quarrel.”

In the State of Israel, the prime minister gets personally involved when there’s a problem. It’s that kind of a country, and Netanyahu is that kind of a leader.

“Racism” is not really racism in Israel. Just as there are good and bad people everywhere, there are also good and bad cops everywhere. Even in Israel. 

“It’s not about skin color, because if one scans the past decade of media coverage one can see that plenty of “white” Jews have been beaten up by cops there too. It’s an “equal opportunity beat-down” when it comes to bad vs. good, but in the long run, evil cannot win. 

NYPD Police Commissioner William J. Bratton said it best today (Monday, May 4, 2015) after a young officer died of his wounds after being shot in the face: “Why is it always the good ones? Maybe it’s because there are just so many more good ones than bad... There are really very few bad ones.” But the few make a lot of noise and get a lot of coverage. And that’s what gets the media’s attention, he pointed out.

Hence the anarchists’ success at stirring protests into violent mob scenes instead.