This Week in Israel — January 4th, 2018

  • More tourists visited Israel in 2017 than ever before!
    • Visiting tourists spent an estimated NIS 20 billion inside the country, according to a statement from the Tourism Ministry, and some 200,000 Israelis work in the industry.
    • The most visited sites in Israel were Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, the Dead Sea, Tiberias and the Sea of Galilee area and the northern Galilee. (All great places to visit during your time in Israel!)
    • Sadly, the more than 3.6 million visitors to Israel in 2017 doesn’t compare with the much higher numbers of visitors to Egypt (for those who take a greater interest in Egyptian history than biblical history). Check out Hope for Israel’s tours to learn about how you can be a part of increasing understanding about Israel in the world today!
  • The AP reports that “the Sea of Galilee stands at a century low, much of the Jordan River is a fetid trickle and the Dead Sea is rapidly shrinking.” Current predictions for the remaining winter months remain drier than normal, as farmers and residents struggle to cope, and pray for rain.
  • A seal from First Temple Period that was found at the Western Wall (the “Wailing Wall”) supports biblical accounts.
    • “The Bible mentions two governors of Jerusalem, and this finding thus reveals that such a position was actually held by someone in the city some 2,700 years ago,” said Dr. Shlomit Weksler-Bdolah, excavator of the site on behalf of the IAA.
    • “The finding of the sealing with this high-rank title – in addition to the large assemblage of actual seals found in the building in the past – supports the assumption that this area, located on the western slopes of the western hill of ancient Jerusalem, some 100 meters west of the Temple Mount, was inhabited by highly ranked officials during the First Temple period.”
    • “Governors of Jerusalem are mentioned twice in the Bible: In 2 Kings, Joshua is the governor of the city in the days of Hezekiah, and in 2 Chronicles, Maaseiah is the governor of the city in the days of Josiah,” they noted.
    • Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat said the find serves as a strong testament to the three millennia of Jewish presence in the capital: “This shows that already 2,700 years ago, Jerusalem, the capital of Israel, was a strong and central city,” he said. “Jerusalem is one of the most ancient capitals of the world, continually populated by the Jewish people for more than 3,000 years.”

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