Israel Update

October 6, 2011 

“Glorious things are spoken of you, O city of God. Selah.” Psalm 87:3

IT’S SO EASY TO GET TO THE SIGHTS IN JERUSALEM: If you plan on visiting Israel, it’s helpful to know you can get to almost everywhere interesting in Jerusalem by foot or by easy- to-use public transportation. You don’t need to rent a car or join a conventional tour to reach the most remarkable spots. Jerusalem‘s public transportation system is undergoing significant changes–the much-awaited Light Rail project got underway in mid-August. For visitors interested in the easiest way to access historical, religious or cultural sites, the best advice is to buy a good map and walk to most places. Many of Jerusalem’s gems are within easy walking distance of the major hotels, and most Israelis speak English and are keen to help tourists and practice their language skills. If you do decide to take public transportation–to get to Yad Vashem, for instance–the Light Rail is a good choice. Until at least mid-October, it’s free and you can stroll down Jaffa Road in central Jerusalem, do a bit of window shopping and catch the train at any of the stops along the road. Destinations and arrival times of the next train are digitally displayed at the stations. Once you’re on the train, announcements of the next station are made in English as well as Hebrew, and you’ll even be able to ride over the striking Caltrava Bridge at the entrance to the city. To venture further afield–to the Biblical Zoo, say, you’ll have to take a bus. Bus stops are easily identifiable by their covered bench and square yellow sign marked with the number and final destination of each route. Simply tell the driver your destination when you board the bus to make sure you’re going in the right direction. Exact change is not necessary for Jerusalem buses. The adult fare for a single ride is currently 6.40 NIS (around $1.85) and includes a transfer good for 80 minutes, which you can use for your return journey if you’ll be back on the bus within the 80 minutes. Board the bus at the front door only, and give the driver your money. Wait for the ticket and transfer to print out of the machine by his side and go and find a seat. Chances are your neighbor will strike up a conversation and by the time you reach your destination you may well have an invitation for dinner. If you need to travel between cities in Israel, head over to Jerusalem’s Central Bus station at the western end of Jaffa Road and you’ll find comfortable, relatively clean buses to every part of the country. The information center is staffed by people who speak English and can help plan your itinerary. Inter-city fares are quite reasonable–Jerusalem-Tel Aviv will run around 25 NIS (about $6 for adults). Don’t be shy about using public transportation in Jerusalem. It’s one of the best ways of taking in the culture, scenery and the people of Israel. (Janglo) “Walk about Zion, go around her, count her towers, consider well her ramparts, view her citadels that you may tell of them to the next generation.” Psalm 48:12-13

BYZANTINE TREASURE FOUND OFF ISRAELI COAST: A ship anchor dating back to the 4th century has been found off the coast of Bat Yam. Archaeologist Jacob Sharvit said the find is especially valuable as it verifies the vibrant sea trade of the Byzantine era to ports along the coast and across the Mediterranean. The iron anchor - measuring 2.1 meters and weighing 300 kilogram - was pulled out of the Mediterranean Sea by Israeli lifeguards on a beach in Bat Yam, near Tel Aviv. Sharvit says the anchor was likely that of a Byzantine ship that crashed and sank in a storm about 1,700 years ago. An Israeli archaeologist team is set to dive at the site to search for more treasure. The Israeli coastline has had its fair share of shipwrecked finds. Sharvit says the collection of artifacts found on the ocean floor tell the story of the seafaring routes in history. Earlier this year, the Israeli government introduced an initiative to create public parks through archaeological sites of interest along the country's treasure rich coastline. (21C)

VIRTUAL DEAD SEA SCROLLS GET MORE THAN A MILLION HITS IN JUST ONE WEEK: More than a million people have visited a new website featuring high-resolution photographs of several Dead Sea Scrolls since the site was launched less than a week ago by the Israel Museum and Google Israel. The website provides a detailed view of five of the most complete scrolls, which were found at Qumran and date from around the Second Temple period, nearly 2,000 years ago. (Ha’aretz)

TWO JEWISH SCIENTISTS WIN NOBEL PRIZE FOR MEDICINE: Three scientists won the Nobel Prize in medicine for discoveries about the immune system that opened new avenues for the treatment and prevention of infectious illnesses and cancer. Two of the three - American Bruce Beutler and Canadian-born Ralph Steinman - are Jewish. The three scientists who unlocked secrets of the body's immune system, opening doors to new vaccines and cancer treatments, won the 2011 Nobel prize for medicine Monday. American Bruce Beutler and French biologist Jules Hoffmann, who studied the first stages of immune responses to attack, share the $1.5 million award with Canadian Ralph Steinman, whose discovery of dendritic cells in the 1970s is a key to understanding the body's next line of defense against disease. (Reuters)

ISRAEL BLAZES A TRAIL IN CLOWN THERAPY: Medical clowns from all over the world are heading to Israel for a congress to learn more about the country's unique model of clown therapy. Israel didn't invent the notion of entertainers cheering hospitalized children. In many countries, volunteers decked out in crazy hats, jumbo shoes and red foam noses regularly bring their bags of tricks to pediatric wards. But the Israeli program Dream Doctors did blaze the trail for professionalizing "clown therapy" as a standardized, research-backed healthcare discipline. In late October, the organization will host an international congress of medical clowning associations to share the theories and practices of this unusual approach. "My vision is that the same way hospitals hire any therapist, they'll hire medical clowns," says Dr. Arthur Eidelman, the recently retired chief of pediatrics at Jerusalem's Shaare Zedek Medical Center. As chairman of the scientific committee for the upcoming conference, he's eager to share Israeli research showing that putting trained clowns on the medical team leads to measurable benefits in pain relief, stress reduction and boosting immunity. Pre-surgical and post-surgical patients "treated" by medical clowns need less anesthesia before and less pain medication after the operation. At least 200 medical clowns from North America, Australia, Portugal, Denmark, Germany, The Netherlands, Switzerland and France are expected to attend the October 23-26 congress at a convention center near Jerusalem. (21C) “A cheerful heart is good medicine.” Proverbs 17:22

DID YOU KNOW: September 25, 2011 - A Gates Foundation grant will help an Israeli scientist further develop his cell-phone imaging system for diagnosing malaria in Africa. September 18, 2011 - A synthetic peptide developed in Israel may halt the progression of diabetes in Type 1 diabetes patients. The peptide is now in advanced Phase 3 clinical trials. September 11, 2011 - A new solar window from Israel can generate power, reduce energy consumption and let in daylight, promising a green revolution to the construction industry. September 5, 2011 - An Israeli device called RUTH, now in clinical trials, could revolutionize breast cancer diagnosis by offering detection without radiation, pain, or guesswork. (21C) “I will make them and the places surrounding my hill a blessing. I will send down showers in season; there will be showers of blessing.” Ezek 34:26

RADIOSHACK MAY RETURN TO ISRAEL: RadioShack, the American electronics retail stores chain, is looking into entering the Israeli market again. The chain operates more than 7,100 stores across the US and in over 30 countries worldwide. RadioShack first entered Israel in the early 2000s, but was forced to shut down its stores after less than two years due to poor sales. The initial plan was to have 70 stores across the country, but only three were eventually opened, and then closed. A delegation on behalf of RadioShack recently visited Israel to look into the option of reopening stores in the Holy Land. (Ynet)

Blessings from Israel 

Barry Segal with the Editorial Staff 


As international speakers and messengers of the Good News through music, Barry and Batya Segal are at the forefront of what God is doing in the present day nation of Israel. With strong ties in both the nations and Jerusalem, the Segals are weaving the deepest roots of our biblical heritage together with the fresh Spirit-filled worship of today to create their rich harmony of Scripture and song.

The Segals have a vast vision for God's purposes in the nations and to the people of Israel. In fact, their longing to help rebuild Israel both spiritually and physically inspired them to pioneer the non-profit charity organization, Vision for Israel and The Joseph Storehouse. This arm of their ministry focuses on assisting the poor and needy, widows and orphans, and reaching out to the new Jewish immigrants coming into the land of Israel. Vision 's most challenging project to date is "The Joseph StorehouseŽ", humanitarian aid center, located in the hills of Jerusalem. The Joseph Storehouse functions as a channel of blessing to all of Israel, Jewish and Arab, through the gathering and distribution of emergency medical supplies, food, clothing, and other basic life necessities. USA office contact info: Vision for Israel, PO Box 7743, Charlotte NC 28241, 866-351-0075. The Segal's web site is


Scripture quotations are from the Holy Bible, New International Version®. NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.    


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