From the Vulture Trail you will also get a sight of the spectacular Mount Gamla. You can cross to it from the bird watching site – following signs to the “ancient path”, a hiking trail which takes about 90 minutes to cross (it is only about 1 hour to 1 and a half hours return but is windy and steep.) For those who do venture across, ancient Mount Gamla is a site of historic importance with a similar tale to tell as Masada, aside the Dead Sea. A battle against the Romans and many people committed mass suicide to avoid falling into the hands of the enemy.
By Joel C. Rosenberg
Today in Israel, and around the world, we stop to remember the evil that was perpetrated during the Holocaust, pray for the survivors and their families, and recommit ourselves to the principle: Never Again.
“A two-minute siren sounded across the country at 10 am Thursday in memory of the six million Jews who perished in the Holocaust,” reports Ynet News. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivered a moving address honoring Holocaust Remembrance Day, and applied its lessons to the current showdown with Iran. Israeli President Shimon Peres also discussed Iran today in light of the Holocaust. I commend these to your attention.
Last November, I had the opportunity to travel to Poland with two pastors and their wives to visit the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camps for the first time. My son, Caleb, and I produced a short video of that trip which might help you and your family and friends get a brief glimpse inside the tragedy and what it means.
Most of all, please pray for these survivors, that the Lord would draw them close to His heart and heal their memories and show them His amazing grace and mercy. As the Hebrew prophet Isaiah wrote, “How lovely on the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who announces peace and brings good news of happiness, who announces salvation, and says to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!’” (Isaiah 52:7)
Another interesting website regarding the rebuilding of Babylon. Important information in relation to Prophecy.
Also read the following by Joel C. Rosenberg.
IRAQ REBUILDING ITS MILITARY, EVEN AS THEY REBUILD BABYLON: Prophetic significance?
Posted: April 13, 2012 in Uncategorized
Bible prophecy indicates that in the End Times, the nation we know today as the Republic of Iraq — known variously in Scripture as Babel, Babylon, Babylonia, Mesopotamia and Shinar — will emerge as the global center of wealth, power and terrible evil. Eventually Iraq will pose a direct and existential threat to the State of Israel, particularly during the Tribulation.
Since the fall of Saddam Hussein and his regime in 2003, Iraq has not been a regional threat, much less a danger to Israel. Some have assumed, therefore, that Iraq would no longer play a major role in Middle Eastern or global affairs in the future. But such a conclusion would be a mistake. As I wrote about in my first non-fiction book, Epicenter, those who read, understand and believe Bible prophecy have been watching for Iraq to: 1) begin rebuilding its offensive military capability; 2) begin rebuilding its economy; 3) continue rebuilding the ancient city of Babylon into a major center of commerce and tourism.
Interestingly, all three developments are currently underway.
IRAQ IS REBUILDING ITS MILITARY
Now that the Iraqi government has forced the American military out of their country, they have embarked on a dramatic arms build-up, including the purchase of American weapons systems that could be used for offensive purposes in the future. Examples:
- The Iraqis are buying 140 state-of-the-art American M1A1 combat tanks. “The Government of Iraq has purchased 140 tanks from the United States, all of which have arrived in Iraq,” reports an Iraqi business website. “131 of those tanks are already in the possession of the Iraqi Army. The nine remaining tanks are in Iraq, but in U.S. possession.”
- The Iraqis are buying 36 advanced American F-16 fighter jets. “Israel is monitoring Iraq’s rearmament program, particularly Bahgdad’s acquisition of 36 Lockheed Martin F-16s, with some disquiet amid intelligence reports Iran is consolidating its influence in Iraq following the U.S. military withdrawal,” reports UPI. “Baghdad ordered the F-16 Block 52 multi-role Fighting Falcon jets — enough to equip the Iraqi air force’s first two fighter squadrons — in two 18-plane batches in 2011 at an estimated total cost of $7 billion.”
- In 2010, the Iraqis embarked on a $13 billion weapons spending spree. “Iraq is preparing to buy as much as $13 billion in American arms and military equipment, a huge order of tanks, ships and hardware that U.S. officials say shows Iraqi-U.S. military ties will be tight for years to come,” reported USA Today. “‘It helps to build their capabilities, first and foremost; and second, it builds our strategic relationship for the future,’ said Army Lt. Gen. Michael Barbero, the ranking U.S. officer responsible for training and advising Iraq forces.”
IRAQ IS REBUILDING ITS ECONOMY
Now that the war of liberation is over and most of Iraq has been pacified and stabilized from the terrorist insurgency, Iraq’s economy is not only growing but is poised for hyper-growth. Analysts expect Iraq’s GDP to grow by more than 9% annually for the next few years, and expect Iraq’s oil production to nearly triple by 2017.
- “Iraq’s gross domestic product is expected to grow by an average rate of at least 9.4 percent annually between 2012 and 2016 as the oil-producing country benefits from larger windfalls in oil revenues, a senior central bank official said [in February],” reports Reuters. ”Iraq, which has the fourth-biggest oil reserves in the world, is currently producing around 2.9 million barrels per day (bpd). Iraq’s oil minister said last year he expected production to reach between 8-8.5 million bpd by 2017.”
- Some analysts within the Iraqi Planning Ministry believe Iraq could reach a 47% growth rate by 2017, once the oil starts flowing fast and furious.
- More and more major international companies are signing deals to do business in Iraq — see this intriguing list published by Reuters, published in December 2011.
- In 2011, ExxonMobil — the world’s largest oil company — signed a major deal to help develop the oil industry in Iraq’s northern region of Kurdistan. Despite the fact being mired in some political controversy, the deal is likely to be fully ratified in the not-too-distant future.
- Also in 2011, Royal Dutch Shell signed a $17 billion deal to help Iraq develop its enormous lucrative oil industry in its southern regions.
- In 2010, the Iraqi government ratified four other major oil deals.
IRAQ IS REBUILDING THE CITY OF BABYLON
Largely overlooked by Westerners is the fact that the government of Iraq is moving forward with plans to protect the archaeological remains of the ancient City of Babylon, in preparation for building a modern city of Babylon. As I wrote in 2009, the project — originally started by the late Saddam Hussein — is aimed eventually at attracting scores of “cultural tourists” from all over the world to see the glories of Mesopotamia’s most famous city. What’s more, the Obama Administration has actually helped contribute U.S. taxpayer dollars to “The Future of Babylon Project” through the State Department’s budget. Read more at the World Monuments Fund website for the rebuilding Babylong project.
In 2011, I noted that the New York Times had published an intriguing article on Iraqi efforts to preserve, protect, restore and then rebuild the ancient city of Babylon and make it a draw for tourists, with U.S. taxpayer assistance. The Times reports that a modern Babylon museum will open later this month. Times’ reporter Steven Lee Myers also posted a fascinating four minute video walking through some of the rebuilt ruins of Babylon, and explaining Iraqi efforts to protect and restore numerous Biblical sites.
“The Babylon project is Iraq’s biggest and most ambitious by far, a reflection of the ancient city’s fame and its resonance in Iraq’s modern political and cultural heritage,” the Times reported, noting that “in November, the State Department announced a new $2 million grant to begin work to preserve the site’s most impressive surviving ruins. They include the foundation of the Ishtar Gate, built in the sixth century B.C. by Nebuchadnezzar’s father, Nabopolassar, and adorned with brick reliefs of the Babylonian gods Marduk and Adad.”
“The American reconstruction team has refurbished a modern museum on the site, as well as a model of the Ishtar Gate that for decades served as a visitors’ entrance. Inside the museum is one of the site’s most valuable relics: a glazed brick relief of a lion, one of 120 that once lined the processional way into the city. The museum, with three galleries, is scheduled to open this month, receiving its first visitors since 2003. And with new security installed, talks are under way to return ancient Babylonian artifacts from the National Museum in Baghdad. The fate of Babylon is already being disputed by Iraqi leaders, with antiquities officials clashing with local authorities over when to open it to visitors and how to exploit the site for tourism that, for the most part, remains a goal more than a reality. Even now they are clashing over whether the admission fee should go to the antiquities board or the provincial government.”
(Photo by New York Times: Iraqi women walking through the city of Babylon that is currently being rebuilt.)
Caesarea is a magnificent site, a national park where amazing amazing ancient harbor ruins, beautiful beaches, and impressive modern residences sit side by side. Caesarea is originally an ancient Herodian port city located on Israel’s Mediterranean Coast about half way between Tel Aviv and Haifa. The site recently been restored to create one of Israel’s most attractive and fascinating archaeological sites. The restored Caesarea amphitheater hosts modern-day concerts during the summer months, whilst the Old City has a range of boutiques and restaurants. The new town of Caesarea is a luxurious neighborhood of villas, whose beach, the Caesarea Aquaduct Beach is one of the best beaches in Israel.
Caesarea National Park is one of, if not Israel’s, most impressive archaeological site. The beautifully restored harbor here was built by King Herod and is a work of engineering marvel. The site is a fascinating place to explore and the museum includes a great multimedia explanation of the history of the port.
Within the park is the Caesarea Amphitheater, also restored, which during the summer regularly hosts concerts of both local, and international acts. The Harbor Beach is located within the Park although you can enter seperately, and is totally unique in its setting, with superb facilities.
The Park is also home to a unique museum, the world’s only underwater museum where you are able to dive through the underwater ruins of this ancient city. Wow! For more call the Caesarea Dive Club (04-6265898).
Outside the national park, in the modern day neighborhood of Caesarea is the Aquaduct Beach one of the most breathtaking beaches imaginable. With an ancient aquaduct marking the edge of the beach the breathtaking approach is even more stunning up close. There is no life guard here so bathing is not strictly allowed although it does get busy on summer weekends, but the is worlds away from the beaches further south with a more rural surrounding and breathtaking archaeological feature
Caesarea Amphitheater where concerts are held in the summer by Flickr user heatkernel
Caesarea also hosts the Ralli Museum, one of four museums around the world funded by philanthropist Harry Recanti. The two galleries at Caesarea focus on Latin American and Sephardic Jewish artwork. The museum is free to enter and has some fantastic pieces so if you’re in the area, and cant resist the urge to see some art, this is the place to go. Nearby is Caesarea Golf Club which is Israel’s only full size golf course. Recently reconstructed by renowned designer Pete Dye, this course plays host, every four years to the Maccabi Games, the Jewish Olympics.
All this is exploring is likely to get your appetite going, and there are some brilliant restaurants in Caesarea at the Harbor. They vary in price although most are pretty good and serve seafood with an awesome location overlooking the Mediterranean.
Caesarea National Park is a half-day attraction which is great all-year round. It is easily accesisble by road, although getting to Caesarea by public transport can be tricky. Many tourists therefore decide to visit the site on a tour of Caesarea, many of which incorporate other sites along the coast and can start from either Tel Aviv or Jerusalem.
Caesarea is a great place to enjoy a sunset and meal so go late afternoon in the summer and enjoy the sunset in one of the many restaurants in Caeasarea harbor. The museum is open in summer months (April-September) from 8am to 6pm and winter months until 4pm, with the site itself and restaurants remaining open later into the evening.
Fees: Adult: NIS 38; child: NIS 23Israeli senior citizen: 50% discount. Group (over 30 people): Adult: NIS 34: child NIS 21
Caesarea is located just off of Road 2, the main coastal highway about mid-way between Haifa and Tel Aviv. It is about a 1 hour drive from downtown Tel Aviv.
Public transport to Caesarea is slightly difficult. There is a train link between Tel Aviv and Haifa, and Kesarya, however from the station you will need to take a taxi to the site about a five minute ride away (it is too far to walk). There are no inter-city buses to the town although local buses do come from Hadera irregularly during the day.
Click on map to enlarge. Notice importance of world events as they relate to this map.
(Note: This map is significant as we study the “War of Gog and Magog”, based on the book of Ezekiel, indicating the countries of present day Russia, Persia (present day Iran), Cush (present day Sudan), Gomer (present day Turkey), Beth Togarmah (present day countries where turkish-speaking people spread out from Turkey and settled in Causasus and the areas of Central Asia, and Put (present day Libya and Algeria –those countries are on a different map in the Maps in Light of Biblical Prophecy category).
- Gog and Magog (prophecyunfolding.wordpress.com)