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City Engineer closes the Mugrabi Ramp – Jerusalem

Tourists are unable to visit the Temple mount as City Engineer orders immediate closure of Mugrabi Ramp due to public safety threat, totally blocking access to all non-Muslims to Temple Mount and Al-Aqsa. Jerusalem, Israel. 13th December 2011.

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The Gospel Trail

Tourists from Germany traveling along the Gospel Trail rest atop Tel Kinrot, a hilltop located above the fertile Gennesaret and Tabgha Valleys. Tel Kinrot was once a fortified city, mentioned in ancient Egyptian sources. Lower Galilee, Israel. 29th November 2011.

Ein-Nun, the Spring of "Nun" ("fish" in Aramaic) along the Gospel Trail is a stone-lined pool bordered by huge eucalyptus trees, one of many springs along the western side of the Sea of Galilee. Lower Galilee, Israel. 29th November 2011.

The 380-meter-high Mount Arbel cliffs on the Gospel Trail overlook the Sea of Galilee. In Jesus' time this was the main route from Nazareth to the northern shores of the Sea of Galilee. The Gospels indicate that Jesus passed this way several times. Lower Galilee, Israel. 29th November 2011.

Minister of Tourism Stas Misezhnikov prepares to lead a group of journalists horseback riding a section of the Gospel Trail on the day of its official inauguration. Lower Galilee, Israel. 29th November 2011.

Minister of Tourism Stas Misezhnikov leads a group of journalists horseback riding a section of the Gospel Trail on the day of its official inauguration. The trail offers pilgrims and tourists the opportunity to discover the cradle of Christianity. Lower Galilee, Israel. 29th November 2011.

Two priests take part in a sail from Capernaum to Ginosar on the Sea of Galilee in celebration of the inauguration of the Gospel Trail, offering pilgrims and tourists the opportunity to discover the cradle of Christianity. Lower Galilee, Israel. 29th November 2011.

The sun sets on the Sea of Galilee, near Capernaum, the destination of the Gospel Trail. The trail was officially inaugurated today for the benefit of pilgrims and tourists visiting the holy land. Lower Galilee, Israel. 29th November 2011.

Ministry of Tourism press release, 17th November 2011: The Gospel Trail offers pilgrims and tourists, individuals and groups, the opportunity to discover the cradle of Christianity by experiencing – both physically and spiritually – the same biblical landscapes and sites of the Galilee where Jesus and his disciples once walked. The Gospel Trail incorporates over 60 kilometers of specially-signposted footpaths and roads which can be traveled on foot, by bicycle, on horseback and/or car, culminating in the spiritual highlight of sailing on the Sea of Galilee.

The modular trail, which the Ministry of Tourism has developed and renovated together with KKL-JNF in a joint investment of NIS 3 million (NIS 2 million from the Ministry of Tourism’s budget), follows the paths that Jesus is believed to have taken when he left Nazareth, the home of his childhood, for Capernaum on the northwestern shore of the Sea of Galilee, which became the center of his ministry. Luke 4: 29 -31: “And they led him to the brow of the hill on which their city was built, that they might throw Him down over the cliff. Then passing through the midst of them, he went his way. Then he went down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee…”
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Ethiopian Jews Celebrate The Sigd – Jerusalem

The Ethiopian Jewish community, called Beta-Israel, lived in seclusion for over 1,000 years, only reconnecting to the Jewish world in the late 20th century. According to Ethiopian tradition, their roots go back 3,000 years to the era of King Solomon. Like their brethren in many parts of the world, Ethiopian Jews suffered persecution for their beliefs and refusal to adopt Christianity. In the Middle Ages their lands were confiscated, villages plundered and many murdered. They were nicknamed Falash – intruders, homeless and without property. Despite the hardships, this community preserved their traditions with great devotion and generations were educated on the value of yearning for a return to Jerusalem, The Holy City, home of The Temple, pure and holy. The Sigd celebrations, Sigd meaning “to bow or prostate oneself”, convey their love and yearning for Jerusalem.

Traditionally the celebrations took place on a hilltop looking toward Jerusalem,signifying a renewal of the bond with God. Now, with a community of over 150,000 in Israel the main event takes place annually at the Sherover Promenade in Jerusalem, overlooking The Temple Mount.Thousands followed the Kessim, the religious leaders, and gathered in the late morning hours in colorful traditional garments or in whites signifying purity, to pray and give thanks. Guests of honor included Minister of Immigrant Absorption, Ms. Sofa Landver and Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat.

The yearning for Jerusalem has become a reality. Israeli-born offspring to Ethiopian Jews are finding it more and more difficult to identify with the aspirations of their forefathers. First signs are evident that this ancient ethnic celebration of hope and faith might one day be forgotten.

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