The ancient stones of Jerusalem’s Western Wall have been gently denuded of hundreds of thousands of prayer notes that are punched each day into every crack and crevice by visitors to the world’s holiest Jewish site, hoping that their wishes will be picked up by God. The Western Wall is a remnant of the courtyard of the Second Temple, which was destroyed in 70 AD and stands beneath a religious plaza also used by Muslim worshippers called the Temple Mount. The Wall’s chief Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz and his army of helpers gently dislodged the multicoloured papers before wrapping them — still unread — to be buried on the Mount of Olives, another holy site. The cleanup operation to allow room for new messages takes place twice a year ahead of Rosh Hashanah — or Jewish New Year — and Passover. Although the notes have never been counted, they generally fill around 200 shopping bags a year. Many of the wishes are faxed or emailed by people from around the world, whilst hundreds of thousands of others send letters addressed simply to “God in Jerusalem”.
The Japanese Self Defence Forces (JSDF) demonstrated their military capabilities in an annual drill at the foot of Mount Fuji in Shizuoka Prefecture on Tuesday. The live-fire exercise involved some 2400 soldiers, 80 tanks and armoured vehicles, 80 artillery units, 30 aircraft and 600 other military vehicles.
A volcano has erupted on New Zealand’s North Island, spreading a layer of thick ash for several kilometres (miles) and causing some nearby residents to evacuate their homes. Scientists said they had noticed increased seismic activity below Mount Tongariro for weeks, but got no specific warning before the volcano blew late Monday night. The eruption of ash and rocks lasted about 30 minutes and didn’t cause any injuries or damage in the sparsely populated central North Island region, which is a designated national park. The park is a popular tourist destination and formed the backdrop for many scenes in the “Lord of the Rings” movies. The eruption did prompt some nearby residents to evacuate their homes as a precautionary measure, and caused authorities to temporarily close roads.
On the ninth of the Hebrew month of Av, which usually falls on July or August, Jews around the world commemorate the destruction of the Jewish temple which took place on two occasions in Jerusalem. On this day many Jews and Israelis come out here to the old Jewish quarter in Jerusalem, and to the Wailing Wall, behind me, to pray and grieve this loss to the Jewish people. On the 10 days prior to Tisha B’Av, many Jews avoid celebrating happy events, listening to music, eating meat. And on Tisha B’Av itself, those who observe, fast for 25 hours. Due to the fact that it is an annual and lengthy fast day, many people equate it to the Yom Kippur holiday, the Jewish day of repentance coming up this October. Right behind me are police officers and security vehicles that brought over US republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney to the western wall region, as part of his visit to Israel. Romney, who met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu early on Sunday, arrived to the Wailing Wall to pay tribute to this tremendously holy site to the Jewish people, and it just so happens that his visit to the wall took place on one of the most significant dates in Jewish history. And so, due to the sensitivity of the location and the events held in this area this week, Jerusalem Police closed the Temple Mount compound on Sunday following fears of riots on this Jewish day of mourning for Tisha B’Av. Sivan Raviv, JN1, Jerusalem.
Wakeboard Video: using a Fat Gecko double suction board mount
www.israel.org A rooftop tour of Jerusalem provides new perspective on an ancient city Jerusalem is often explored on foot, but another way to see the city is to climb to its rooftops and look down on some of its amazing sites. Today’s tour with guide Madeleine Lavine starts at the YMCA, an architectural landmark built in 1878 and well known for its vision of coexistence. Inside, there is a Jewish-Arab preschool, and a hotel and sports center with a mixed staff. From there, we look due East across to the Mount of Olives and see the white dome of the newly reconstructed Hurva Synagogue in the Old City; the Windmill in Yemin Moshe, the Old Jerusalem Train station and Independence Park downtown. We continue atop the Old City walls to the roof of Aish HaTorah Yeshiva, providing a close view of the Western Wall and the Temple Mount with its golden Dome of the Rock, Al Aqsa mosque and Wilson’s Arch … and in the distance, the Orthodox Church on the Mount of Olives. Visit the MFA’s Social Media Channels Facebook - www.facebook.com www.facebook.com Twitter - www.twitter.com www.twitter.com Please credit the MFA for any use of this video.
Walking in the footsteps of Jesus The newly opened Gospel Trail lets pilgrims experience the same terrain where Jesus spent his childhood and ministry. This spring, the Israeli Ministry of Tourism (www.tourism.gov.il) opened a new 60-kilometer Gospel Trail in the Galilee, in Northern Israel. The trail will allow pilgrims and tourists to walk, bike or drive from Nazareth - Jesus’ childhood home - to the shores of the Sea of Galilee, the center of his ministry. The route begins on Mount Precipice in Nazareth, where Pope Benedict held a large public Mass on his 2009 visit to Israel. It ends at Capernaum. For many Christian hikers, the highlight of the trail comes at the end, when they travel across the Sea of Galilee to Tiberias in a wooden replica of a boat from Jesus’ time that was excavated on the shores of the sea. Downloads: VIDEOS: - Hi Res: www.megaupload.com - HiRes No Narration: www.megaupload.com - Streaming: www.megaupload.com - Streaming No Narration: www.megaupload.com Documents: - INTRO: www.megaupload.com - SCRIPT: www.megaupload.com Please credit the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the State of Israel for any use of these videos
Though there are many sacred sites peppered around Israel, Jerusalem has a magic no other place can produce. Jerusalem is home to beautiful churches and other sacred and historical sites. Israel has more than a million specifically Christian visitors each year. Many of them spend most of their time in Jerusalem — where pilgrims from all sects of Christianity can pray at the city’s sacred sites. One of the churches that stand out is the gold topped Church of Mary Magdalene — a distinctive Jerusalem landmark on the Mount of Olives. There’s also the Church of All Nations, located at the foot of the Mount of Olives next to the Garden of Gethsemane. According to Catholicism, a section of stone in the Garden of Gethsemane is believed to be where Jesus prayed on the night of his arrest. Protestants, however, believe this to be the site of Jesus’s crucifixion. Above all, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in the Old City, attracts the bulk of tourists. Within the walls of this enormous church it is believed that Jesus was stripped of his clothes, nailed to the cross, crucified, and buried. The energy in this church is exciting even for non-believers. In addition to their historical significance, many of the churches are architecturally interesting as well. Visitors will delight in the Gothic-style stained glass windows, the 19th century mosaics, and the structural design of the churches.