Breaking news: COVID-19: Quarantine for infected to be shortened from 10 to 7 days and Tourists are now Welcome!-20 of the Best FREE Things to Do in Israel and Newly Revealed Einstein Letter Offers Glimpse of ‘Extreme Antisemitism’ in 1930’s US Academia and Girl, 11, Finds Rare Silver Coin, 2000 years old, Minted at the Temple and 2,000-Year-Old Hasmonean Oil Lamp Discovered in Jerusalem on Eve of Hanukkah By Hana Levi Julian and Former PMs Netanyahu and Olmert face off in ‘mentally ill’ trial
Yehuda Lave is an author, journalist, psychologist, rabbi, spiritual teacher, and coach, with degrees in business, psychology and Jewish Law. He works with people from all walks of life and helps them in their search for greater happiness, meaning, business advice on saving money, and spiritual engagement.
Former PMs Netanyahu and Olmert face off in 'mentally ill' trial
by Lauren Marcus, World Israel News
Former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his predecessor Ehud Olmertfaced off in an Israeli court on Monday morning, during the opening hearing for a defamation suit filed by the Netanyahu family.
Olmert, who was convicted on corruption charges in 2016 and served nearly a year and a half in prison, called Netanyahu, his wife Sara, and his son Yair mentally ill and said they need psychiatric treatment during multiple media interviews in April 2021.
In response, the Netanyahus filed a defamation lawsuit against Olmert, asking for 837,000 shekels ($257,000) in damages due to his "obsessive efforts to harm their good name in public, out of jealousy and deep frustration."
After being served, Olmert doubled down on his remarks and told Hebrew language daily Ma'ariv that he was "amused by this band of wackos."
Olmert told Hebrew language media that his words are not slander and that he should be allowed to choose a psychiatrist to evaluate the Netanyahus – presumably in the hopes that the mental health professional's analysis would confirm his claim that the family is mentally ill.
Netanyahu may have already gotten off on the wrong foot with the judge presiding over the case, after a last-minute request to push the starting time of the hearing back by an hour due to the potential delays caused by security arrangements.
Judge Amit Yariv rejected the request and chastised Netanyahu for filing in the day before the trial was set to open, when the starting time of the opening hearing was set in October 2021.
"The way to avoid delays stemming from security arrangements is obviously to leave the house earlier," Yariv wrote sarcastically in response to the request.
In court on Monday, Olmert told the judge that "I followed their actions, I listened to recordings of the family members, I consulted with experts and with people close to them who know them well. They described to me behavior that … is known as abnormal behavior, crazy behavior."
COVID-19: Quarantine for infected to be shortened from 10 to 7 days
COVID czar: With 600 serious patients, Israel might lockdown • 32,000 infected, 222 serious patients • Coronavirus cabinet to meet on Tuesday
The quarantine for people infected with the coronaviruswill be shortened from 10 to seven days, the Health Ministry said Monday. The Pandemic Response Committee recommended the move in light of the high number of infections and the lower chance of transmitting the virus after seven days.The decision was confirmed by Health Ministry Director-General Prof. Nachman Ashin an interview on Channel 12. Earlier in the day, coronavirus commissioner Prof. Salman Zarka said if the number of patients in serious condition reaches 600, a full lockdown might need to be imposed. There were about 32,000 new cases on Sunday, marking a new record, the Health Ministry reported."Based on our experience of previous waves and some academic studies, when there are more than 600 patients in serious condition, the quality of healthcare cannot be the same," Zarka said in a press briefing.
"It is very important that we do not reach such numbers," he said. "If we do, we might need to raise a red flag and recommend to the government more significant limitations on the economy and even a lockdown.""I do not think we are there, and I hope we are not going to get there," Zarka said. "But if, God forbid, the situation with morbidity and especially with the health system will require us to recommend it, we will do so."
The Three Musketeers at the Kotel
Using Plant Remains TAU Researchers Reconstruct Israel's Climate by End of Last Ice Age
Based on the identification of plant remains, Tel Aviv University and Tel-Hai College researchers have provided the first detailed reconstruction of the climate in the Land of Israel at the end of the last ice age (between 10,000 and 20,000 years ago). The researchers claim that significant climate changes characterizing the period, manifested by sharp differences in temperature and precipitation not only seasonally but throughout the year, were a significant influence in the transition from a nomadic hunter-gatherer society to permanent settlement and an agricultural way of life.
The study also provides the first information about the history of the region's flora and its response to past climate change. Against the backdrop of the Glasgow climate conference, the researchers believe that understanding the response of the region's flora to the dramatic past climate changes can help in preserving the regional variety of plant species and in planning for current and future climate challenges.
The research was conducted by Dr. Dafna Langgut of the Department of Archaeology and The Steinhardt Museum of Natural History at Tel Aviv University; Prof. Gonen Sharon, Head of the MA Program in Galilee Studies at Tel-Hai College, and Dr. Rachid Cheddadi, an expert in evolution and palaeoecology of the University of Montpellier, Institute of Evolutionary Sciences (ISEM) Montpellier, France. The groundbreaking study was recently published in the leading scientific journal Quaternary Science Reviews.
The study was conducted at the prehistoric archaeological site Jordan River Dureijat ("Jordan River Stairs") on the shores of the Paleo Lake Hula. The site is unique for its exceptional preservation conditions yielding finds that enabled the discovery of the primary activity of its early local residents – fishing. Botanic remains preserved also enabled researchers to identify the plants that grew 10,000 – 20,000 years ago in the Hula Valley and its surroundings.
Two major processes in world history took place during this period: the transition from a nomadic to a settled lifestyle that occurs during a period of dramatic climate change. Prof. Sharon, the supervisor of the Madregot Hayarden excavation, explains: "In the study of prehistory, this period is called the Epipalaeolithic period. At its outset, people were organized in small groups of hunter-gatherers who roamed the area. Then, about 15,000 years ago, we are witness to a significant change in lifestyle: the appearance of settled life in villages, and additional dramatic processes that reach their apex during the Neolithic period that followed. This is the time when the most dramatic change of human history occurred – the transition to the agricultural way of life that shaped the world as we know it today."
Dr. Langgut, an archaeobotanist specializing in the identification of plant remains, elaborates on the second dramatic process of this period, the climatic changes that occurred in the region. "Although at the peak of the last ice age, about 20,000 years ago, the Mediterranean Levant was not covered with an ice sheet as in other parts of the world, the climatic conditions that existed nevertheless differed from those of today. Their exact characteristics were unclear until this study. The climatic model that we built is based on the reconstruction of the fluctuation of the spread of plant species indicating that the main climatic change in our area is expressed by a drop in temperature (up to five degrees Celsius less than today), whereas the precipitation amounts were close to those of today (only about 50 mm less than today's annual average).
However, Dr. Langgut explains that about 5,000 years later, in the Epipalaeolithic period (about 15,000 years ago) a significant improvement in climate conditions can be seen in the model. An increased prevalence of heat-tolerant tree species, such as olive, common oak, and Pistacia, indicates an increase in temperature and precipitation. During this period, the first sites of the Natufian culture appear in our region. It could very well be that the temperate climate assisted in the development and flourishing of this culture, in which permanent settlement, stone structures, food storage facilities, and more first appear on the global stage.
The next stage of the study deals with the end of the Epipalaeolithic period, about 11,000-12,000 years ago, known globally as the Younger Dryas period. This period is characterized by a return to a cold, dry climate like that of the ice age, causing somewhat of a climate crisis around the world. The researchers claim that until this study, it was unclear whether and to what extent there was an expression of this period in the Levantine region.
According to the researchers, "the findings that arise from the climate model presented in the article show that the period was characterized by climatic instability, intense fluctuations, and a considerable drop in temperatures. Nevertheless, while reconstructing the precipitation, a surprising phenomenon was discovered: the average quantities of rainfall reconstructed were only slightly less than those of today; however, the precipitation was distributed over the entire year, including summer rains."
The researchers claim that such distribution assisted in the expansion and thriving of annual and leafy plant species. The gatherers who lived in this period now had a wide, readily available variety of gatherable plants throughout the entire year. This variety enabled their familiarity just before domestication. The researchers think that these findings contribute to a new understanding of the environmental changes that took place on the eve of the transition to agriculture and the domestication of animals.
Dr. Langgut concludes: "This study contributes not only to understanding the environmental background for momentous processes in human history such as the first permanent settlement and the transition to agriculture but also provides information on the history of the region's flora and its response to past climatic changes. There is no doubt that this knowledge can assist in preserving species variety and in meeting current and future climate challenges."
2,000-Year-Old Hasmonean Oil Lamp Discovered in Jerusalem on Eve of Hanukkah
Archaeologists made an exciting discovery in Jerusalem on the eve of Hanukkah: a 2,000-year-old oil lamp from the Hasmonean period.
The millenia-old oil lamp was discovered in an excavation of an entire house currently taking place in the eastern section of the City of David National Park, near the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem.
There is a hole in the center of the lamp in which the oil is poured. At the end of the lamp is another, smaller hole into which the wick was inserted.
Soot marks had accumulated at the bottom of the lamp, indicating the lamp was used, according to Israel Hayom.
"Although such lamps are not uncommon and have been found in quite a few excavations, it is definitely exciting to reveal as Hasmonean lamp in the City of David right on the eve of Hanukkah," said Dr. Philip Wakosowicz, director of the excavation.
He said the dig in the City of David "does not cease to yield important findings which testify to the long and rich history of the City of David and the entire region."
Oil lamps were commonly used in ancient times for everyday needs such as providing light in homes, but they were also employed for ceremonial use in kindling the lights for the Sabbath and Hanukkah.
Through various period there have been changes in the shape of the oil lamps; each period has its own oil lamps, which helps archaeologists to date the structures in excavations.
The oil lamp that was recently discovered dates specifically from the Hasmonean period and its discovery close to Hanukkah aroused great excitement among the excavation crews at the site.
Girl, 11, Finds Rare Silver Coin, 2000 years old, Minted at the Temple
A shekel made of pure silver that was used for trade in Jerusalem about 2,000 years ago during the Second Temple period was discovered in Jerusalem by an 11-year-old girl.
The coin weighs about 14 grams. On one side is an inscription of a cup with the caption: "Israeli shekel" and next to the cup are the letters: ש"ב – shorthand for "second year" – the second year of the Great Revolt of the Jews against the Romans (67-68 CE). On the other side of the coin is an inscription identified by scholars as depicting the headquarters of the High Priest, and next to it appears in ancient Hebrew script the words: "Holy Jerusalem."
According to Dr. Robert Kool, Head of the Coin Department of the Israel Antiquities Authority, "this is a rare find since out of many thousands of coins discovered to date in archeological excavations, only about 30 coins are made of silver, from the period of the Great Revolt."
The coin was discovered in the dirt that came from archeological excavations conducted by the IAA on the "Pilgrimage Road" in the City of David National Park. According to archaeologist Ari Levy, Director of the Excavation on behalf of the IAA, "This street, which connected the Pool of Siloam in the south of the City of David to the Temple Mount in the north, was Jerusalem's main street during the Second Temple period, where thousands of pilgrims marched on their way to the Temple. There's no doubt that extensive trading was conducted here. This is evidenced by the many weights and bronze coins we have found here. But to find a rebel coin made of pure silver is definitely very special and exciting."
Dr. Kool theorizes that the silver from which the coin was made came from the plentiful silver reserves in the Temple and that it was minted on the Temple Mount plaza – possibly by one of the priests who worked in coordination with the rebel leaders and assisted them. Where else could you find silver in such quantity and such high quality in those days? Only in the Temple. "If so, we can say with caution that this coin is, apparently, one of the only items in our possession today that originated in the Temple itself."
"Everyone knows the Arch of Titus in Rome and the descriptions of loot taken from the Temple that appear on it, but not many are familiar with the huge silver reserves that were in the Temple. You can learn from the ancient inscription uncovered by the researcher Géza Alföldy about the huge silver reserves that were in the Temple."
Dr. Amit Reem, Jerusalem District Archaeologist of the IAA added: "This inscription revealed that the famous Colosseum we all know in Rome was built by the Romans from the spoils of the Temple looted from Jerusalem. It reads: 'Emperor Vespasian (who, along with his son Titus, suppressed the Jewish Revolt and destroyed the Temple) ordered the construction of this new amphitheater (the Colosseum) from his share of the spoils.' One can only imagine the extent of the loot and the amount of money the Romans found in the Temple storehouses," Dr. Reem said.
As part of the excavation, the earth was sent for wet sifting in the Emek Tzurim Sifting Project, and the person who was privileged to discover the find was 11-year-old Liel Krutokop from Petah Tikva. "We poured the bucket with the dirt on the strainer, and as we filtered the stones that were inside, I saw something round," Liel recalled. "At first, I didn't know what it was, but it looked different from all the other stones. My father brought it to one of the assistants, and she showed it to an archaeologist. He looked at it and said it was a silver coin that needed to be cleaned. I was very excited."
"When I got to Emek Tzurim I thought there must be simple coins in the buckets, but I didn't think I would find a coin myself, and certainly not such a rare coin made of pure silver. I was lucky to find it, but I also want to say thank you to my sister for choosing the bucket we sifted. If she had not chosen this particular bucket, I probably would not have found the coin," Liel shared the credit for her find.
The coin was sent to the IAA lab, underwent a chemical process for cleaning, and recently, upon completion of the process, the significance of the find became clear.
According to Dr. Kool, "a currency is a sign of sovereignty. If you go into a rebellion, you use one of the most obvious symbols of independence, and you mint coins. The inscription on the coin clearly expresses the rebels' aspirations. The choice to use ancient Hebrew script, which was no longer in use at the time, is not accidental. The use of this script came to express the longing of the people of the period for the days of David and Solomon and the days of a united Jewish kingdom – days when the people of Israel had full independence."
IAA Director Eli Escosido said, "I was happy to see the excitement and curiosity that gripped Liel when finding the rare coin. It is important for understanding the minting of coins, which I am certain she will share with her friends and family. The Israel Antiquities Authority considers the connection of the younger generation to our heritage in an experiential and unmediated way to be its top priority. Our educational center will come to Liel's class, mint coins, and share the importance of the find with her friends."
The rare coin will be presented to the public on Chanukah at Emek Tzurim National Park in Jerusalem. The public is invited to come and participate in the archeological sifting project that takes place there.
Tourists Now Welcome! 20 of the Best FREE Things to Do in Israel
Soon Israel will be opening its doors to tourists, check out these fascinating places you can go in Israel to soak up culture, history and fun, without touching your wallet!
When planning your visit to Israel, it's really nice to include some activities that don't cost money.
Below we've listed five places in each of the three largest cities – Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Haifa – as well as in other parts of Israel where you can be entertained and educated without reaching for your wallet.
Free guided tours of the Knesset (Parliament) and Supreme Court ordinarily would top our list, but they have been suspended during the pandemic. For now, visitors can enjoy many other free activities including these.
The Old City
The most visited (and most Instagrammed) free tourist spot in Israel is the Old City's Western Wall (Kotel), a remnant of the retaining wall of the Herodian Second Temple complex.
Other famous holy sites inside the Old City walls include, to name just a few, the Temple Mount, Dome of the Rock (Al-Aqsa Mosque), Hurva Synagogue, Church of the Holy Sepulcher and Via Dolorosa.
Each quarter of the Old City – Armenian, Jewish, Christian, Muslim – has its own ambiance and vibe. As there's a story behind practically every stone of the Old City, this is the place to get familiar with history, theology and archeology.
Wohl Rose Garden
One of the sweetest-smelling gardens in the country, the Wohl Rose Garden is in the Givat Ram Quarter at the foot of the Supreme Court and directly opposite the Knesset.
Opened in 1981, this 19-acre public garden boasts 15,000 rose bushes representing more than 450 varieties. It was named one of the 11 most beautiful rose gardens in the world.
Wohl also comprises expansive lawns, hills, quarries, an ornamental fishpond, waterfall, sculptures and a sixth-century mosaic floor.
Jerusalem Bird Observatory
Every year, one billion feathered visitors migrate through Israel. The 1.5-acre Jerusalem Bird Observatory has a strategic location on this route in a surprising urban location between the Knesset and the Supreme Court.
The heart of the site is the Beracha Bird Hide, where visitors have a great view of the pond and surrounding fruit trees. The hide is open 24/7 at no cost.
Every day from March to May, visitors can observe bird-banding (ringing) sessions and get identification tips from the staff and volunteers. A visitor center is open Sunday to Thursday from 9-3, with a gift shop, library, and Gail Rubin Nature Art Gallery.
Gazelles in the city? Yes, here at Gazelle Valley in the Givat Mordechai neighborhood lives a herd of endangered mountain gazelles.
The park's carefully nurtured ecosystem includes more than 500 species of plant life, many of which were reintroduced to recreate the original flora that existed in the mountains of Jerusalem prior to the 20th century.
Gazelle Valley also hosts about 170 migratory and resident bird species as well as arthropods, reptiles, amphibians and small mammals. There are four ponds fed by an ecological water circulation system, plentiful picnic spots, and a refuge for Greek tortoises rescued from people who took them from the wild illegally.
The World Holocaust Remembrance Center
The sprawling Yad Vashem complex includes 30 components. The main building, the Holocaust History Museum, emphasizes the experiences of the individual victims through original artifacts, survivor testimonies and personal possessions, and opens to the Hall of Names — a repository for the Pages of Testimony of millions of Holocaust victims and a memorial to those who perished at the hands of the Nazis. The balcony where you end your free visit affords a stunning and hopeful panoramic view of Jerusalem.
Visits must be scheduled online. Entrance to the Holocaust History Museum is for ages 10 and up.
The most obvious free attraction in the City That Never Stops are its 12 beautiful Mediterranean beaches. Click here to find out more. When you're ready to rinse off the sand and sunscreen, try one of these five free activities.
Independence Trailis a free walking tour that links 10 landmarks and themes related to Independence Hall in Tel Aviv.
The one-kilometer trail starts at the city's first food kiosk on the corner of Herzl Street and Rothschild Boulevard, passes by significant sites in the history of Tel Aviv and Israel between the founding of Tel Aviv, the first Hebrew city, in 1909 and the establishment of Israel in 1948.
Just follow the brass strip embedded in the ground; it's illuminated at night. Information is posted on signs along the trail in three languages, and maps are available for free in eight languages at the information booth on Rothschild Boulevard.
You can also download a free GPS-based application to your smartphone. Choose a local celebrity — Shlomo Artzi, Rivka Michaeli or Tal Mosseri — to narrate the route. The app plays relevant songs and incorporates VR, video clips, animation, unique collages and more.
The stops include Independence Hall, the Haganah Museum, Bank of Israel, Shalom Mayer Tower, the Great Synagogue, the city's first kiosk, the mosaic of Jaffa's history created by Nahum Gutman, the home of Tel Aviv founder Akiva Arieh Weiss, the Founders Monument, and the statue of Mayor Meir Dizengoff riding his horse.
Tel Aviv Greeters
Tel Aviv Greeters offer free two-to-four-hour walks to numerous municipal destinations, led by local volunteers who just want to share their love of the city. No tipping allowed!
The Tel Aviv Greeters are part of the International Greeter Association, an informal virtual association of Greeter programs around the world.
Walking the city with a local is a great option for families, groups of friends or solo travelers. The Tel Aviv Greeters can take you to museums, archeological sites, places to eat, nightlife, and hotspots such as Neveh Tzedek, Nachalat Binyamin, the Yemenite Quarter, Tel Aviv Port, Yarkon Park, Florentin, Old Jaffa, Carmel Market and the boardwalk along Tel Aviv's 12 beaches.
Register online at least five days (but not more than a month) ahead of your "Greet Date."
One of the smallest museums and likely the most overlooked is Ben-Gurion House, a historic site at 17 Ben-Gurion Boulevard that served as an additional residence for Israel's first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion.
Visitors can see Ben-Gurion's library, his family's sleeping quarters and the study where he worked. Take a free guided tour of the house in English and learn about Ben-Gurion's life work. The House is open for individual and group visits daily.
Tel Aviv Global and Tourism offers a variety of guided free walking tours to suit a wide range of interests, available in English (check the schedule).
Among the many choices: Rothschild Boulevard, Sarona Market, Neveh Tzedek/Hatachana Compound (built on the site of the Ottoman-period railroad that transported passengers between Jaffa and Jerusalem), Old Jaffa, Carmel Market, Levinsky Market, Florentin/Lehi Museum/street art, Tel Aviv Opera House, Cameri Theater, and Christian houses of worship in Jaffa.
People-watching on the promenade
The Tel Aviv-Yafo promenade is a bustling beachside walkway stretching from Old Jaffa in the south to the Tel Aviv Port in the north. Along the way, you will witness gorgeous Mediterranean vistas and – this is the best part – an incredible cross-section of the residents of Tel Aviv.
At any hour of the day or night, you'll see Tel Avivians of all ages out there strolling, biking, jogging, scootering, skating, playing beach volleyball, working out with personal trainers, walking dogs, running, pushing baby strollers and playing music. And on Saturdays evenings, there's folk-dancing on the promenade next to Gordon Beach.
The crowning jewel of this northern city on the bay is the Bahá'í Gardens, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Nineteen meticulously landscaped terraces, designed as waves of light, extend up the northern slope of Mount Carmel. All the lines and curves of the gardens orient visitors to the golden-domed Shrine of the Báb, the resting place of the Prophet-Herald of the Bahá'í Faith, on the central terrace.
There are no fees for entry into the gardens or for the guided tours. Four sections are open to drop-in visitors seven days a week, while walk-in tours are conducted daily except Wednesdays.
The permanent exhibitions include: "Archaeology of the Land of Israel from the Chalcolithic Period to the Mishnaic Talmudic Era (Roman and Byzantine Periods)," "Phoenicians on the Northern Coast of Israel in the Biblical Period" and "Ancient Crafts and Industries" (metalworking, woodworking, glassmaking, stone vessels industry, the art of writing, and the physician's craft).
A special wing is dedicated to the study of ancient seafaring and features the hull of a 2,400-year-old ship, its anchor and the cargo.
Also displayed here are Reuben Hecht's private collection of Impressionist and Jewish School of Paris painters' works. Among the artists are Monet, Manet, Pissaro, Van Gogh, Modigliani and Chaim Soutine.
The museum's grounds house reconstructed remains of ancient buildings including dwellings and a burial complex from the Negev Highlands, and an oil press from Hurbat Castra located at the southern entrance to Haifa.
The Cave of the Prophet Elijah has religious significance for Jews, Christians, Muslims and Druze alike.
Pilgrims attribute magical qualities and healing powers to the cave, where according to tradition, Elijah took refuge from the evil King Ahab. The cave has a Torah ark and a space in the ceiling where visitors place prayer notes. The walls of the cave are covered in writings left by pilgrims who visited through the centuries, including one signed by a Roman soldier named Germanous.
A monastery above Elijah's cave is devoted to the Carmelites; Christians believe that Jesus and his family hid in this same cave when escaping King Herod.
Ursula Malbin Sculpture Garden
Not far from the Bahá'í Gardens is Mitzpor Shalom, the Peace Park, which contains 29 life-size and life like sculptures of children, young men, women and animals by Ursula Malbin. This is said to be the first open-air sculpture garden in the world devoted entirely to the works of an individual female artist.
Malbin was born in Berlin and trained as a cabinetmaker. In 1939, she fled the Nazis to Switzerland, where she studied sculpting. In 1966 while visiting Israel, she bought an old house in Ein-Hod, the artists village about 12 miles south of Haifa. In 1978, she gifted her bronze works to the city of Haifa and they were placed in Mitzpor Shalom overlooking the harbor.
Other pieces by Malbin can be found in private and public gardens, schools and institutional buildings in Switzerland and North America. She died in 2020 at age 103.
The park is located at the intersection of Zionism Boulevard and Second in November Street.
Hanging Bridges of Nesher Park
This idyllic park administered by KKL-JNF includes two steel bridges hanging above the Katya Stream, providing a rare view of the forested Carmel Mountain slope beneath the University of Haifa.
Hanging bridge in Nesher Park, Haifa. (Wikimedia Commons)
One of the bridges is currently closed for repairs. The other, about 230 feet in length, affords a thrilling experience just by walking its length as it sways in the breeze.
Nesher Park also contains hiking paths, fitness and sport installations, playground equipment, panoramic lookout points and picnic tables, perfect for the entire family all year round. The upper portion of the park is equipped with access paths and picnic tables for wheelchairs.
Ramat Hanadiv, Zichron Ya'akov
With the exception of a 25-shekel fee for parking, entry to the beautiful Ramat Hanadiv Nature Park and Memorial Gardens is free and well worth a stop when you are in the charming northwest coastal city of Zichron Ya'akov.
Located at the southern end of Mount Carmel, this 1,111-acre exquisitely landscaped park dedicated to the memory of Baron Edmond de Rothschild is described as "a gracious combination of European formality and Mediterranean-style vegetation."
Also onsite is an archeological site and a sensory garden. Visitors can often catch a free concert on the grounds.
Ralli Museums, Caesarea
A whole lot of art and culture is available without charge at the two Ralli Museums located on a 40,000-square-meter campus in Caesarea. The Ralli Museums are sponsored by the nonprofit Harry Recanati Foundation.
One museum exhibits mainly Latin American and Spanish paintings and sculptures. Its permanent collection includes 40 works by Salvador Dali and a Sculpture Patio with larger pieces by artists including Rodin, Arman and André Masson. The second museum exhibits 16th to 18th century paintings depicting biblical themes.
Each Story Garden is a unique environmental sculpture project by leading Israeli artists inspired by beloved Hebrew children's stories.
Kids literally climb all over the characters from these stories, and you don't have to know the story to love this tactile experience. If you know Hebrew, the stories are posted for you or your children to read, or you can find the book at the local children's library.
Pirate Park at Lunada, Beersheva
Lunada – the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Children's Museum in Beersheva — is an experiential interactive museum for children aged 1 to 12 years old. At the foot of the museum, available free of charge, is a 15-acre wonderland full of hands-on activities, games and experiences geared to stimulate all five senses.
An ecologic lake, a pirate island with a ship, an amphitheater, giant playground, zipline and walking and biking paths make Lunada park a perfect place for a family to have fun for hours. It's open daily.
The musical fountain of Eilat
The Red City resort's sound and lightshow at the boardwalk's tourist center, near the iMax pyramid, runs most nights after sundown (click here for details).
Jets of water spray up to the beat of music, changing colors and sounds based on the applause of spectators. Often there are free street performances going on in the same vicinity, making this a really fun, and totally free, way to kick off a night in Eilat.
Newly Revealed Einstein Letter Offers Glimpse of 'Extreme Anti-Semitism' in 1930's US Academia
Photo Credit: Kedem Auction House
A rare handwritten letter, authored and signed by Albert Einstein and sent to a friend in 1936 who was considering a position in American academia, provides a glimpse of 0the level of anti-Semitism in the US and the difficulties a Jewish immigrant with no connections might expect to face at the time.
"A tremendous degree of anti-Semitism exists here, especially in academia (though also in industry and banking)," Einstein wrote to his friend, Austrian Jewish pianist Bruno Eisner. "Mind you, it never takes the form of brutal speech or action, but simmers all the more intensely under the surface. It is, so to speak, an omnipresent enemy, one that is impossible to see, and whose presence you only perceive."
The letter was written when Einstein was living in Princeton, New Jersey, several years after the Nazi rise to power and his decision never to return to Germany. Eisner was already in New York, staying with another of Einstein's friends, the ophthalmologist Max Talmey.
In the letter, Einstein described the experience of his own assistant as an example of someone who faced extreme anti-Semitism and was forced to leave the US to accept a position in Russia.
"You are unfortunately relying on a false assumption. I am very lonely here, and I am not in touch with anyone, least of all with any musicians. The assignment of positions is completely disorganized, so you find out about vacancies at any given location only through personal connections," the famous physicist explained.
Einstein concluded the letter with regards from his wife Elsa, who was seriously and terminally ill at the time. "She suffers greatly, bedridden, trouble breathing, diabetes." She passed away three months later.
Despite the rising tide of anti-Semitism that characterized those years, the spread of Nazism throughout Europe, anti-Jewish demagoguery, and anti-Jewish conspiracy theories associated with the New Deal in the shadow of the Great Depression, Eisner managed to find his niche in the American classical music scene. He nurtured a career as a concert pianist and professor of music, teaching at universities and music academies across the country. He died in New York at the age of 94.
When the Nazis came to power in 1933, there was a move to gradually isolate Jews and remove them from positions of influence in German society. Among the earliest anti-Semitic edicts were laws preventing Jews from holding public office, which included university posts. This discrimination targeted Jewish physicists, and in particular, Einstein's theory of relativity was dismissed as "Jewish Physics." Einstein was on a lecture tour outside Germany when Hitler rose to power, and seeing the situation in his homeland, decided to renounce his German citizenship. After a brief period, he settled in the United States, where he was offered a position at Princeton University's Institute for Advanced Study. Einstein remained at Princeton until his death on April 18, 1955.
The letter is now up for auction at the Kedem Auction House in Jerusalem.
"This letter sheds light on a lesser-known aspect of Einstein's life in the United States," said Meron Eren, Kedem Auction House CEO and co-founder. "At the time, anti-Semitism in the US was largely overshadowed by the Holocaust and the millions who died in Europe. This letter serves as another important reminder that liberal societies are not immune to this disease and that we must always stay vigilant against any form of racism."