JERUSALEM (CNN) — In what was slated to be the site of a new 122-room hotel, archaeologists say they have discovered one of the world’s oldest synagogues in Northern Israel.
The site, which was unearthed as preparations were being made for construction of the hotel near the Sea of Galilee, is believed to date back some 2000 years from 50BCE to 100CE.
In the middle of the 120 square meter main hall of the synagogue archaeologists discovered an unusual stone carved with a seven branched menorah . “We are dealing with an exciting and unique find,” said excavation director and Israeli Antiquities Authority archaeologist Dina Avshalom-Gorni.
The menorah engraving is the first of its kind to be discovered from the Early Roman period according Avshalom-Gorni who said the site joins just six synagogue locations that are know to date from the same time.
She said synagogues from this period were extremely rare in part because many Jews during that time were in the habit of visiting the main temple in Jerusalem three times a year as opposed to attending local houses of worship.
Avshalom-Gorni posited that the engraved menorah was done by an artist who had visited the main synagogue in Jerusalem known as the Second Temple where the actual menorah was believed to be kept.
In addition to the engraved stone Avshalom-Gorni said they discovered preserved frescoes on the walls with “vivid” colors.
The synagogue was discovered in area called Migdal, historically an important settlement along the Sea of Galilee, which researchers say was mentioned in ancient Jewish texts as playing a prominent role during what is known as the Great Revolt, when Jews attempted to rebel against Roman rule. Migdal also figures in early Christian writings as the place where Mary Magdalene accompanied Jesus and the Apostles.
Jose Miguel Abat, a legal representative for the company developing the land, Ark New Gate, said the company was thrilled at news of the find and planned to establish a multi-cultural and multi-religious center at the location.
“We are sure this finding and the planned center will attract tourists and visitors from Israel and from around the World,” Abat said in a statement.
Eight Israeli start-ups, one Palestinian start-up, two weeks, ten campuses in the US – that’s the recipe for the Tel Aviv Tech Tour, 2010.
From November 8 through 21 they’ll be in New York, Connecticut, Boston, Michigan, San Francisco, Palo Alto, Los Angeles and more, “hopping from campus to campus to meet face to face with students and tech communities, present their start-ups, discuss innovation, entrepreneurship and current hot trends in technology.”
They want to launch and introduce their ventures to their real audience, get their feedback and start generating buzz – and if some investors happen to stop by they say, well that’s okay with them, too.
A partial list of the participating start-ups: Fiddme, a social network for foodies and a “friend-finder;” the iStreamer by AllofMe.com, a new mobile application, specifically designed for Apple’s iPad, that gives you a zoomable, 3D continuous Timeline; DoNanza, the world’s largest work-from-home job search engine for freelancers, from professionals to work-at-home moms, students and hobbyists; ChatSq, that integrates location-based social networks and communication channels into a single, simple-to-use mobile interface; give2gether, that provides a unique SaaS (Software as a Service) platform, tailored for non-profits and NGOs; LoyalBlocks, that allows businesses to create and manage location-based loyalty clubs using an in-store dedicated Android device; and Jolicam, a service that upgrades any webcam into a surveillance system.
Israel, Britain sign cinematic cooperation deal making Jewish state a favorite filming location for UK productions
Israel and Britain signed a cooperation agreement in the field of cinema on Wednesday after 10 years of intense negotiations. According to the agreement, Israel will become a favorite filming location for British films while production companies will get financial incentives and tax benefits from Israel to shoot in the country.
The deal was signed by Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and his British counterpart William Hague, who is currently visiting Israel.
Israel’s Foreign Ministry estimated that British films may start being filmed in Israel very soon. One option that is being considered is shooting parts of the next “James Bond” flick in Israel.
The deal was signed after a decade of diplomatic efforts at a time when many UK cultural and academic establishments are calling to boycott the Jewish state. The agreement’s financial and economic potential is huge: The British film industry makes over £5 billion ($8 billion) a year and is ranked third in the scope of production after the United States and India.
The deal will provide Israeli cinema with massive exposure and will increase the film budgets Israel recieves from overseas sources.
Meanwhile, UK filmmakers are already at work to produce two films about the British mandate period which may be filmed in Israel. A British delegation is slated to visit Israel in the coming months to consider future collaborations.
Israel’s Ambassador to Britain Ron Prosor, who played a major role in brokering the deal, said: “Signing the agreement was one of the important goals I set for myself.”