Spain: The Truth Knowledge And The History Of The Great Nation Of Spain

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CIA FACT BOOK)

 

Spain

Introduction Spain’s powerful world empire of the 16th and 17th centuries ultimately yielded command of the seas to England. Subsequent failure to embrace the mercantile and industrial revolutions caused the country to fall behind Britain, France, and Germany in economic and political power. Spain remained neutral in World Wars I and II but suffered through a devastating civil war (1936-39). A peaceful transition to democracy following the death of dictator Francisco FRANCO in 1975, and rapid economic modernization (Spain joined the EU in 1986) have given Spain one of the most dynamic economies in Europe and made it a global champion of freedom. Continuing challenges include Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA) terrorism, illegal immigration, and slowing economic growth.
History After a long and hard conquest, the Iberian Peninsula became a region of the Roman Empire known as Hispania. During the early Middle Ages it came under Germanic rule. Later it was conquered by Muslim invaders. Through a very long and fitful process, the Christian kingdoms in the north gradually rolled back Muslim rule, finally extinguishing its last remnant in Granada in 1492, the same year Columbus reached the Americas. A global empire began. Spain became the strongest kingdom in Europe and the leading world power during the 16th century and first half of the 17th century; but continued wars and other problems eventually led to a diminished status. The French invasion of Spain in the early 19th century led to chaos; triggering independence movements that tore apart most of the empire and left the country politically unstable. In the 20th century it suffered a devastating civil war and came under the rule of an authoritarian government, leading to years of stagnation, but finishing in an impressive economic surge. Democracy was restored in 1978 in the form of a parliamentry constitutional monarchy. In 1986, Spain joined the European Union; experiencing a cultural renaissance and steady economic growth.

Prehistory and pre-Roman peoples

Archeological research at Atapuerca indicates the Iberian Peninsula was peopled 1.2 million years ago. Modern humans in the form of Cro-Magnons began arriving in the Iberian Peninsula through the Pyrenees some 35,000 years ago. The best known artifacts of these prehistoric human settlements are the famous paintings in the Altamira cave of Cantabria in northern Spain, which were created about 15,000 BCE.

The two main historical peoples of the peninsula were the Iberians and the Celts, the former inhabiting the Mediterranean side from the northeast to the southwest, the latter inhabiting the Atlantic side, in the north and northwest part of the peninsula. In the inner part of the peninsula, where both groups were in contact, a mixed, distinctive culture—known as Celtiberian—was present. In addition, Basques occupied the western area of the Pyrenees mountains. Other ethnic groups existed along the southern coastal areas of present day Andalusia. Among these southern groups there grew the earliest urban culture in the Iberian Peninsula, that of the semi-mythical southern city of Tartessos (perhaps pre-1100 BC) near the location of present-day Cádiz. The flourishing trade in gold and silver between the people of Tartessos and Phoenicians and Greeks is documented in the history of Strabo and in the biblical book of king Solomon. Between about 500 BC and 300 BC, the seafaring Phoenicians and Greeks founded trading colonies all along the Spanish Mediterranean coast. Carthaginians briefly took control of much of the Mediterranean coast in the course of the Punic Wars, until they were eventually defeated and replaced by the Romans.

Roman Empire and Germanic invasions

During the Second Punic War, an expanding Roman Empire captured Carthaginian trading colonies along the Mediterranean coast from roughly 210 BC to 205 BC, leading to eventual Roman control of nearly the entire Iberian Peninsula; this lasted over 500 years, bound together by law, language, and the Roman road.

The base Celt and Iberian population remained in various stages of Romanisation, and local leaders were admitted into the Roman aristocratic class.[note 8][5] Hispania served as a granary for the Roman market, and its harbors exported gold, wool, olive oil, and wine. Agricultural production increased with the introduction of irrigation projects, some of which remain in use. Emperors Trajan, Theodosius I, and the philosopher Seneca were born in Hispania.Christianity was introduced into Hispania in the 1st century CE and it became popular in the cities in the 2nd century CE. Most of Spain’s present languages and religion, and the basis of its laws, originate from this period. Rome’s loss of jurisdiction in Hispania began in 409, when the Germanic Suevi and Vandals, together with the Sarmatian Alans crossed the Rhine and ravaged Gaul until the Visigoths drove them into Iberia that same year. The Suevi established a kingdom in what is today modern Galicia and northern Portugal. The Alans’ allies, the Hasdingi Vandals, established a kingdom in Gallaecia, too, occupying largely the same region but extending further south to the Duero river. The Silingi Vandals occupied the region that still bears a form of their name – Vandalusia, modern Andalusia, in Spain.

Muslim Iberia

In the 8th century, several areas of the Iberian Peninsula were conquered (711-718) by mainly Muslims (see Moors) from North Africa. These conquests were part of the expansion of the Umayyad Islamic Empire.[note 10] Only a number of areas in the north of the Iberian Peninsula managed to resist the initial invasion, occupying areas roughly corresponding to modern Asturias, Navarre and northern Aragon.

Under Islam, Christians and Jews were recognised as “peoples of the book”, and were free to practice their religion, but faced a number of mandatory discriminations and penalties as dhimmis. Conversion to Islam proceeded at a steadily increasing pace. Following the mass conversions in the 10th and 11th centuries it is believed that Muslims came to outnumber Christians in the remaining Muslim controlled areas.

The Muslim community in the Iberian peninsula was itself diverse and beset by social tensions. The Berber people of North Africa, who had provided the bulk of the invading armies, clashed with the Arab leadership from the Middle East. Over time, large Moorish populations became established, especially in the Guadalquivir River valley, the coastal plain of Valencia, and (towards the end of this period) in the mountainous region of Granada.

Córdoba, the capital of the caliphate, was the largest, richest and most sophisticated city of medieval western Europe. Mediterranean trade and cultural exchange flourished. Muslims imported a rich intellectual tradition from the Middle East and North Africa. Muslim and Jewish scholars played a great part in reviving and expanding classical Greek learning in Western Europe. The Romanized cultures of the Iberian peninsula interacted with Muslim and Jewish cultures in complex ways, thus giving the region a distinctive culture. Outside the cities, where the vast majority lived, the land ownership system from Roman times remained largely intact as Muslim leaders rarely dispossessed landowners, and the introduction of new crops and techniques led to a remarkable expansion of agriculture.

However, by the 11th century, Muslim holdings had fractured into rival Taifa kingdoms, allowing the small Christian states the opportunity to greatly enlarge their territories and consolidate their positions. The arrival of the North African Muslim ruling sects of the Almoravids and the Almohads restored unity upon Muslim holdings, with a stricter, less tolerant application of Islam, but ultimately, after some successes in invading the north, proved unable to resist the increasing military strength of the Christian states.

Fall of Muslim rule and unification

Given the honored title by the Pope, Catholic MonarchsFerdinand and Isabella, were probably one of the most powerful and accomplished couples in history; they reinforced the Reconquista, founded the Spanish Inquisition, and sponsered Christopher Columbus during the discovery of the New World.

The Reconquista (“Reconquest”) is the centuries-long period of expansion of Spain’s Christian kingdoms; Reconquista is viewed as beginning with the battle of Covadonga in 722 and being concurrent with the period of Muslim rule on the Iberian peninsula. The Christian army’s victory over the Muslim forces led to the creation of the Christian Kingdom of Asturias along the northern coastal mountains. Muslim armies had also moved north of the Pyrenees, but they were defeated at the Battle of Poitiers in France. Subsequently, they retreated to more secure positions south of the Pyrenees with a frontier marked by the Ebro and Duero rivers in Spain. As early as 739 Muslim forces were driven from Galicia, which was to host one of medieval Europe’s holiest sites, Santiago de Compostela. A little later Frankish forces established Christian counties south of the Pyrenees; these areas were to grow into kingdoms, in the north-east and the western part of the Pyrenees. These territories included Navarre, Aragon and Catalonia.

The breakup of Al-Andalus into the competing Taifa kingdoms helped the expanding Christian kingdoms. The capture of the central city of Toledo in 1085 largely completed the reconquest of the northern half of Spain. After a Muslim resurgence in the 12th century, the great Moorish strongholds in the south fell to Christian Spain in the 13th century—Córdoba in 1236 and Seville in 1248—leaving only the Muslim enclave of Granada as a tributary state in the south. Marinid invasions from north Africa in the 13th and 14th centuries failed to re-establish Muslim rule. Also in the 13th century, the kingdom of Aragon, formed by Aragon, Catalonia and Valencia expanded its reach across the Mediterranean to Sicily. Around this time the universities of Palencia (1212/1263) and Salamanca (1218/1254) were established; among the earliest in Europe. The Black Death of 1348 and 1349 devastated Spain.

In 1469, the crowns of the Christian kingdoms of Castile and Aragon were united by the marriage of Isabella and Ferdinand. In 1478 began the final stage of the conquest of Canary Islands and in 1492, these united kingdoms captured Granada, ending the last remnant of a 781-year presence of Islamic rule in Iberia. The Treaty of Granada guaranteed religious tolerance toward Muslims. The year 1492 also marked the arrival in the New World of Christopher Columbus, during a voyage funded by Isabella. That same year, Spain’s Jews were ordered to convert to Catholicism or face expulsion from Spanish territories during the Spanish Inquisition. Not long after, Muslims were also expelled under the same conditions.

As Renaissance New Monarchs, Isabella and Ferdinand centralized royal power at the expense of local nobility, and the word España – whose root is the ancient name Hispania – began to be used commonly to designate the whole of the two kingdoms. With their wide-ranging political, legal, religious and military reforms, Spain emerged as the first world power.

Spanish Empire

The unification of the kingdoms of Aragon, Castile, León, and Navarre laid the basis for modern Spain and the Spanish Empire. Spain was Europe’s leading power throughout the 16th century and most of the 17th century, a position reinforced by trade and wealth from colonial possessions. Spain reached its apogee during the reigns of the first two Spanish Habsburgs – Charles I (1516–1556) and Philip II (1556–1598). This period also saw the Italian Wars, the Protestant Reformation, the Dutch revolt, the Morisco revolt, clashes with the Ottomans, the Anglo-Spanish war and wars with France.

Philip II of Spain

The Spanish Empire expanded to include most parts of South and Central America, Mexico, southern and western portions of today’s United States, the Philippines, Guam and the Mariana Islands in Eastern Asia, parts of northern Italy, southern Italy, Sicily, cities in Northern Africa, as well as parts of France, modern Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands. It was the first empire about which it was said that the sun never set. This was an age of discovery, with daring explorations by sea and by land, the opening-up of new trade routes across oceans, conquests and the beginnings of European colonialism. Along with the arrival of precious metals, spices, luxuries, and new agricultural plants, Spanish and other explorers brought back knowledge from the New World, playing a leading part in transforming Europeans understanding of the globe. The cultural efflorescence witnessed is now referred to as the Spanish Golden Age.

In the 16th and 17th centuries, Spain was confronted by unrelenting challenges from all sides. Barbary pirates under the aegis of the rapidly growing Ottoman empire, disrupted life in many coastal areas through their slave raids and renewed the threat of an Islamic invasion.[note 15] This at a time when Spain was often at war with France in Italy and elsewhere. Later the Protestant Reformation schism from the Catholic Church dragged the kingdom ever more deeply into the mire of religiously charged wars. The result was a country forced into ever expanding military efforts across Europe and in the Mediterranean. The rise of humanism, the Protestant Reformation and new geographical discoveries raised issues addressed by an intellectual movement known as the School of Salamanca.

By the middle decades of a war and plague ridden 17th century Europe, the effects of the strain began to show. The Spanish Habsburgs had enmeshed the country in the continent wide religious-political conflicts. These conflicts drained it of resources and undermined the European economy generally. Spain managed to hold on to most of the scattered Habsburg empire, and help the imperial forces of the Holy Roman Empire reverse a large part of the advances made by Protestant forces, but it was finally forced to recognise the separation of Portugal (with whom it had been united in a personal union of the crowns from 1580 to 1640) and the Netherlands, and eventually suffered some serious military reverses to France in the latter stages of the immensely destructive, Europe-wide Thirty Years War.

In the latter half of the 17th century, Spain went into a gradual relative decline, during which it surrendered a number of small territories to France. However Spain maintained and enlarged its vast overseas empire, which remained intact until the beginning of the 19th century.

The decline culminated in a controversy over succession to the throne which consumed the first years of the 18th century. The War of Spanish Succession, a wide ranging international conflict combined with a civil war, cost Spain its European possessions and its position as one of the leading powers on the Continent.

During this war, a new dynasty—the French Bourbons—was installed. Long united only by the Crown, a true Spanish state was established when the first Bourbon king Philip V of Spain united Castile and Aragon into a single state, abolishing many of the regional privileges (fueros).

The 18th century saw a gradual recovery and an increase in prosperity through much of the empire. The new Bourbon monarchy drew on the French system of modernising the administration and the economy. Enlightenment ideas began to gain ground among some of the kingdom’s elite and monarchy. Towards the end of the century trade finally began growing strongly. Military assistance for the rebellious British colonies in the American War of Independence improved Spain’s international standing.

Napoleonic rule and its consequences

In 1793, Spain went to war against the new French Republic, which had overthrown and executed its Bourbon king, Louis XVI. The war polarised the country in an apparent reaction against the gallicised elites. Defeated in the field, Spain made peace with France in 1795 and effectively became a client state of that country; the following year, it declared war against Britain and Portugal. A disastrous economic situation, along with other factors, led to the abdication of the Spanish king in favour of Napoleon’s brother, Joseph Bonaparte.

This foreign puppet monarch was widely regarded with scorn. On 2 May 1808, the people of Madrid began a nationalist uprising against the French army, one of many across the country, marking the beginning of what is known to the Spanish as the War of Independence, and to the English as the Peninsular War. Napoleon was forced to intervene personally, defeating several badly coordinated Spanish armies and forcing a British Army to retreat to Corunna. However, further military action by Spanish guerrillas and Wellington’s Anglo-Portuguese army, combined with Napoleon’s disastrous invasion of Russia, led to the ousting of the French from Spain in 1814, and the return of King Ferdinand VII.

The French invasion proved disastrous for Spain’s economy, and left a deeply divided country that was prone to political instability for more than a century. The power struggles of the early 19th century led to the loss of all of Spain’s colonies in Latin America, with the exception of Cuba and Puerto Rico.

Spanish-American War

Amid the instability and economic crisis that afflicted Spain in the 19th century there arose nationalist movements in the Philippines and Cuba. Wars of independence ensued in those colonies and eventually the United States became involved. Despite the commitment and ability shown by some military units, they were so mismanaged by the highest levels of command that the Spanish-American war of 1898 was soon over. “El Desastre” (The Disaster), as the war became known in Spain, helped give impetus to the Generation of 98 who were already conducting much critical analysis concerning the country. It also weakened the stability that had been established during Alfonso XII’s reign.

20th century

The 20th century brought little peace; Spain played a minor part in the scramble for Africa, with the colonisation of Western Sahara, Spanish Morocco and Equatorial Guinea. The heavy losses suffered during the Rif war in Morocco helped to undermine the monarchy. A period of authoritarian rule under General Miguel Primo de Rivera (1923-1931) ended with the establishment of the Second Spanish Republic. The Republic offered political autonomy to the Basque Country, Catalonia and Galicia and gave voting rights to women.

The bitterly fought Spanish Civil War (1936-39) ensued. Three years later the Nationalist forces, led by General Francisco Franco, emerged victorious with the support of Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy. The Republican side was supported by the Soviet Union and Mexico and international brigades , most famously the american ‘Abraham Lincon Brigade’, but it was not supported officially by the Western powers due to the British-led policy of Non-Intervention. The Spanish Civil War has been called the first battle of the Second World War; under Franco, Spain was neutral in the Second World War though sympathetic to the Axis.

The only legal party under Franco’s regime was the Falange española tradicionalista y de las JONS, formed in 1937; the party emphasised anti-Communism, Catholicism and nationalism. Nonetheless, since Franco’s anti-democratic ideology was opposed to the idea of political parties, the new party was renamed officially a National Movement (Movimiento Nacional) in 1949.

After World War II, Spain was politically and economically isolated, and was kept out of the United Nations until 1955, when due to the Cold War it became strategically important for the U.S. to create a military presence on the Iberian peninsula, next to the Mediterranean Sea and the Strait of Gibraltar, in order to protect southern Europe. In the 1960s, Spain registered an unprecedented economic growth in what was called the Spanish miracle, which rapidly resumed the long interrupted transition towards a modern industrial economy with a thriving tourism sector and a high degree of human development.

Upon the death of General Franco in November 1975, Prince Juan Carlos assumed the position of king and head of state. With the approval of the new Spanish Constitution of 1978 and the arrival of democracy, the State devolved autonomy to the regions and created an internal organization based on autonomous communities. In the Basque Country, moderate Basque nationalism coexisted with a radical nationalism supportive of the separatist group ETA.

On 23 February 1981, rebel elements among the security forces seized the Cortes and tried to impose a military-backed government. However, the great majority of the military forces remained loyal to King Juan Carlos, who used his personal authority and addressed the usurpers via national TV as commander in chief to put down the bloodless coup attempt.

On 30 May 1982, NATO gained a new member when, following a referendum, the newly democratic Spain joined the alliance. Also in 1982, the Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE) came to power, representing the return of a left-wing government after 43 years. In 1986, Spain joined the European Community – what has now become the European Union. The PSOE was replaced in government by the Partido Popular (PP) after the latter won the 1996 General Elections; at that point the PSOE had served almost 14 consecutive years in office.

The Government of Spain has been involved in a long-running campaign against the separatist and terrorist organization ETA (“Basque Homeland and Freedom”), founded in 1959 in opposition to Franco and dedicated to promoting Basque independence through violent means. They consider themselves a guerrilla organization while they are listed as a terrorist organization by both the European Union and the United States on their respective watchlists. The current nationalist-led Basque Autonomous government does not endorse ETA’s nationalist violence, which has caused over 800 deaths in the past 40 years.

21st century

On 1 January 2002, Spain terminated its peseta currency and replaced it with the euro, which it shares with 14 other countries in the Eurozone. Spain has also seen strong economic growth, well above the EU average, but concerns are growing that the extraordinary property boom and high foreign trade deficits of recent years may bring this to an end.

A series of bombs exploded in commuter trains in Madrid, Spain on 11 March 2004. After a five month trial in 2007 it was concluded the bombings were perpetrated by a local Islamist militant group inspired by al-Qaeda. The bombings killed 191 people and wounded more than 1800, and the intention of the perpetrators may have been to influence the outcome of the Spanish general election, held three days later. Though initial suspicions focused on the Basque group ETA, evidence soon emerged indicating possible Islamist involvement. Because of the proximity of the election, the issue of responsibility quickly became a political controversy, with the main competing parties PP and PSOE exchanging accusations over the handling of the aftermath. At the 14 March elections, PSOE, led by José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, obtained a relative majority, enough to form a new cabinet with Rodríguez Zapatero as the new Presidente del Gobierno or prime minister of Spain, thus succeeding the former PP administration.

Geography Location: Southwestern Europe, bordering the Bay of Biscay, Mediterranean Sea, North Atlantic Ocean, and Pyrenees Mountains, southwest of France
Geographic coordinates: 40 00 N, 4 00 W
Map references: Europe
Area: total: 504,782 sq km
land: 499,542 sq km
water: 5,240 sq km
note: there are two autonomous cities – Ceuta and Melilla – and 17 autonomous communities including Balearic Islands and Canary Islands, and three small Spanish possessions off the coast of Morocco – Islas Chafarinas, Penon de Alhucemas, and Penon de Velez de la Gomera
Area – comparative: slightly more than twice the size of Oregon
Land boundaries: total: 1,917.8 km
border countries: Andorra 63.7 km, France 623 km, Gibraltar 1.2 km, Portugal 1,214 km, Morocco (Ceuta) 6.3 km, Morocco (Melilla) 9.6 km
Coastline: 4,964 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm (applies only to the Atlantic Ocean)
Climate: temperate; clear, hot summers in interior, more moderate and cloudy along coast; cloudy, cold winters in interior, partly cloudy and cool along coast
Terrain: large, flat to dissected plateau surrounded by rugged hills; Pyrenees in north
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Pico de Teide (Tenerife) on Canary Islands 3,718 m
Natural resources: coal, lignite, iron ore, copper, lead, zinc, uranium, tungsten, mercury, pyrites, magnesite, fluorspar, gypsum, sepiolite, kaolin, potash, hydropower, arable land
Land use: arable land: 27.18%
permanent crops: 9.85%
other: 62.97% (2005)
Irrigated land: 37,800 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources: 111.1 cu km (2005)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural): total: 37.22 cu km/yr (13%/19%/68%)
per capita: 864 cu m/yr (2002)
Natural hazards: periodic droughts
Environment – current issues: pollution of the Mediterranean Sea from raw sewage and effluents from the offshore production of oil and gas; water quality and quantity nationwide; air pollution; deforestation; desertification
Environment – international agreements: party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Sulfur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants
Geography – note: strategic location along approaches to Strait of Gibraltar
Politics Constitution

The Spanish Constitution of 1978 is the culmination of the Spanish transition to democracy.

The constitutional history of Spain dates back to the constitution of 1812. After the death of Francisco Franco in 1975, a general election in 1977 convened the Constituent Cortes (the Spanish Parliament, in its capacity as a constitutional assembly) for the purpose of drafting and approving the constitution of 1978.

As a result, Spain is now composed of 17 autonomous communities and two autonomous cities with varying degrees of autonomy thanks to its Constitution, which nevertheless explicitly states the indivisible unity of the Spanish nation as well as that Spain has today no official religion but all are free to practice and believe as they wish.

Government

Spain is a constitutional monarchy, with a hereditary monarch and a bicameral parliament, the Cortes Generales. The executive branch consists of a Council of Ministers presided over by the President of Government (comparable to a prime minister), proposed by the monarch and elected by the National Assembly following legislative elections.

The legislative branch is made up of the Congress of Deputies (Congreso de los Diputados) with 350 members, elected by popular vote on block lists by proportional representation to serve four-year terms, and a Senate (Senado) with 259 seats of which 208 are directly elected by popular vote and the other 51 appointed by the regional legislatures to also serve four-year terms.

The Spanish nation is organizationally composed in the form of called Estado de las Autonomías (“State of Autonomies”); it is one of the most decentralized countries in Europe, along with Switzerland, Germany and Belgium;[30] for example, all Autonomous Communities have their own elected parliaments, governments, public administrations, budgets, and resources; therefore, health and education systems among others are managed regionally, besides, the Basque Country and Navarre also manage their own public finances based on foral provisions. In Catalonia and the Basque Country, a full fledged autonomous police corps replaces some of the State police functions (see Mossos d’Esquadra and Ertzaintza).

People Population: 40,491,052 (July 2008 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 14.4% (male 3,011,815/female 2,832,788)
15-64 years: 67.6% (male 13,741,493/female 13,641,914)
65 years and over: 17.9% (male 3,031,597/female 4,231,444) (2008 est.)
Median age: total: 40.7 years
male: 39.3 years
female: 42.1 years (2008 est.)
Population growth rate: 0.096% (2008 est.)
Birth rate: 9.87 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Death rate: 9.9 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Net migration rate: 0.99 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.07 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.72 male(s)/female
total population: 0.96 male(s)/female (2008 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 4.26 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 4.65 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 3.85 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 79.92 years
male: 76.6 years
female: 83.45 years (2008 est.)
Total fertility rate: 1.3 children born/woman (2008 est.)
HIV/AIDS – adult prevalence rate: 0.7% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS – people living with HIV/AIDS: 140,000 (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS – deaths: fewer than 1,000 (2003 est.)
Nationality: noun: Spaniard(s)
adjective: Spanish
Ethnic groups: composite of Mediterranean and Nordic types
Religions: Roman Catholic 94%, other 6%
Languages: Castilian Spanish (official) 74%, Catalan 17%, Galician 7%, Basque 2%, are official regionally
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 97.9%
male: 98.7%
female: 97.2% (2003 est.)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education): total: 16 years
male: 16 years
female: 17 years (2006)
Education expenditures: 4.2% of GDP (2005)

Revelation: The Great Whore Of Babylon: THE Anti-Christ: Here Are Some Answers

Revelation: The Great Whore Of Babylon: THE Anti-Christ: Here Are Some Answers

I grew up in a small town in northern Illinois and attended the local Church of Christ. This was from age ten to age eighteen when I moved away. The local church tended to have total attendance of about 100-140 with probably about 60 of those being the adults.  This was also back before people had home or work computers to use for finding out information. This Church of Christ always stated that they are a ‘New Testament’ church so they basically ignored almost all of the Old Testament yet they also ignored the last book of the New Testament, the book of Revelation. I was told several times by the local church leaders (Elders and Deacons) that they just didn’t understand it so they left it alone also stating that man kind just wasn’t meant to understand the mysteries of that Book. At 18 I quit attending the Church of Christ and started digging even deeper into the Bible and Christian religions and even more so into non-Christian religions. I am a person that wanted to know what the meanings of things were so I have spent the last fifty years praying and studying religions so I could know what the Holy Spirit inspired writers of the Bible meant by the things they wrote. I am also a big fan of historical information from around our world. This information I am about to give to you is from these results. I hope you will study and consider these answers I give you. To the best of my personal knowledge these things I write to you are simply Bible Truth.

 

If you have a Bible handy or for the purpose of later study, the Scriptures I am going to be discussing with you can be found in the Book of Revelation in chapters 17 and 18. In the first chapter of Revelation we are given the knowledge that John (the writer) was on the island of Patmos in the eastern Mediterranean Sea as a prisoner of the Roman Empire. John ‘the Elder’ was on this island jail because of his teachings of Christianity and of Jesus Christ. Jesus in a Spiritual form visited John and told him to write this book  and gave him the information He wanted given to the seven churches of Asia minor (modern-day Turkey). Today’s article is not about those seven churches though I hope you will read these chapters after you finish reading what I am telling you in this post. Today’s article is about the 17th and 18th chapters and what the Spirit of God has to say to all of us. Obviously folks who are Catholic do not tend to agree with what I am about to write or they would not be Catholic. The problem within the Catholic and Protestant churches flocks is that most folks who do attend a Church tend to almost never open their Bibles to see if what their preachers are saying is in fact what the Scriptures say.

 

From Revelation chapter #17: (The Great Harlot Is Described) The ‘great harlot’ is the Catholic Church of about the past 1,700 years. In verse one it speaks of ‘one of the seven Angels’ that had the seven vials. There are seven ‘Spirits’ that surround the Throne of God in Heaven, almost every scholar I have ever spoken with believes as I do that these are the seven ‘Arch Angels’ of God.

 

And there came one of the seven  which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying to me, come here, I will show you the judgement of the great whore that sits upon many waters: With whom the Kings of the Earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the Earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication. So he carried me away in the Spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet colored beast, full of names of blasphemy having seven heads and ten horns. (These are future nations/kingdoms)

And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet color, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abomination and filthiness of her fornication.

And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.  2 Thess. 2:7

And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the Saints, and with the blood of the Martyr’s of Jesus and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration.

 

The great harlot is destroyed: Starting with verse seven: And the Angel said to me, why do you marvel? I will tell you the hidden truth of the woman, and the beast that carries her, which has the seven heads and ten horns.

The beast that you saw was and is not; the beast shall ascend out of the bottomless pit (Hell) and go into perdition: and they that dwell upon the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in The Book Of Life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.

And here is the mind that has wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains (Continents) on which the woman sits.

And there are seven Kings: five are fallen (past tense at this time) and one is (at that time) and the other is not yet come for he shall remain a short time.

And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eight, and is of the seven, and he will go into perdition.

And the ten horns which you saw are ten Kings which have received no Kingdom as yet; but will receive authority as Kings after one hour with the beast.

These (Kings) have one mind, and shall give their power and strength to the beast.

And these shall make war with the Lamb (Jesus), and the Lamb shall overcome them: For He (Jesus) is Lord of Lords, and King of Kings: and they that are with Him are called, and chosen, and faithful.

And he (the Angel) said to me, the waters which you saw, where the whore was sitting, are people, and multitudes, and nations and tongues.

And the ten horns that you saw upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, they shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire

For God has put in their hearts to fulfill His (God’s) will, and to agree to give their Kingdoms to the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled.

And the woman who you saw is that great city, (Vatican City) which reigns over the Kings of the earth.

 

Chapter #18   (Babylon the great is destroyed)

 

And after these things I saw another Angel come down from Heaven, having great power, and the Earth was lighted with his glory.

And he cried mightily with a loud voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, and has become the dwelling place of Devils and the hold of every foul Spirit and a cage for every unclean and hateful bird.

For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the Kings of the Earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the Earth have waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies.

And I heard another voice from Heaven, saying, Come out of her my people that you be not partakers of her sins, and that you receive not of her plagues.

For her sins have reached unto Heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities.

Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works: in the cup which she has filled, fill to her double.

How much she has glorified herself, and lived deliciously: so much torment and sorrow give her; for she says in her heart, I sit a Queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow.

Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine, and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judges her.

 

Starting at chapter 18 verse 9:   (Earth bewail’s Babylon’s destruction)

 

And the Kings of the Earth who have committed fornication and lived deliciously with her, shall bewail over her, and lament for her when they shall see the smoke of her burning.

Standing far away for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas that great city Babylon, that mighty city! For in one hour your judgement came.

And the merchants of the Earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buys her merchandise any more:

The merchandise of gold and silver and precious stones, and of pearls, and fine linen and purple and silk and scarlet and all scented wood, and all manner vessels of ivory, and all manner vessels of most precious wood and of brass and iron and marble. (verses 13-16 are mostly just a continuation of items liken to those just mentioned).

Verse #17

For in one hour so great riches have come to nothing, and every ship-master and all the company of ships and sailors and as many as trade by sea, stood afar off.

And cried when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, what city is like unto this great city!

And they cast dust on their heads and cried, weeping and wailing, saying, Alas, alas that great city, wherein we were made rich all that had ships in the sea by reason of her costliness! For in one hour she is made a ruin.

 

The last five verses of chapter 18: (Heaven Rejoices Babylon’s Destruction)

 

Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and you Holy Apostles and Prophets for God has avenged you on her.

And a mighty Angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down and shall be found no more at all. (A moderate size asteroid tossed into the Mediterranean Sea just west of Rome/Vatican City would certainly do this).

And the voice of Harper’s and musicians and pipers and trumpeters  shall be heard no more at all in her.

And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for thy merchants were the great men of the Earth: for by her sorceries were all nations deceived.

Verse 24 (last verse): And in her was found the blood of Prophets, and of Saints, and of all that were slain upon the Earth.

 

Well, that is it folks for tonight, I hope you enjoyed the article. I pray for peace for every human on this planet but to receive true peace we must all be very careful about whom/what we worship and how we ourselves decide to live our lives today and everyday. Good night folks, God’s blessings I wish to you all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Israel aims to eliminate use of coal, gasoline and diesel by 2030

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

Israel aims to eliminate use of coal, gasoline and diesel by 2030

Energy minister to present plan to reduce pollution, strengthen ‘peace axis’ through sole use of natural gas and alternative fuels for energy production and transportation

Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz speaking at an energy conference in Tel Aviv, February 27, 2018 (Dror Sithakol)

Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz speaking at an energy conference in Tel Aviv, February 27, 2018 (Dror Sithakol)

The Energy Ministry forecast Tuesday that within 12 years Israel would be fully reliant on natural gas and alternative fuels for the production of electricity and for transportation.

“We intend to reach a situation in which Israel’s industry will be based on natural gas, and most importantly, transportation in Israel will be based on natural gas or electricity,” Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz said at an energy conference in Tel Aviv. “From 2030 onwards, the State of Israel will create alternatives and will no longer allow the import of cars that run on gasoline and diesel fuel.”

Steinitz said he would be submitting a master plan with this vision to the government.

In 2014, electricity was produced through a fifty-fifty split between coal and natural gas. The aim for 2030 is to alter that to 83% natural gas and 17% renewable energy, with “zero pollutants,” Steinitz said.

Illustrative photo of Israeli natural gas rigs in the Mediterranean Sea, September 2, 2015. (Flash90)

Already this year, the balance of electricity production will be 71% natural gas, 25%-27% coal, and 2% renewable energy, with the economy transitioning to using coal only for emergency and backup purposes by 2030.

“We have abolished the strategy of diversification of fuels,” Steinitz said, noting that Israel had previously believed that this kind of diversification — using coal and natural gas — was essential for energy security. “We realized we can reach energy security even without this diversification.”

“There is a historic opportunity to transform Israel into one of the first Western countries in which energy is produced with zero pollution and harm to the environment,” he said.

Steinitz said that according to OECD data some 2,500 people die in Israel annually because of air pollution. He added that the controversial natural gas legislation passed two years ago has been a “huge success,” having enabled the development of Leviathan, Israel’s largest natural gas field, which is expected to come online next year. The one and a half-year holdup in the development of Leviathan caused by delays in passing the gas regulations cost Israel some $20 billion, he said.

The development of the field allowed Israel to sign its “most significant export deals” with neighboring Egypt and Jordan since the signing of peace accords with these nations, he said.

Earlier this month, the partners in the Tamar and Leviathan offshore natural gas fields said they signed deals to export 64 billion cubic meters of gas to the Egyptian firm Dolphinus over a 10-year period. In September 2016, Jordan struck a deal to buy 8.5 million cubic meters of Israeli gas per day over 15 years, a deal estimated to be worth $10 billion.

“This strengthens the peace axis,” Steinitz said. “It is a geopolitical success that has been made possible because of natural gas.”

Israel, a country with scarce natural resources, discovered offshore natural gas fields that may enable it to achieve energy independence and become an exporter of natural gas. The Tamar gas field was discovered in 2009 and started production in 2013, while the Leviathan field — the largest deep water natural gas field discovered in the world in the past decade — was discovered in 2010 and is expected to start production in 2019.

Steinitz was speaking at a conference organized by the Israel Institute for Energy and Environment that dealt with the potential of and challenges to Israel’s natural gas industry.

Steinitz and other speakers were heckled by a group protesting against the planned Leviathan rig, which they say will be set up just 10 kilometers off the northern shore and will cause pollution and billions of dollars’ worth of environmental damage.

Protesters demonstrating outside an energy conference in Tel Aviv against setting up a gas rig 10 kilometers from Israel’s shores, February 27, 2018 (Shoshanna Solomon/Times of Israel)

“Instead of a proposed rig, the companies should be setting up a floating production storage and offloading facility above the rig, not close to the shore of Dor Beach,” said protest head Yoni Sapir.

In addition, a gas-processing to be set up on land could pollute local water sources, said Eli Budman, a toxicologist who was protesting outside the hotel.

Steinitz dismissed them as “not in my backyard” protesters who were ignorant of the issues. “We will not submit to pressure by anyone. We are convinced we are doing the right things for the future of Israel,” he declared.

An environmental heckler disrupting the speech of Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz at an energy conference in Tel Aviv; 27 Feb. 2018 (Shoshanna Solomon/Times of Israel)

Responding to the demonstrators, Environment Minister Ze’ev Elkin said Israel cannot both cut its consumption of coal and stall development of the natural gas industry. “We can’t go in both directions,” he said.

The ministry was prioritizing the reduction of pollution, he said, and natural gas had to play its part as soon as possible. “Pollution is the number one environmental challenge of Israel,” he said. “The progress of Leviathan is of environmental interest to Israel.”

At the conference Yona Fogel, the CEO of Paz Oil Company Ltd. an oil refiner, said the price of natural gas in Israel as set by the agreement reached by government and the producers of the gas was too high. “There is a market failure here,” he said. Paz’s two plants, in Haifa and Alon Tavor, were ready to receive natural gas but “the gap between implementation and desire” was very high, he said.

Mathios Rigas, CEO of Energean Oil & Gas, a Greek oil and gas explorer that won the license to develop and operate the smaller Karish and Tanin offshore natural gas fields — which are estimated to have reserves of 2 trillion cubic feet (TCF) and are earmarked to supply fuel to Israel and compete with Tamar and Leviathan — said he expects drilling at the fields to start in 2019 and supply of gas to start in the first quarter of 2021. Energean will be investing some $1.6 billion in the development of the fields, he said, and has already raised the funds to manage the project, he said.

Yossi Abu, the CEO of Delek Drilling LP, a unit of Delek Group Ltd., which together with Noble Energy Inc. is a partner in the Tamar and Leviathan fields, said that he expects more deals with Egypt following the one with Dolphinus signed earlier this month. Egypt is estimated to need some 20 to 40 billion cubic meters of natural gas a year for the next decade, he said, and this presents an opportunity for Israel.

The pipeline infrastructure already in place will allow Leviathan to supply gas to Egypt and Jordan when production starts in the fourth quarter of 2019, he said, and will allow Israel to be part of a regional grid connected to the two Arab countries, as opposed to the energy island it has been until now.

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Morocco Summons Algeria Envoy over Deportation of Syrian Refugees

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

Middle East

Morocco Summons Algeria Envoy over Deportation of Syrian Refugees

Morocco

The Moroccan Interior Ministry accused Algerian authorities of deporting 55 Syrians, including women and children, towards the kingdom as Rabat summoned the Algerian envoy over the development.

The ministry statement said that the Algerian authorities have “cornered” the refugees nears the border city of Figuig.

The Moroccan authorities “condemned these inhumane actions by the Algerian authorities against these refugees, especially when it comes to women and children who are in a fragile state.”

It questioned how the authorities in the neighboring country have not catered to the displaced and instead forced them towards Moroccan soil.

The development has forced Morocco to summon Algeria’s ambassador to express concern after the Syrians attempted to “illegally enter” the country from Algeria, the ministry of foreign affairs said in a statement on Sunday.

It said 54 Syrians attempted to enter Morocco through the border town of Figuig, an area surrounded by mountains, between April 17 and 19. It accused Algeria of forcing them to cross into Morocco.

“Algeria must assume political responsibility and morality concerning this situation,” the ministry statement on MAP state news agency said.

“It is immoral and unethical to manipulate the moral and physical distress of these people, (and) to sow trouble in the Morocco-Algerian border.”

There was no immediate response from Algeria on state news agency APS.

Some 5,000 Syrians have gone through a migration regulatory process in Morocco, with several hundred receiving refugee status, according to Morocco’s ministry of foreign affairs.

Morocco and Algeria share a 1,500 km (970 mile) land border that runs from the Mediterranean Sea to the Sahara Desert which has been shut since 1994.

The North African neighbors have had a contentious relationship since independence from France. Border disputes triggered an armed conflict in the 1960s known as the “Sand War”.

One of their biggest disputes has been over Western Sahara, a former Spanish colony, most of which Morocco annexed in 1975.

Algeria supports and hosts the Western Saharan independence movement Polisario, a stance which angers Morocco.

Asharq Al-Awsat English

Asharq Al-Awsat English

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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Galilee Tourists Need To Go West To The Sea

(This article is courtesy of the Times of Israel News Paper)

48 hours in the Western Galilee

From Acre to Nahariya, the region abutting the Mediterranean offers the perfect getaway with its boutique hotels and gourmet eateries

August 27, 2016
A view of the Nahariya beach, on the shores of the Western Galilean city (Nati Shochat/Flash 90)

There’s the Galilee, and then there’s the Western Galilee. For decades, Israelis and tourists have flocked to the towns, villages and cities surrounding the Sea of Galilee, to the tzimmer guest cabins and hotels of that northern region.

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But then the Western Galilee beckoned. Bordered by the Mediterranean Sea, it’s anchored by the port city of Acre and the seaside town of Nahariya, with a host of small towns and moshav villages scattered around them. Like the eastern portion of the Galilee region, there are some alternative communities, like Klil, a village of ecologically-minded residents, or Mitzpe Abirim, another community of families living remote, rural lifestyles.

There are wineries and cheesemakers to visit and horseback rides to take, small cabins and luxurious boutique hotel rooms for accommodation, and divine seafood meals to eat with ice cream cone palate cleansers.

What’s more, there’s an air of fresh perspectives and coexistence initiatives in the Western Galilee, and that is always worth discovering.

Day One, head to Acre

Start in Acre, the ancient port city that’s made a name for itself for its gentrification efforts over the last few years. Acre hosts annual opera and fringe theater festivals, but it’s probably better to head there during its low seasons. That’s when there’s more parking available at its seaside lots and tables aren’t hard to find at the city’s best restaurants.

Overlooking the Old City of Acre, the first stop to make when doing a western Galilee tour (Jessica Steinberg/Times of Israel)

Overlooking the Old City of Acre, the first stop to make when doing a western Galilee tour (Jessica Steinberg/Times of Israel)

For archaeology and history buffs, it’s worth spending time in the underground Crusader fortress and British Mandate-period prison, but be sure to come up for air and walk around the Old City, where the revamped Turkish market has crab falafel and Israeli beer on tap at Kukushka (not kosher). Hummus connoisseurs will also want to swipe a plate of Hummus Said’s famed chickpea spread, for which Acre is renowned, with a few falafel balls on the side, or check out Turkish on Yehoshafat Street. For dessert, there’s Endomela (not kosher), the artisanal ice cream parlor owned by Uri Jeremias, the proprietor of seafood eatery Uri Buri.

When it’s time to check in, there are more than a few options in and around the city. The most luxurious is boutique hotel Efendi, a stupendously restored former Ottoman palace renovated by restauranteur Jeremias, with a Byzantine-era wine cellar, Crusader period stone floors in the lobby, exquisitely restored Ottoman-era painted ceilings in the upper floor rooms and salons overlooking the sea, and a warren of winding streets and alleys of the ancient neighborhood. Rooms begin at $400 and if you do stay at the Efendi (not kosher), be sure to consider a treatment in the original, Ottoman-era hammam, where you’ll be treated to a massage on a hot, marble slab.

An outdoor salon at Efendi, the luxurious Acre boutique hotel owned by restauranteur Uri Jeremias Courtesy Efendi)

An outdoor salon at Efendi, the luxurious Acre boutique hotel owned by restauranteur Uri Jeremias (Courtesy Efendi)

There are other accommodation options in Acre, including a list of family-owned B&Bs, such as the Lighthouse Suite in the Old City, which has one suite with two bedrooms, a kitchenette and one bathroom.Cost per night per couple is NIS 850, including breakfast. Call 052-590-8410 for more information.

There’s also Akkotel, a small family Old City hotel with rooms suitable for four people, at $290 per suite, or $200 per couple. Call 04-987-7100.

For dinner, there’s always Uri Buri (not kosher), which was established by Jeremias in his hometown of Nahariya and moved to Acre’s harbor 22 years ago, helping to change the face of tourism in this ancient part of the city. Known for its unique preparation of seafood, with a focus on traditional, butter-rich dishes, it’s a dining experience that includes fresh sashimi side by side with rich seafood stews.

There’s also El Babur (not kosher), owned by local chefs and brothers Husam and Nashat Abbas and located right on the water, with ancient city views. The dishes are Galilean-Arabic in flavor and style, melding locally grown greens and vegetables, with specialties like okra with sea bream or calamari-mashawshe, a local version ofmsabbaha hummus, and served with calamari heads on top, rather than chickpeas, in a nod to the seaside town.

Day 2, Nahariya-bound

When staying at the Efendi, breakfast is a must, and it’s worth choosing the Middle Eastern option, which includes fresh Swiss chard bourekas, delicate strands of halva, creamy tahini for spreading on the fresh bread and an individual omelet. That’ll hold you for the less-than-hour-long ride to Nahariya, the next destination.

Best known for its location on the sea, there are two new accommodations options in Nahariya: Sea Life is a relatively new (kosher) hotel situated on the water with a full spa for adults only and an outdoor pool during the warm months. The hotel suites and private, individual cabins are well-suited to small family groups, with inner bedrooms and open-up couches that’ll work for kids in the living room. For access to the beach, however, you’ll have to walk down the street, as the beachfront just outside the hotel is part of a nature reserve and can’t be used for swimming or playing in the sand.

A view of the quaint, European-flavored lobby of the Erna Shtarkman Hotel in Nahariya, where the strudel is included Courtesy Erna Shtarkman)

A view of the quaint, European-flavored lobby of the Erna Shtarkman Hotel in Nahariya, where the strudel is included (Courtesy Erna Shtarkman)

A few blocks away from Sea Life is the family-owned Erna Shtarkman Hotel (kosher), with the feel of a quaint historical inn now owned by Orna Shtarkman, granddaughter of the original owner. The 32-year-old Shtarkman is also the deputy mayor of Nahariya, and is determined to bring younger families and a more contemporary feel to the seaside city. Be sure to try the hotel’s homemade apple strudel with a heavy side of whipped cream, perhaps after a swim in the nearby public pool or a spin around town on one of the hotel’s complimentary bikes.

If you take kids on this trip, it could be fun to pay a visit at the Strauss Dairy in nearby Achihud, where there are one-and-a-half hour tours in Hebrew and English, upon request. It’s more of a watching experience than an interactive tour, with high-tech games, a film and a tour of the factory floor. There are also complimentary chocolate and other goodies during the tour. (Tours are available on Sunday 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday to Wednesday 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Thursday 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Call 1-800-777-777 for reservations to the tour, which costs NIS 18 per person, and is appropriate for ages six and up.)

For lunch, head out to Nahariya’s Brioche (kosher), owned by the Belgium-trained pastry chef Hagit Stern, who turns out savory and sweet brioches, as well as salads and delicious vegetable pies. Your best bet, however, is to pick up a picnic basket loaded with Stern’s homemade goodies, as well as a bottle of local Kishor wine (kosher), made nearby at Kishorit, a community of special needs adults.

A savory spread from Brioche in Nahariya, at Park Goren in the western Galilee (Jessica Steinberg/Times of Israel)

A savory spread from Brioche in Nahariya, at Park Goren in the Western Galilee (Jessica Steinberg/Times of Israel)

Michal Shiloach, the director and guide of Western Galilee Now — one of three Western Galilee tourist initiatives, although hers has an informative tourism center in Acre’s Old City — likes to direct visitors to Park Goren, a quiet, forested area with picnic tables, and with a flowered Brioche-supplied tablecloth on the table, you’re set.

Afternoon rides in Abirim

Head back to the car and up Route 899 for a winding country road that will feel a bit like Switzerland or the Poconos than northern Israel. Route 899 is dotted with bucolic villages and communities, some Arab and some Jewish, and it’s a setting that has fostered coexistence for years, said residents Eyal and Edna Hefer, who moved to Mitzpe Abirim 20 years ago.

The Hefers were pioneers of a different stripe, looking for a rural place to live where they could raise horses and goats. Eyal Hefer commuted for 10 years to Tel Aviv, working in a national youth movement while Edna tended their herd of 100 goats. She learned how to make cheese but mostly supplied the milk to nearby dairy Strauss.

Edna and Eyal Hefer, the pioneering types from Mitzpe Abirim, in the Western Galilee (Jessica Steinberg/Times of Israel)

Edna and Eyal Hefer from Mitzpe Abirim, in the Western Galilee (Jessica Steinberg/Times of Israel)

More than a decade ago, Eyal Hefer quit his job in Tel Aviv and they both now work full-time on their spread, which now includes two tzimmer cabins for rent (breakfast included), tending their forested campsite that can fit up to 200, with separate areas for showers, cooking, eating and sitting around a campfire. They also offer regular and therapeutic horseback riding, and an outside corner of the house is devoted to the goat cheese selection where customers can choose a hunk of Edna’s salty, black-seededtzafatit or mild Camembert (not certified kosher) and leave the money in the box on the table.

Back to Nahariya

Head back to Nahariya for the night, with dinner and dessert on the way. The town of Maalot-Tarshiha has always been an easy place to see coexistence at work, as Jews and Arabs live in side-by-side villages, mostly peacefully and without rancor. That state of affairs is perhaps best viewed at the flagship shop of Buza, the ice cream parlor opened by entrepreneurs Adam Ziv and Alaa Sweetat.

Adam Ziv and Alaa Sweetat, coexistence owners of Bouza, Galilean-flavored gelato Jessica Steinberg/Times of Israel)

Adam Ziv (left) and Alaa Sweetat, owners of Buza, Galilean-flavored gelato (Jessica Steinberg/Times of Israel)

Ziv, a kibbutznik from the region, had apprenticed in several gelato shops while traveling around Europe and came home seeking a partner. He found it in Sweetat, who learned the food and restaurant business while working his way up at bistro Aluma, the gourmet Galilean restaurant (not kosher) in Tarshiha that he now owns.

The homemade, Galilean-flavored gelatos of Buza, owned by entrepreneurs Adam Ziv and Alaa Sweetat Courtesy Buza)

The homemade, Galilean-flavored gelatos of Buza, owned by entrepreneurs Adam Ziv and Alaa Sweetat (Courtesy Buza)

The two created Buza (not kosher), which means ice cream in Arabic. The gelato flavors are decidedly Galilean in taste, with an emphasis on nuts and fresh fruits. More than that, it’s an experience in coexistence, where staff and customers are mixed, particularly in the Tarshiha branch, although there are four total, including one in Tel Aviv and another in Ziv’s hometown of Kibbutz Sasa, where customers can sign up for ice cream workshops.

It’s a sweet ending to a northern adventure.

Revelation: The Great Whore Of Babylon: THE Anti-Christ: Here Are Some Answers

Revelation: The Great Whore Of Babylon: THE Anti-Christ: Here Are Some Answers

I grew up in a small town in northern Illinois and attended the local Church of Christ. This was from age ten to age eighteen when I moved away. The local church tended to have total attendance of about 100-140 with probably about 60 of those being the adults.  This was also back before people had home or work computers to use for finding out information. This Church of Christ always stated that they are a ‘New Testament’ church so they basically ignored almost all of the Old Testament yet they also ignored the last book of the New Testament, the book of Revelation. I was told several times by the local church leaders (Elders and Deacons) that they just didn’t understand it so they left it alone also stating that man kind just wasn’t meant to understand the mysteries of that Book. At 18 I quit attending the Church of Christ and started digging even deeper into the Bible and Christian religions and even more so into non-Christian religions. I am a person that wanted to know what the meanings of things were so I have spent the last fifty years praying and studying religions so I could know what the Holy Spirit inspired writers of the Bible meant by the things they wrote. I am also a big fan of historical information from around our world. This information I am about to give to you is from these results. I hope you will study and consider these answers I give you. To the best of my personal knowledge these things I write to you are simply Bible Truth.

 

If you have a Bible handy or for the purpose of later study, the Scriptures I am going to be discussing with you can be found in the Book of Revelation in chapters 17 and 18. In the first chapter of Revelation we are given the knowledge that John (the writer) was on the island of Patmos in the eastern Mediterranean Sea as a prisoner of the Roman Empire. John ‘the Elder’ was on this island jail because of his teachings of Christianity and of Jesus Christ. Jesus in a Spiritual form visited John and told him to write this book  and gave him the information He wanted given to the seven churches of Asia minor (modern-day Turkey). Today’s article is not about those seven churches though I hope you will read these chapters after you finish reading what I am telling you in this post. Today’s article is about the 17th and 18th chapters and what the Spirit of God has to say to all of us. Obviously folks who are Catholic do not tend to agree with what I am about to write or they would not be Catholic. The problem within the Catholic and Protestant churches flocks is that most folks who do attend a Church tend to almost never open their Bibles to see if what their preachers are saying is in fact what the Scriptures say.

 

From Revelation chapter #17: (The Great Harlot Is Described) The ‘great harlot’ is the Catholic Church of about the past 1,700 years. In verse one it speaks of ‘one of the seven Angels’ that had the seven vials. There are seven ‘Spirits’ that surround the Throne of God in Heaven, almost every scholar I have ever spoken with believes as I do that these are the seven ‘Arch Angels’ of God.

 

And there came one of the seven  which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying to me, come here, I will show you the judgement of the great whore that sits upon many waters: With whom the Kings of the Earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the Earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication. So he carried me away in the Spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet colored beast, full of names of blasphemy having seven heads and ten horns. (These are future nations/kingdoms)

And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet color, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abomination and filthiness of her fornication.

And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.  2 Thess. 2:7

And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the Saints, and with the blood of the Martyr’s of Jesus and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration.

 

The great harlot is destroyed: Starting with verse seven: And the Angel said to me, why do you marvel? I will tell you the hidden truth of the woman, and the beast that carries her, which has the seven heads and ten horns.

The beast that you saw was and is not; the beast shall ascend out of the bottomless pit (Hell) and go into perdition: and they that dwell upon the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in The Book Of Life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.

And here is the mind that has wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains (Continents) on which the woman sits.

And there are seven Kings: five are fallen (past tense at this time) and one is (at that time) and the other is not yet come for he shall remain a short time.

And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eight, and is of the seven, and he will go into perdition.

And the ten horns which you saw are ten Kings which have received no Kingdom as yet; but will receive authority as Kings after one hour with the beast.

These (Kings) have one mind, and shall give their power and strength to the beast.

And these shall make war with the Lamb (Jesus), and the Lamb shall overcome them: For He (Jesus) is Lord of Lords, and King of Kings: and they that are with Him are called, and chosen, and faithful.

And he (the Angel) said to me, the waters which you saw, where the whore was sitting, are people, and multitudes, and nations and tongues.

And the ten horns that you saw upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, they shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire

For God has put in their hearts to fulfill His (God’s) will, and to agree to give their Kingdoms to the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled.

And the woman who you saw is that great city, (Vatican City) which reigns over the Kings of the earth.

 

Chapter #18   (Babylon the great is destroyed)

 

And after these things I saw another Angel come down from Heaven, having great power, and the Earth was lighted with his glory.

And he cried mightily with a loud voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, and has become the dwelling place of Devils and the hold of every foul Spirit and a cage for every unclean and hateful bird.

For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the Kings of the Earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the Earth have waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies.

And I heard another voice from Heaven, saying, Come out of her my people that you be not partakers of her sins, and that you receive not of her plagues.

For her sins have reached unto Heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities.

Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works: in the cup which she has filled, fill to her double.

How much she has glorified herself, and lived deliciously: so much torment and sorrow give her; for she says in her heart, I sit a Queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow.

Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine, and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judges her.

 

Starting at chapter 18 verse 9:   (Earth bewail’s Babylon’s destruction)

 

And the Kings of the Earth who have committed fornication and lived deliciously with her, shall bewail over her, and lament for her when they shall see the smoke of her burning.

Standing far away for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas that great city Babylon, that mighty city! For in one hour your judgement came.

And the merchants of the Earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buys her merchandise any more:

The merchandise of gold and silver and precious stones, and of pearls, and fine linen and purple and silk and scarlet and all scented wood, and all manner vessels of ivory, and all manner vessels of most precious wood and of brass and iron and marble. (verses 13-16 are mostly just a continuation of items liken to those just mentioned).

Verse #17

For in one hour so great riches have come to nothing, and every ship-master and all the company of ships and sailors and as many as trade by sea, stood afar off.

And cried when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, what city is like unto this great city!

And they cast dust on their heads and cried, weeping and wailing, saying, Alas, alas that great city, wherein we were made rich all that had ships in the sea by reason of her costliness! For in one hour she is made a ruin.

 

The last five verses of chapter 18: (Heaven Rejoices Babylon’s Destruction)

 

Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and you Holy Apostles and Prophets for God has avenged you on her.

And a mighty Angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down and shall be found no more at all. (A moderate size asteroid tossed into the Mediterranean Sea just west of Rome/Vatican City would certainly do this).

And the voice of Harper’s and musicians and pipers and trumpeters  shall be heard no more at all in her.

And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for thy merchants were the great men of the Earth: for by her sorceries were all nations deceived.

Verse 24 (last verse): And in her was found the blood of Prophets, and of Saints, and of all that were slain upon the Earth.

 

Well, that is it folks for tonight, I hope you enjoyed the article. I pray for peace for every human on this planet but to receive true peace we must all be very careful about whom/what we worship and how we ourselves decide to live our lives today and everyday. Good night folks, God’s blessings I wish to you all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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