Friday, December 27, 1985
THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS
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Haifa — Two years ago, a great
winter storm raged off the north-
ern and central coast of Israel.
The winds howled, the breakers
beat upon the shores, and the
swirling waters formed vast
whirlpools which threatened dis-
aster to any ship. From his water-
front home in Kibbutz
Nachsholim, Kurt Raveh watched
with enormous satisfaction. For
nine long years he had been wait-
ing for such a storm.
In the morning he donned his
diving equipment and descended
to the shallow depths of the an-
cient harbor of Dor, not far from
Caesarea, and found what he had
long been expecting. The storm
had shifted millions of tons of un-
derwater sand and had uncovered
the wrecks of at least three an-
cient ships, one dating back to
Canaanite times almost 3,500
For six days Raveh and his col-
league, Ehud Galili, hauled up to
the surface precious historical
treasures from the three ships, in
a race against time and sand. Be-
fore the week was over the rolling
ocean waves had once again co-
vered the sites, but the exact loca-
tions have at last been pinpointed.
The amazing finds are today the
hottest show in Israel, and
thousands of Israelis and tourists
are streaming to the Rockefeller
Musuem in Jerusalem to see what
the underwater archeologists
brought up. For example, they
found a huge ceramic jug, too
heavy to move. They broke it
open, and out poured half-a-ton of
old bronze coins!
Not everything was taken to
Jerusalem. Raveh, director of the
Center of Nautical and Regional
Archeology, has his own museum
at the kibbutz, housed in a former
Rothschild glass factory which is
a museum in itself.
Amazingly, the heavy blanket
of sand served to protect the car-
goes from deterioration and oxidi-
zation far better than if the relics
had been on land. Wooden timbers
are in a remarkably well-
preserved state. Raveh has a
batch of honey which had been
crystallized 1,500 years ago. The
finds have opened up entirely new
approaches to our knowledge of
life in those distant years.
"The sinking of each ship was
very much like the volcanic en-
gulfment of Pompeii," Raveh
says. "It was a sudden tragedy.
There was no time or place to flee
with valuables, or to hide them.
Everything remained just as it
Around the picturesque old
glass factory is a remarkable gar-
den, not of vegetation but of an-
cient stone anchors, some as much
as 3,000 years old, and fished up
from the same site in recent years.
A Napoleonic cannon, dumped by
the French troops during their re-
treat from Acco, has a fascinating
tale of its own. It will take at least
20 years just to study and classify
all the finds, and that is only a
"The treasure here is history,"
says Raveh, a former Dutch air-
line pilot and adventurer who set-
tled at the kibbutz in 1973. To him
the hull of a Phoenician ship is
more precious than gold.
Alongside the kibbutz are the
parellel land excavations of Tel
Dor, directed by Ephraim Stern of
the Hebrew University Archeol-
ogy Department. Dor was the only
port of the ancient kingdom of Is-
rael, and the remains thus far un-
covered give promise of more ex-
citement in the archeological
world. If the present staff engaged
in this work continues with un-
abated vigor, they will need about
500 years to uncover it all!
The kibbutz operates a com-
fortable guest house which offers
its clientele, in addition to the
usual seashore and resort
amenities, opportunity to witness
ships preserved by
tons of sand are the
the diggings at first hand, and
perhaps even participate in them.
Raveh shifts his gaze back to
the sea. Only 150 meters from the
shore, at a depth of no more than
three meters, are the remains of
those three ships. His dream is to
build an underwater wall around
them to keep out the shifting
sands, and to transform the area
into a sub-surface aquarium,
where visitors can descend, and
from behind glass see the ships,
which stand almost upright.
"There is more to see here than
just looking at the tropical fish in
the underwater aquarium in
Eilat," he says.
Raveh continues to study the
finds he brought up during those
hectic six days, and each day
brings new discoveries. As winter
approaches, he keeps his eye on
the horizon. There may be
another great storm, he says with
gleeful and hopeful anticipation.
In Arab Poll
Haifa (ZINS) — A Haifa Uni-
versity survey of Israeli Arabs
shows that 60 percent validate the
existence of the Jewish state.
Some 34 percent consider them-
selves Israelis or Israeli Arabs; 46
percent consider themselves Is-
raeli Palestinians or Palestinian
Some 66 percent of the respon-
dents believe Israel should recog-
nize the Palestine Liberation or-
ganization. Forty percent believe
the PLO is the only legitimate
representative of Israeli Arabs.
Fifty-eight percent condone PLO
terrorist acts against Israel.