Israel Briefs: Israeli Moon Mission Hits Snag and More


Archaeologists Unearth 1,600-Year-Old Estate in Central Israel That Belonged to Rich Samaritan

A 1,600-year-old estate belonging to a wealthy Samaritan man was discovered in Tzur Natan, reported.

The central Israel property included an inscription reading “Only God help the beautiful property of Master Adios, amen.”

“The inscription was discovered in an impressive wine press that was apparently part of the agricultural estate of a wealthy individual called Adios,” said Hagit Torge, director of the excavations on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority. “This is only the second such wine press discovered in Israel with a blessing inscription associated with the Samaritans.”

Stone quarries featuring rock-cut depressions used for growing grapevines were found near the wine press — which was near the top of Tel Tzur Natan. Remains of a Samaritan synagogue were found there as well.

Ten Plagues Redux: Swarms of Locusts May Descend

Locust swarms may land in Israel because of heavy rain in eastern Yemen and the Sudan-Eritrea border, according to Israel’s ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, reported.

Israel’s Plant Protection and Inspection Services Department of the Ministry are coordinating with the United Nations to receive locust movement updates.

The locusts do not represent a disease threat, but can severely damage agricultural crops. Israel is checking its pesticide supply.

Locusts last swarmed in Israel in 2013, despite a wall of pesticide on the Sinai border, as some insects entered the country through central Israel.

Carb-Heavy Foods to Be Limited at Government Events

Government meetings and events in Israel will feature new dietary rules designed to replace carbohydrate-heavy food with more nutritious choices, reported.

Israel’s Civil Service Commission published new guidelines that call for fresh fruits, vegetables, rice crackers and unsweetened yogurt, while excluding candies, sodas and pastries, including the Israeli favorite, the boureka.

High-calorie, high-sodium, high-fat and high-carbohydrate processed foods will be replaced at government-run hospitals, tax authority offices, parliament and courts, according to the guidelines.

The initiative is part of an Israeli Ministry of Health effort designed to encourage healthy food choices. Israel recently ranked as the world’s 10th healthiest country in the Bloomberg Healthiest Country Index.

Israeli Moon Mission Hits Snag, Still Expected to Be on Time

An unexpected onboard computer restart on Feb. 26 caused the postponement of the Israeli “Beresheet” lunar spacecraft’s latest maneuver attempt which, in turn, caused a scheduled trajectory adjustment to be missed, reported.

Engineers are checking whether the restart was connected to a problem with the star navigation system. One possibility was that the system was impacted by glare from the sun.

Despite the glitch — which never cropped up in simulations — Beresheet is still scheduled to land on the moon on April 11. Built-in buffers were added to the schedule in case of delays.

Israel became on Feb. 22 the first country to launch a privately funded lunar mission — and the fourth country overall to launch a lunar spacecraft. The SpaceX Falcon 9 launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.


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