Monday, December 7, 2009

Mt. Carmel: A holy place since ancient times

University of Haifa atop Mount Carmel in 1996

A view of Mount Carmel in 1894

Google image of Mt. Carmel, which runs SouthWest from the point of this peninsula. Haifa University is the large building near the lower right corner of the picture.

Geography and geology

The phrase Mount Carmel has been used in three distinct ways:

* To refer to the 39 km-long (24-mile long) mountain range, stretching as far in the southeast as Jenin.
* To refer to the northwestern 19 km (12 miles) of the mountain range.
* To refer to the headland at the northwestern end of the range.

The Carmel range is approximately 6.5 to 8 km (4 to 5 miles) wide, sloping gradually towards the southwest, but forming a steep ridge on the northeastern face, 525.4 m (1,742 ft) high. The Jezreel Valley lies to the immediate northeast. The range forms a natural barrier in the landscape, just as the Jezreel Valley forms a natural passageway, and consequently the mountain range and the valley has had a large impact on migration and invasions through the Levant over time. The mountain formation is an admixture of limestone and flint, containing many caves, and covered in several volcanic rocks. The sloped side of the mountain is covered with luxuriant vegetation, including oak, pine, olive, and laurel trees.

Several modern towns are located on the range, including Yokneam on the eastern ridge, Zikhron Ya'aqov on the southern slope, the Druze town of Carmel City on the more central part of the ridge, and the towns of Nesher, Tirat Hakarmel, and the city of Haifa, on the far northwestern promontory and its base. There is also a small kibbutz called Bet Oren, which is located on one of the highest points in the range to the southeast of Haifa.

Unfortunately neither Google Earth or wikipedia will locate this Kibbutz, but if it's on one of the highest points in the range, it must be around the Haifa University.

Early history

The History of Haifa dates back to the 3rd century B.C. Since then it has been controlled by several civilizations, including the Canaanites, Israelites, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Crusaders, Kurds, the Mamluks, the Ottoman Turks and it is currently a major city in Israel. Today, it is a mixed city of Jews and Arab citizens of Israel.

History of occupation

Occupation date April 23rd,1948

Attacking Israeli force

The Zionist forces were made up of 5,000 soldiers mostly organized by Haganah (Carmeli Brigade) and some IZL troops. The attack on Arab Haifa started on the 21st of April and was initiated from Hadara Ha Carmel (Haifa's Jewish neighborhood), which aimed to split the city into three separate and isolated pockets (operation Misbarayim meaning scissor)

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