Birkat Ram - The largest crater lake in Israel. It is fed by  underground springs and lies just beneath the Hermon mountains. The Talmud tells us (Sanhedrin 108a) of great underground springs which opened during the Flood. Later all but three were sealed up. The three were Hammat Gader (Hamat Gader of today) near the Yarmuk, The Tiberias hot springs and the spring of Beit Ram, known today as Birkat Ram.

The Hermon area is mentioned in the Bible in the context of the land that was conquered by the Israelites from the Amorite kings: Land stretching from "the Arnon River unto Mt. Hermon" (Deut. 3:8).

The town of Bet Shean is mentioned in ancient Egyptian texts from the time of Thutmose III (15 BCE) to that of Ramses III (12 BCE). Excavations have proved the importance of this town as a station for caravans and a seat of ancient Egyptian rule. The successful  expeditions of Seti I (1308 - 1290) into Canaan are recorded on several steles, including that of Bet Shean (pictured here). The reliefs are a highly detailed source of information on the military route taken by the Egyptians along the northern Sinai Peninsula as well as providing enlightening details on the region, specifically regarding politico-military confrontations.

Aerial view of the tell of Bet Shean. Photo Richard Cleave, Jerusalem. 

 The most impressive discoveries of Bet Shean date from the Roman-Byzantine periods. These include the Roman theater pictured here which stretches more than ninety meters and has a seating capacity estimated at 5,000. South of the theater a strong wall encircles the building broken by passages at fixed distances.







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23 Jul 2007 / 8 Av 5767 0