No, the question is not who invented the famous Ricola® Herb Candy – the answer to that question is clearly „the Swiss“.
In the wake of the latest excavations near Jaljulia, Amanda Borschel of the Times of Israel asked whether this may have been the first manufacturing site of „Swiss army pocket knives“.
Starting in 1890, the first pocket folding knives were manufactured for the Swiss army, the first series still originating from the German knife manufacturing town of Solingen. In 1891, the Swiss manufacturer of surgical instruments Karl Elsener took over the production, giving the company his mother’s name – Victoria. Later, when stainless steel started to be used for their production, he added the abbreviation „Inox“ to the name. This was the birth of the worldwide most well-known pocket knife. From the smallest manageable knife with only one blade, up to true giants, such is the variety of choice. „The Giant“, which may not really be of much use in everyday life, was manufactured in 2006 and was soon included in the Guinness Book of records. The 87 instruments manufactured up to this day with their 141 different functions were united into a single knife. The monster’s price amounted to US$ 1,000.
Driving along the Itzhak Rabin Highway, 170 km from Yokneam in the Carmel Mountain range to Beer Sheba which borders on the Negev Desert, means crossing a variety of regions. During the first few kilometers the horizon is defined by the four chimney stacks of the Hadera Power Station. The distance to the Mediterranean is only a few kilometers away.
This is the narrowest part of Israel. The landscape to the west of the highway is characterized mainly by fruit plantations, mostly bananas.
To the east lie the hills of Samaria, which – until the country was unified by King David – had been the Kingdom of Israel. Here you find many Arab villages, their skyline characterized by golden and green minarets.
This is also where part of the actual „wall“ passes through. Behind the wall lies Qalqilya, a town of about 50,000 inhabitants. Why did Israel secure the border with a true wall at this of all places? Under the Oslo Agreement, Qalqilya belongs to Zone A and is thereby exclusively under Palestinian administration. However, since during the Al Aqsa-Intifada (2000 to 2005) numerous terrorists came from this region, who were mostly trained by Hamas in Gaza, the security of Israeli territories was no longer be assured. In order to make access to Israel more difficult, the IDF decided on the one hand to temporarily take over control over the region. At the same time the construction of the wall was started. It has 3.5 kilometers length here. Qalqilya may be the town whose citizens have to pay the highest price for crimes committed by the few. Since 2003, the town can only be reached through two checkpoints. They no longer profit from the formerly money-spinning agriculture, most fields having become victims of the border installation or being situated on the far side of the highway, which was once accessible through a tunnel. Is it their own fault? I do not want to be all that cynical. But here we can feel what consequences an enduring virulent danger to Israel’s security has brought. Since the wall, the acts of terrorism have clearly been reduced. The thousands of drivers using the highway every day can feel protected against stones and Molotov cocktails that once used to be thrown regularly. What is the solution? Regretfully, there is none in sight. „Simply stop the terror“, is the universal remedy regularly suggested in Israel. But how long would the violence-free period have to be, which may be considered the basis for a „confidence building measure“? One year? Ten years? Anyway, it would be a beginning. The city of Mühlheim on the Ruhr is a twin city of Kfar Saba, the Israeli neighboring town. With Qalqilya, the Westphalians are at a preliminary stage – the town friendship.
Near the border to what was once the Kingdom of Judea, several kilometers to the south of the Kfar Saba Jaljulia line, lies an Arab town of about 10,000 inhabitants. Excavations made in 2010 showed that there has been a settlement there since the Mameluke period.
The Torah mentions five settlements bearing the name of „Gilgal“ (though with different orthography). The name may originate from the „stone heap as witness of memory“ that was piled up by Jacob and his father in law Laban (Gen 31;48 – 54). Laban called it „Yegar Sahaduat“ in Aramaic, whereas Jacob named it „Gal-Ed“. In the course of time, the Roman name of the settlement derived from it „Galgulis“.
On the present location of Jaljulia there is proof that since Byzantine times there was a settlement called Gilgulye. The name Jaljulia probably originates from this Byzantine appellation.
Earlier excavations unearthed findings from the Iron Age, as well as some mosaics. In the Levant, the Iron Age is dated between 1200 to 500 BCE.
Long before the Israelites, who left traces all over, conquered the land, the region was certainly not unpopulated. The witnesses to such settlement are hidden under layers of earth of varying thickness. Whenever a major construction project is planned in Israel, the Israel Antiquities Authority first intervenes. No construction project may start before they subject the whole area to strict investigations.
One of those new projects concerns the area between highway 531 and the freeway. New bridges, as well as access and exit systems are planned to help reduce the ever-growing traffic.
From the Arab town of Jaljulia, highway 531 leads to the west in direction of the densely populated high-tech region surrounding the seashore city of Herzliya. An improvement of the traffic flow is urgently needed.
The picture shows a dry river course. Whereas during and after the rainy period, the Quana River still carries big quantities of water, 500,000 years ago it was probably very much more. The source of the river is in the Judean Hills and it flows into the Yarkon river which reaches the Mediterranean to the north of Tel Aviv.
Our forefathers found all they needed for living here. Quantities of drinking water and food. Herds of animals to hunt as well as flint stone pieces brought by the water.
Our African forefathers were probably those who wandered from the region to the south of the Sahara in eastern and northern direction. The oldest finds are from the early Ice Age, which stretched between 1.9 million to 700,000 years BCE. When the first skeleton fragments were found on Java in 1891, it was at first thought that a new species of apes had been discovered. Only the discovery of a complete thigh bone made it possible to understand that this was an intermediate form between apes and humans, characterized by walking upright. The scientific appellation „homo erectus“ was introduced in 1950.
Our biological ancestor now bore a name.
In Europe, the Neanderthal developed from „homo erectus“. Both groups may have met during their wanderings. In the course of evolution, the Neanderthal lost the battle for ongoing development.
In Europe, Asia and East Africa, homo erectus began his triumphal march. In the course of decades, with ever more sophisticated scientific techniques, a more comprehensive picture was achieved. What was particularly enlightening was the finding of the almost complete skeleton of the „Turkana boy“ in Africa in 1984. Our ancestor reached a maximum height of 1.80 m and had a sturdy body. His brain volume was 650 – 1250 cm3, while the child’s growth phase during which the brain is growing was much shorter than it is today. By the age of 1, the toddler had 80% of the brain volume of grown-ups. In „homo sapiens“ the brain volume is 1100 – 1800cm3 and the 1 year old child reaches about 50% of that volume.
The teeth that were found showed a mixed nutrition.
The Jaljulia excavations prove that our ancestor was not the clumsy inexperienced hunter, as was assumed for years. Massive findings of hunting utensils made of flint stone go to show that not only did the hunters succeed in processing the stone in a way that, with its sharp edges and its pillared point, it was able to kill animals and cut them. More complex instruments were found. The stones were processed on one side in such a way that they could be attached to a wooden stick.
Our ancestors were nomads. They knew the best locations for ensuring survival in the course of the year. Israel was one of those places.
©esther scheiner, Israel
©translated by: Translations International, Herzliya, Israel; email@example.com