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Israel Antiquities Authority press release:

A spectacular colorful mosaic dating to the Byzantine period (4th–6th centuries CE) was exposed in recent weeks in the fields of Kibbutz Bet Qama, in the B’nei Shimon regional council. The mosaic was discovered within the framework of an archaeological excavation the Israel Antiquities Authority is carrying out prior to the construction of an interchange between Ma’ahaz and Devira Junction, undertaken and funded by the Cross-Israel Highway Company.

The photo here is by Yael Yolovitch for the European Pressphoto Agency and I snagged it from NBC News’s PhotoBlog.

Israel Antiquities Authority press release:

A spectacular colorful mosaic dating to the Byzantine period (4th–6th centuries CE) was exposed in recent weeks in the fields of Kibbutz Bet Qama, in the B’nei Shimon regional council. The mosaic was discovered within the framework of an archaeological excavation the Israel Antiquities Authority is carrying out prior to the construction of an interchange between Ma’ahaz and Devira Junction, undertaken and funded by the Cross-Israel Highway Company.

The photo here is by Yael Yolovitch for the European Pressphoto Agency and I snagged it from NBC News’s PhotoBlog.

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Israeli Ethiopian Birth Control Ignites Debate

Weird story out of Israel recently, reported here by Tia Goldenberg for the AP:

Women’s activists and a series of media reports contend that Ethiopian women who immigrated to Israel over the past two decades were coerced into taking a controversial birth control drug without being properly informed of its side effects or being offered alternative contraceptives.

While the allegations have been strongly denied by the government, it remains unclear why so many Ethiopian women were receiving Depo-Provera, a long-acting birth control injection that is rarely prescribed to other Israelis.

There doesn’t appear to be any debate that Ethiopian women immigrating to Israel disproportionately received Depo-Provera. Why it happened and the degree to which the women were coerced, however, are much different issues.

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US sees Israel, tight Mideast ally, as spy threat

Adam Goldman and Matt Apuzzo for the AP:

The CIA station chief opened the locked box containing the sensitive equipment he used from his home in Tel Aviv, Israel, to communicate with CIA headquarters in Virginia, only to find that someone had tampered with it. …

It was a not-so-subtle reminder that, even in a country friendly to the United States, the CIA was itself being watched.

… according to another two former U.S. officials, a CIA officer in Israel came home to find the food in the refrigerator had been rearranged.

How is this something that happens in real life and not a bad spy movie?

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Paintballing with Hezbollah

Mitchell Prothero, writing in Vice Magazine:

We figured they’d cheat; they were Hezbollah, after all. But none of us—a team of four Western journalists—thought we’d be dodging military-grade flash bangs when we initiated this “friendly” paintball match.

This is one of the most fascinating pieces about the Middle East I’ve read, well, possibly ever — certainly this year. Read every word.

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Israeli law eyes super-thin models as bad examples

Daniella Cheslow writing for the AP about a new Israeli law that regulates the thinness of models in advertisements:

The new law requires models to produce a medical report no older than three months at every shoot for the Israeli market, stating that they are not malnourished by World Health Organization standards.

The U.N. agency relies on the body mass index, calculated by factors of weight and height. WHO says a body mass index below 18.5 indicates malnutrition. According to that standard, a woman 1.72 meters tall (5-feet-8) should weigh no less than 119 pounds (54 kilograms).

But be sure to read the whole article, it has a lot of background about just how damaging this is to young girls and young models.