he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon-Revelations 16:16
by Roy Tov
Away from the headlines, Israel is carrying out a series of projects in Megiddo and its surroundings. The projects are opening a large area, creating an eerie reminder that this would be the site of the Biblical Battle of Armageddon. Is this Israeli sarcasm or real preparations for war?
Armageddon is the Greek rendering of Har Megiddo, Mount Megiddo. The low hill is located southeast of the Haifa Bay, at the strategic exit of Wadi Ara, offering magnificent views of the Jezreel Valley. The site where the cataclysmic battle between good and evil will unfold.
On July 3, 2013, in Israel’s Nuclear Bid on Seaports, I reported on two “tailored” bids for private ports in Israel. Hebrew media claimed ahead of the results that the winners would be American and Chinese corporations active in the field.
One of the ports would be in the Bay of Haifa, providing direct access to Megiddo. Who would get this apocalyptic prize, China or the USA?
A few days afterwards, on July 10, the Ministry of Defense announced a dramatic redeployment of the IDF (Key IDF Rearrangement Announced and Jericho Ballistic Test, Saudi Missiles, and an IDF Brave New Plan). The main move would be of Division 366, the heaviest and largest of the IDF. It would relocate to the Golan Heights from nearby the Port of Haifa, freeing a lot of valuable ground.
These two events would create what is needed for a deployment of a foreign army arriving from the sea. Moreover, Israel is rapidly rearranging the Megiddo area itself.
In 2005, remains of a Church were found next to Prison Megiddo outer wall. It dates to the 3rd century AD. It is unique for being one of the oldest churches ever discovered and for it having served also Roman soldiers.
The finding was not random. Megiddo Prison was originally a military prison in which Palestinians were imprisoned after military trials during the 1970s. Following a complex process, it was transferred to Israel’s Prisons Authority, but it remains a high security installation in which are kept “security prisoners,” code name for Palestinians.
The prison is surrounded by an underground wall to avoid the prisoners digging their way to freedom. The West Bank is very close. The church was found while working on the underground fence. It is being restored and has been visited by senior representatives of the Catholic Church.
Megiddo has been recognized as a strategic spot since ancient times.
Israel’s Highway 65 connects the Mediterranean coastal plain with the Jezreel Valley, bypassing Haifa. It achieves that by traveling along Wadi* Ara. Undecided in its politics, the road zigzags left and right among the low hills. Palestinian villages dot the roadsides. It doesn’t take long to notice that most of them are not connected to the Israeli highway, or that they are connected in such a way that their denizens have a hard time accessing it.
This area is known as The Triangle** and is the largest concentration of Palestinian towns within the Green Line. Near its northern edge is Ma’ale Iron (“Upper Ara” in Hebrew), a small regional council that administrates various villages. One of them is named Musmus.
Musmus is the only village in the country named after a pharaoh; its name is a distortion of Thutmose. Pharaoh Thutmose III reigned from 1479 BC to 1425 BE; during this long period he conducted several military campaigns, including northwards, to Syria. On his way there, he fought the Battle of Megiddo, the largest in his campaigns. Instead of taking the easy paths available for reaching Megiddo, he crossed Wadi Ara; he called it “Aruna.”
The pass was described by his scribes as wide enough for the army to pass “horse after horse and man after man.” He won the battle, and an eon or two afterwards got a little village named after him. This village is so unfriendly to Israel that the country’s police forces avoid entering it.
A more recent campaign was the 1918 Battle of Megiddo between the British and Ottoman Empires. In what may be a hint of how the apocalyptic battle may look, this one exceeded the boundaries of Megiddo. The picture opening this article was taken between Beit Shean and Nablus.
The most recent finding in the Megiddo region is a Roman military base belonging to the Sixth Iron Legion. There are signs that some of their soldiers were Christians, probably worshipping at the nearby church. Located on the northwestern side of the Megiddo Junction, the site was discovered in late June 2013.
The legion occupied the site between 120 and 300AD; creating one of the historical names of the area, “Legio.” 3,500 Soldiers ruled from here parts of the Galilee and Samaria. Parts of the surrounding wall, a square of 250m on each side, are being excavated. The finding was made with underground radar; in other words, they were purposely searching for the camp.
Israelis are mockingly referring to the site as the “Roman Kirya Base.” “Kirya” means “town” in Hebrew, the term is best known from the name of Judas Iscariot, Judas the Man of the Town. However, the Israeli reference is different. The IDF General Headquarters and the Ministry of Defense are in an area known as “HaKirya”—The Town—in Tel Aviv.
That was what Grandfather Zion the Elder was waiting for. Following the discovery it was announced that the Megiddo Prison would be moved four kilometers westward.
This cannot be justified on budget terms. Nearby, at the other end of the “Rule Road,” a straight stretch of road connecting Megiddo with Afula is the Shita Prison. Israel could have expanded it to accommodate the Megiddo Prison inmates at a lower cost. Somebody wants the Haifa Bay and Jezreel Valley cleared for military movements.
The Church site would be fully expanded. The Roman Legion would be excavated. The Megiddo hill site would be expanded. The three would be combined in a National Park which will ensure the strategic spot is open and accessible. From his cold pyramid, Pharaoh Thutmose III smiles. Nothing really changes.
Israeli sarcasm or are the Zionists arming Armageddon? Stay tuned.
full version at http://www.roitov.com/articles/megiddo.htm
* “Wadi” is a narrow stream that remains dry except during the winter
** Hebrew: HaMeshulash; Arabic: al-Muthallath
Roi Tov is a graduate—among others—of Tel Aviv University and the Weizmann Institute of Science. In addition to his memoir, Tov is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Molecular Physics and other scientific journals. He won various travel writing and photography awards.
In his writings, he tries to reveal life in Israel as a Christian Israel Defense Force (IDF) officer—from human rights violations to the use of an extensive network of underground agents. He was recognized first as a refugee and subsequently as political prisoner of Bolivia.