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By Katie Diaz,2014-05-12 19:18
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    Contact: Lauren L. Sullivan May 22, 2008

    P/215-351-2066

    WHYY TO BROADCAST VISIONS OF ISRAEL

    ..Violinist and Conductor Itzhak Perlman Narrates Aerial Pilgrimage to Israel

    The acclaimed VISIONS series makes an aerial pilgrimage to Israel, the world’s only Jewish state home to approximately 7.2 million and the Holy Land of the three main

    Abrahamic religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Set to ethnic music, stunning high-

    definition aerial footage showcases Israel in all its diverse glory, flying over sites where

    Jewish rebels gave their lives; where Egyptians, Greeks and Romans built outposts to

    their empires; and where Jesus Christ performed miracles. Viewers witness the

    magnificence of the country’s many holy sites, including the Western Wall, the Temple Mount and Church of the Holy Sepulchre, alongside such modern achievements as the

    ingenious irrigation system that helped make a desert bloom. Narrated by Israeli-

    American violinist and conductor Itzhak Perlman, VISIONS OF ISRAEL airs on WHYY ndTV 12 and WHYY Digital 12.1 on Monday, June 2 at 11 p.m.

    Featuring revealing ground footage with both day and night views, VISIONS OF ISRAEL begins with a glimpse of the Mediterranean Coast, the first sight most tourists

    see before landing at Ben Gurion Airport. The helicopter-mounted camera glides from

    the ancient port city of Jaffa up north to pulsing Tel Aviv, Israel’s cultural and financial

    epicenter, with its modern skyscrapers and bustling beach promenade. On the lush slopes

    of Mount Carmel, religions intersect: a Christian Carmelite monastery stands above the

    Hebrew prophet Elijah’s Cave, while the longest hillside garden in the world surrounds

    the gold-domed Shrine of the Báb and the Bahá’í Faith’s world headquarters. A tranquil place for prayer and meditation, the Bahá’i World Centre is a retreat from the lively port city of Haifa below it. Inland, the fertile soil of the Hula Valley and the Golan Heights

    has been transformed from swampland to rich farmland, thanks to the collective efforts of

    kibbutzim, cooperative farming villages. VISIONS OF ISRAEL also surveys the Sea of Galilee (Lake Kinneret), where Jesus is believed to have walked on water, and the ruins

    of Kumran, famous for one of the most important archeological discoveries of all time:

    the Dead Sea Scrolls. Unearthed in the caves of these desert cliffs by a young Bedouin

    boy, the scrolls include well-preserved texts from the Old Testament, written in Aramaic,

    Hebrew and Greek.

    VISIONS OF ISRAEL travels to lands marked by cycles of creation and destruction,

    ruled by different cultures throughout their history. First is the ancient port city of Akko,

    also known as Acre, where Christian Crusaders, including Richard the Lionheart,

    attempted to retake Jerusalem and the Holy Land from Muslim armies. The enormous

    Crusader City they constructed over centuries is testament to the depth of their religious

    devotion. Beit She?an, ruled by Alexander the Great, who created a thriving Hellenistic

    city that was eventually conquered by the Romans, was destroyed by a powerful

    earthquake in 749. Despite such turmoil, the practice of Hebrew ritual lives on to this day.

In the Judean desert, viewers visit the shrine of Nebi Musa, where many Muslims believe

    the sacred bones of Moses rest, and on the desert’s eastern border, David’s Spring in Ein

Gedi National Park, where the future king once sought refuge. The southernmost city of

    Eilat, nicknamed “the end of the world” by vacationers, is a popular tourist resort and port located at the northern tip of the Red Sea. Beautiful bird species fill the area’s skies

    during their migration to and from Africa, attracting birdwatchers from all over the world.

    Visitors can almost smell the Dead Sea, one of the saltiest bodies of water in the world

    and the lowest point on land (1,350 feet below sea level), as it comes into view. Alive

    with vibrant color, the Dead Sea area includes waterfalls and freshwater springs, desert

    wildlife and tropical foliage, resorts and spas; its waters and mineral-laden mud are used

    in products ranging from skin care treatments to rich fertilizers. High above the Dead Sea

    is the first-century Jewish fortress at Masada, built by King Herod. The vast desert site of

    palaces and fortifications is remembered for the mass suicide of nearly 1,000 Jewish

    people who faced enslavement, defenseless in a battle against a 10,000-strong Roman

    legion. Today, many members of the Israel Defense Forces in which service is

    compulsory for all citizens swear “Masada Will Not Fall Again!”

    In the Judean Mountains lies the Golden City on the Hill, renamed Jerusalem, meaning

    “The Dwelling of Peace,” by King David. The Old City is a sanctified place for Jews,

    Muslims and Christians. Sacred locations include the Church of the Holy Sepulchre,

    where Christians believe Jesus was crucified and laid to rest, and Dome of the Rock on

    the Temple Mount, where Muslims believe Mohammed ascended to heaven. Jews believe

    the site is where God spoke to Abraham and where the Ark of the Covenant was sheltered

    before the destruction of the Great Temple by the Babylonians. The Western Wall, one of

    the most sacred sites for Jews, is what remains of the Second Temple, built by the

    Israelites and destroyed by the Romans. thIn the 19 century, a second, new and dynamic Jerusalem was created, as the Old City

    could not contain its growing population. A modern metropolis, the capital city includes

    artistic and cultural attractions like the Israel Museum, which houses the Dead Sea

    Scrolls in the Shrine of the Book, and nearby Yad Vashem, Israel’s official memorial to the Jewish victims of the Holocaust. The tree-studded walkway of the Avenue of the

    Righteous Among the Nations, lined with plaques commemorating non-Jews who risked

    their lives to save Jewish victims, leads to Yad Vashem’s sprawling complex of museums, exhibits, archives, monuments and sculptures the world’s largest repository of Holocaust information.

In recognition of Israel’s independence on May 14, 1948, VISIONS OF ISRAEL pays

    tribute to the collective effort, faith and optimism of the Jewish people who built this

    remarkable country. Their perseverance is the source of national pride. At night on the

    streets of modern Jerusalem, Haifa and Tel Aviv, music gives voice to the Jewish

    people’s lust for life and hope for the future.

    ### WHYY is what a diverse community has in common. WHYY, through television, radio and

    other communications services, makes our region a better place, connecting each of us to

    the world’s richest ideas and all of us to each other.

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