Not many are as attuned to both the Holy Bible and the biblical landscape as was Prof. Menashe Har-El throughout his long and rich life. From an early age on Menashe toured the Land, fascinated by the majestic landscapes he encountered and the treasures of nature that had been provided for man to use and enjoy. Menashe describes the forests, their distribution and composition in the distinctive regions of the country: in the mountains, the plain, the hills and the banks of the Jordan. Addressing Creation, and the role that the mining of minerals and ores were to play in that orderly universe, a description follows of the formation of the original structure of the country, the stark, often daunting, mountains of the Negev, the verdant hills of Galilee created by the continental and marine upheavals that occurred as a result of the primordial tectonic activities. Just as vital is Prof. Har-El’s discussion of the natural vegetation; the exploitation of the mineral ores by man; and the methods of salt production in Mount Sodom and its marketing by way of the Dead Sea and along the roads built by the kings of Judah in the Judean wilderness. Not neglected is the bond between man and plant life with its profound effect on practically all aspects of life in the Land of Israel: agriculture, religion, customs, laws, commerce, industry, architecture, medicine, perfumes and courts. No one is better qualified than the author to lead us, Bible in hand, through that fascinating land of wonders.
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