Monday, April 28, 2014

Israel/Palestine 7: Ceasaria

A Roman bivouac, even if lasts 200 years, is still a bivouac.  Ceasaria lies on the coastal plain, midway between Tel Aviv and Haifa.  A ruined Roman viaduct serves as shade for local beachgoers.  A boombox blasts distorted Beatles music.  The old ruins are hemmed in by upscale gated communities indistinguishable from Indian Wells.  Netanyahu has his personal residence here.  If he’s channeling the ghost of  Pontius Pilate, the Roman prefect in charge from 26 – 36 AD, he’s not spendinglavishly enough. 
“Expenditure on Netanyahu's personal home in Caesarea (as opposed to the official residence in Jerusalem) was NIS 183,000 in 2013, sharply down from NIS 318,000 in 2012, and comparable with NIS 184,000 in 2011.” 
What a piker.

Today, the Roman installation looks shabby, the faint remains of a huge villa for the Prefect: mosaics, garden overlooking the turquoise green Mediterranean, hippodrome on one side, amphitheater on the other.  In it’s time it appears there was just enough infrastructure to support the Roman administration.  There are no fundamental land features to preserve the construction.  There was no great city.  What remains is a minor National Park.  A restaurant sits atop the port ruin.  Divers change.  The place smells like urine, waiting for cleansing winter storms—but it’s only April.  The community has just 4,500 residents and the town is managed by the private Ceasaria Development Corporation.  

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