1999 AND 2005 EXPEDITIONS TO ISRAEL AND EGYPT

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1ST STOP ISRAEL, THEN TO EGYPT TO TRY TO PREVENT A WAR

This page primarily summarizes my first Codes-related expedition to Israel and Egypt in 1999, though it makes some reference to my second expedition in 2005.  The main purpose of the initial journey, and of all Ark-related Codes research between 1997 and 2006, was to prevent a nuclear war between Israel and its Arab neighbors that was forecast in Michael Drosnin's book, THE BIBLE CODE.  Efforts to thwart the war are outlined below.  The names provided are real.  The current emphasis of my Codes research is largely, but not completely, limited to recovering the Ark of the Covenant.

 

AT THE

INTERNATIONAL TORAH CODES SOCIETY (ITCS)

IN JERUSALEM

 

       I presented my Experimental Report about the Ark's location before Dr. Rips and the Torah Codes Society on Monday, May 10th, 1999.  I’d never met or heard him before, and was struck by the similarity between his voice and mannerisms and those of Albert Einstein.   

       I didn’t come to Jerusalem with any delusions that Rips would publicly endorse my findings, and was pleased enough to learn that he found my statistical approach to Codes analysis “promising” even if he was troubled by my findings about the Ark’s site which ran counter to rabbinical understanding that is somewhere under Temple  Mount.  Rips an Orthodox Jew living in a city dominated by rabbis.

       I once got onto a bus in this city, looked around and thought, How very odd these people look.  All the men had black hats, white shirts, black suits and peiachs (side locks of hair).  I had on a cowboy hat (it was 1979 – before the first Indiana Jones movie and five years before I became a modern Orthodox Jew).  After a while, I noticed that the men on the bus were staring at me dressed as I was.  How very odd, they must have thought.  What kind of mishuganuh (crazy person) is this?  Can he be a Jew? I’m certain, as I sat around the room full of black hats at the ITCS, they didn’t think too much more of my Indiana Jones hat.  I was always proud to wear a military uniform, but saw no reason to lose my individuality when not serving my country.  When civilians succumb to peer pressure to dress in one manner only, and to think in one manner only, creativity will likely suffer.  Whereas the universe wasn’t created perfect and Judaism sees its mission in terms of fixing the problems, the faith should be in the business of promoting new, positive, and creative approaches to problem solving, not stifling them.

     The final handshake of my meeting with father Robert O'Toole at the Vatican on May 4, 1999 (while I was travelling on the surface by ship, train, carry ferry, and bus on the way from Miami to Israel and Egypt) had been a friendly one.  There was a wide gulf between our faiths, but recent momentum to start to close the gap and the priest appreciated what I was attempting to do.  Jerusalem was something else. 

       Dr. Robert Haralick informed me that my presentation had been nearly cancelled by Rabbi Silman of the religious court in B’Nei Brak.  A meeting with the rabbi had been requested by “the committee” which was represented by Dr. Moshe Katz.  He was concerned by my belief that the Ark was no longer in Jerusalem.  Haralick tried to argue forcefully on my behalf, but Rabbi Silman spoke little English, so my opponent, Dr. Katz, had to translate Haralick’s arguments for him.  The cards were therefore stacked against me and the rabbi ruled likewise.  Dr. Haralick then pointed out that the original “call for papers” made no mention of the need to follow halacha (Jewish religious law).  The rabbi agreed that this was true, and informed Dr. Haralick, “Then you must do something clever.”  In the end, a compromise had been reached which allowed me to present my paper, but under the somewhat insulting heading of “Controversy: Use and Misuse of Codes, The Roffman Paper, Ark of the Covenant.”  While I was allotted a mere 45 minutes to sum up nearly two years of work, the discussion about the paper occupied the bulk of the afternoon and actually took up about 20% of the two day conference.  The schedule of speakers read as follows:

 

First Congress of the

International Torah Codes Society

Program

Monday May 10, 1999

Technical Sessions

 

Hilton

7 King David St.

Jerusalem, Israel

 

9:00 AM - 9:20 AM       Opening Ceremony and Blessing

                                       Statistical Methodology

9:20 AM - 10:10 AM     Computing ELS Joint Placement        Prof. Robert M. Haralick

                                        Probabilities  

10:10 AM - 10:40 AM   Hybrid  Measurement Schemes          Prof. Ilya Rips

10:40 AM - 11:00 AM   Coffee Break

                                        Exploratory Methodologies

11:00 AM - 11:30 AM   The Death of Diana                             Dr. Moshe Katz

11:30 AM - 12:00 PM    Elokim-Din                                          Nachum Bombach

12:00  PM -   1:45  PM    Lunch

                                         Controversy:  

                 Use and Misuse of Codes

                 The Roffman Paper       

   1:45 PM - 2:30 PM      Ark of the Covenant                            Barry Roffman

   2:30 PM - 3:15 PM      Panel Discussion

-          Codes and Halacha

-          Predictions

-          Involving Anything Unknown   

-          Counter-examples

   3:15 PM - 3:30 PM      Coffee Break

                                         New Experiments

   3:30 PM - 4:15 PM       Replication of the Famous

                                         Rabbis’ Experiment                            Doron Witztum

   4:15 PM - 4:45 PM       Rabbis and Cities                                Harold Gans and

                                                                                                     Nachum Bombach       

   4:15 PM - 5:15 PM        Sons of Hamen                                  Dr. Alex Rotenberg             

   5:15 PM - 5:45 PM        Mishnayot                                          Dr. Moshe Katz

   5:45 PM – 7:30 PM       Dinner     

 

 

Tuesday, May 11, 1999

Technical Sessions

Hilton

 

                 Statistical Methodology

 9:00 AM - 9:45 AM       Best  Star Team Methodology               Prof. Robert M. Haralick

 9:45 AM - 10:15 AM     Evaluation of Long Expressions              Dr. Alex Rotenberg    

10:15 AM – 10:45 AM   The Misleading Statistics in the

                                        Torah Codes Opponents’ Experiments     Nachum Bombach

10:45 AM - 11:00 AM    Coffee Break

                                        Exploratory Methodologies

11:00 AM – 11:45 AM    The Clustering and

                                         Dialogue Mode                                        Dr. Leib Schwartzman    

11:45 AM – 12:15 PM    Goral  HaGra                                            Dr. Moshe Katz

12:15  PM -   1:45 PM     Lunch

  1:45  PM -   3:00  PM    Open Discussion 

                                         New Software Tools

                                         New Experiments

                                         Negative Results

                                         Finding Structures in Codes                            

   3:00 PM - 3:15 PM       Coffee Break

                                         New Experiments

   3:15 PM - 4:15 PM       Sons of Yaakov                                         Prof. Ilya Rips                

   4:15 PM - 4:30 PM       The Encampments of the Exodus             Art Levitt

   4:30 PM - 5:00 PM       New Experiment Specifications           Prof. Robert M. Haralick

   5:00 PM – 7:30 PM       Dinner

               Public Session

               Hilton

   7:00 PM - 7:15 PM        Opening  and Blessings

   7:15 PM - 8:15 PM        Historical Perspective                          Dr. Moshe Katz   

   8:15 PM - 8:45 PM        The Torah Code Controversy              Prof. Robert M. Haralick

   8:45 PM - 9:00 PM        Break 

   9:00 PM  - 9:30 PM       Summary and Highlights                     Prof. Ilya Rips

 9:30 PM - 10:30  PM       Questions and Answers

 

          After my presentation the Torah Codes Society informally voted to exclude consideration of any matters not in accordance with halacha.  This unfortunate decision moved the Society out of the function of a scientific body and placed it squarely in the realm of a religious forum dressed in quasi or pseudo science garb.  OF NOTE FOR THE UPDATED RECORD: NINE YEARS LATER, DR. RIPS SENT ME A DEEP APOLOGY FOR THIS ACTION.  He specifically admitted that the oppostion to me was "foolish."

       The apprehension of what they had just witnessed back then in 1999 was more than apparent.  It was audibly expressed: “We fear that while you will prove the Codes right if you succeed, you will bring great damage to our cause if you fail to locate the Ark.  We must focus on a much more restricted use of the Codes than what you advocate.”  They voted (while I was out of the room being interviewed by Elli Wohlgelernter of the Jerusalem Post) to exclude my Report from the official proceedings even though they could not attack my math. 

         Only Dr. Katz attempted a feeble excuse for not including my paper in the conference report. “We can only accept papers based on Torah Codes, and your paper adds the concept of chapters and verses rather than limit its scope just to the 304,805 letters of the Torah.”  What he forgot, of course, were the following words in his own COMPUTORAH book published in 1996, “Moses was like a scribe, copying what he had seen onto parchment, while God’s voice taught him the spacing of words, verses, and paragraphs…”

     One of the papers by Dr. Alex Rotenberg dealt with the sons of Haman.  Haman is the man spoken of in the Book of Esther who tried to exterminate all the Jews in the Persian Empire.  His plan fell apart when the King learned that the queen (Esther) was a Jew.  Haman was hung as were all his sons.  It was shown that when the date of this incident showed up at an ELS in Torah, the next five letters in sequence spelled Purim which is the holiday that recalls this incident.  The find was a-posteriori.  If I heard right, (and this was later disputed) it was then argued that this was such a special case, that a probability should be run on it.  While this is probably fair, some went on to argue that there were many other things that would also work for calculation purposes here including all the sons of Haman, their wives, and any number of other items.  Once we start accepting this line of logic, however, the probability of finding something good increases rapidly and the significance of the find drops proportionally.  As Harold Gans once pointed out, if you are researching the Holocaust and you will accept anything found relating to it – any of the German characters, or the concentration camp names, or any of the years associated with it, or any of the people executed during it – such an open list renders findings meaningless.  The key words must be specified a-priori and the field should be somewhat limited.  This reminds me of another concern with the meaning of Torah Codes findings.  At just what point do the things not found begin to become more significant than the things found?

       Dr. Haralick is a wonderful man who has done much to assist me with my research and who has even worked hard to develop computer software to standardize my probability calculation techniques.  This is flattering, and I know that he stuck his neck out to get my paper onto the agenda at the conference, and returned in 2002 to push my enhanced findings again.  At the 1999 conference he acknowledged that the ITCS moved out of the realm of pure science when it voted to proceed only in accordance with Jewish law.  I was, however, troubled in ’99 by his Best Star Team Methodology presentation on the second day of the conference. 

       The archenemy of the conference was a man named Professor Brendan McKay.  He claimed to have found similar encoding in a non-religious book.  He also believed the original WRR study was selective in a biased manner with respect to findings included for publication – a fatal experimental flaw.  Therefore he had concluded that the Torah Codes were bogus.  McKay wasn’t at the conference, but he was at the focus of Haralick’s concerns. 

       Dr. Haralick was of the opinion that McKay had also manipulated his data to make encoding seem to appear in what should have been only a Control book.  He was quite concerned by McKay’s charge that the original WRR study had also manipulated data. There were obviously strong and bitter feelings between the two opposing camps of thought, and Dr. Haralick spoke in terms of “our team” vs. “their team.”   There were also comments to remind everyone that statistics could be found to back either case.  This, when taken with repeated comments about how some statistical measures were more favorable than others only served to underscore the necessity of hard, physical evidence.  While the Torah Codes Society voted to bar predictive reports in the future, without such tests, as I informed them, nobody is going to take the Codes seriously – nor should they.  “Snake Oil,” I reminded Harold Gans, was the charge leveled against the Codes by some critics, and snake oil they would seem if the so-called experts could not agree amongst themselves, let alone others, as to appropriate and extraordinarily clear measures of success. 

     When it became clear that the purpose of most of the Society (with the notable exception of Dr. Haralick) was no longer to investigate the truth of the phenomena, but to promote the certainty of its existence, I bid the group a fond farewell and headed for the Egyptian Embassy.  The meeting there in Tel Aviv with Yasser Abed and Amin Mohsen was a very friendly one.  They were fascinated by what they saw and optimistic about capitalizing on the tourist aspects of the search and its notoriety.  But both were concerned about Egypt’s involvement in the nuclear holocaust prediction.  They wanted to know what was required of their government for the search to proceed.  I requested, at a minimum, noninterference, but stated my preference for an Egyptian Coast Guard participation.  Contrary to Douglas Haldane’s warning from the Institute of Underwater Archeology in Alexandria, I was informed that the decision would require about six days, not six months.  The delay was due primarily to the Embassy’s preoccupation following the Israeli election set for May 17, 1999.

 

 

 

SURVEY IN EGYPT

 

         I had first been to the Egyptian Embassy in Tel Aviv on May 13th, 1999.  Amim Mohsen and Yasser Abed had assured me that it would take them six or seven days to get a response from Cairo.  Amim also promised to call me frequently with questions about my report.

        There were no calls from him despite my unsuccessful efforts to get through many times until May 23rd.  Concerned by the difficulty of the trip on my family and by the mounting costs ($16,000 without even counting two months of lost wages), I left word at the Embassy that I would depart for Egypt the next day. 

   Amin finally returned my call.  He informed me that he had read my report and had forwarded a recommendation for government support to Cairo.  He had not yet received a reply, but would get back to me later in the day with further information.  This didn’t happen.

       The bus left for Egypt from the street that houses the Egyptian Embassy.  I stopped by the next morning before our departure to see if Amin or Yasser were in yet.  They weren’t so I left a Cairo contact phone number with one of the workers there.  The man had on a grin that left me with the impression that the last thing on his mind was to be cooperative.  I wondered whether or not this was the operator who was always so curt when I tried to get through.  If so, his English vocabulary seemed to be limited to the simple phrase, “Call tomorrow at 9 AM,” a demand that always translated into another $200 in waiting expenses.

         My wife has more courage than I.  She had the guts to ask our Egyptian bus driver to stop smoking. While the border crossing at Rafiah is generally closed now in 2008, in 1999 you knew you’d arrived  when the following events occured:

(1)    Arab adults and children were fighting over who gets to carry your luggage  into the customs building (thus earning a large tip by Egyptian standards);

(2)    Perspiration started to not just roll, but pour down your legs;

(3)    The flies were all over you;

(4)    The toilets in public areas generally had no seats (or toilet paper), and

(5)  You were waiting for unexplained reasons and periods of time for your bus to start rolling.

       After paying the exit tax on the Israeli side of the border at Rafiah (which had  a separate Palestinian authority section), we proceeded to drive a few hundred feet to the Egyptian checkpoint. It’s easy to fly into Cairo, but this border checkpoint seemed deliberately designed to be as slow and uncomfortable as possible.  Surely Egypt can afford to air condition a building.  That they didn't do so here sent a distinct message that visitors were not encouraged to arrive in this fashion which mandates so much surface security. I had to deal with the border again in 2005, and it was much tougher to get through at that time, but that's a story I may post later.

       There were supposed to be just two buses to get to Cairo, but we found out there were more because you had to wait for other buses to finish loading before your bus could depart the two plus hour waiting area.  Our driver lacked the English skills to explain the reason for our delay, but it became manifestly obvious that buses from the Israeli border to Cairo could only proceed in a convoy with border police/military stationed both at the front and at the rear of the convoy.  That’s because a similar busload of passengers was slaughtered by terrorists at the Suez Canal crossing a number of years back. 

       The previous time that my wife and I took this twelve-hour bus ride was on a round-the-world trip in August, 1990.  We were going from Cairo to Tel Aviv when the bus suddenly stopped just past the Cairo airport.  Army men sporting machine guns surrounded us as we sat there for 45 minutes without explanation.  The air conditioning broke down in the summer heat while the driver pumped tobacco smoke into the stifling air.  Finally we were permitted to go and told that the guards were there for our protection as Iraq had just invaded Kuwait that day.

       The military escorts each led and followed us for approximately 20-mile intervals.  Then a new group of guards took over for the next segment of the trip.  There must have been over a hundred men required to get the buses safely between the border and Cairo, and there are many roadblocks and barricades to get by along the way. 

       I don’t think my son was bothered as much by the smoke as he was by all the men who kissed him.  David was a cute six-year old then, and he quickly learned this is how Arab men show their appreciation of each other.  Fortunately, I’m not as cute as David.

       We had a fleeting glimpse of Bardawil Lake.  With respect to the suspected Ark site the nearest good-sized town appeared to be Bir-El-Abd (though Bir El Suleman is where to turn north to get to the site).  We stopped a few miles past it and I stepped off the bus to chat with tourist police and military personnel about the possibility of chartering a boat around there to proceed to the suspect area.  “Impossible,” I was told.  This also proved true when I returned in 2005  and the Egyptian Coast Guard would not allow a local boat skipper to take us to the site.  There were many signs along the sandstorm-swept highway that warned, “Foreigners not permitted to leave the road.”  This may have been for security reasons relating to the naval base that I later learned about, (though I only got close to  the salt works) but looking around at the huge dunes, it was also apparent that only the natives had the survival skills, camels, or trucks running on tires deliberately uninflated  - whicch is necessary to successfully navigate the sands.  “You must get permission from the military in Cairo to go to your destination,” I was informed.  Later we learned that the area still had some mines left over from previous wars with Israel.

       Entering Cairo we passed fortress after fortress along the main highway.  Each had numerous guard towers facing the road and each tower was manned with a soldier who held his gun in a manner clearly visible from the bus.  This was a city that seemed poised for the outbreak of war or revolution at any moment.  At the entrance to our hotel and restaurants nearby there were metal detectors with more tourist police to guarantee our security.  Egypt, apparently, was still reeling from a recent slaughter of other tourists at Luxor. 

       From my Cairo Sheraton hotel room I could see men with bullet proof jackets standing behind metal barricades with machine guns at the ready. If the goal of the Fundamentalists had been to turn Egypt into a nervous, armed camp, they’d clearly succeeded.

       By Thursday, May 27th in Cairo I was beginning to ask myself, Do I stop for now or go on?  The bills were really mounting, but the desire to finish the site survey still dominated my actions.  I almost threw in the towel the night before.  It was quite frustrating when I’d repeatedly call information to get the phone number of the Egyptian Navy only to be told by the operator that Egypt has no navy!  This, I am certain, would be of great interest to JANE’S FIGHTING SHIPS who when I last checked indicated that Egypt had quite a few destroyers and submarines.  The language barrier was more of a problem than I had envisioned it would be.  We also got some initial dirty looks when I asked a hotel worker to heat up some kosher food.  The Hebrew lettering on the packages undoubtedly aroused suspicion.

     We wanted to take a bus straight to Tel Aviv that day, then thought we could sail directly from Egypt to Europe on an Adriatica line ferry.  The ferry idea sounded especially inviting when we were told that it would sail from Port Said, about 30 miles west of the suspect region.  The idea was that I could perhaps arrange for a quick site survey before sailing for home.

     In Egypt, I learned, be skeptical when told someone can do something for you in five minutes, and be careful about believing anyone who tells you about things they only think are true.  The ferry didn’t start sailing from Egypt to points north until July 2nd.

     I bought our Tel Aviv bus tickets that morning and had a few hours to kill before our 3:30 PM departure.  Was there a good library in town that could provide better maps or charts of the area than I had so far?

      I hired a taxi driver.  His first two stops were a waste of time and money (conventional bookstores, not libraries).  But after my second rejection he finally caught on when I stressed the chart I had.  We were quickly off to a government chart office where the scene was truly reminiscent of an Indiana Jones movie.  I had to temporarily surrender my passport to get into the place.  Old, musty, dusty, and poorly lit, the rooms were filled with ancient charts and scribe-like workers.

      To my delight, the worker pulled two 64 year old, vintage 1935 charts that exquisitely covered the area from El Arish to what I though was El Zuaba ever since begining my search in 1997.  But not so pleasant, however, was that the prime chart spelled the area of concern as El Zuqba substituting a letter “Qfor the “A” sought throughout my experiment until that moment.  There was a Bir El Zuabatiya 20 nautical miles away at 31° North, 33° 25’ East so initially I had hope that there was just a spelling mistake present on the 1935 Cairo map.

      It quickly became apparent that the Bir El Qals area would move up a notch as the suspect site for Baal Zephon.  This is when I first learned of the fortress of Katib el Qals.  There was also (in 1935) a 60 meter mount (Mons Casius) on the coast within about 200 meters of what was then a 31° 13’ North, 33° 4’ East suspect coordinate.  There was also a fishing camp a few miles away on the lake side of the barrier island at 31° 12’ North, 33° 2.75’ East.  

     At 31° 9’ North, 33° 4’ East, the original entry latitude for the experiment, the site on the Zuaba (Zuqba) peninsula was seen to be only about 110 meters from a large body of water measuring approximately 1,100 meters by 100 to 200 meters in 1935.  There were two much larger bodies of water on the peninsula within 400 to 600 meters of the first lake.  The latter two salt marshes were marked as fordable.  The northern of these two marshes is Mallahet Ugret Selima.  It would, two years later, become the focus of ELS Map Figures 5 and 6.  The southern marsh is Mallehet El Mapia. or Mallahet El Sapia (it varies between maps found so far). No significant ELS maps were produced in conjunction with El Mapia or El Sapia, and it appears that all these marshes or lakes may, at times, become connected and at other times may dry up completely.   As there was realistically no way to obtain the Qatia chart without having gone to Cairo, the long bus rides were well worthwhile.

       There were two buses to Tel Aviv that day.  We had already missed the first departure at 5:30 AM.  The second one left at 3:30 PM with an arrival time of 2 AM or later.  The thought of arriving in Israel at that time with nine remaining pieces of luggage and a sleeping six-year old on my shoulder wasn’t a cheery one, especially because we had no hotel reservation.  Could we stop for the night in El Arish some thirty miles east of the suspect area? I wondered.  The answer was yes, then no, then yes again just before the bus arrived in El Arish.  The Oberoi hotel there was pleasantly located on the beach, and the bus ride took just five hours from Cairo.  All this meant that I would mount one last personal drive to get to the sites or to learn from the military or government what they knew about them.

       On Friday morning, May 28th, I explained my need to meet with Egyptian military personnel to the hotel manager, Ragab Abd El Karim.  He told me that everything was closed for the Muslim Sabbath, but promised to call the military for me on Sunday.  I then agreed to stay a few days to give their military a chance to check me (and hopefully my coordinates) out.

       If you’ve got to be stuck someplace for a few days, El Arish is a wonderfully idyllic place to be.  Our room was located directly on a beautiful beach.  There we enjoyed the gentle song of waves rolling in at night, not the maddening blast of millions of fancy car horns that dominated the polluted Cairo air night and day.  El Arish probably is (if you’re not kosher) a nice place to retire.  The people are friendly and the guns of Cairo were not as apparent there.

       The hotel was almost entirely empty, but the one American that I did meet (Richard Ainsworth) had GPS equipment in his room to help him navigate the desert sands while not working at his job in Cairo.  He was most helpful. 

       I was curious to see how his equipment matched up the prime suspect coordinates with more accurate Temple Mount coordinates that I’d received while in Jerusalem.  After working through the need to convert the equipment’s magnetic bearings to the True headings required, it became obvious that there was a problem with the course headings given on what was then the only map figure presented in my Experimental Report. 

       A marine equipment store in Florida had previously quoted the course from Jerusalem to the obstruction at 31° 16’ North, 33° 3.5’ East as being 261° True with a one-degree margin of error. The heading based on the positioning of the first letter of Jerusalem and the first letter of Bardawil was 260.3°.  But according to the GPS equipment used by Ainsworth, the course from Temple Mount in Jerusalem to the coordinates of the obstruction in question was 255° True.  That was a 5.3 degree error if Ainsworth’s equipment worked correctly.  Further, because the obstruction was a few miles north of Bardawil, the error was even greater.

       The course from the Temple Mount position to the 31° 9’ North, 33° 4’ East coordinates was, as stated throughout Chapter One of my Ark Code book, 252° plus or minus one degree.  I would not be able to come up with a correct ELS Map Figure 1 until four months after my return to the States in 1999.  Only then did I realize that with the á÷ö (tsadeh kof bet) spelling of Zuqba, the extension of Figure 1 was an accurate map from Jerusalem to Zuqba.  It took nearly three additional years to realize that Figure 1 and ELS Map Figure 1 also indicated a bearing of 251.565° from Temple to Ark of the Covenant.

      After morning prayers on Saturday, May 29th, I found a previously unseen Hebrew map of Egypt.  This is what indicated that the map located in Cairo was no fluke with respect to spelling.  Where I hoped to find Zuaba spelled äáàæ (zayin alef bet hey), there was Zuqba spelled (äá÷æ) zayin kof bet hey, though as mentioned before transliterations often vary widely.  There are two letters in Hebrew that may render a Z sound, the zayin (æ), and a tsadeh (ö) used on the corrected ELS Map Figure 1.

       Nobody in the area was familiar with Zuqba or Zuaba.  They erroneously told me the patch of desert in question was Zaraniq.   Although Zaraniq has ancient ruins, it and Lake Zaraniq are about 20 miles east of the entry coordinates for the Ark search.  Some of the posters seen in El Arish indicated it was a bird sanctuary popular with nature lovers.

       The discovery that 31° 9’ North, 33° 4’ East was probably Zuqba, not Zuaba, knocked some of the wind out of my sails at a critical time.  It seemed to undo plots not shown on this site for the sake of brevity.  These plots formed a substantial part of my findings prior to the foray into Egypt.

       Sunday morning, May 30th, with a good chunk of my best finds temporarily sunk by the q in Zuqba, I went to the Northern Sinai Government office. The task was to concentrate on Figure 1 that had improved somewhat with one Zuqba transliteration, to focus on Baal Zephon, and the Treasures in the Sand plot (page 90 in my Ark Code Book).  I also had to show them why it was in their interest to either cooperate with me or to check out the site on their own. 

       I almost didn’t get into the North Sinai government office because I forgot to carry my passport, but my U.S. military ID card did the trick.  After four hours of meetings with Mahmoud Ayyad Alatrash, Gammal Mohammed, and Khalid Hassan, I left with the clear impression they would see to it that the prime site would be investigated. Mahmoud and Gammal spoke good  English and repeatedly stated their fascination with what  they had seen.  They made copies of the news articles and asked the right questions.  Gamma linformed me that he was a geologist.  He stated his belief that something supernatural was afoot at Bir Al Qals.  His reasoning was that the barrier island was surrounded by salt water (the Mediterranean and Lake Bardawil) but that, as the name implied, it was a well of sweet water.  He knew that saltwater intrusion should have ruined the taste, but this had not happened.  "As a geologist, I'm unable to explain it," he mareveled.  What he told me was matched in the Codes.

      Crossing Katib El Qals is the phrase He threw it into the water and the water became sweet.   This is the only time in the Torah that sweet water is mentioned.  Further, Katib El Qals is directly above Ark of the Covenant’s non-wrapped occurrence at Numbers 10:33.  This corresponds to a course of 180 degrees from the fort to 31° 9’ North, 33° 4’ East.  It matches what’s seen on a map.

      Both men confirmed that Bir Al Qals has the Katib El Qals military fortress.  As there are only camel trails leading to the area, it wasn’t too surprising when they informed me that Egyptian helicopters operated from the site (but when better sateliite images became avaiable, it looked like the current base is just on the south side of Lake Bardawil).  The base information was particularly interesting to me because of an aircraft explosion encoded with the Ark site (discussed in my Ark Code book).  We then discussed the importance of not loading the Ark onto an aircraft if it is found at the site.

       My emphasis then was on the obstruction 2.9 nautical miles north of Katib El Qals.  Mahmoud and Gammal both appeared afraid to personally go near the site for a swim or “fishing expedition” without direction from Cairo, but both also seemed somewhat ambitious.  “Would either of you like to be Prime Minister or President one day?” I asked.  “To be a leader sometimes you have to be proactive.  I’m putting a lot of opportunity in your hands now,” I said as I put the Experimental Report in Mahmoud’s hands.  “Use it wisely.”

       After accepting the report (with my warning about the Zuqba problem), the men tried to introduce me to the regional governor.  He wasn’t in so I was next shown into the Minister of Tourism’s office.  There Minister Hassan was most interested in the atomic holocaust plots. 

       Hassan didn’t speak much English.  He required an interpreter, but the man summoned had English skills only a shade better than his.  “How many people believe in your idea in America?” he wanted to know.  I wasn’t sure if he wanted a big number to see if I was sane, or because it meant more tourist dollars coming into the area.

       “My ideas are just being published now,” I told him.  Then, to give him the large numbers that he seemed to demand, I added, “But there are many millions of Christian Americans who believe something awesome is about to happen within the next year or so (the year 2000 was big in Christian thinking then).  An Ark find would go a long way towards fulfilling their hopes.”

        “What is the name this war that is predicted?” Hassan demanded next. 

        “World War Three, Nuclear War,” I responded after he wouldn’t accept the idea that I had no other name for it.  He didn’t seem to understand the word nuclear until a picture of an atomic explosion was drawn for him. 

        “Islam is a religion of peace!” he declared.  “Why should we start a nuclear war?”  I explained that Drosnin spoke of Libya starting the war with Syria joining in. “My findings suggested an Israeli retaliation that could involve Egypt.  None of my findings, however, mean anything unless you find the Ark.  If you can’t find it or at least a wall at the site indicated, you can rip up my report and forget about the threat.” 

       “Who else will be in this war?” he asked angrily.  “The United States, Lebanon, Hesballah, who?”  He was less than satisfied when told that I had only seen encoding pertinent to Israel, Libya, Syria, Ramallah in the West Bank, and Egypt.  There seemed to also be rage in his response towards those Arabs that might draw Egypt into such a conflict.  None of us discussed Iran.

       “Did the Israelis give you permission to come here?” he wanted to know.

       “Why should I ask them for permission?  I’m an American citizen.  I don’t have to ask the Israelis for anything,” I replied.  It wasn’t likely that the Israeli military would listen to me anyway, but they might listen to Rips and he had seen the nuclear plots and the link with my experiment.  I felt that I could count on him to relay the essential data to Mossad, the Israeli spy network if the quality of physical data uncovered in Egypt would be good enough.  Without such evidence, there was no sense in alarming them anyway.

       “Why didn’t you go to our embassy in Washington?  Why did you go in Tel Aviv?” the Minister asked suspiciously.  I told him that Egypt’s embassy in the U.S. was a thousand miles from my home, but that their embassy in Tel Aviv was a five-minute walk from my hotel.

       Hassan then tried to stress that the war I warned of was a war between Judaism and Islam.  I could have argued the point, but chose to focus on the idea that Allah had provided a way to prevent the war, that it would not, according to the Codes, actually be executed.

     While Hassan’s final response was that he could not provide any assistance without instructions from Cairo, he dragged out the interview for as long as he could to allow his secretary time to copy every single page of Drosnin’s Bible Code book.   He also made many enlarged Xerox copies of my maps and charts, personally labeling each of the suspect coordinates in order of my preference.

      “You must get the backing of your State Department or your embassy,” he insisted.  It took a while to get across the concept that this would probably not be forthcoming without the kind of evidence that only he or his military could obtain with a simple dive at the area in question - a dive that I am still  personally  attempting to get permission for as the year 2008 draws to a close.

       It was apparent that Hassan eventually understood that the site did need to be checked by Egyptian security forces.  Finding either a submerged fortress wall, or the gold box that I had told him about could prevent the war.

       Before departing from America I had been warned by Douglas Haldane at the Alexandria, Egypt Institute of Underwater Archeology that, “You can’t just come to Egypt and expect to work here.  It takes six months to get any project approved.”   The man is obviously correct.

        I didn’t reach my desired coordinates in 1999.  If I were a single man, I would have toughed it out.  But I’m a married man and at the time I was saddled with my six-year old son.  Decent hotel rooms there cost three to four times what they do in the United States and there is little available to eat that’s kosher.  I had to resign my teaching job to launch my expedition when the principal in my school  (Santaluces High in Lantana, Florida) denied my requested two-month leave of absence without pay.  But I was told by the Palm Beach County School Board that if, by June 1st, 1999, I called in my intention to return by August 9th the same year, I would be rehired at my old salary (though with a loss of tenure and job location).  Anytime after that I was warned that they would cut my salary by $10,000 (language that the CTA union had agreed to in contract talks).  Having piled up $16,000 in additional credit card debt, there was little choice but to return to America to reclaim my job before running out of room on those cards.  I got a bit closer to the site in question during a one hour in 2005 tour of the area after bribing local officials many hundres of dollars, but I was not permitted to use any equipment or to dive offshore at the potential Baal Zephon site.

       While the above was not my first choice, it was the only sane one for the time.  “I will hide My Face,” God wrote in Deuteronomy 31, the prime latitude chapter.  The area indicated by the Code is truly remote with access strictly controlled by Egyptian military forces who usually don’t speak English very well (if at all). 

       The ‘99 trip was never intended to be more than presentation of my Report in Jerusalem and a brief site survey.  With respect to the survey, much was accomplished.   Returning home then didn’t mean failure, it only meant “to be continued based on a more complete set of data.”  The Qatia map led to nearly all the ELS map figures seen on this web site.  Further, the suspect coordinates had been published widely with the prime site first printed on page 6A in the Palm Beach Jewish Journal North edition on April 7, 1998.  All suspect coordinates including 31° 9’ North, 33° 4’ East were put into the hands of the Egyptian government.  Amin Mohsen, Yasser Abed, Mahmoud Ayyad Alatrash, Gammal Mohammed and Khalod Hassan all knew the consequences of failure on the part of their government to investigate the site.  I was also debriefed by Major Woodmansee, Assistant Naval Attaché at the U. S. Embassy in Tel Aviv upon my arrival there.        

       Others who read my findings will eventually travel to the site even if it’s risky to do so.  There will always be treasure hunters and there is surely no greater treasure than the Ark.  The Egyptian government, I hope, has been pushed into investigating the sites before others do so for motives very different than mine. 

       Did I prevent a war on the ’99 trip?   Who can say?   Drosnin may have altered the time line by clueing in Netanyahu about his assassination risk in Amman in 1996.  The outgoing Prime Minister of Israel lived to lose his election, but not his life before his 50th birthday.  Perhaps this is why he seemed to be drifting and lost for the last part of his administration.  He simply wasn’t supposed to be there, and yet, as discussed in my book, Netanyahu isn’t home free because it looks like he is running for Prime Minister again.

       If the Egyptians did investigate the site and found the Ark or Baal Zephon underwater at 31° 16’ North, 33° 3.5’ East, they may well have acted to prevent the war in 2000, but opted to keep it their secret. 

       As the 9th of Av (August 10th) approached that year there was great anxiety for Codes buffs.  The summit between Yassir Arafat and Ehud Barak failed over the difficult issues of Jerusalem and refugees.  On that day religious Jews fasted around the world as they do ever year at that time.  But, by 5 PM, I didn’t mind the hunger.  Though the fast still had almost four hours to go in my Florida home, in Israel it was already over.  In Israel it was the 10th of Av and there were then six more years of breathing room before another potential Ninth of Av war date would be upon us.  Drosnin found a plot that called for Armageddon Asad Holocaust (Figure 29).  But, Hafez Asad died a few months before the 9th of Av in 2000 and there was no holocaust, or it turned out, in 2006 either.   So what do we know now and what don’t we know?

       It’s possible that the Egyptians found the Ark, took the Codes seriously, and then poisoned Asad to short circuit a joint Syrian-Libyan attack plan.  Or, it’s possible that Israeli or American agents checked out the site and they poisoned him.  Asad was afraid of such a death.  In fact he had stated his belief that it was the duty of loyal Syrians to poison him if he ever conceded even an inch of Syrian territory to Israel.  However, while proof of poisoning would make for a better finish to my story, I have no evidence or indication that his heart attack was sponsored at this time.  Nor can I say for certain that the Egyptians have ever checked my prime suspect sites for the Ark.  I had shown them all the suspect locations along the 33° 4’ East line including the one at 31° 9’ North, but my emphasis then was on the underwater obstruction at 31°16’ North that I still believe will be the Fortress of Baal Zephon.

       Although Hafez Asad is dead, we still aren’t out of the woods with respect to the Armageddon plot, because another Asad (Bashar) rules in his place.  Bashar Asad rejected all attempts at a settlement by the Barak government too.  Barak offered him return of the Golan Heights with Israel retaining only the northeastern corner of Lake Kinneret (the Sea of Galilee). Bashar refused to compromise.  His demands threatened Israel’s fresh water supply and thus its survival.  Further, Bashar is probably just as paranoid as his father was when it comes to the personal consequences of making concessions.   Cautious Syrian leaders like his father can rule for a very long time.

       While Egypt may elect to closely guard the secret of the Ark, if they haven’t killed Hafez Asad they would do well to let the world know what they have found (if anything).  Today Egypt is wall to wall guns in tourist areas.  Their fear isn’t of Israel, but of Islamic extremism.  One thing good can be said of religious extremists.  They do believe in God.  If the Ark is in Egypt at the suggested coordinates, the discovery might lead the Bin Laden types to a new and less threatening understanding of Allah.  This would allow everyone to breathe a lot easier.