Choosing the Right Painter and Decorator

Choosing a good tradesman can be a daunting task, especially when the tradesman you are choosing is what is classed as a finishing trade. It's not difficult to become anxious when you hear all the horror stories shown on the television or printed in the newspapers, and we all know there are many many scare stories out there. In this article I will attempt to offer an insight into good practices when choosing a painter and decorator.

A good painter and decorator will be happy to advise you on all the latest products and finishes, as well as all the latest trends and fashions regarding painting and decorating. He or she should also be happy to offer you references from people they have done work for previously. These references can come in many different forms. For example most companies, however small, will tend to have some sort of website, this is always a good place to look at a painter and decorators past work and there is also a strong likelihood that you will be able to view some of your chosen decorators work, be it in photo form or maybe even video form. If you're chosen painter and decorator does not have a website, they may have other places you can check for testimonials, such as online directories and review sites. Another good method of choosing a quality painting and decorating contractor is word of mouth. If you ask around, maybe your family and friends, or maybe even work colleagues, you can, more often than not, find somebody who has used a painter and decorator in the past.

A professional painter and decorator, as with any tradesman, should be fully insured to work at your house or place of business. Don't be afraid to ask for proof of insurance, this can save a lot of hassle in the future should things not go according to plan and there is a good chance that you will not be the first customer to have asked for this type of proof. If the painting and decorating contractor cannot, or will not show you proof if insurance then it maybe an early indication that they may not be fully insured to work at your house or place of work and they should be treated with caution.

Please remember that the vast majority of tradesmen out there are honest, hardworking people and if you follow the advice presented to you in this article, you should find a quality tradesman in no time at all.

Top 5 Reasons to Consider "Closed-Loop" for Digital Presses

The traditional method of color calibration of a digital press is a manual operation, which falls into two logical categories. The first is a one-time task during the make-ready operation and the second is on going during the press run. With an automated process, color make-ready and run time press calibration fold into one continuous operation from press start-up to print run completion. A high-speed color measurement instrument (in-line spectrophotometer) mounted on the press will continuously monitor actual color printed values and compute and command corrective density adjustments electronically. This is accomplished by intermediate color correction computations and system feedback fast enough to keep up with press speeds. The automated system avoids manual keyboard entry and provides a correction data path directly from the on-board computer in a hardwired fashion to the print engine via look-up-tables in the printer's raster image processor.

Color control for digital presses is an excellent candidate for automation because it can provide improved quality along with operational cost reduction and increased throughput. An additional benefit is a short-term return on investment for the print service provider. The following is a summary of the 5 most important reasons to consider automated closed loop color monitoring and control.

Reason 1: Excellent color reproduction quality throughout an entire print run while increasing throughput and minimizing material waste - At the beginning of a print production run, the closed loop system will measure color bar values and command modified values to meet prescribed densities. This will provide for a shortened make-ready period for color calibration with minimum paper and ink waste. All of this will take place on press without interruption of the press to pull a single sheet. The result is replication of offset color quality with a digital press.

Reason 2: Consistent color reproduction for multiple independent runs of the same printed product - Automated color monitoring control will ensure consistent color results from week to week, month to month, and year to year. It will also ensure consistency from job to job, operator to operator, and press to press.

Reason 3: On press generation of ICC color profiles - If there are significant changes to color reproduction due to colorant or media changes, a spectrophotometer which has horizontal motion control across the width of the press and an on board processor will be able to measure a rectangular array of color patches (profile target); generate a full ICC compatible device color profile on press; and electronically load the profile into a look-up-table for automated correction.

Reason 4: Spot color and process color monitoring in the work - An additional benefit of horizontal motion control for the in-line spectrophotometer is that the operator can periodically measure, monitor, and, if necessary, correct spot colors and special process colors (logos, etc.) in the work. It would be compatible with on-press inspection system cameras to allow a press operator to place a cursor on critical color locations to be monitored in the work within the camera field of view. This would identify the exact locations where the spectrophotometer would make measurements and report and enable required corrections.

Reason 5: Generation of a print run color quality verification report from the print service provider - A critical component of an automated system is the quality control software application that monitors, displays, and records production run color data for the operator, quality control personnel, the pressroom manager, and the print buyer. A report can be provided to show customers the quality history of their jobs including:

  • periodic reporting of print job performance includes delta E, density and dot gain derivation from the tolerance values
  • detailed statistical performance reports for a single press run, or multiple press runs of the same job
  • analytic tools which allow users to run in-depth trend analysis of specific colors in print jobs that are printed on multiple presses, across different facilities, and that are printed on a recurring basis

Finding a Job in Retail

Work in retail can be an extremely rewarding, varied and interesting job. There are many different types of retail work available, and many different roles. You could choose to work as a sales advisor, or a customer service advisor, or even in a back room role such as stock assistant or warehousing assistant. There are many different kinds of retail environment to work in too, from fashion stores, to electronics, cosmetics to groceries! Retail really isn't 'One size fits all' so if you decide retail is for you, here are some pieces of advice that can help.

Register with a Retail agency.

There are many employment agencies in the UK that deal exclusively with the retail sector and can help you find your ideal retail position. You should use a search engine such as Google to find one locally to you and end them your CV and a cover letter explaining what kind of retail work you are interested in. They can then put you forward for positions as they come available. Remember, with retail agencies, their job is to find you work, so they will work very hard to get you the dream position in a retail environment.

Visit the Job Centre.

The job centre usually has listings of all the available vacancies in the area within the retail sector. You can also ask an employee of the job centre to register you for alerts to such jobs. Look on the job point computers and use the "retail" filter and this will show you all retail jobs.

Look online.

There are several job sites that are good to use online. You can search using the term 'retail' and this will show you a list of available vacancies. You can also usually sign up for alerts, as well as registering CV online, so potential employers can look for you directly.

Go direct.

Visit stores with copies of your CV to see if they have any vacancies. Larger shopping centres or malls often have job boards available to view. Leave CVs with any stores you particularly want to work within and ask them to contact you if they have any vacancies available.

So now you know where to find vacancies, you can prepare yourself for work in the retail sector. The usual traits to have to work in retail are a nice friendly manner, a calm patient demeanour and to be helpful and willing to engage with the public. You may be expected to move stock around, so a degree of physical fitness may be expected. You might also have to have cash handling skills. Many retail environments expect you to work in uniform; others may only require you to dress smartly. Always ensure to gather as much information about the company that you are going to have an interview with so that you can show as much willing as possible. Ensure to listen as well as possible.

Be bright, confident and happy and good luck in your new career!

An Overview of Investing in Loose Diamonds

Loose diamonds are well-known for their tendency to retain their value as time passes and this is why they are regarded as a splendid investment. The exchange of diamond engagement rings has become more of a tradition during engagement ceremonies, which has resulted in a consistent increase in the demand of these gem stones.

Even though a slowdown in business is being experienced by many industries due to the recession, but this is not the case with diamonds. They are still regarded as a recession-proof investment. The value of this gem stone always increases. It was recently shown in a report that diamond jewelry sales are continuously increasing while the sales of other jewelry items have slightly decreased.

Even when other investments are going down, the prices of these gems continuously increases, which make them a good investment. The increasing demand for these gem stones is one of the reasons behind this. As mentioned, diamond engagement rings continue to remain trendy. So the their appeal as precious stones remains the same, regardless of their cut and size.

For the rich, the diamond acts as a status symbol. The trend of these precious stones remains fresh since celebrities continue flaunting them. They are often purchased by the wealthy. Probably, this is the reason they are less affected by recession. They are among the different investments these people choose. Apart from their increasing value, they also act as an elegant fashion accessory.

Diamonds, even loose ones are an ideal investment, regardless of their shape and size. Apart from their size, their appearance also increases their value. In comparison to diamonds with a few minor flaws, flawless ones are rarer and more valuable. The value of diamonds is also influenced by the way they are cut. They have more brilliance and sparkle if they have many facets created as a result of being well-cut.

Those who own diamonds do not have to worry about maintenance or paying taxes regularly, like with real estate investments, which is another reason they are excellent investments. Thus, as an investment vehicle, they are actually inflation-proof too. They can be purchased by anyone and there is no need of alerting others about the purchasing or registering them. Best of all, they do not wear out; in fact, they last longer than a lifetime.

Just like other extensive items and investments, it is important to insure diamonds as well. Those who own them should get a certificate for them. A gemologist makes this document, which is a certificate or diamond grading report. A high-powered jewelers loop or microscope is used by a gemologist to evaluate them. The color, dimensions, shape, weight and other characteristics of diamonds are determined by a gemologist after analyzing the stones.

Diamonds are valued on their grade has been determined by the gemologist. A value or a value range is placed on them in the form of a statement known as an appraisal. A certificate should always be accompanying a diamond that is being purchased. To ensure its validity, the certificate should be reviewed. Thus, it is apparent that all kinds of diamonds, even loose ones, are quite valuable investments.

Take Glamping to a Whole New Level With a Limo Ride

What the heck is glamping? We're glad you asked! For the many ladies who find that camping may not be your cup of tea, you have the opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors while living it up in the lap of luxury.

That's right - glamorous camping, a.k.a. glamping, is the latest camping trend. More and more luxury destinations are catering to ladies on weekend glamping trips, who are looking for the opportunity to relax, unwind, and take in the scenery - with a little bit of pampering while they're at it.

Glamping: What's It All About?

Just like it sounds, glamping differs from traditional camping in that it doesn't require a tent or a sleeping bag. Sure, you'll get the opportunity to bond with Mother Nature, but you won't be sleeping underneath the stars.

Many new glamping sites provide stylish, rustic cabins with glamorous amenities, like a screened in porch, private bathroom, gas fireplace, and luxurious bed. A cabin for a couple can cost as much as $950 a night per person; family cabins start at $1200 a night per person.

While glamping, you have your choice of a wide range of activities that may include hiking, archery, or mountain biking. Additionally, you can relax in comfort while enjoying a scenic view with modern cabin amenities that include air conditioning, heat, and Wi-Fi.

Glamping Products: Don't Leave Home Without Them!

A weekend glamping trip wouldn't be complete without a wide range of luxury products to make any interaction with the great outdoors that much more bearable. Glampers may choose to bring their own stylish waterproof raincoat to brave the elements or even a lightweight silver cooler to hold bottled water and champagne.

To take a step further, many ladies who take glamping seriously also choose to bring their own high-heeled hiking boots. Whether or not high-heeled hiking boots serve an actual purpose or function as a frivolous camping fashion accessory is still up for debate.

Finally, ladies who want to plan the ultimate glamping getaway should bring their own spa accessories if there isn't a spa on-site. A fun evening glamping activity amongst the girls can include DIY facials; make sure to bring cleansers, toners, face masks, and moisturizers to beautify and soothe tired skin while grilling s'mores around the campfire.

Glamping Transportation: Book a Limo

Since glamping presents a whole new spin on traditional camping, it would only make sense that a limo rental would be in order. Instead of hightailing it up to the mountains in a rugged, muddy Jeep, pitch in with a few girlfriends to book a luxury limo or town car to take you to your destination.

Booking a limo for a camping excursion has two specific benefits: first, you'll get to relax and unwind while you sip on champagne on the ride to your campsite. Second, a limo will provide more than enough space to carry all of your glamping goodies, like luggage, a portable champagne cooler, and comfy chairs to place around the fire!

Everything You Need To Know About Lazy Town

Lazy town is an Icelandic/USA children's program that promotes healthy living, exercise and good nutrition. It was created by Magnus Scheving, an Icelandic gymnast who was the Icelandic Men Individual aerobic gymnastic champion in 1992, the Scandinavian champion in 1992 and the European champion in 1994 and 1995.

The show Lazy town first aired in 2004 and features a mixture of CGI animation, puppetry and live action. It centers on the adventures of the Lazy town residents as they try to be more active and health conscious and their dealings with the villain Robbie Rotten's schemes with the help of super-fit superhero Sportacus.

The Characters

Stephanie - Stephanie moves to Lazy town in the first episode to stay with her uncle, Mayor Meanswell. She is a young girl who is very active and loves the colour pink - her clothes, hair and everything else that she owns is pink. Her time is spent trying to encourage the other children to be active and eat healthily, whilst spoiling Robbie Rotten's lazy plans.

Sportacus - Sportacus is played by the show's creator Magnus Sheving and is the town's resident superhero that comes from an island somewhere in the North Sea. This is evidently a reference to Iceland, where both the show and Magnus originate from. He wears a number 10. His main job is encouraging the children of Lazy town to stay active and eat healthy "sports candy" Sports candy refers to any vegetables and fruit and is the main source of Sportacus' super strength and agility.

Robbie Rotten - Robbie Rotten is the villain of the show. He doesn't like anyone, especially the children being too active and eating healthily and always comes up with plans to ensure that Lazy town stays that way. There is a touch of irony in the fact that Robbie uses a lot of energy and activity to put his plans into place meaning that he might be the most active rather than the laziest of the town. In every episode he wears terrible disguises.

Ziggy - Ziggy is a great lover of all types of candy, in particular taffy. He is the first to meet Stephanie and quickly learns from her and Sportacus that there is more to life than just eating junk food and sitting around doing nothing. He aspires to be a superhero like Sportacus.

Stingy - Stingy by name stingy by nature. He is a very selfish boy who does play with the other children in the gang, but cares more about his possessions than his friends. He is particularly fond of his piggy bank and his car - a 1978 Mini Cooper. His catchphrase is "It's mine!" and he even sings a song which is about everything that is his, which is everything in Lazy town. This includes the other characters "feelings"

Trixie - She is the most mischievous of the children and likes drawing moustaches on posters of Lazy town Mayor Meanswell. She does like to play with the rest of the gang and will call Stephanie "Pinky" when she is trying to speak to her.

Pixel - Pixel is the computer whiz kid of the group and spends too long on the computer. He spends his time playing on the computer and building gadgets that mean he doesn't have to do things for himself, like tie his shoelaces. From the very first episode it is evident that he has a rather big crush on Stephanie.

Mayor Milford Meanswell - Mayor Meanswell is Stephanie's uncle and has a crush on Ms Busybody. He cares deeply about his niece and relies on Sportacus' help if she is feeling down. He is not very clever when it comes to new technologies and once tried to send what he called "b-mail" on a computer. Whenever anything goes wrong he is famous for saying "Oh my!"

Bessie Busybody - Ms Busybody is a friend of the mayor who can at times be patronizing, both with the Mayor and the children. She has at times displayed a motherly attitude towards the children. She can be seen talking on her cell phone a lot and likes to keep up with the latest fashions and trends.

The Generation of Exodus


The Merneptah Stele is one the most precious pieces of Israel's early history; however, taken at a face value, this artifact cannot provide a breakthrough to the enigma of the emergence of the Israelite nation. The available written evidence should be confronted with the battle reliefs from the Great Hypostyle Hall in Amon temple at Karnak to shed light on the pharaoh's campaign to Canaan and the role of Israel in the rebellion against the Egyptian rule. In addition, the results of the archaeological survey of the central hill country have to be reassessed to put the story into the right perspective.

Our narrative stays away from the Hebrew Bible, which never mentions the following episode, since this religious and philosophical epic was composed late enough to be trusted as a contemporary source, and its approach to the early history is biased by ideological binoculars. The lenses of these binoculars blur the historical image and distort the picture to such extent that it should be restored somewhere else, in a different milieu.

1. Merneptah Stele: many questions, few answers

'The princes are prostrate saying: "Shalom!"
Not one of the Nine Bows lifts his head:
Tjehenu is vanquished, Khatti at peace,
Canaan is captive with all woe.
Ashkelon is conquered, Gezer seized,
Yanoam made nonexistent;
Israel is wasted, bare of seed,
Khor is become a widow for Egypt.
All who roamed have been subdued'.

This citation is taken from the final verse of the Egyptian poem recorded on the Victory Stele in Pharaoh Merneptah's mortuary temple in Thebes. It is also copied on a stele in the Karnak temple in Thebes where it comes along a series of reliefs illustrating an Egyptian campaign to Canaan. These reliefs flank the peace treaty between Ramesses II of Egypt and King Mutawallis of Hatti and were conventionally attributed to the end of the hostilities between the two overlords, approximately in the year 1275 BCE. However, a modern research readdresses them to Ramesses' royal successor King Merneptah.

These battle scenes were usurped by Mernepta's sons who wanted to glorify themselves on behalf of their father by engraving their initials to cover the truth. However, behind their cartouches (ceremonial names) scientists discovered the original signature of their royal predecessor. Though these scenes accompany the peace treaty, they have nothing in common with the military exploits of their grandfather, Ramesses II. Four battle scenes correspond to four Canaanite enemies mentioned in the last stanza of Mernepta Stela: Ashkelon, Gezer, Yenoam and Israel.

The stele is a 2 m high slab of black granite inscribed in the fifth year of Merneptah's reign. The main body of the inscription praises the pharaoh for removing the Libyan threat from Egypt. In the last verse the royal scribe lists measures undertaken to restore the Egyptian order in Asia like the retention of peace with Hatti and an earlier campaign to Canaan. This campaign was his sole military interference into Asiatic matters.

Merneptah responded to a Canaanite uprising which spread over three vassal states: Ashkelon, Gezer, Yenoam (their names are preceded by a special sign for foreign entities) and a population group of Israel (its name is accompanied with a sign for people free from the bonds of the state). The rebels were subdued having suffered a great loss in casualties and property; those who had survived were transferred to Egypt as slaves.

The final extract has launched a sensation by mentioning Israel-for the first and only time in ancient Egyptian literature. The text implies that by the end of the 13th century BCE some part of the Land of Canaan was settled by people who called themselves Israel. Though not ripe for a territorial state, this community challenged the Egyptian interests and was punished by wiping out its human and economic base.

The 'Victory Stele' poses too many questions. Its meager content keeps us in the dark. Nevertheless, it remains the prime historical source setting the lowest deadline for Israel's sojourn in Canaan.

2. The Land of Canaan in the Late Bronze Age

The place-name Canaan is probably derived from a Hurrian word kinahhu ('red purple'), a fancy Tyrian dye extracted from sea snails gathered along the coast of the eastern Mediterranean. This hue was used to dye high-quality textiles that were widespread around the Near East and stood high on the scale of elite consumption.

During the New Kingdom, this land was internationally recognized as an Egyptian province which comprised all or most of its imperial holdings in Asia. This is confirmed by the following extracts from the Amarna letters (an archive of diplomatic correspondence between the rulers of Egypt, their Canaan vassals, and the leaders of foreign powers). The king of Alasiya (probably on Cyprus) refers to Pharaonic possessions in Asia as the 'province of Canaan'. The Babylonian emperor complains to the Pharaoh about the crimes of his Canaanite subjects: 'Canaan is your country and its kings are your servants'. The overlord of Mitanni appeals to 'the kings of the land of Canaan, the servants of my [Egyptian] brother'.

Local kings had a number of obligations before the pharaoh. They were responsible for the maintenance of Egyptian interests: supplying imperial troops and officials, ensuring a safe passage of foreign caravans through their territory, paying the tribute.

Canaanite rulers were involved in international trade which led to the prosperity of the elite. Their palaces and temples as well as their graves are the silent witnesses of this affluence. In internal matters, they were given a free hand, and internecine strife and mutual snitching are among the most common features breathing from the Amarna Letters. In most cases the pharaoh seemed indifferent to the outcome of the feud unless he would come to the conclusion that these petty intrigues had an unwelcome impact on the strategic balance.

The Egyptian authorities couldn't rely anymore on local elites and had to establish the direct control over vital parts of Canaan namely the coastal plain and the central valleys. They erected additional strongholds that housed governor's residence, state offices, and troops. They expropriated plots of land to create estates. They made their local vassals send laborers to engage in construction sites, enterprises (granaries, winepresses) and working their lands. However, the empire could not use all its power being busy tackling other geopolitical troubles. The state's impotence left some territories unattended and plunged certain areas of the country into a political void.

Egyptian intellectuals acquired a hostile and contemptuous attitude towards the population of Canaan notwithstanding their ethnic and social status. No matter whether Canaanites belonged to settled or movable people, were newcomers or old-timers, commoners or representatives of the elite, law-abiding citizens or outlaws. All of them were rudely nick-named 'wretched Asiatics'.

3. The proud Pharaoh

Merneptah was the lucky son of his redoubtable, long-lived father. The 13th male offspring of Ramesses II, he was not destined to be declared a living god. During his youth days, he was leading a serene joyful life of an Egyptian prince while his elder brothers were passing away one at a time. Stars were unfavorable to the descendants of the renowned Egyptian monarch.

As Merneptah was growing up, he would step into his deceased brothers' shoes occupying some of their vacant offices. He also pursued a military career having become an army general. In the last years of his father's reign, he was appointed the crown prince and assisted the elderly king in carrying the reins of government.

In the middle of his ten-year-old reign, the pharaoh made up his mind to account for his deeds before the divine authorities. He ordered to erect a victory stele destined to decorate his mortuary temple and to fashion the facade of one of the walls at the Karnak temple with reliefs associated with his military campaigns.

A model of Mernepta's magnificent palace (constructed by Mary L. Baker) is presented in the University of Pennsylvania Museum at Philadelphia. The throne room is divided by two rows of columns with a ramp near the interior wall leading to the place where the pharaoh was seated. The slits in the wall above the door look like blinds; while restricting the amount of sunlight, they allow the room to be fanned.

4. The Campaign to Canaan

The change of power in Egypt triggered several Canaanite vassals to put up a rash rebellion. Even some of Egyptian strongholds were violently destroyed. The Pharaoh's response was swift and fierce. He probably moved his army along the Way of Horus and after an intensive march reached the city of Gaza. Soon he conquered Ashkelon, the nearest of the insurgent cities and a large seaport which owed its location to a gap in dunes covering a large part of the southern Levant shoreline.

The Karnak friezes assign the Pharaoh an active role in the campaign both in battles and in the aftermath. He is leading his troops towards a bloody collision giving commands from the height of his chariot; he is executing a rebel leader keeping a firm grip on his hair and inflicting a lightning blow with his sword; he is driving bound POWs into captivity and presenting them to triumphant Egyptian gods.

The king is accompanied by his two sons who are proudly riding in chariots on their way back home.

One of the rebel cities is identified as Ashkelon: The relief is accompanied by an inscription: ''The wretched town which his majesty seized when it was rebellious'. The two other unnamed cities should be Gezer and Yenoam.

5. Israel Who?

The last military scene portrays a pitch battle in a hilly countryside against enemies wearing Canaanite ankle-length clothes. By the analogy with the Victory Stele, these foes have to be recognized as Israelites.

Israel is a West Semitic theophoric name praising the supreme Canaanite god El. These people became known to Egyptians either through direct contact with captured POWs or via Canaanite mediation. This population group chose to settle down in the highlands as a sign of voluntary isolation and was raising field crops as part of their subsistence strategy. So it possessed considerable amount of grain. Having identified their weak point, the pharaoh commissioned his troops to burn their grain stock. He was sure that he had managed to wipe off these village folks who dared to join the ranks of his enemies.

6. Rural settlers in the highlands

Throughout the major part of the Late Bronze Age, the highlands of Canaan between the Jezreel and Beersheba valleys were an inhospitable place nearly devoid of population. Egyptian authorities took little interest in this middle of nowhere, and it shared the fate of the frontier zone: to be plunged into a political vacuum.

The new settlers spoke a number of Canaanite dialects out of which Hebrew of the Bible sprang up in due time. Most of them were illiterate; however occasionally we encounter a rare bird who wished to incise a jar handle with his name or give his kids a potsherd to practice writing their ABCs. This alphabet used the Proto-Canaanite script to record only consonant letters which could follow in either direction (left-right or reverse) and lacked a strict legitimate order. The configuration of writing signs was taken from rural background ("aleph" reminds an ox's head) or body language ("kaf" represents a hand). Charcoal absorbed in animal fat served as ink.

An average village measured 0.5-1.5 ha and comprised up to 20 individual houses with a population spread between 50-150 residents. When kids grew up, some of them would abandon their families and move to new settlements nearby so that in less than two centuries, several hundred rural residences would spring up blanketing the environment from Upper Galilee to northern Negev.

These village folks expressed their religion both publicly and privately.
For public ceremonies they erected open-air shrines which were 'high places' approachable by ramps; these 'high places' were installed with an altar and encircled by a sacred wall. Large nearly square altars were made of hewn or undressed stones or a blend of stones and bricks. Some of them had four horns at their corners oriented to cardinal points. Used either for blood sacrifices or burnt offerings, they were located on uninhabited hilltops or halfway down the slopes within the walking distance of a cluster of settlements.


The Hebrew Bible is a complex composition; it is based on a variety of literary and oral sources (completely lost for us) being copied, rewritten and edited by a wide circle of anonymous scribes and intellectuals for many generations. This 'editorial staff' was inspired by a few cornerstone principles such as the monotheistic faith, the belief in the glorious national revival, the recognition of the Jerusalem Temple as the only place of the Divine Presence and Israel as the firstborn nation as well as the acknowledgement of a special mission retained with the kings from the House of David.

The "Merneptah Stele" sets the clock for the Israelite presence in Canaan. It assumes that by 1210 BCE the population group called Israel had been established long enough to be recognized as an ambiguous entity, more than a chiefdom but less than a state. It was an outcast social group of Canaanite farmers who fled to highlands in hope to survive turbulent times in frontier settlements.

They were in search of good arable land and suitable meadow land for feeding their flocks. Oak, pine and terebinth woodlands that covered the hilltops were ideal for herding. The climate favored the settlers: there was more rain and less political pressure than in the lowlands. Their economy was a successful blend of field crops, fruit orchards and farm animals.

The pharaoh was adamant in belief that these squatters had to be taught an unforgettable lesson.

Israel is an enigma. Its direct link with the biblical Bene Israel cannot be proved without a reasonable doubt but neither can be discarded as wishful thinking.