(JTA) – A shipwreck discovered off Israel’s coast almost 40 years ago has been identified as likely one of three ships dispatched by Baron Edmond James de Rothschild, a French Jewish banker and philanthropist, for use in a glass factory he established more than a century ago.
Although discovered in 1976 off Dor Beach, near Zichron Yaakov, which is on the Mediterranean coast between Haifa and Tel Aviv, the shipwreck had not been studied until recently, when Haifa University archaeologists undertook the project, Haaretz reported.
“The ship we have found is structurally consistent with the specifications of the baron’s ships, carried a similar cargo, and sailed and sank during the right period,” Deborah Cvikel and Micky Holtzman, who are investigating the shipwreck, said, according to Haaretz.
Rothschild, who lived from 1845-1934, was a vocal Zionist and supported several projects in Israel, including helping to establish the town of Rishon Lezion, building a glass factory near Zichron Yaakov and establishing the still-operating Carmel Winery in Zichron Yaakov. Rothschild Boulevard in Tel Aviv is named for him.
Although researchers are not 100 per cent certain the ship was Rothschild’s, “there seem to be more than a few items that connect it with Zichron Yaacov, with the glass factory at Tantura, and with the baron’s ships,” they told Haaretz.