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Tomb of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs
Hebron Cave Of Machpelah

Tomb of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs

1850_LThe Cave of Machpela

Ma’arat HaMachpela

The Cave of the Patriarchs or the Cave of Machpelah (Hebrew: מערת המכפלה, Me’arat HaMachpela, Ma’arat HaMachpela Trans. “Cave of the Double Tombs”; Arabic: المغارة‎ Al Magharah, “the Cave” ) is a series of subterranean caves located in a complex called by Muslims the Sanctuary of Abraham or Ibrahimi Mosque (Arabic: الحرم الإبراهيمي‎, Al-Haram Al-Ibrahimi ). The name is either a reference to the layout of the burial chamber, or alternatively refers to the biblical couples, i.e.: cave of the tombs of couples.

The compound, located in the ancient city of Hebron, is the second holiest site for Jews, (after the Temple Mount in Jerusalem) and is also venerated by Christians and Muslims, both of whom have traditions which maintain that the site is the burial place of three Biblical couples: (1) Abraham and Sarah; (2) Isaac and Rebecca; (3) Jacob and Leah. According to the Midrash and other sources, the Cave of the Patriarchs also contains the head of Esau, and according to some Islamic sources it is also the tomb of Joseph. Though the Bible has Joseph buried in Shechem (the present-day Palestinian city of Nablus), Jewish aggadic tradition conserved the idea that he wished to be interred at Hebron, and the Islamic version may reflect this. The Jewish apocryphal book, The Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs, also states that this is the burial place of Jacob’s twelve sons.

 

 

The Cave of Machpelah is the world’s most ancient Jewish site and the second holiest place for the Jewish people, after Temple Mount in Jerusalem. The cave and the adjoining field were purchased—at full market price—by Abraham some 3700 years ago. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob,Sarah, Rebecca, and Leah are all later buried in the same Cave of Machpelah. These are considered the patriarchs and matriarchs of the Jewish people. The only one who is missing is Rachel, who was buried near Bethlehem where she died in childbirth.

The double cave, a mystery of thousands of years, was uncovered several years ago beneath the massive building, revealing artifacts from the Early Israelite Period (some 30 centuries ago). The structure was built during the Second Temple Period (about two thousand years ago) by Herod, King of Judea, providing a place for gatherings and Jewish prayers at the graves of the Patriarchs.

Zedekiah’s Cave

King Solomon's Quarry

The mysterious Zedekiah’s Cave is located east of Damascus Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem.  However it is neither Solomon’s Quarry nor Zedekiah’s Cave. It is a 5-acre underground meleke limestone quarry that runs the length of five city blocks under the Muslim Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem. [gallery ids="5280,5281,5282,5283,5284,5285,5286,5287,5288,5289,5290,5291,5292,5293,5294,5295,5296,5297"] This attraction is cheap to enter and will blow your mind Just east of the Damascus Gate there is an innocuous hole in the huge walls to enter. You are entering a quarry, lost for millennium, until 150 yrs ago. Starting as a small cave entrance perhaps 3,000 yr ago, it became the source for Jerusalem Stone which fathered the temples and homes of the inner city. This cave goes back about 1,000 feet under the northern Old City wall, and about 2,000 years in history. This huge chalky cave, which has always been shrouded by mystery, stretches across 9,000 square meters underneath the Muslim Quarter of Jerusalem's Old City and continues until the Via Dolorosa in the Christian Quarter just north of the Temple Mount. Make that 2,600 years, if you include the legend that gave it its name. An illuminated path leads you far back into the caves and under the Old City. The cavern is thought to have been once used as a storage place for cotton, thus its name in Arabic "Cotton Cave". Questions - How did they work the quarry? How did they light and air the quarry? How did they retrieve heavy blocks from the far reaches of the underground quarry? How did they stabilize the Arab section above?

Zedekiah"s Tears

[gallery columns="2" ids="5276,5277"] It is said that Zedekiah, Jerusalem’s last biblical king, a Babylonian puppet deposed of during the final siege on the city, attempted to flee Jerusalem to Jericho through this cave. He was captured and brought before the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar, where his sons were murdered in front of him and his eyes were put out (2 Kings 25:1-6). In keeping with this tragic story, at the back of the cave is a tiny spring, known as “Zedekiah’s tears.” When you reach the "tears fall" pause by it for 30 seconds to absorb the significance of the place or for a moment of quiet contemplation.

Is there a Jericho Exit?

Jewish and Muslim legends claim that tunnels in those caves extended to the Sinai Desert and Jericho. That is where you discover the cave has no exit. A number of historical sources claim that the cave continues southward to the Temple Mount area, yet we now know that these claims have no basis in fact. A mapping of the cave undertaken by the Israel Antiquities Authority in recent years debunks this theory.

Whose Quarry is this?

Archaeologists tell us that in fact it was a quarry from which Herod the Great hewed stone to build the Temple. There is no indisputable archaeological evidence that traces quarrying activity in the cave back to the days of the First Temple.

What have the Freemasons got to do with the cave?

[gallery ids="5278,5279"] The cave’s dramatic lighting reveals signs of the quarrying. In 1868, the first meeting of Freemasons in Ottoman Palestine was held by candlelight in Zedekiah’s Cave. Its impressive dimensions have bestowed another traditional name, meaningful to Masons: “King Solomon’s Quarries.” Because of this, the cave is of special importance to the worldwide Order of Masons, which claims spiritual descent from the original builders of the First Temple.

Tips

Bring a flashlight as the cave is only lighted in areas open to visitors but it is also cool to see whats in other parts that are otherwise dark. NOTE: There is a combo ticket that includes the Caves, Ramparts Walk or the Jerusalem City Walls (definitely recommended) and a few other attractions which makes it a good deal if you want to see as much as you can. The cave is closed on Fridays and Saturdays. [divider]

Fundamentalist Apocrypha

Ron Wyatt, an American Fundamentalist, claimed to have found the Ark of the Covenant  by digging in the area of the Garden Tomb. He theorized Jeremiah had taken the Ark to its secret hiding place in Zedekiah's Cave. According to his believers, a few years before Ron died," Jewish leaders sent six men, who were descendents of the tribe of Levi, into Zedekiah's Cave and into the 375'  tunnel which leads to the cave containing the Ark.  Their motive was to remove the Ark and destroy Christ's blood to begin their own sacrifices.  After traveling 75 ft. through the tunnel, all were killed by angels guarding the ark.  These men were in communication with others in Zedekiah's cave who were waiting for them.  They refused to enter the tunnel to check on the men, as they had heard terrible cries from the dying men over two-way radios.  Mr. Wyatt was asked by the Israel Antiquities Authority to retrieve the bodies."

Zawiyat al-Shaziliyya

Ali Nur al-Din al Yashruti el-Magrabi, a young Sufi sheikh left Tunis, North Africa on his way to Mecca. In Lebanon the Prophet Jona appeared to him in a dream and sent him to Acre to found a new Sufi order (Islamic mystics). Among the new believers was the Ottoman sultan, Abdul Hamid, who gave Ali Nur al-Din's followers a present of properties in Damascus, Acre, Beirut, in the western Galilee and southern Lebanon. The world center of the new order was established in Acre in 1862 in the Zawiyat al-Shaziliyya. Zawayat el-Shadlia is located south of the fortress, between the refectorium (dining room) of the Hospitallers and the Turkish bathhouse. A Zawiya is a place of retreat and communion for Dervishes, study, and prayer. http://youtu.be/sR_5sVypVfA Ali Nur el-Din el-Yashruti died in 1898 and was buried on the grounds of the Zawiyat al-Shaziliyya, where his son, Ibrahim Yashruti, and grandson, Muhammad al Hadi, were also laid to rest. Al Hadi spoke out against violence during the years of Arab terrorism in 1929-1936. He opposed the Muslim mufti of Jerusalem and supported the partition plan of the British Mandate. Even so he closed the world center in Acre and moved it to Beirut and his son moved it to Jordan. After the Israeli-Jordanian Peace Treaty Ahmed Yashruti visited Acre from Jordan and was able to regain 20 dunam of the Yashruti property in Acre where he re-built the Zawiya. [caption id="attachment_7456" align="aligncenter" width="640"]Zawayat El-Shadlia Zawayat El-Shadlia (Check the spelling!)[/caption] [caption id="attachment_7457" align="aligncenter" width="640"]Sheich Ali Nor Eldin Alyashroti Road Sheich Ali Nor Eldin Alyashroti Road[/caption] [caption id="attachment_7458" align="aligncenter" width="640"]Zawayat El-Shadlia Zawayat El-Shadlia[/caption]

Yoram Benita – Aerial Photographs of Israel in Spring

http://youtu.be/MxaLSDnQS64 https://www.youtube.com/user/yorambenita

Yitzhak Rabin Terminal

The Yitzhak Rabin Terminal, formerly known as the Arava Terminal, serves as a border crossing between Israel and Jordan for Israelis and foreign tourists, with the exception of residents of the Territories. The Terminal serves also as a Freight Terminal through which goods are conveyed between Israel and Jordan. The crossing is controlled by the Israel Airport Authority. The majority of outbound passengers pass through the Terminal in groups going on one-day trips to Petra, some randomly from hotels in Eilat and some as organized groups from abroad. [gallery columns="2" ids="4879,4877"] Currently, there is a trend of off-road vehicles passing through the terminal, on their way to tour in Jordan. Hours of operation of the Terminal: Sunday to Thursday - 06:30 - 20:00 Friday and Saturday - 08:00 - 20:00 On Yom Kippur (The Day of Atonement) and on the Muslim New Year – the Terminal is closed. IMG_3744 The Yitzhak Rabin Terminal is the first border crossing that was opened between Israel and Jordan. 25 July 1994 - The Declaration of Intents Agreement between the Israeli Prime Minister, Yitzhak Rabin and King Hussein, was signed in Washington. הורד (5) At the signing ceremony, it was declared that within two weeks a border crossing between the two countries would be opened. During those two weeks, great effort was put in by the Israel Defense Force (I.D.F.), the Airports Authority and additional entities, in the removal of mines, paving of a road, and construction of a temporary terminal, in order to open the border crossing. 8 August 1994 - two weeks after the declaration of intents, the border crossing inauguration ceremony was held, naming the border crossing the Arava Terminal. October 1994 - A Peace Agreement between the State of Israel and Jordan was signed at the border crossing, in a ceremony attended by the top echelon of Israeli and Jordanian administration, and many guests, prominent amongst which was the President of the USA, Bill Clinton. September 1995 - Inauguration ceremony of the new Terminal which was built-in place of the temporary terminal. June 1996 - The Freight Terminal is inaugurated and the transition of cargo between Israel, Jordan and additional countries, commences. [gallery columns="2" ids="4881,4882,4883,4884"] February 2002, A ceremony to dedicate the Terminal in commemoration of the late Prime Minister and Minister of Defense, Yitzhak Rabin, attended by the Prime Minister, ministers and many guests.  
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Yiftach Fissures

  Nikikei Yiftach, also called Yiftah Crevices Nature Reserve reveal fascinating deep karstic fissures created over eons in the tough dolomite and limestone. Inside the Nature Reserve the depth of the fissures is up to 5 meters. Across Route 886 just outside of the Nature Reserve in the "Little Canyon" (Hakanyon Hakatan) the crevice depth reaches up to 20 meters. Yiftah Crevices are located on the eastern side of road number 886, about two kilometers to the north of Kibbutz Yiftah in the Upper Galilee.

  • Parking
  • Free admission
  • Season: Year-round
  • Directions: East of Route 886 between Yiftach and Manara 2 km north of Kibbutz Yiftach
[caption id="attachment_8758" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Yiftach Fissures Yiftach Fissures[/caption] [caption id="attachment_8759" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Yiftach Fissures Yiftach Fissures[/caption] IMG_20140917_153358 [caption id="attachment_8761" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Yiftach Fissures Yiftach Fissures[/caption]

Yehiam Convoy

Shayeret Yehiam

The Yehiam Convoy Memorial commemorates the soldiers who fell during the Israeli War of Independence while attempting to help the besieged people of kibbutz Yehiam. It was right here where the Yehiam Convoy Memorial is situated that the fatal ambush awaited the Carmeli Brigade. During this military operation 47 soldiers have fallen. The tall Yehiam Convoy Memorial, seen to a distance, is located in the middle of a round plaza and is composed out of three pillars which create the shape of a star together. The Yehiam Convoy Memorial presents a marble plaque with the names of the fallen soldiers on it, a concrete memorial wall which features a geographic relief of the area and an additional plaque which tells the story of the battle. [gallery ids="4429,4430,4431,4433,4432,4434,4435,4443,4444,4445,4446,4447,4448,4449,4450,4452,4451,4453"]      

Fortress Yehiam - Israel National Park

http://youtu.be/tTzcHK7RS40 The Yehi'am Fortress probably began as a Crusader estate, and was destroyed by the Mamluk Sultan Baibars destroyed the fortress in 1265. Most of the remains – including walls, towers and a moat – were built in the 18th century by the Bedouin ruler Daher al-Omar. They are a romantic backdrop for the Sukkot Yehi’am Renaissance Festival. Panoramic views of Western Galilee await at the top of the fortress, which was the first home for the pioneers who established Kibbutz Yehi’am in 1946.

Yarkon Sources

Purchase one ticket for both sections of Yarkon and Tel Afek National Park: -Tel Afek and the Yarkon Sources. The Yarkon Sources is a perfect choice for families and bikes, but not for carriages. Take your camera with you to capture good shots of the nofar-lilies and the parrots that have escaped from Tel Aviv households. [caption id="attachment_9171" align="aligncenter" width="618"]Yarkon and Tel Afek National Park Yarkon and Tel Afek National Park[/caption] A family friendly trail leads from the upper Yarkon Stream near Tel Afek and continues to the Yarkon sources. Here is where you see the beautiful yellow water lily, which blooms in summer. Length of tour: 2 hours-all day. Best season: Year-round. Hours: April-September 8 A.M.-5 P.M.   October-March 8 A.M- 4 P.M.   Last entry one hour before above closing hour Phone: Yarkon sources 03-934-8462 Entrance fee required. Pets prohibited How to get there: The Yarkon sources entrance to the park is east of the Hod-HaSharon-Petah Tikva road (no. 40) between the Yarkon and Segula junctions. Bus 561 from Tel Aviv stops at the Baptist Village near the Yarkon sources entrance. Download PDF map of Nachal Yarkon Trails including Yarkon and Tel Afek National Park Mekorot_HaYarkon

El-Mir Flour Mill

The vaulted el-Mir flour mill, one of the many flour mills scattered along the river, the easternmost mill on the Yarkon is named after a hamlet with the same name. It was operated by Yarkon water that was diverted toward it by a dam and canals. The el-Mir mill consisted of 13 pairs of millstones and it was operated during the initial years of the Moshava Petach Tikvah. [caption id="attachment_9182" align="aligncenter" width="800"]El Mir Mills El Mir Mills[/caption] [caption id="attachment_9183" align="aligncenter" width="800"]El Mir Mills El Mir Mills[/caption]  

Kassar Courtyard

Photos of the walled Kassar Courtyard, with its well and reservoir, owned by Salim Kassar a merchant from Jaffa during the 19 century, sold to the Jewish pioneers of Petah Tikva in the 19th century. The farm an "antilia well" from which water was hoisted in buckets by a water wheel  for irrigating the mansion's sugar cane and orange plantations. [caption id="attachment_9179" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Kassar Courtyard Kassar Courtyard[/caption] [caption id="attachment_9180" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Kassar Courtyard Kassar Courtyard[/caption] [caption id="attachment_9181" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Kassar Courtyard Kassar Courtyard[/caption]  

Nofar (yellow water lily)

[caption id="attachment_9185" align="aligncenter" width="550"]Nofar Tzahov Nofar Tzahov[/caption]

Yanay’s Restaurant

Yanay's Restaurant- Cafe is probably the best Israeli breakfast I've had in Israel and I've been living in Israel for 50 years. Freshly baked bread and the eggs in nest is a must try. The decor is lovely. We went out of our way to go there again the next day. This is truly a great,off the road, dairy restaurant. Beautifully decorated, delicious ( Kosher/Dairy) food, great service, this is really a find! Perfect for a date or a romantic eventing. IsraelandYou Recommendation: A++ Food: Breakfast, Coffee Shop, Events, Italian, vegetarian option [caption id="attachment_7856" align="aligncenter" width="259"]Yanay's Yanay's Restaurant[/caption] Restaurant interior design by Nir Yefet, located in Megiddo, Israel. A new branch is soon to be opened in Kiryat Bialik. I can't wait for that! Tel: 04-6204949 Opening hours:

  • Sunday - Thursday 07:00 - 23:00
  • Friday: 07:00- till two hour before Shabbat
  • Saturday: One hour after Shabbat till 23:30
  • Business lunch 12:00 - 17:00
Kosher: Dairy, Mehadrin Wi-Fi, free parking

Orchan Meggido, Meggido Junction, Emek Yizrael, Israel

Yanay's Restaurant

Yanay's Restaurant

Yad Hashmona

Memorial to the Eight

Yad Hashmona means Memorial to the Eight.   The name was given by the founding settlers, a group of Bible believing Protestant pioneers from Finland in memory of eight Jewish refugees, who escaped in 1938 from Austria to Finland, and who were surrendered by the Finns to the Gestapo in November 1942. It was a time when the Finnish government collaborated with Nazi Germany in opposition to the Soviet Union, in an attempt to recover the Karelia region - which Stalin had ‘stolen’ from the Finns in the “Winter War” of 1939/40. הורד The moshav shitufi (small collective village) was registered in 1971. Three years later they moved to the site in the Judaean mountains, near Jerusalem, to begin building and developing the stony area. Later on, Messianic Jews joined the Finnish founders. The moshav has become a center of Messianic Jews in Israel. http://youtu.be/KQiHxDEVtWQ This unique Biblical Village, planted on the hillside replicates agriculture in ancient times, was inaugurated in the year 2000 and was established with the assistance of the Swiss Beth Shalom society and the Israeli Antiquities Authority. The Biblical Village on the slope of Yad HaShmonah provides visitors with hands-on exposure to the manners and customs of the ancient Israelites.  The garden includes olive trees and press, grape vines and several winepresses, wheat field and threshing floor, watchtower, Bedouin tents, ancient Galilean synagogue, and a burial cave.  All have been constructed according to the best archaeological knowledge of ancient life.   The Yad Hashmona Hotel is found on the moshav. The guest houses are constructed of Finnish Pine, lending a unique look among the typically stone buildings in Israel.  The rooms have balconies or porches overlooking the beautiful Judean hills.  Snow is not common in this area, but a good snowfall will occur once every two or three years.

World’s Most Beautiful Shopping Districts

Photos Noa Kessler/Grand Tour/Corbis  in Departures Visit ten neighborhoods that are as captivating as the boutiques within them. So take your time: Thanks to the settings, shopping in these neighborhoods is more than just a quick act of consumerism.

Jaffa Flea Market, Tel Aviv

Antique shop at the flea market in Jaffa Thanks to a renovation of the neighborhood’s Ottoman-style buildings and the droves of restaurants and one-of-a-kind boutiques that have settled there in the last several years, Jaffa’s northern reaches have become Tel Aviv’s latest entertainment hot spot. For shoppers, on-street flea-market wares and antiques are the main attraction, but contemporary clothing, accessories and home items are available, too. Head to Asufa (8 Yehuda Margoza; asufadesign.com) for its selection of pieces like architectural neon stools, quirky prints and dinosaur broaches crafted by young Israeli creatives. For custom perfumes, visit Zielinski & Rozen Perfumerie (10 Rabbi Pinchas St.; 972-54/774-0566), a new fragrance shop where you can build your very own bottle from owner Erez Rozen’s exhaustive stock of notes, such as vanilla, lemongrass, jasmine and grapefruit.

Winter 2013 in Israel

With all this hot weather, I am dreaming about winter in Israel. July 2013 is a record breaker for traffic a Ben Gurion International Airport - 1,538,127 visitors. August is expected to have even more than 1,645,000. Will you be there, too?   [scribd id=127587526 key=key-21xnrl3nj3pnf06l9uip mode=scroll] Edited by Miki

White Tower

The White Tower is not white. It takes its name from the nearby White Mosque built in the 8th century city which was destroyed by a huge earthquake. Only the 12 century tower, known as the White Tower, or Square Tower, built by Saladin remains. The White Tower rises 30 meters over the main road between the port of Jaffa and Jerusalem (now Route 44). Upon its completion in 1318 it was used as an observation tower over the traffic on the main road and perhaps as a minaret for the Muazin. [satellite gallery=46 auto=on caption=off thumbs=off]

Tour Guide Story

Once upon a time the residents of nearby Lod were jealous of Ramla because of its White Tower. They planned to steal it and bring it to their city. In the dead of night they of Lod tied rubber ropes around the tower, having received them from an old Sheikh who decided to play a trick on them. They began dragging it towards Lod. As they approached Lod, they began to proclaim: "the Tower of Ramla is approaching". The residents of Lod heard this and came out to greet the tower, but very surprisingly, the tower remained in place in Ramla. [caption id="attachment_9010" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Remains of Saladin's White Mosque and  aquaduct from Gezer to  underground pool Remains of Saladin's White Mosque and aquaduct from Gezer to underground pool[/caption]

Water Reservoirs

In the courtyard between the Square Tower and the remains of the White Mosque, are three original (dry) underground cisterns, the maximum storage capacity of which is estimated to be 6400 cubic meters. It appears that at least two of them were built in the 8th century. The cisterns are filled from the aqueduct that carried water from ancient Gezer.  

Views from White Tower in Ramle

  http://youtu.be/QsaWnrTMuSE   http://youtu.be/aOPSrWphpHs  

British Mandatory Mail Box Park

I really cannot understand the logic of the Mandatory Post Box Park playground across the street from the White Tower. [caption id="attachment_9007" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Mandatory Post Box Park Mandatory Post Box Park[/caption]

The Shrine of Nabi Salih

According to Islamic tradition Nabi Salih urged pagans to abandon their idols and to worship Allah. The heathens tested him and said: "If you can turn this stone into a female camel we shall believe in Allah."  Nabi Salih indeed accomplished this feat and ever since then many believe in the legendary Nabi Salih.   [caption id="attachment_8984" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Nabi Salih Nabi Salih[/caption]   Address: Danny Mas St. Ramla Hours
  • Sun. Thurs. 8:00 am 2:30 pm
  • Fri. and Holidays 8:00 am 2:00 pm
  • Sat. and holidays 8:00 am 4:00 pm
Entrance fees:
  • Adults 5 NIS, Children/soldiers/seniors 4 NIS
  • Group of over 20 – 20% discount
  • To schedule visits: 9206586, 08-9771595
Coordination of combined visits to the Pool of Arches, the White Tower and the Ramla Museum (12 NIS per person): 08-921 6873 For reservations for a combined tour, please click here.  

Which Language is Correct?

Road signs in Israel must be in the three official languages of the country: Hebrew, Arabic and English. The American architect of the Ben Gurion 2000 International Airport Project "forgot" the Arabic and after losing in court all the signs had to be replaced. But even if the sign is written in three languages the message can be very different in each language. I would like to show you two examples from Jerusalem.

Zion Gate

As you can see the Arabic line has converted King David to become a prophet of Islam. The Jewish name of Zion has disappeared.
  • Hebrew: Zion Gate
  • English: Zion Gate
  • Arabic: David the Prophet Gate
[gallery columns="2" ids="7585,7584"]

Muristan Road

Muristan Road is in the the Old City of Jerusalem. The name Muristan comes from Persian Bimarestan بیمارستان meaning "Hospital". There are Christian traditions base on the Second Book of Maccabees (3:1-40) that a hospital was founded by the Hasmonean kingdom. For many centuries a Benedictine hospital stood close to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre even under Islamic rule. In the middle ages the  Knights Hospitaller established a hospital close to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. After Jerusalem was conquered by Sultan Saladin, this hospital became know as "Muristan". The Hospitaller site was deserted in the 16th century. In the late 1800's the church was rebuilt by German Lutherans. Part of the Hospitaller area was transferred to the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate. This part is now occupied by the Greek bazaar. IMG_8504 The Arabic wording identifies the Hospitaller site with the conquest by Saladin.
  • Hebrew: Muristan Road
  • English: Muristan Road
  • Arabic: Saladin Muristan Road

What to do and not to do when travelling to Israel

Posted on November 19, 2012 by Korah Morrison in America Israel Travel Contrary to what you may see in the news, Israel is a safe and western-like country that reunites people from all over the world and where tolerance is widely practiced. However, when coming to this amazing and hospitable country, travelers must remember that Israel’s foundations reside on Jewish religious beliefs and that there are a few traditions and cultural practices tourists should understand to fully enjoy their stay in Israel. Consequently, here are a few things you should do and not do when travelling to Israel.

Sabbath

According to Jewish tradition, Saturday is a day of rest. This day is a religious holiday – the Sabbath. It begins with sunset on Friday and ends with sunset on Saturday. Keep in mind that during this time most stores, most restaurants and other public places are closed.  Even public transport does not work. If you are planning to go somewhere on Saturday remember that the only transport you can use are taxis. Driving during this day depends where you are. Driving in most big cities is not a problem. However, avoid going through the religious neighborhoods where streets are usually closed. When going to someone’s house for Sabbath dinner, remember to not turn their lights off (when going to the bathroom for example). Religious people have them set to be turn on and off automatically since they cannot touch electricity for the whole day.

Security measures

Do not resent about the strict security measures in this country. Israel is a safe country because of its strict security practices to avoid terrorist attacks on public places.  Accept the fact that in Israel you will go through a metal detector on almost every entrance of a public building.   In places like shopping centers, banks, trains stations you may also be asked to show your bag for inspection. Treat this with understanding. It is important not to fool around with the border guards and airport workers, answering questions such as «Are you carrying a bomb?». Respond distinctly, shortly and clearly. Humorists often spend an hour or two in special rooms for security reasons.

Don’t leave your luggage

Better not to leave your bags and luggage unattended (even for a short period of time), particularly in public areas such as train and bus stations and the airport. It can be regarded as terrorist explosives or other threats. Avoid taking photos of the military installations, as well as power plants and security checks. We do not advise to photograph other people’s children, particularly children of orthodox Jews. This is considered very disrespectful. We know they are cute, but keep that experience in your memory and not your camera.

Kosher restaurants

Keep in mind most restaurants in Israel are Kosher. It means that you won’t find any pork, seafood or meat mixed with milk (a cheeseburger for example). But do not worry. There are also lots of non-kosher establishments, mostly in Tel Aviv, where most of the “secular” (not religious) jewish people live. However, if you go to a kosher restaurant (on them written “kosher”), do not ask: “Do you have pork?”, “Do you serve shrimp?”, and “Can I get a cheeseburger”? Kosher food is equally as delicious, so enjoy you stay eating kosher in the Holy Land.  

Always carry a bottle of water

This is very important, because due to the very hot climate in Israel could cause rapid dehydration. Therefore, make it a rule: 2 liters of water – this is the bare minimum during your journey to the Holy Land.

What kind of Israeli are you?

[playbuzz-item url="http://www.playbuzz.com/orico8210/what-kind-of-israeli-are-you"]

Walk Through the Old City of Jerusalem

See the Old City of Jerusalem as presented by Dr. David Reagan on the television show "Christ in Prophecy". Christian pilgrimage and tourism is very welcome in Israel. Licensed Israeli tourist guides  must learn about all the Christian holy sites and attractions which are an integral part of the curriculum. Dr. David R. Reagan was the founder of Lamb & Lion Ministries in 1980 and serves as their Senior Evangelist. He is a native Texan who resides in a suburb of Dallas. He has led more than forty pilgrimages to Israel that focus on the prophetic significance of the sites visited. Dave is the host of Lamb & Lion's weekly television program called "Christ in Prophecy." This program is broadcast nationally on seven Christian networks which combined have access to 80 million homes in the United States. Lamb & Lion Ministries is a Bible prophecy teaching ministry. Lamb & Lion Ministries was founded in 1980 as a non-denominational, independent ministry. The Ministry does not seek to convert people to any particular church. They  proclaim the second coming. Particular attention has been given to aiding the Jewish refugees that God is regathering back to the land of Israel from the four corners of the earth. The Ministry has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the assistance of the refugees. http://youtu.be/8Zb5fhXZ2YY  

Volunteering to the IDF from all across the world

IDF welcomes volunteers from all around the world and celebrates International Volunteer Day with a variety of volunteer programs  

Sar-El Volunteer Program

Sar-El, the National Project for Volunteers for Israel enables both Jews and non-Jews of all ages and from any country to come to Israel and volunteer in the IDF. Wearing official IDF uniforms, the volunteers tour Israel and package boxes of food for combat soldiers. They play an important role in handling logistical needs and annually save the IDF hundreds of thousands of hours in manpower. Since 1983, Sar-El brought more than a hundred thousand volunteers to Israel. Yesterday, the international community also marked International Volunteer Day. Staying in Israel for several weeks, the participants share a true IDF experience on IDF bases. IDF embraces volunteering abroad, with aid delegations to disaster sites all around the world. Sar-El, the National Project for Volunteers for Israel, brings approximately 4,000 Jews and non-Jews from 30 countries to Israel. Volunteering in the IDF for several weeks, Sar-El volunteers save the IDF hundreds of thousands of hours in manpower. For more from the IDF: http://www.idfblog.com/ http://twitter.com/idfspokesperson/ http://www.facebook.com/idfonline/ http://www.idf.il/english/ http://youtu.be/Bu4eYgiAr70  

Volunteering in Israel

Masa Israel Journey

Choose Your Own Volunteering Adventure!

1 week to 3 month long options available Are you passionate about Israel and eager to contribute through meaningful volunteer service?  Build your own volunteering experience in Israel. A tailor made volunteering placement is open to individuals between the ages of 18+. Come alone, with friends, with a community group or organization. Volunteer coordinators will pair you with a meaningful service project in an Israeli community, based on your talents, desires and requirements. Select the length of time you wish to stay, the region/city in Israel where you wish to work, the type of population whom you wish to serve, and the kind of work you wish to do. Come for spring break with a group of friends from school, or come next month with just your heart and hands ready to make a difference! We already have available for volunteers:
  • Senior Citizen Centers
  • Medical Centers
  • Health Care Institutions
  • African Refugee Centers
  • Community Centers
  • Soup Kitchens
  • Animal Shelters
  • Women's Shelters
Additional Services In addition to volunteer placements, Israel Way provides a la carte services so you can design a unique travel and lodging experience in Israel. You may elect to book one of the following services:
  • Hotel (economy lodging to five-star accommodations)
  • Domestic transportation
  • Day and overnight trips - with a group or private guide
  • Medical insurance
  • Travel insurance
  • Hebrew Ulpan
  • Private lectures on Israeli culture, politics or society
  • Guided museum and/or site visits
  Oranim's Long Term Israel Programs are recognized by Masa Israel journey, a project of the government of Israel and the Jewish Agency for Israel.The Masa Israel Program provides financial support and other resources to participants on long-term programs in Israel. Masa is Hebrew for "Journey," and Masa's vision is that every year, more and more young Jews from around the world will start their journey with a semester or year On a Masa Israel Journey, exploring the land, experiencing its culture, growing and learning together as they enter the global community. To make this vision a reality, Masa is working to create the conditions that will enable thousands of young adults from the around the world to participate in long term programs in Israel each year. Long-term programs provide opportunities for connecting to Israel and its people while strengthening commitment to Jewish continuity and around the world. Masa Israel programs emphasize study, meaningful encounters with Israelis, volunteering and contributing to Israeli society, together with adventures, challenges and familiarity with young people from other countries as well as Israelis. In order for you to receive a grant or scholarship from Masa Israel Journey, you must fill out their application in addition to an Oranim program application . In order to be eligible for Masa grants or scholarships you must meet the following qualifications:
  • You must be Jewish
  • You may not have Israeli citizenship (or if you do, you must have left Israel before your 14th birthday and have lived outside Israel for at least the last 4 years)
  • You must not have participated in an organized long-term program in Israel since September 2004
  • You must have graduated high school by the program start date
  • You must be under the age of 31 at the start of the program

Volunteer Tourism / Experience Israel Hands on and Help the Hungry

Volunteer Tourism

   Volunteer tourism​Tourists in Israel looking for another, hands on way to experience Israel and, at the same time, help feed Israel’s needy can now enjoy a great day out picking fruits and vegetables, courtesy of Leket. The free activity is available for groups of all ages, sizes and backgrounds, as part of Israel’s National Food Bank gleaning initiative to pick fresh produce for distribution to Israel’s needy and help alleviate nutritional insecurity in Israel.

Bar and Bat Mitzvahs

http://youtu.be/YphSmFUEKmI

Leket

Groups can participate Sunday through Thursday between 08:00 and 16:00 for a 2-hour gleaning session at fields just outside Rehovot in Central Israel or in Moshav Nahalal in Northern Israel. Each group is welcomed with a brief overview of the scheme and then sent out into the field to reap the fruit of their labor. At the conclusion, the group is gathered for a summary and told how many families they helped feed through their initiative.
Volunteer tourism.Leket 4.jpg
Israel’s National Food Bank works to alleviate nutritional insecurity in Israel through its many food rescue and redistribution projects. Food is reclaimed from hundreds of food suppliers (restaurants, catering halls, farms etc) and redistributed to over 300 nonprofit organizations serving the needy; feeding 60,000 people daily.
Groups wishing to arrange a visit to the fields are invited to call 972 9 744 1757 or email leket@leket.org
Volunteers Welcome - leket tree
 

Visions of the Holy Land : Part 2

If you liked Visions of the Holy Land: Part 1, then be prepared for another inspiring journey through the homeland, where  Jesus taught and witness the ancient religious marvels of the Holy Land. In the background elating religious hymns and choir chants will inspire and renew your spirit as we follow in the footsteps of Jesus. http://youtu.be/S8PD5arBCsY

Come and Visit the Holy Land You'll Never be the Same

http://youtu.be/13wd_JQAZng

Visions of the Holy Land : Part 1

T'is the month of December and Christmas holidays are sneaking up on us. Did you forget your New Year's resolution to visit the birthplace of Christianity? Settle down in front of your computer and step back through the corridors of time for an inspiring  journey to locations where Jesus lived in the Holy Land viewing Visions of the Holy Land. In a few hours you can be there, too! http://youtu.be/4XFRvjbSemI

Via Dolorosa – Audio Walking Tour in the Old City of Jerusalem

A tour along the Via Dolorosa in the Old City

Time of tour: 4 to 6 hours http://youtu.be/YjyywQ-tEoA The tour starts at the Lion's gate and ends at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Highlights include: all 14 station of the Via Dolorosa, St. Anna's Church and the Pools of Bathesda and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Jesus came to Jerusalem on the eve of Passover, accompanied by his disciples. The events that took place during the week following his arrival in the city until his crucifixion and resurrection have become the foundations of the Christian faith. After eating with his disciples ("the Last Supper") Jesus went to Gethsemane. It is here that he was caught, handed over to the Romans and sentenced to die on the cross. The path Jesus walked from the place of his judgment to the site of his crucifixion is sacred in Christianity and is known as the "Via Dolorosa" - the Way of Suffering. Fourteen stations along this path signify events that are mentioned in the New Testament and later Christian tradition, and various Christian sects emphasize certain traditions and stations over others. [divider]

Walk Through the Old City of Jerusalem

Tour the Old City of Jerusalem with Dr. David Reagan on the television show Christ in Prophecy!

  http://youtu.be/8Zb5fhXZ2YY  
[divider]

Виа Долороза - Крестный Путь Иисуса Христа

Маршрут Крестного пути ( "Виа Долороза") такой, каким мы его видим в наши дни, был определен в Средневековье на основании событий, происходивших в 1-м веке н.э. http://youtu.be/-Jv-ClBozoU [divider] The Jerusalem Development Authority presents a Guide for the Independent Tourist. The Old City of Jerusalem Audio Walking Tours takes you through the allies of the Old City of Jerusalem in a fascinating journey through time to a city that is the center of religious and spiritual worship for thousands of years. Walk through the ancient quarters following 15 different tours and explore the churches, synagogues, masques and historical points of interest. Explore the colorful marketplaces and enjoy the smell of exotic local foods. Glimpse the Temple Mount compound where 3 religions meet in a focal point of worship. Visit the Western Wall, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Dome of the Rock, the Garden Tomb and many more religious iconic locations. Walk in the footsteps of Jesus, see the Temple's cycles of birth and destruction, witness the sites of Islam. The videos on this channel are introductions to all audio tours in the app. View Larger Map

Via Dolorosa – Accessible Audio Walking Tour in the Old City of Jerusalem

A tour along the Via Dolorosa in the Old City

Time of tour: 4 to 6 hours http://youtu.be/ay1Lg621RBU Jesus came to Jerusalem on the eve of Passover, accompanied by his disciples. The events that took place during the week following his arrival in the city until his crucifixion and resurrection have become the foundations of the Christian faith. After eating with his disciples ("the Last Supper") Jesus went to Gethsemane. It is here that he was caught, handed over to the Romans and sentenced to die on the cross. The path Jesus walked from the place of his judgment to the site of his crucifixion is sacred in Christianity and is known as the "Via Dolorosa" - the Way of Suffering. Fourteen stations along this path signify events that are mentioned in the New Testament and later Christian tradition, and various Christian sects emphasize certain traditions and stations over others. The tour starts at the Lion's gate and ends at the church of the holy sepulcher. Highlights include: St. Anna's, The Church of St. Alexander Nievski and the church of the holy sepulcher. [divider]

Виа Долороза - маршрут для инвалидов

http://youtu.be/KTQ9xcsQqL4 Путь Иисуса Христа с места, где он был предан суду, до места распятия имеет особую святость для христианства, он известен нам под названием "Виа Долороза"-Крестный путь Иисуса Христа. [divider] The videos on this channel are introductions to all audio tours in the app. View Larger Map

Vegan Travel & Packing Tips: Vegan Israel!

Vegan Break

http://youtu.be/PoEw_wz4a34

Published on Feb 11, 2013

This video shares vegan travel tips as Michelle Taylor prepares for a trip to Israel!

You can follow VeganBreak on the following sites: Website: http://www.VeganBreak.com Facebook: http://facebook.com/VeganBreak Twitter: http://twitter.com/VeganBreak Tumblr: http://VeganBreak.tumblr.com Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/veganbreak Instagram: VeganBreak  

The Vegan Revolution Takes Over Prime-time TV in Israel

http://youtu.be/jQ7lYAIeo5c

Published on Jul 21, 2012

Watch [Israel TV Channel 2] how the unprecedented vegan trend in Israel reaches prime-time television, all due to Gary Yourofsky's riveting speech, with an extensive 10 minute news item on Israel's most watched network.

wordpress_main-150x150 Get the full story: http://gary-tv.com/en Find us on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/gary.yourofsky

Urbano Viejo – A Hamburger In Jaffa

Urbano resaurants At this point of time, it is fair to say that 'Urbano Viejo- Hamburger and Bar'  is maybe the best hamburger in Jaffa. The place is located on the very trendy corner of the flee-market and the Abulafia bakery, in a traditional ancient Ottoman building of stone and arches, that has been wisely preserved. It is a little bit surprising, but it took the hamburger trend about 4 years to find it's way from Tel-Aviv to Jaffa. After the recent years' big boom of hamburger chef restaurants in the city it looks like this chunk of meat was always here with us, but Jaffa arrived fashionably late. So now Jaffa has its own chef hamburger, and it's pretty good. When I was there, I was the only one in the place so I can say the service was very good. I had a 250gr hamburger dish, with chips and a drink. The hamburger was good, carefully done and well served. The chips could have been better, if  you ask me, but a big amount of them was served on the dish so I was satisfied anyway. In the bar section, the place has some interesting items to offer such as boutique Israeli beers, definately not always easy to find. Like other novo-flee-market-restaurants it seems like 'Urbano' is looking for a unique niche in the battle on the heart of the visitor in this fast growing area. Is it a bar, is it a hamburger place? Looks like the identity of 'Urbano' is still in the making. Our advice is: Keep on doing what you are doing well. Hamburgers. urbano hamburger Yefet 11, Tel Aviv 6802816, Israel +972 3-632-2490 [Not Kosher]

Underground Prisoners Museum

The Jewish Resistance Fighters Museum features an innovative display run by the Ministry of Defense describing the resistance fighters' imprisonment, their life in prison, the Acre prison break and the story of Olei Hagardom (Zionist prisoners executed) by the British. During the British Mandate (1917-1948), the Ottoman citadel served as the main prison for the north of Israel. Members of all the Zionist Underground organizations (Haganah, Etzel and Lehi) were imprisoned here because of their struggle to establish a Jewish State and a national home in the Land of Israel. The first prisoner was Zeev Jabotinsky.   [caption id="attachment_7451" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Acre_Underground_Prisoners_Museum Acre_Underground_Prisoners_Museum[/caption] [caption id="attachment_7438" align="aligncenter" width="480"]Jewish Resistance Fighters Museum Jewish Resistance Fighters Museum[/caption] Etzel forces broke into the prison on May 4, 1947, to free the imprisoned freedom fighters.   Forty-one prisoners were freed. Six released prisoners were killed in a battle that ensued outside of the prison walls and eight escapees were re-captured. Nine condemned prisoners were hanged in the Citadel of Acre by the British: Shlomo Ben-Yosef, Mordechai Schwarcz, Dov Gruner, Yechiel Dov Dresner, Eliezer Kashani, Mordechai Elkachi, Yaakov Weiss, Avshalom Haviv and Meir Nakar .   [caption id="attachment_7447" align="aligncenter" width="480"]Jewish Resistance Fighters Museum Jewish Resistance Fighters Museum[/caption]   [caption id="attachment_7446" align="aligncenter" width="640"]Jewish Resistance Fighters Jewish Resistance Fighters[/caption] Moshe Barazani and Meir Feinstein, sentenced in Acre were sent for execution in Jerusalem but commited suicide before their execution. Eliyahu Hakim and Eliyahu Bet-Zuri who assassinated Lord Moyne were executed in Cairo. Approximately 100 Arabs were executed by the British at the Jerusalem prison during the Mandate. Visiting Hours:

Sun - Thur: 8:30 am to 4:30 pm
Fri: 8:30 am to 1:30 pm
Closed on Saturdays, holiday eves and holidays
Schedule guided tours in advance:
Tel: +972-4-9911375
        +972-4-9811020
Fax: +972-4-9550327
Email: hmakko_museum@mod.gov.il

Umm el Kanatir

Umm al-Qanatir

One archaeological site on the Golan Heights that is free and easily accessible by car is Umm el Kanatir, which means “Mother of the Arches” in Arabic. It is named so for its proximity to a natural spring originally surmounted by three large arches.  Excavations have revealed a Roman-era Jewish city and synagogue. http://youtu.be/UMZxXvDEcFQ The site is located 10 kilometers east of the Dead Sea Transform, two kilometers west of Kibbutz Natur.  Natur is third kibbutz in last 100 years to become moshav. The site of Umm el Kanatir is located in the south-western Golan Heights, map ref. 2194.2505 at the foot of Kibbutz Natur, above Wadi Samekh. The site can be reached via a new dirt road, off to the left, c. 200m from the gate of the Kibbutz. In August 2003 a project to restore the ancient synagogue began, carried out by Yeshu Dray. Yeshu Dray is a former interior designer who turned his skill into reconstructing ancient technologies. His theories are put into practice through models and full on-site reconstructions using original materials, often revising what is accepted in the academic world. Another pioneering field of his activity is employing a gamut of technologies to take apart a site and put it back together again. A crane to lift stones and put them back, running on railroad tracks, 3D laser scanning, inserting microchips to track the fallen and rebuilt locations of each stone. A fragment of a relief of a Menorah (seven branch candelabrum) was found in one of the sectional trenches, which is a positive proof for a synagogue. [caption id="attachment_3069" align="aligncenter" width="244"]Yeshu Dray at Umm el Kanatir Yeshu Dray at Umm el Kanatir[/caption] Umm el Kanatir, or Keshatot Rechavam, as it is called named after Rechavam Zeevi, boasts one of the best-preserved ancient synagogues in the land—90% of the remains (collapsed) were still in place after the earthquake of AD 749, the infamous The Seventh Earthquake, so named because it occurred in a sabbatical year.  It is in the process of being reconstructed (anastylosis) by Yehoshua Dray and his colleagues. http://youtu.be/HBRYvR1xQbE One of the most fascinating synagogues, dated to the 6th-8th century, stands in ruins at Umm el Kanatir. The synagogue was destroyed in a massive earthquake in 749 and is now being carefully reconstructed utilizing twenty-first-century technology. The building is impressive The building was 18 meters (60 feet) long by 13 meters (43 feet) wide and calculated to have been 12 meters (40 feet) high, making it one of the largest of the over 25 ancient synagogues of the time discovered. The synagogue also indicates the relative wealth of the community. It appears that neither the town nor its synagogue was rebuilt after that devastating earthquake, though the ruined buildings were used by local shepherds for many years. images (4) Just beyond the synagogue, the path continues to the natural spring mentioned above that was undoubtedly the reason for building there in the first place. The ample continuous supply of water not only provided for the town’s drinking needs but also became the basis for a thriving flax industry. The textile were sold to wealthy residents in the nearby towns of Sussita and Beit Saida.Much of the 1,400-year-old installation, including one of the aforementioned arches, is still intact. Their techniques must have been advanced because apparently cloth was brought from as far away as Egypt to be treated in these stone baths using the soft, mineral-rich water of the Golan which is prized even today. One of the pools of an ancient flax factory still fills with cool spring water and is shallow enough for children to splash in on a hot spring-summer-fall day in the Golan.   images (2)The site is on the hillside overlooking the beautiful valley of Nahal Samekh, which is part of the itinerary of Shvil Hagolan. It's beautiful. Believe me I've been there and I did it.           For our Arabic speaking friends: http://youtu.be/clvx4lmNnz8   For additional information about Umm el–Q/Kanatir see Yeshu Dray’s web site View Larger Map  

Tunisian Synagogue in Acco

 The Or Torah – "Jariva" – (Tunisian) Synagogue, Acco

Acco may be famous for Crusaders, Ottoman Pashas and Rabbi Haim Luzzatto, but in my opinion the most original and unique attraction in Acco is the Tunisian Or Torah Synagogue – known as the "Jariva".  It is a mosaic wonderland - literally covered in mosaics – both inside and out - every floor, wall, ceiling and step - and 140 stained-glass windows. You have to climb 4 stories (no elevator available) to view spectacular mosaics displays.  All of the mosaics were created in Kibbutz Eilon from millions of natural stones. All of them natural and all of them from Israel. The project is the outcome of 54 years of work - the dream of Acre resident Zion Badasche. Zion also calls the synagogue the Djerba Synagogue, after the Jewish community on the island by that name off the coast of his native Tunisia.  The Synagogue proudly boasts seven engraved, silver Torah Arks.   http://youtu.be/xO7YADFSr6U The mosaics and stained-glass windows depict the history of the Jewish people and of the Land of Israel:
  • Bible stories
  • Ancient synagogue mosaics
  • Menorah, shofar, harp and other musical instruments used in the Holy Temple in Jerusalem
  • Tribes of Israel
  • Matriarchs and other Bible heroines
  • Signs of the zodiac
  • Flora and fauna
  • IDF corps and Israel Police
  • Modern Jewish and Israeli history
[satellite gallery=37 auto=on thumbs=off] Address: 13 Kaplan Street, Acre To arrange a visit, call 050-68220781 On my last visit Zion Badasche was in the downstairs synagogue. He was kind enough to allow me to photograph him. He is amazing. http://youtu.be/6SDVUvtfxro

Travel Tips

Planning Your Trip: Know Before You Go!  (As per US Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs) img_1941 Required Travel Documents and Other Important Documentation What to Take With You on the Trip, and What to Leave Behind Emergencies:  Consular Assistance and Crises Abroad What You Should Know If You Are Residing Abroad or Are Planning to Reside Abroad
  • Check your overseas medical insurance coverage: Ask your medical insurance company if your policy applies overseas, and if it covers emergency expenses such as medical evacuation. If it does not, consider supplemental insurance.
  • Take precautions to avoid being a target of crime: To avoid being a target of crime, do not wear conspicuous clothing or jewelry and do not carry excessive amounts of money. Also, do not leave unattended luggage in public areas and do not accept packages from strangers.
Travel Checklist FOR TOMORROW

 http://www.traveluniversally.com

 

Travel Palestine – Bethlehem

  Christmas and Easter Christian pilgrim tourism creates peaceful cooperation between the Israel and the Palestine Authority (PA). Christian and Moslim Arabs from Judaea and Samaria are free to visit all the religious sites in Israel. One can only wish that at  some time in the future Israelis and Jews from other countries will be allowed to visit religious sites controlled by the PA. In the meantime get prepared for your Christmas visit to "Palestine". Bethlehem is a quiet battlefield between Moslims and Christians; a battle that the Christians are losing due to lower birth rates and emigration. Besides being a Christian "attraction", Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity is one of the few octagonal churches in Israel, and as such of great archaeological and architectural value. A socialolgist might find interest in the X-mas TV coverage of the midnight mass in the Church of the Nativity. Here there is a once-in-a-year opportunity to film IDF Officers, Muslim PA officials and Christian Arab Cardinals in a single frame. [caption id="attachment_8485" align="aligncenter" width="575"]Octogonal Nativity Grotto octagonal Nativity Grotto[/caption]   The other church mention in the clip is one side of the different traditions of Christian rites. There are two enclosures in the eastern part of Beit Sahour that are claimed by different Christian denominations to be the actual 'Shepherds Field'. Sheperds Field Greek Orthodox Church The Greek Orthodox Shepherds Field  Church [caption id="attachment_8484" align="aligncenter" width="1280"]shepherd-field-church Shepherds Field Church[/caption] and the Catholic Shepherds Field Church original built by the Empress Helena belongs to the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land. http://youtu.be/6WE_JiPrM6M

Travel Like an Athlete

Travel Like an Athlete. When you pick your seat, try to get one near the emergency exit or aisle where you will have more leg room. Try to avoid seats near the restroom or against the back of the plane. The seats are not very comfortable and do not lean back. Go to bed early the night before departure. Set your watch to the time of destination before departure or when boarding the plane; adopt destination times for eating and sleeping as soon as you arrive. Gum, mint or chips: Chew on something when the plane takes off and lands to prevent your ears from popping during the sudden altitude change. [gallery ids="5572,5573,5574,5575,5576,5577,5578,5579,5580"] Hydration is essential when traveling, especially if you’re flying. The hydration process starts BEFORE you actually fly. Humidity is around 10-15% on a plane and moisture is drained from you. If you know you have a big trip coming up, start pounding the fluids a few days in advance. Take a drink bottle onboard. Avoid drinking alcohol and go easy on caffeinated beverages e.g. coffee or coke, as they are diuretics and will cause fluid loss. Pack plenty of high-energy power snacks (high carbohydrate snacks) and fluids that are easy to eat on an airplane (and won’t offend your neighbor).  Many airlines have either stopped providing meals. Have extra snacks on hand in case of delays during stopovers. Eating some carbohydrate may help you get to sleep. This is because carbohydrate increases brain serotonin, a hormone that induces sleep. The first thing I check off my packing list and double, triple-check for before heading to the airport: my passport and license. It’s important to always have at least an emergency carry on bag for 24 hours in case that dreaded moment comes as you’re standing at baggage claim and realize your bags didn’t make it. Slippers or comfortable shoes: You may want to take off your shoes on longer flights and comfortable shoes are easier to slip on if you have to go to the bathroom or walk around the cabin. Don’t forget to bring some entertainment: iPod, book, computer, etc. Take advantage of the time to exercise your mind with a good book or catch up on some work. Get up at least a few times during your flight (when the seat-belt sign has been turned off). Dress for the flight. Being comfortable when you travel, especially for long distances is important. That means compression socks/pants, layers and comfortable shoes. Become friends with the flight attendants. Travel-Like-an-Athlete_COMPLETE-750x530 Earplugs will save you once that screaming baby in aisle 12 starts crying. While most people worry about air quality in planes, it’s actually the shared surfaces touched by the other (current and prior) passengers that often transmit germs. Bring a travel size hand sanitizer and be sure to wash your hands thoroughly and often. Hint: if you’re really dedicated, wipe down your seat and tray table with a disinfectant wipe. Take along a comfy looking neck pillow, air pillow and/or a sleeping mask. Doing some light exercise during a stopover. Whether or not the local water supply is safe. It is a good idea to use bottled water in many places. images (7)

Transportation in Israel

Israeli Transportation

Israel is a small country, and it is therefore easy to get from one place to another in a relatively short time.  There is a great transport network which makes getting around in Israel easy – whether you are using public transport or travelling on your own and renting a car. The country has a modern road network, with a great train and bus service between major cities. Taxis and Sheruts in Israel are inexpensive compared to in many Western Countries.  http://youtu.be/mP8quMJ4kp4

Train

הורד (5) Israel Railways operates convenient, inexpensive train service. Trains in Israel have been modernized and developed extensively over the past ten years or so, meaning that Israel Railways, the national train operator, offers a great option for getting around, particularly within the Coastal Plain. Trains in Israel are clean, generally modern, and air-conditioned, and are reliable and relatively frequent. The stations are also relatively new, and particularly useful routes for visitors to Israel include the train from Ben Gurion Airport from Tel Aviv, Haifa, and many intermediate cities, as well as the trains to Tel Aviv from its suburbs.

Bus

הורד (6) Buses are the most popular form of public transport in Israel for both local transport and intercity trips.  The Egged bus company operates most of the intercity bus lines, as well as the local service in most of the large cities and towns.  Local and intercity transport in the Gush Dan area (Tel Aviv and the surrounding suburbs) is provided by the Dan bus company.  Bus service in Be’er Sheva and Nazareth is provided by private companies.  The fare for all bus lines is reasonable, the busses are comfortable and usually air-conditioned, and there is regular, frequent service. Tickets can be purchased at the ticket booths in the central bus station in each city or town, or from the driver.  Most of the bus lines do not run on Shabbat or on Jewish holidays.  Service ends on Friday afternoon and resumes Saturday evening. Students are entitled to discounts on intercity bus lines.  To receive a discount they must present an international student card when purchasing tickets.

Bus Companies

transportation5

Egged

Egged Customer Service and Information:  *2800 Egged Website Egged is a prime bus company in Israel and provides intercity public bus service throughout the country. Passengers can obtain information about the various bus lines on the Egged website or by phoning the computerized customer service and information center.  Each central bus station has an information booth and electronic boards displaying the departure times and destinations.
Dan
Dan Customer Service and Information: 00 972 6 639 4444 Dan Website The Dan Bus Company operates public bus service in the Gush Dan area (Tel Aviv and the surrounding suburbs) and in Yehuda and Shomron.  Passengers can obtain information about the various bus lines on the Website or from the computerized customer service and information center.
Metrodan 
Information: *5100 Metrodan Website  The Metrodan company operates public bus service in the southern city of Be’er Sheba.  Passengers can obtain information about the various bus lines on the Website or from the computerized customer service and information center. Nazareth Transport & Tourism NTT Website(is in Hebrew only) Operates inter-city lines in the north, covering Nazareth, Haifa, Karmiel and villages in the Galilee, and international lines to Amman (Jordan) and Sinai (Egypt). United Nazareth Buses UNBS Website Active in public transportation in the Nazareth metropolitan area.

Nateev Express Website​ (is in Hebrew only)

Provides urban and inter-city lines in the northern area between Zefat and Nahariya and the central area between Hadera and Netanya. On January 2007 the company won a tender for routes between the cities of Tel Aviv and Netanya.

Transportation4

Israel Railways

 Israel Railways Customer Service and Information: 00 972 3 577-4000 or *5770 Israel Railways Website Israel Railways has expanded and improved the train service in recent years.  Trains run more frequently to more destinations, there are more train stations in the major cities, and the trains are more comfortable. Students and senior citizens can receive discounts by showing a student card or ID. Because of heavy traffic on many of the roads, travel by train is recommended whenever possible.  Trains run from Tel Aviv to most of the large cities from Nahariya in the north to Dimona in the south, including Jerusalem and Ben Gurion airport. Train tickets can be purchased at the ticket booth or vending machine at the station.  Seats can also be reserved in advance. There is refreshment service that includes hot and cold drinks, snacks, and sandwiches on most trains. Trains do not run on Shabbat or on Jewish holidays.

Haifa Carmelit Subway Service

הורד (4) Carmelit Haifa is considered the most efficient, speedy and convenient way to get around the city, both for tourists as well as regular citizens. Each one of the Carmelit Haifa six stations will lead you to one of the three major centers in Haifa. Down town, characterized as an active business center during the day, and currently more and more as an art and night entertainment center developing thanks to the big investment in the area called "The Port Campus"; Hadar neighborhood, which constitutes in recent years a young and vibrant residential area, also offering various commercial and business areas; and Central Carmel where most of the hotels in town as well as multiple places of entertainment are located. Telephone: 00 972 4 837 6661 Carmelit Website The Haifa Carmelit is the only subway system in Israel.  It runs from Paris Square in the lower city, and stops at five other stations including the Hadar business center, and ends at Gan Ha-Em in Merkaz Ha-Carmel.

Taxicabs

הורד (7) It is also possible to travel by taxi, but this is more expensive, particularly for inter-city trips.  You may prefer to use shared service taxis.
​Local and intercity taxi service is available to and from any point in the country.  Fares within the cities are charged according to the meter.
The fares for intercity taxi service are standard fares that are set by the Ministry of Transportation. It is recommended to verify what the fare will be before boarding the taxi.Taxis can be ordered by telephone from a local taxi station, or stopped by waving your hand at one on the street.Night rates are 25% more than the normal fare.These rates also apply for Sabbath and holidays. Drivers must operate the meter for trips within the city. Do not let the driver convince you to agree on a price ahead of time if you are not familiar with the rates!

Service Taxis (Sherut) or Shared Taxis

Sheruts are Israel’s shared taxis and operate across the country both on local and inter-city routes. Generally these are the same price as, or slightly cheaper than buses, and stop anywhere along their routes. Inter-city routes operate on Sabbath, which make them a great way of getting around. They are especially useful for inter-city travel, as they are not only quicker than buses, but also drop you at your destination, very useful if you are going from the airport to Jerusalem of Haifa. Service taxis (Sherut) travel on permanent local and intercity routes coinciding with the bus routes. The fare for these taxis is set according to distance. In most cases, it is equal to or slightly cheaper than the equivalent bus fare. Service taxis stop at permanent stops, but will also make request stops along the way.  Some central taxis lines also operate on the Sabbath. Departure times are not prescheduled: the taxi leaves the station when it is full.  For this reason it is wise to take into account that you might have to wait some time before the taxi fills up and departs.
Intercity Service Taxis
From Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Haifa, Netanya, Petakh Tikva, Rekhovot, Lod, Ramle, Hadera, Afula, Eilat, Nazareth, and all stops on the way - Taxis leave from the new central bus station. From Jerusalem to Tel Aviv, Rekhovot, Haifa, Eilat, and all the stops on the way - Taxis leave from the central bus station. From Haifa to Tel Aviv and Jerusalem - Taxis leave from He-Khalutz Street near Ha-Nevi’im Street in the Hadar district. From Eilat to Tel Aviv and Jerusalem-  Taxis leave from the central bus station. From Be’er Sheva to Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Haifa, and all stops on the way, leaving from the central bus station. From Netanya to Tel Aviv - Leaving from the central bus station.  

Local Service Taxis

In Tel Aviv - Service taxis operate on the main Dan bus routes.  The fare is slightly lower than that of the busses.  Passengers can get on or off anywhere along the route, and not only at designated bus stops.  These taxis also run on the Sabbath on routes 4, 5, and 16, and other routes. Jerusalem - There are no local service taxis in Jerusalem.​ Eilat - There are no local service taxis in Eilat. Haifa - Service taxis run on the main Egged bus routes in the city. Some lines also operate on the Sabbath. Tiberias - There are no local service taxis in Tiberias. Be’er Sheva - Service taxis run on the main Metrodan bus routes.
Airplane

 

       

Domestic Flights

Several companies provide domestic flights between Eilat and Ben Gurion Airport, Sde Dov Airport in north Tel Aviv, or Haifa, but these flights are more expensive. Flights from Tel Aviv to Eilat are by far the quickest and easiest way to get from the center of Israel to the resort on the Red Sea. There are three options for flying to Eilat – domestic airlines Arkia and Israir, and international airline EL AL. The majority of Arkia and Israir flights depart from Tel Aviv’s domestic airport, Sde Dov, although some do depart from Ben Gurion. All of EL AL’s flight to Eilat leave from Tel Aviv. Israel Airport Authority Telephone: 00 972 3 975 5555 Website:  http://www.iaa.gov.il/Rashat/en-US/Rashot הורד (8) Arkia  Telephone: 00 972 3 690 2222, Arkia Website El Al Telephone: 00 972 3 971 6111 (Israel) El Al Website Scheduled Flights: From Tel Aviv (Ben Gurion Airport) to Eilat From Eilat to Tel Aviv (Ben Gurion Airport) Israair Telephone: 00 972 3 795 5777 Israair Website​ ​ Scheduled flights: From Tel Aviv (Ben Gurion Airport) to Eilat From Eilat to Tel Aviv (Ben Gurion Airport)  

Renting a Car

images Most international car rental companies and local companies have offices in the large cities and at Ben Gurion Airport.  It is recommended to reserve a car in advance from abroad. To rent a car in Israel the driver must be over 24 years of age, and must hold a valid international driver’s license and an international credit card. Driving in Israel is on the ri​ght-hand side of the road.  Israel has an extensive road system and clear signage in most places (in Hebrew, English, and Arabic).  It is a little more difficult to find your way in the large cities, but streets and roads are marked, and you can use a map, GPS  or ask for directions. Most Rent a Car companies do not offer insurance for the areas in the West Bank under the control of the Palestinian Authority.  Tourists wishing to drive with rented cars into the areas of the Palestinian Authority are recommended to secure appropriate insurance. ​​​

הורד (9)

 Camels?

No, camels are out.

Train Travel in Israel

How are the trains in Israel?

The recent construction of train lines has made train travel in israel easier for the life of an weary traveler. Traffic on the roads of Israel can be tough to handle sometimes. As they are, the trains have great routes, including several that are intercity and go through major tour hubs and the nice thing is that the trains both inexpensive and pretty comfortable. There are four stations in Tel Aviv alone. One can travel by train from the airport and wind up in one of Nahariya, beautiful Haifa, Beer Sheva or the old city, Jerusalem. Among the other available lines are more residential areas like Bet Shemesh, but also Modiin and Kfar Sava. They are presently working on more routes, including a high-speed train between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, via Ben Gurion International Airport. The new train tunnel will save you all the ups and downs of the ride to Jerusalem. Israel Railways has a pretty good website. You can plan your travel and get the schedule of  your desired rout but unfortunately you can't buy a ticket on-line : http://www.rail.co.il/EN/Pages/Homepage.aspx  

Trains Entering Tel-Aviv HaShalom Station

What is fun about taking the trains is that on many lines there are comfortable (and accessible) double-decker carriages, while riding from Jerusalem and Bet Shemesh, for example, provides a most relaxing and scenic view of Israel’s dry, hill strewn countryside. You can avoid trafic jams. Israel Railways, as it is called, also happens to save travelers quite a bit of time wasted sitting in dense traffic coming out of both Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. The latest addition to the train lines include a route, opened just this year, moving between the suburban areas of Bat Yam, Holon and Rishon LeZion, a wonderfully coastal town home of the first Zionist settlement in Israel.

Israel Railway Museum

For those train enthusiasts out there, there is even a nice Railway Museum to visit out in the old Turkish-era station at Haifa Mizrah. The museum is complete with visual and textual history of the area’s first rail in the 19th century. The Israel Railway Museum provides a historical overview of railways in the Holy Land and their part in the development of the country from the first line between Jaffa and Jerusalem opened in 1892 under Turkish rule, through two World Wars, the British Mandate, and right up to the revitalized Israel Railways of the 21st Century.The museum also affords a lovely panoramic view of trains passing through the city and Mount Carmel. The Israel Railway Museum is open Sundays - Thursdays, except holydays and eve of holydays, from 08:00-16:00. The Museum's address is Hativat Golani St. 1, Haifa. Please note this address is applicable only to visitors arriving by foot or by public transportation. Visitors arriving by car will find the entrance to the Museum's driveway at the junction of HaMelacha and Hiram streets. Telephone (during local working hours): +972-4-8564180, +972-4-8564293. Fax:  +972-4-8564310. emailmuseum@rail.co.il http://youtu.be/9bYda58ZVVQ

Free Apps

Next Train - ONE TOUCH way to Israel Railways

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.n2o.nexttrain https://itunes.apple.com/en/app/next-train-one-touch-way-to/id344549320?mt=8 Easy and Quick way to see next train information! One touch - and your got all the info about the train YOU NEED. Departure time, direction, platform - all of it. No searching through time-tables! Just choose the station and see all relevant data! All trains info, including platform, given in order of departure (North vs. South marked in color). One more touch and you see all route and stops data about the chosen train!!The program remembers your usual choices. Languages: AR | EN | HE | RU
FREE
Available in the App Store
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Moovit

moovit Israel railways also works pretty well with 'moovit' app. Actually, it works so well together - moovit is a built in feature inside the official website. This is the moovit website, which is a trip planning live app: http://tripplan.moovitapp.com/?metroAreaId=1&langId=62&selectCity=false It can also be found on the Appstore: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/moovit-live-transit-app-for/id498477945?mt=8 And google play store: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.tranzmate  

Tour Hebron (en Francais)

Les quartiers de Hebron avec le Rav Dynovisz

Filme en direct depuis les quartiers juifs de Hebron. Thème: La vie juive a Hevron: Beit Hadasah, Beit Romano, Quartier d'Avraham Avinou. [caption id="attachment_7889" align="aligncenter" width="640"]Hevron,  الخليل, Hebron Hevron, الخليل, Hebron[/caption] Découvrez Hevron avec le Rav Haim Dynovisz http://youtu.be/WPc4vWaVxKQ  

Visite du caveau des patriarches a Hebron

Le tombeau des Patriarches est un complexe construit sur un ensemble de grottes. Il est situé en Israel, dans la vieille ville d'Hébron. Il est considéré comme le centre spirituel de la ville d'Hébron. C’est un lieu saint de l’islam et du judaïsme. [caption id="attachment_7890" align="aligncenter" width="640"]Tombeau des Patriarches Tombeau des Patriarches[/caption] http://youtu.be/mBeK6alOqpo  

Visite de Hebron avec: Tombeau de Ruth et Yishai et du quartier: Admot Yishai

Filme en direct depuis Hebron: les tombes de Ruth la Moabites et Yishai pere du roi David. Thème: la delivrance, La royaute et le Machiah. découvrez Hevron avec le Rav Haim Dynovisz KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA http://youtu.be/gd7xPCDqwag  

Tour Guide License – Lander Institute

The next Semester begins on : November 2013 Duration of the course is twice a week for 24 months. Fees: Tuition for the course is 23,000 ₪ + 250 ₪ Non refundable Registration Fee. a down payment of ₪ 2,000 is required before the course begins. Payment by Cash, Check or Credit Card. All fees must be paid up to one week before the course starts. If paying by Credit Card, tuition may be paid in installments of no less than 250 ₪ /mo for a  maximum of 10 months.  If paying by check, checks must be paid in advance and can be post dated until the course completion date. Cash – tuition must be paid in full before the course begins. (For exceptions please call our office) Tuition is all-inclusive, covering the salaries of the lecturers and guides, travel, entry to sites, provisions and accommodation on longer excursions, and more. No other payment is required for any expense during the course except for books and stationery. We congratulate you on your decision to join our Israel Guide Course, and are confident that you will benefit from the course in many ways. Apart from pure enjoyment, you will acquire the most up-to-date and advanced tools to guide tourists in Israel and to impart the message of Ahavat HaAretz, love of the Land.

About Machon Lander, the  School of Tourism and the Israel Guide Course Machon Lander is a fully accredited Israeli College, licensed and emowered by Israel’s Council of Higher Education to grant academic degrees and certification in several fields. Currently, the Lander Institute is comprised of three academic divisions: the School of Business Administration, the School of Judaic Studies, and the School of Land of Israel and Jerusalem Studies, These schools offer top-level programs for BA and MA degrees. All non-academic programs offered by the Lander Institute, including the School of Tourism, are administered by the Continuing Education Department. The Israel Guide Course is one of the high-quality programs offered by the Lander Institute’s Derech Eretz School of Tourism. “Derech Eretz” teaches all the relevant aspects of Israel Studies while at the same time enriching the student’s spiritual and national bond to Eretz Yisrael and its Jewish sources and origins. Our goal is to train guides who are qualified to guide groups and individuals throughout Israel, while creating a professional, educational and enjoyable atmosphere. A strong emphasis is placed on the Jewish-Israeli experience. The Derech Eretz curriculum meets all criteria established by Israel’s Ministry of Tourism and is authorized by the Ministry to prepare its students for the final certification examinations as official national guides. The lecturers on this program are among the foremost names in Land of Israel studies: Dr. Yosef Avineri, Dr. Boaz Adrian, Dr. Gabi Barkai, Dr. Shimon Gat, Mrs. Yiskah Hareini, Dr. Yair Zimun, Atty. David Yahalom, Dr. Yigal Levin, Dr. Eyal Miron, Mr. Eini Abadi, Gen. (res.) Yaakov Amidror, Dr. Chaggai Amitzur, Dr. Yonatan Fein, Dr. Efraim Kaye, Dr. Moshe Raanan, Dr. Yosef Shafneier, and many more. On our list of tour guides, you will find: Chilik Abergel, Sarah Eran, Zev (Zevo) Ehrlich, Dr. Chaim Ben David, Adina Benveniste, Avi Ben Chur, Tzvi Bassin, Itzik Bassur, Avner Goren, Dr. Tali Gini, Assaf       Holtzer, Aharon Horowitz, Tamar Hayardeni, Batzy Ziv, Moshe Charmatz, Chaim Karel, Menachem   Marcus, Yigal (Gali) Nachum, Efrat Natan, Eran Se’er, Noam Seri-Levi, Yaron Ovadia, Uriel Feinerman, Tami Tzaddok, Ofer Regev, Aryeh Rotenberg, Eli Raz, Dr. Nachum Sagiv, Shilo Shachar, and many others. Click Here for Information about the Registration Process Click Here To Read Testimonials from our Students We look forward to greeting you personally and remain at your service. Click Here for a Description of the Course

Tomb of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs

1850_LThe Cave of Machpela

Ma'arat HaMachpela

The Cave of the Patriarchs or the Cave of Machpelah (Hebrew: מערת המכפלה, Me'arat HaMachpela, Ma'arat HaMachpela Trans. "Cave of the Double Tombs"; Arabic: المغارة‎ Al Magharah, "the Cave" ) is a series of subterranean caves located in a complex called by Muslims the Sanctuary of Abraham or Ibrahimi Mosque (Arabic: الحرم الإبراهيمي‎, Al-Haram Al-Ibrahimi ). The name is either a reference to the layout of the burial chamber, or alternatively refers to the biblical couples, i.e.: cave of the tombs of couples. The compound, located in the ancient city of Hebron, is the second holiest site for Jews, (after the Temple Mount in Jerusalem) and is also venerated by Christians and Muslims, both of whom have traditions which maintain that the site is the burial place of three Biblical couples: (1) Abraham and Sarah; (2) Isaac and Rebecca; (3) Jacob and Leah. According to the Midrash and other sources, the Cave of the Patriarchs also contains the head of Esau, and according to some Islamic sources it is also the tomb of Joseph. Though the Bible has Joseph buried in Shechem (the present-day Palestinian city of Nablus), Jewish aggadic tradition conserved the idea that he wished to be interred at Hebron, and the Islamic version may reflect this. The Jewish apocryphal book, The Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs, also states that this is the burial place of Jacob's twelve sons.     http://youtu.be/-yk7OavO360

The Cave of Machpelah is the world's most ancient Jewish site and the second holiest place for the Jewish people, after Temple Mount in Jerusalem. The cave and the adjoining field were purchased—at full market price—by Abraham some 3700 years ago. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob,Sarah, Rebecca, and Leah are all later buried in the same Cave of Machpelah. These are considered the patriarchs and matriarchs of the Jewish people. The only one who is missing is Rachel, who was buried near Bethlehem where she died in childbirth.

The double cave, a mystery of thousands of years, was uncovered several years ago beneath the massive building, revealing artifacts from the Early Israelite Period (some 30 centuries ago). The structure was built during the Second Temple Period (about two thousand years ago) by Herod, King of Judea, providing a place for gatherings and Jewish prayers at the graves of the Patriarchs.

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This uniquely impressive building is the only one that stands intact and still fulfills its original function after thousands of years. Foreign conquerors and invaders used the site for their own purposes, depending on their religious orientation: the Byzantines and Crusaders transformed it into a church and the Muslims rendered it a mosque. About 700 years ago, the Muslim Mamelukes conquered Hebron, declared the structure a mosque and forbade entry to Jews, who were not allowed past the seventh step on a staircase outside the building.

View Larger Map Hours: The Ma'ara is open all day from 4 AM until 9 PM. (During Daylight Savings Time the Ma'ara is open until 10PM.) This is subject to change during holidays. During the month of "Ramadan" the Ma'ara is closed on Fridays. To find out which ten days the entire Ma'ara is open to Jews, call: 02-9965333 To find out which ten days the entire Ma'ara is open to Arabs, call: 02-9965333 Entrance to the Ma'ara Plaza and to the Seventh Step is accessible 24 hours a day.

Arriving options

By private car. There are large, permanent parking facilities. The 160 bus from the Jerusalem Central Bus Station. Fridays, from Har Nof at 5 AM to Rachel’s Tomb and the Ma'ara. To register, call: 052-2283672 To order bulletproof buses, call 029965333. At the Ma'ara is an on-site kosher-mehadrin cafeteria which operates days, 8 AM to 5 PM. Tel: 02-9966682. The cafeteria sells light meals, snacks and drinks. Access for handicapped to Ma'arat HaMachpela is possible via a special motorized wheelchair, which allows visitors to reach the entrance without having to walk up the stairs. Call 029965333 for details.

Tomb of King David – Telugu

  The following is a Christian guided video tour of King David's Tomb on Mount Zion in Jerusalem - in the Telugu language spoken by some 74 million people in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, India, of whom, roughly 1.5% are actually Christians. You never can know when you might just need some text in Telugu for pilgrims from India. Be prepared. Save this link! యెరూషలేం లోని "దావీదు మహరాజు" సమాధి గది. http://youtu.be/mcat5CA5w0c   The original English version by jerusalemexperience.com follows for comparison: http://youtu.be/mGBAdn_97Ho   Here are additional Telugu Jerusalem videos:  

VIA DOLOROSA (TELUGU) Official Trailer 2013 యెరూషలేం (తెలుగు)

http://youtu.be/Jjp0MeucMcE  

Jerusalem (telugu) -trailer 2 యెరూషలేం (తెలుగు)

http://youtu.be/n011lV_3ZVg  

Jerusalem telugu trailer 3 యెరూషలేం (తెలుగు)

http://youtu.be/Sy5ahBmNEHk  

Jerusalem telugu trailer 4 యెరూషలేం (తెలుగు)

http://youtu.be/g5mnRfdwNmw  

Jerusalem telugu trailer 5 యెరూషలేం (తెలుగు)

http://youtu.be/byiITsh6oYA   If you are interested in more Telugu language videos on Jerusalem follow Jerusalemtelugu on the web or on Facebook

TLV

It was my honor to be a member of the Israeli staff of Bovis Lend Lease (Lehrer McGovern Bovis International Ltd.) the PMF, or Project Management Firm of the Ben Gurion 200o International Airport Project which constructed the Ben Gurion International Airport of Tel Aviv. I am proud of helping build this national monument.  accompanying guests from abroad to their departure flight I noticed that there are free cell phone apps available to help travellers find their way in TLV.

BG2000

 

Tel Aviv International Airport App

The Israel Airport Authority (IAA) has prepared the "Tel Aviv International Airport Application" to assist planning flights to Israel's main international airport, Ben Gurion International Airport (TLV), including pre-flight and after arrival. This cell phone app provides current information on airport schedule and general services. The App was created to be user-friendly allowing flight registration. The passenger easily can read updates regarding the status of a flight, information on parking garages, driving directions,  public transportation and real-time navigation.
You can check your packing with a checklist of tasks required of the passenger pre-flight. You can also add personal tasks to the list. People accompanying or picking up passengers can find relevant flight information. • Arrival and departure flights at Ben Gurion 2000 • Registration for return flights and departure as well as up to date information regarding flight status. • Driving directions how to reach and leave the airport by car, public transportation and taxi. • Parking occupancy status at real-time.
Below is an overview of the device's features for running the application.• An internet connection is required in order to receive up to date information. • The "My Ride" application allows you to find your destination by connecting to a GPS navigation software. • The "My Tasks" application allows you to enter tasks and get reminders regarding your flight. • The messaging server application will be used in order to send text message reminders regarding flight updates. • Available on Google Play Store. Requires Android 2.3.3 and upScan_Pic0688

Tel Aviv Airport App

The Tel Aviv Airport App is is a premium flight tracker app for Tel Aviv Airport (TLV) including:
  • Real time Arrivals and Departures boards
  • Flight status updates
  • Check-in, flight status, baggage, seats, for your flight
  • Tools needed to quickly find an alternate flight and rebook
  • Google Flights and Google Hotel Finder results displayed
  • Maps of the Terminal
  • Complete Parking Information
  • Food, shops, WiFi and restaurants
  • Ground transportation to and from airport
  • Directions to airport
  • You can access information on virtually every airport you fly to from Tel Aviv: Include all airports in Europe, Middle East, Asia, Lisbon, Frankfurt, Beijing and all the airports of the world.
Ben Gurion Tel Aviv International Airport (TLV) is the largest airport in Israel. TLV is located 20 kilometers south of Tel Aviv. The airport is a hub for all of Israel's airlines: El Al, Israir Airlines, UP Airlines and Arkia Airlines. The airport is located 20 kilometers southeast of Tel Aviv. Available on Google Play Store. Requires Android 1.6 and up Scan_Pic0687   [gallery ids="6859,6860,6878,6879,6877,6861,6867,6873,6864,6869,6865,6866,6868,6875,6862,6870,6871,6874"]

Tivon Trek

Tivon Ring Cycling Route The Tivon Ring Route and Single is a cycling route that passes through groves of ancient oaks, natural woodlands, and forests that were planted over the years around Tivon. The route, which was created on the initiative of KKL-JNF and the Tivon Municipality, tracks the line between the town and the open spaces and forest. As for myself, I hiked the Tivon Trail and enjoyed the scenery and the outstanding views of Mount Carmel and the Jezreel Valley. Each direction gives you a different view of the countryside. The trail signs are easily found and you are never far from "civilization". Give it a try and let me know what you think! Pictures from the new Tivon Trek in Northern Israel, near Haifa. http://youtu.be/CtaPo_5bZjY Featured Image Photo: Micha Solko, KKL-JNF Jerusalem

Tips For Independent Women Traveling Alone – Travel Guide

Thursday, September 12, 2013  in Tranquil Blog

Girl On The Beach
Girl on the Beach by Anna Langova
These days many independent, smart and adventurous women from many parts of the world like to travel alone for numerous reasons. Traveling can be for business, exploring new things, educational purposes, leisure and recreation and many others. Solo traveling does not mean one is far from companionship. Traveling alone can be really productive at times when you get to meet new friends and start sharing the tour together. Still, no matter how good it sounds, women still need to understand the risks involved and also to take care of a few things if they are traveling alone.
We have encountered destinations across the globe reporting about lone female travelers being sexually abused, harassed or molested. Sometimes they are being looted or even kidnapped. These incidents happen without warning and there are very little options at that time to react.
Well women traveling alone should be reading these few tips so as to make their tour really productive and filled with fun.
BE AWARE OF THE CULTURE OF THE PLACE - This is one the most basic requirement you need to know. If you happen to hurt or in any way cause disrespect to a foreign culture, you can be in serious trouble. Do respect and treat your hosts well. In return, you'll be treated like their guest.
WEAR DECENT CLOTHES - In countries like India & a few other Muslim nations, you ought not to show a lot of skin. Sleeveless tops, mini-skirts, short pants and other see through dresses should be avoided at all times. These countries tend to respect more to those women who wear decent clothes.
LATE NIGHTS SHOULD BE AVOIDED - Traveling late at night is not advisable. Just in case you need to travel, go for your hotel cab service or call service taxis. Partying late and excessive drinking should not be done. Always try to travel during daytime and if you happen to visit remote areas do stay active and vigilant at all times.
KEEP THE CONVERSATION WITH STRANGERS LOW - Strangers should not be trusted easily. Friendly attitude of yours, eye-contact and body language my be misinterpreted by strangers. Your accommodation details like your room number, your tour itinerary plan or your mobile number etc. should not be shared with them easily. Too much friendliness can be dangerous in a foreign land.
IF ANYTHING IS WRONG SPEAK UP - If you think or feel something is not right, or someone is making you uncomfortable, speak up. Make a fuss, create a scene around. This will attract local public and they'll probably help you. Many a times you may encounter that woman traveling alone are being stared, harassed, followed or passed negative comments; make sure you have the number of the police ready. The more voice you raise, the more help will arrive.
Traveling alone is indeed great fun, however needless to say that such travel can be troublesome or sometimes fatal. The more precautions and preparation is made, the better will be the tour and the productivity as well. Wishing you a great holiday ahead.
 [Please note that this post was written by Indian male bloggers.]

Tips for Hiking

Here are some of the most important hints and tips for hiking to help you have a better time hiking. For a safe and enjoyable hiking prepare for your hike before you begin.

Backpacking : Hiking Tips: The Outdoor Gear Review

http://youtu.be/RVGyNsZBQP4     [caption id="attachment_7954" align="aligncenter" width="618"]Tips for hiking Tips for hiking[/caption]   [caption id="attachment_7958" align="aligncenter" width="580"] hiking-plan
hiking-plan[/caption]  

The Ten Essentials

These are the Ten Essentials for backpacking, hiking, climbing, mountaineering, survival outdoors. See 5 of the top additional emergency gear items recommended by mountaineering clubs and outdoor organizations worldwide. http://youtu.be/h8hU3zYa1w0   [caption id="attachment_7959" align="aligncenter" width="400"] Hiking-Tips
Hiking-Tips[/caption] [caption id="attachment_7960" align="aligncenter" width="875"]Hiking Tips Hiking Tips[/caption]    

Tipping Etiquette Around the World

  500e90ac281abbe6de5e0437fe31e115     Tipping Etiquette Around the World Tourists Global Guide        

Timna Park

Timna National Park

Timna Park is outstanding in its variety of scenic, geological and archaeological sites of global significance. The story of Timna Valley is a tale of exploration, conquest, international trade, powerful kings, vast empires, and Biblical legends suddenly come to life. It is the story of the birth of the Bronze Age around the fourth millennium BCE, which propelled the world to a new level of production, artistry, and sophistication. At the end of the 14th century BCE, as the Egyptian Empire grew and word of the copper-rich area spread, the Egyptians established a trade route leading directly through the Timna Valley. Bringing with them much more sophisticated mining wisdom, the Egyptians used metal chisels and hoes and excavated very regular, tubular shafts, with footholds in the walls for moving as far down as 30 meters to reach the copper. It was also at this time that the Midianites from the northwestern Arabian Peninsula joined Egypt in tapping the rich copper mines. Long after Egyptian control of the area declined in the 12th century BCE, the advanced Midianite culture remained. The Children of Israel, along with Nabateans and Muslims from the Arabian Peninsula, were among those who mined the Timna Valley until the area's metals became scarce. Timna Park is located about 25 km (about 17 miles) north of Eilat in Israel’s Negev Desert. One of the largest attractions in the south of Israel, the park, set in a beautifully majestic desert setting, has amazing history and geology, and a number of unexpected activities including those on the lake (yes, a lake in the desert!). Timna Park covers about 15,000 acres in a horseshoe-shaped valley surrounded by steep cliffs, with Mount Timna, the world’s first ever copper mine, standing tall in the center. - See more at: http://www.touristisrael.com/timna-park/2984/#sthash.WLYHodce.dpuf http://youtu.be/dRghPJBJzko  

 Timna Visitors Center

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Copper Mines

[gallery ids="4150,4154,4155,4156,4157,4158,4159,4160,4161,4162,4163,4164,4165,4166,4167,4168,4169,4170,4171,4172,4173,4174,4175,4176,4177,4178,4179,4180,4181,4182"]   Tabernacle in Timna Park   IMG_4498The amazing Tabernacle of Moses in full size replica in the Negev Desert, which has a similar wilderness environment as the original location. [The video also has a few scenes of some other sites at Timna Park, plus an "epic" short about Jericho (by the Red Sea), and a visit to an Eilat worship celebration with a kids choir singing the universal "Halleluia..."] http://youtu.be/M23-xmCJpUI At Timna Park, 20 miles (32 km) north of Eilat in the Arabah, a life-size replica of the biblical tabernacle has been constructed showing the Outer Court, The Holy of Holies, The Table of Showbread, The Altar of Incense, and the Ark of the Covenent.  While no original materials (e.g., gold, silver, bronze) have been used, the model is accurate in every other way based upon the biblical description.  

Solomon's Columns

[gallery ids="4184,4185,4186,4187,4188,4189,4190,4191,4192,4193,4194,4195,4196,4197,4198,4199,4200,4201,4202,4203,4205,4206,4207"] An impressive set of high red sandstone hills,   one of the most famous sites in the south of Israel, located in the center of the Timna Valley - today a nature & history park.  The area is one of the most ancient copper mines, dating to the end of the 5th Millennium BCE (about 6,000 years ago). An Egyptian temple and rock engraving are located in the site, and the miners' camp is located nearby.   The site and the entire park is a perfect place for hiking and combines remarkable nature scenes, historic sites and  hiking tracks.  

Timna Lake

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The World’s Most Ancient Application

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 iTravelJerusalem

WELCOME TO JERUSALEM  (by iTravelJerusalem) http://www.itraveljerusalem.com Jerusalem is a one-of-a-kind destination with an intriguing history that stretches back thousands of years, involving deep significance to the three monotheistic religions as well as a vibrant modern life. Here you can transverse worlds in an instant, going from being immersed in the story of the Bible to a trendy wine bar. Expect world-class entertainment in Jerusalem with a wealth of truly unique events and festivals. Happy and Healthy New Year! David-Cit-424-300x179  

The Western Wall Tunnels

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The Western Wall Tunnels (Minharot Ha Kotel)

All of these amazing portholes to the past can be seen at the Western Wall Tunnels, which is why visiting them is so thrilling. A visit to the Tunnels is not just an awe-inspiring journey through time, but also a fascinating lesson in Jewish history and in the archeology and topography of Jerusalem. Opening the tunnels to the public required complicated and unique engineering and safety solutions to allow safe and enjoyable access. It was a long process, which included the development of walking paths, air conditioning, signs and lighting, and insuring that the site is wheelchair accessible and can accommodate visitors with disabilities. Audio/visual aids were developed and guides were trained to help visitors explore the mysteries of the Tunnels. The work is far from completed. Much more still lies hidden than has been revealed at the foot of the Temple Mount. http://youtu.be/ZZzKug00mG0 The Western Wall Tunnels During a fascinating tour of the Western Wall Tunnels – Hidden layers of the Wall are revealed underground. They tell the story of ancient Jerusalem and of generations of longing for it. The tour takes approximately an hour and 15 minutes. Opening hours: Sunday – Thursday: 7am – evening (depending on reservations). Fridays and on the eve of festivals: 7am – 12pm The site is closed on Shabbat and festivals, and on the eve of Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashana, and on Tisha B'av. On Chol Ha'moed the site is open as usual (with a reservation and payment). Visitation of the site is only through guided tours which must be ordered in advance. Tours are given in English and in Hebrew. During the month of August tours are given in French as well. Reservations: 02-6271333 The hotline is operational between 8:30 – 17:00. For reservations in French call 02-6271333 group tour reservations (line no. 1). It is recommended that you book two months in advance. To receive your ticket - bring the credit card with which you made your order. Fees for individuals and for groups using a guide from the Western Wall Heritage Foundation: Adult: 30 shekel Student / Soldier / Security officer: 15 shekel Child (Age: 5-18) / Senior citizen / Handicapped: 15 shekel Fees for groups with their own guide: Adult: 25 shekel Student / Soldier / Security officer: 10 shekel Child (Age: 5-18) / Senior citizen / Handicapped: 10 shekel For your information: There is a discount when ordering a combination ticket for the Tunnels and the Chain of Generations Center. Get details by calling *5958. Accommodations

The Western Wall

[caption id="attachment_27" align="alignnone" width="717"]hoshvilim.com The Kotel[/caption]

The Western Wall (Wailing Wall)

The Western Wall is a surviving remnant of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, which was destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE. The Temple was the center of the spiritual world, the main conduit for the flow of Godliness. When the Temple stood, the world was filled with awe of God and appreciation for the genius of the Torah. Jewish tradition teaches that all of creation began in Jerusalem. The epicenter is Mount Moriah, known by mystics as "the watering stone." The name "Moriah" is actually a play on words: "Moriah is the place from which Torah instruction (horah) goes forth; from where fear of heaven (yirah) goes forth; from where light (orah) goes forth." It is here, on Mount Moriah, that Isaac was bound for sacrifice. And it is here that his son Jacob dreamed of the ladder ascending to heaven. Although other parts of the Temple Mount retaining wall remain standing, the Western Wall is especially dear, as it is the spot closest to the Holy of Holies, the central focus of the Temple. http://youtu.be/_22cCAnw7oo The Western Wall is open to visitors at all times. Due to lack of parking we recommended using public transportation to reach the Western Wall. The following buses reach the Western Wall – 1,2,38. It is also possible to take a taxi. One can drive to the Western Wall and park in the following parking lots: The Karta Parking Lot & Mamilla Mall Parking Lot – near the entrance to the Old City next to Jaffa Gate (fee). The Giv'ati Parking Lot – outside the Dung Gate, opposite the entrance to the City of David (fee). The Mount Zion Parking Lot – is meant for buses only (free). The Western Wall is wheelchair accessible.On Shabbat and festivals it is forbidden to smoke, take pictures, or use a cellular phone. Pets are not allowed into the Western Wall Plaza. One must follow any orders given by security officials at the entrance to the plaza. Dress must be modest.

The Trail Around the Sea of Galilee (Shvil Sovev Kinneret)

http://youtu.be/sPFfRiUAaU4

Shvil Sovev Kinneret, or the trail that goes around the Sea of Galilee, is one of the most special and important projects in the field of tourism, environment and everything in between. This ambitious project was aimed first and foremost at realizing the public’s right to pass freely in the area, or to take away the obstacles that stood in the way of those who wanted to tour around the national lake. The welcomed result is the possibility to leisurely walk or cycle around the places which were closed for visitors for years. Shvil Sovev Kinneret, the trail that goes around the Sea of Galilee, marked by the colors white-purple-white, is not completed yet: until 2011 close to 40 kilometers out of 60 kilometers were completed. Among the beautiful sections that were opened for the public are: the area of Amnon Bay, the shores of the Golan Regional Council, and others. An especially recommended section of the trail, especially for bicycle riders, starts atkibbutz HaOn and from there continues to Ma’agan, the Dgania Dam and Kibbutz Kinneret.
The following presentation includes photos of one of my hikes on the Kinneret Trail. http://youtu.be/phmYJayVMtI
You can walk or bike around the Sea of Galilee on the new 60-kilometer Shvil Sovev Kinneret. Rent a cycle and begin the route at Kibbutz HaOn and continue past the Degania Dam to Kibbutz Kinneret. Not into pumping your legs? Try a horse-drawn trip in the southern Jordan River area accompanied by local lore and songs; hire a jeep or ATV guide; or hop on the free “Around the Sea of Galilee” bus line, which run from Tiberias to all of the Kinneret beaches. (*55477). - See more
Sovev Kinneret
 

The Templars’ Tunnel

The Templars were a military-monastic order who aided pilgrims and the ailing coming from Europe to visit the holy sites of the Land of Israel. The Templars first settled in Jerusalem, on the Temple Mount, hence their name, "the Templars", the guardians of the Temple. Following the conquest of Jerusalem by Salah Al-Din in 1187, the Templars made their home in Acre. The tunnel is 350 meters long and it extends from the Templars fortress in the west to the city's port in the east. In the past it served as a strategic underground passageway that connected the palace to the port. [caption id="attachment_7377" align="aligncenter" width="640"]The Templars Tunnel The Templars Tunnel[/caption] [caption id="attachment_7371" align="aligncenter" width="640"]The Templars Tunnel The Templars Tunnel[/caption]   [caption id="attachment_7374" align="aligncenter" width="480"]Hidden stairway Hidden stairway[/caption]  

The Spoof of Rabbi Asi

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The Spoof of Rabbi Asi

This spoof was originally posted (in Hebrew) in Hoshvilim in September, 2008 as an exercise in social media marketing. Since it has been shared "virally" in Arutz 7Nashim, and online Arutz 7 who published the information without checking their sources or visiting the sites. Since then, the uncovered spoof has been reported in Ynet after interviewing "Hoshvilim" and reprinted by RotterKaduriNet08News, and Behadrei Haredim. Kobi Ariel of Galei Zahal discussed the Rabbi Asi spoof on the January 2, 2013 morning program.

For non-Hebrew speakers we are publishing an English translation of the original spoof.

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The Grave of Rabbi Asi the Saint

The grave of Rabbi Asi the Saint, found in the channel of the Nachal Kohanim riverbed, is marked by a natural headstone engraved only with the words "T' Asi" or "To Asi". Rabbi Asi (or alternatively Yasa, Yasah, Yosa, or Isi) was a famous Talmudic Scholar of the Amoraic Period in the Land of Israel, one of the leaders of the Third Generation of scholars. He was a friend of Rabbi Ami, and like him was also a member of the Kohanite (priestly) caste. Rabbi Asi was born in Babylon and emigrated to the Land of Israel where he studied Talmud together with Rabbi Ami in the Yeshiva of Rabbi Yochanan in  Tiberias.

In the memory of Rabbi Asi it was traditional in the late Amoraic Period to participate in ceremonial dances performed in Nachal Kohanim. In the Byzantine Period and later in the Arabic Period the grave in Nachal Kohanim was protected as a holy place and a center for pilgrimages, mostly by Moslims and also by Christians of the neighboring villages. After the regeneration of Jewish settlement in Zippori and Hoshaya in the independent State of Israel, Jewish pilgrims have returned to visit Nachal Kohanim and the grave of the Holy Rabbi Asi. The pilgrims pray and plead for his blessing asking for universal joy and happiness.

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The Old (and new) Jerusalem Train Station

Published on Sep 11, 2013 by Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs הורד (6) 'The First Station' -- an Ottoman-era train station, has been converted into a cultural compound. http://youtu.be/cgy9_L51Iuk "It's awesome," exclaims a visitor to The First Station , the renovated Ottoman-era train station in downtown Jerusalem, which has been turned into a hub for entertainment and nightlife. "It's so much happening in one place and it's such a variety of fun things, tasty things, and a beautiful thing to see in Jerusalem." The 130-year-old building stood empty for many years, and now it's alive with music, literary and artistic events for all ages, plus craft vendors, cafés and restaurants.

The New Jerusalem of Gold

http://youtu.be/aoQsCJIe2vc "Jerusalem of Gold" Lyrics and music by Naomi Shemer "Jerusalem of Gold" (Yerushalayim Shel Zahav) is a popular Israeli song written by Naomi Shemer in 1967. The original song described the Jewish people's 2000-year longing to return to Jerusalem; Shemer added a final verse after the Six-Day War to celebrate Jerusalem's re-unification, after 19 years of Jordanian control. http://www.youtube.com/user/AIPACPC AIPAC is a 100,000-member grassroots movement of activists committed to ensuring Israel’s security and protecting American interests in the Middle East and around the world.  AIPAC’s priority is to ensure that both America and Israel remain strong and that they collaborate closely together. www.aipac.org aipac-logo

The Netofa Retreat

Mivdad Netofa Having lived almost twenty years, I as sure that I had visited all the local attractions. We even made a family trip to the outlook at Hararit and picniced nearby. Somehow Mivdad Netofa escaped me. Last week I discoved a very mystic religious retreat.  Mivdad Netofa also know as Lavra Netofa (Laura Netofa) or The Netofa Retreat: A ten to fifteen minute walk away from Hararit, on a narrow dirt road on the edge of the village, there is an old looking stone structure, built from local stones, most of it constructed underground. The place is called Mivdad Netofa (Lavra Netofa or The Netofa Retreat), a monastery and church built in 1967 by two monks who believed that it is their duty to help the people of Israel and to take a part in its revived existence in its ancient homeland. They sought to live as Christian monks in Eretz Israel, the land of Israel. The two monks were the Dutch Father Jacob Willebrands and the American Father Toma Farelly. They sought a place where they could settle and live in, and finally they found a rocky piece of land on top of Mt. Netofa. They bought the land in order to make it a retreat for Christian monks and worshippers. While preparing the land, they found a deep ancient water hole from the Byzantine area and decided to clear it and make it an underground chapel. They dug up other water holes for the purpose of collecting rain water for their use. [gallery ids="2709,2710,2711,2712,2713,2714,2715,2716,2717,2718,2719,2720"] Later, additional structures were added – small huts as living quarters for the monks, another (above ground) church, a dining room, a library and a winery. When climbing down the spiral stairs deep into the cave chapel, the air becomes chilly and cool. During day time beautiful rays of light penetrate the church as the sun makes its way through the entrance way upstairs and fill the air with charming spiritual atmosphere. Down inside there is a small stone podium and three stone stairs that lead up to it, a podium from which prayers are lead daily. Today a few monks and nuns live in Mivdad Netofa, most of them came from the Bet Jamal Monastery on the Judean Hills after the death of father Jacob Willebrands in 2005. In addition to them, it is not uncommon to find here volunteers from all over the world who participate in the daily maintenance works around the monastery and church and take part in the spiritual life here in return for a bed to sleep in and three meals a day. Life in Mivdad Netofa is lived as close to nature as possible, with no running water or electricity in most living quarters. Spiritual and religious life is central to the monks’ daily existence and is made of daily prayers and readings of the bible. The people of the monastery welcome visitors of all religions and promote peaceful, harmonious existence and a sense of tolerance, modesty and peacefulness.

The Most Spectacular Caves in Israel

Israel the Camel, the mascot of "IsraelandYou" recommends that you make time to visit the most spectacular, family friendly and accessible cave in Israel - in the Beit Guvrin-Maresha National Park, The Most Spectacular Caves in Israel. In our opinion it is a national landmark. Bet Guvrin-Maresha National Park  is located off the Bet Shemesh-Kiryat Gat road (no. 35) opposite Kibbutz Bet Guvrin. The tour takes between 1-5 hours. The park is open year-round, especially in spring for the wildflowers. Opening hours are April-September 8 A.M.-5 P.M; October-March 8 A.M- 4 P.M. Last entry one hour before above closing hour. Contact: 08-681-2957; 08-681-1020. For additional information on events and tours: *3639. Entrance Fee: Adult NIS 29; child NIS 15 Israeli senior citizen: 50% discount; Group (over 30 people): Adult: NIS 23: child NIS 14. Pets are forbidden. The trail and the picnic corner at the Bell Caves are wheelchair-accessible. The Polish Cave This cave was named "the Polish cave" after graffiti left by Polish soldiers from the Anders' Army serving in Palestine who had carved in the word "Warsaw"and a Polish Eagle during World War II, in 1942/3. The graffiti is on the boulder where my friend Nadim is sitting. Behind you can see a columbarium - but not THE Columbarium. [gallery columns="2" ids="6887,6886"]  

The Columbarium Cave

Quarried caves used for the raising of doves and pigeons for food, fertilizer and perhaps for sacrifice, dated to the end of the 3rd century BC. Note that the doves have light and a water supply. The original owner/s used to provide grain to draw the doves to nest here. [gallery ids="6888,6889,6890,6891,6892,6893"]  

The Most Beautiful Olive Oil Press in Israel

This is a Cave for oil-press olive-oil production. Although it is for seasonal the press is decorated, plastered. There is even a niche for a small olive oil alter for good luck. It is interesting the olive manufactured originally included oil from the crushed pits which added a certain taste to the oil . The Romans introduced a technolgy to produce the olive oil without crushing the pits which they considered sour. As you can see even the cisterns are a work of art. [gallery ids="6896,6897,6898,6899,6900,6901,6902,6904,6895"]

Complex 61 Caves

This complex is a system of about 30 interconnected caves, originally quarries for building material. The walls of ancient Maresha were made of chalk stone, plastered-over to protect from the rain. Visitors to Complex 61 traverse the caves climbing underground up and down and around according to how people used to make use of such spaces in antiquity. The cave provides natural climate control. Surprisingly enough, the exit is only a few meters away from the entrance. You can see the small hole in the roof, where the excavation of each cave began, as well as ancient stairs, cisterns and columbaria (What else?). [satellite gallery=36 auto=on caption=on thumbs=off]

Phoenician Burial Caves

These Phoenician or Sidonian Burial Caves are a series of highly decorated burial caves from the Hellenistic period (third-second centuries BCE). The frescos are copies. The paintings prove the presence of other cultures at Maresha. The subjects of the paintings are hunting scenes with wild and mythological creatures. My friend Arky volunteered to show how the deceased fitted in the grave in the wall. After a year the bones were collected and deposited in the room at the end of the cave. [gallery ids="6907,6909,6910,6911,6908,6912"]

Bell Caves

This is the most amazing part of the caves: So BIG! So WHITE! So airy! So clean! There are 800 large bell caves at Maresha, between which the ancient inhabitants connected by passageways. The largest are 18 meters high. The bell caves were created by opening a hole in the hard surface rock (Caliche a sedimentary rock, a hardened natural cement of calcium carbonate) and then quarrying downward into the softer chalk limestone) below in the shape of a bell. The limestone was used for road paving. Arabic inscriptions and crosses are found on the walls which leads to believe that many of the caves were dug during the transfer from the Byzantine Period to the Early Arab period, in the seventh-tenth centuries CE. If this is the only attraction you have time for in Beit Guvrin-Maresha, do it. Remember it is ACCESSIBLE! [gallery ids="6915,6914,6916,6917,6918,6919,6921,6922,6923,6924,6925,6926,6927,6928,6931,6932,6933,6934,6937,6938,6939,6940,6943"] For more extreme spelunking (caving) go here.

The Most Popular Museums of Israel

By EU Travel Tips, 01 February 2013

Israel Museum
Israel is known for its unique and complex culture. The country has more than 200 museums, which is the highest number per capita in the whole world. This means that visiting Israel you’ll have to choose only the best and the most popular museums, as you will need too much time to visit all of them.
  • The Israel Museum located in Jerusalem is the biggest and the most famous cultural institution in the country. It is remarkable for its Shrine of the Book. This great dome was created for demonstrating the Dead Sea Scrolls and various ancient manuscripts. You may visit it for just $13 or 50 shekels any day of the week.
  • Tel Aviv Museum of Art began its work in 2011 and immediately became a stumbling block. Some people love it, while others think that this is not a piece of art. Nevertheless, if you decide to visit it, it is better to start your viewing from the new wing and finish in the old one founded in 1932. The visit will cost you $12.50 or 48 shekels any day of the week except for Sunday.
  • Museum of Art in Ein Harod has a long history as it was created in 1930 and moved to another building in 1948. Nowadays, it provides its visitors with a great opportunity to enjoy modern art of Israel for only $6.80 or 26 shekels any weekday.
  • Design Museum Holon will be appreciated by people who are fond of trends and style. This museum will show you various fashion, industrial and jewelry exhibitions and design weeks. Such a pleasure will cost you only $9 – 35 shekels and it is open without output.
  • Yad Vashem in Jerusalem attracts a great amount of visitors every year, as it shows the history of Holocaust. This is also a place of beginning of different diplomatic visits. Admission is free there, but the museum is closed on Saturdays.
  • Umm el-Fahem Art Gallery boasts with modern Palestinian and Arab art. You will be able to visit it any day except for Friday, paying $4 (15 shekels).
  • If you want to see socio-political expositions, Museum on the Seam in Jerusalem is the right place. Its exhibitions raise provocative ethnic, economic and national questions. Besides, there is a great restaurant on its roof. Museum admission is $8, 30 shekels.
  • The Museum for Islamic Art in Jerusalem will introduce the most remarkable art achievements of the country. Be ready to pay $10.50 or 40 shekels and visit it any day you choose.
  • The Negev Museum of Art in Beer Sheva shows the splendor of the Ottoman period. In summer, you may attend different live concerts there. The entrance fee is $4 or 15 shekels.
  • Madatech in Haifa is a museum which shows you various technological achievements of the country. It is remarkable for interactive exhibitions which are loved greatly by children. Admission is $20, 75 shekels.

The Monastery of the Cross in Jerusalem

  According to ancient tradition, the Monastery of the Cross, in the Valley of the Cross near the Knesset in Jerusalem, enshrines the place where the tree from which the cross of Jesus was made grew. I rode past it almost daily when I was a student in the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, at that time on Givat Ram. Built in the 11th century, during the reign of King Bagrat IV by Giorgi-Prokhore of Shavsheti of Georgia. It is believed that the site was originally consecrated in the 4th century under the instruction of the Roman emperor Constantine the Great. Constantine later gave the site to King Mirian III of Kartli after the conversion of his kingdom to Christianity in 327 A.D. The monastery library houses many Georgian manuscripts as well as frescos. As in other Orthodox Christian churches, the visitor is surrounded by colorful icons and religious objects. It is a feast for the eye created to impress the believer. [caption id="attachment_8080" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]Monastery of the Cross Monastery of the Cross[/caption] The Basilica of the Monastery of the Cross http://youtu.be/BZZT8Xz3OqI

The Little Western Wall

If you are on the Temple Mount exit through the Iron Gate (Bab al Hadid, Sha'ar HaBarzel) and immediately turn to your right to enter HaKotel HaKatan, the Little Western Wall,  a Jewish religious site located in the Muslim Quarter of the Old City. [gallery columns="2" ids="7518,7519,7523,7520,7521,7525,7527,7528"] The Kotel Ha-Katan is actually a small part of the Western Wall of Har HaBayit, the Temple Mount, approximately 200 meters south of the Western Wall Plaza. The Kotel Ha-Katan is close to the mid point of the Western Wall of the Temple Mount, and it is the second closest place to the Holy of Holies (outside of the Temple Mount) where Jews can pray.  The closest location is down below within the Kotel Tunnels, and is exactly facing the Holy of Holies. http://youtu.be/0Tmku0QmjUo Little Western Wall

The Kotel Tunnels

Minharot Hakotel

When I recommend a visit to the Kotel Tunnels, I know what I am talking about. My co-editor of Israelandyou was a guide there for several years. I keep returning to visit the tunnels because of the the feeling I have of tracing the footsteps of my priestly Kohanim forefathers crossing the arch to offer sacrifices in Herod's Temple. You can experience this yourselves. The tour of the Kotel Tunnels ( or Western Wall Tunnels) is one of the most popular tourist sites in Jerusalem. The tunnels are underground and  connect the western wall prayer area to the north-west side of the temple mount, passing along the side of the temple mount and under the present day houses in the Old City. Along its path are remains from the second temple period (Hasmonean and Herodian), as well as structures from later periods. Walking along the tunnels is a tremendous experience like taking a time machine back to the time of the second temple. The area west of the temple mount connected the temple to the the western side of Jerusalem during the second temple period - from the Hasmonean period (2nd C BC) up to the Roman destruction of Jerusalem (70AD). There were four gates located on this side - two gates at a lower level (Barcley and Warren) and two gates on top of bridges(Robinson and Wilson). A paved street passed at the foot of the temple mount, and additional structures and installations were located at that street level. After two millenniums, new buildings were built on top of debris accumulated along the western side following the Roman destruction. However, under these structures, some cavities remained buried deep underground. British researchers Charles Wilson, in 1864 and Charles Warren, in 1867-1870, uncovered the northern extension of the Western Wall Prayer Plaza. The shafts that Charles Warren dug through Wilson's Arch can still be seen today. Immediately after the Six Day War, the Ministry of Religious Affairs began the project of exposing the entire length of the Western Wall. They found enormous courses of distinctively carved stone that were remarkably well preserved. There were also remains of the Herodian road which ran alongside the Temple Mount, ancient cisterns, impressive construction efforts from the Muslim era, and a Hasmonean period aqueduct that had been blocked by Herod’s construction of the Western Wall. The southern most part of the Kotel is within the Davidson Museum. To the north an open air area is reserved for women. Further north another open air area is reserved for men. A prayer tunnel was excavated uner Wilson's Arch north of the Kotel and is open to the public, men and women alike, and no entrance fee is required. You can see Wilson's Arch in the photo below. Kotel The tourist site was fully opened in 1996, with 500m long tunnel along the north-western wall. The route of the tunnel tour starts from the entrance on the north side of the  western wall prayer area, and ends at Station No. 1 of the Via Dolorosa. Since there is a limit in the number of visitors that can join a tour, an appointment should be made well in advance.  http://youtu.be/FyRoKoJW-9s

(a)  Secret passage

The Secret Passage During the Roman period, one of the western entrances to the temple mount was over a bridge which is now called the Wilson arch, which is located on the north side of the Western Wall prayer area. It is described by Josephus on several occasions: the description of the attack by Pompey in 63BC (Wars 1 7 2): "Aristobulus's party was worsted, and retired into the temple, and cut off the communication between the temple and the city, by breaking down the bridge that joined them together". The bridge was destroyed during Titus's attack in 70AD (Wars 6, 6 2): "...a bridge that connected the upper city to the temple". It was later repaired by the Romans in the 2nd or 3rd C after may have established a Roman temple Jupiter on the temple mount.    The bridge was repaired in the 7th C by the Arab rulers, who connected the west side of the city to the temple mount for easier access to their new Al-Aqsa and Dome of the Rock mosques. The present day Chain street (Silsila) actually passes on its upper side. The cavity below the street was termed "the secret passage" in the middle ages. It stretches along 70m - from the Hagai (Al-Wad) street on the west to the temple mount on the east. This "secret passage" serves today as the entrance to the underground tour.

(b) Second Temple period stairs

Second Temple Stairs   The area around the "secret passage" is still undergoing excavations. The archaeologists revealed second temple period stairs and other ancient findings.

(c) Large Hall and Model

[gallery columns="2" ids="6476,6477"] North to the Wilson arch and bridge is a large underground cavity called the "large hall". Its high ceiling allows a great view of the hidden western wall. A model of the second temple is located on the west side of the hall, in front of a set of benches. This area is temporarily closed.  The tour guide describes the story of the temple mount with the assistance of the model, which uses the electrical controlled mechanism to demonstrate the phases of its construction by Herod.

(d) Western Wall - section

On the eastern side of the great hall are remains of the lower side of the Herodian Western wall. The base stones are incredibly huge - the largest one - seen below - is 14m wide and 4m high, and weighs 600Tons! largest stone in western wall There is no cement holding the stones together; only their weight and the perfect match between the stones made them hold firmly together. Each layer of rock recedes several centimeters to help withstand the enormous pressure of the temple mount over two millenniums. The rectangular holes in the stone were added in the middle ages. Their purpose was to hold the plaster which was applied onto the walls, when this section was transformed into a water reservoir.

(e) Warren's gate (facing the Holy of Holies)

This underground gate, unfortunately now sealed, is located 40m north of the Wilson arch. Warren's Gate is now underground, but it was at ground level when built by Herod the Great. You can see the wall sealing the gate in the photo. The entrance here is located at the bottom of the temple mount ancient walls, at a depth which was the street level during the second temple period.    The opening of this gate  faces the Holy of Holies structure and the foundation stone, and therefore is considered  the holiest gate. It was discovered in 1867 by Charles Warren. [gallery ids="6564,6565"]

 (f) Opposite the Foundation stone

The foundation stone (Hebrew: Even Ha-Shtiya,  from the word "Tashtit"), also known as "The Rock" (Hebrew: Ha-Sela), was the heart of the Holy of Holies. According to Jewish tradition, the rock marks the center point of God's dwelling and the creation of the world and the site of Isaac's Sacrifice.  Some traditions and archaeologists locate it in the center of the Dome of the Rock, which is located beyond the wall, although there are other suggested locations around the temple mount.  The Jewish women come to pray here in the niche of the "opposite foundation stone", or in other locations along the wall.  

(g) Medieval Cistern

Along the western wall is a medieval period cistern.   (h) Western Wall tunnel During the excavations and preparation of the western wall tunnel tour (1980s and 1990s), a modern tunnel was constructed along the base of the wall (several dozens of meters long) at the Roman street level. It supports the old city structures above it, which were built above the Roman street level during the Medieval periods.  A large number of  large stones were found laying around the Roman paved street. They were thrown from the temple above into the street by the Roman soldiers, during the leveling of Jerusalem, after it was captured and burnt. This evidence of destruction was also found in the South-West Wall excavations. http://youtu.be/POM_RSdE4Vo (i) Dressed Bedrock Begins On the north side of the temple mount, the builders of the temple mount had to cut away the bedrock. The original topography of the Moriah mountain on the north-west corner was higher than the temple mount, and so the engineers had to remove some of the rock in order to expand the temple mount during the Herodian period expansion. The side of the exposed rock was chiseled and dressed to look like the pillars on the south side. Temple Mount bedrock (j) Hasmonean Cistern The western section of a Hasmonean period cistern was located at this section.

 (k) Ancient Guardrail

A large stone was found that served as a guardrail on the edge of the ancient street. It protected the people from falling into the open trench, which was used to collect rain water from the street. Ancient guardrail and street

(l) Second Temple period street

The Roman street  stretched along the western wall, from the north to the south.  A section of a second temple period (Herodian) paved street was found in this section.   Only a small section of the street was uncovered.A pair of columns, part of the colonnaded street, are seen on the edge of the street. As in the Cardo Maximus street, shops were located along the street along the side of the wall.

(m) Quarry

The section near the Herodian street was part of a stone quarry, which prepared stones for the western wall. Quarry  (n) Hasmonean Water Tunnel The tunnel traverses the path of a Hasmonean period aqueduct. It supplied water from the north side of the city, filling up the cisterns under the Hasmonean citadel, Antonia, which was located on the north side of the temple mount. The water channel was cut off during the Herodian period when the temple mount was enlarged to the north. Hasmonean Cistern

(o) Ancient Pool

At the northern edge of the tour is an ancient water reservoir called the Struthion Pool. The meaning of the Latin word is "sparrow". This large reservoir collects the winter rain water from the rooftops in order to supply water during the dry summer season. Initially it was an open pool, built by the Hasmoneans, and mentioned by Josephus in his accords of the siege of Jerusalem (Wars 5 11 4 ): "For there were now four great banks raised, one of which was at the tower Antonia; this was raised by the fifth legion, over against the middle of that pool which was called Struthius".    The pool was later covered by the Romans in the 2nd C.The Struthion pool is located at the basement of the Notre Dame De Sion (Ecce Homo) monastery. The initial plan of the tunnel tour was to exit through the monastery, but this was not accepted by the order. Alternatively, the exit of the tour was diverted to a modern opening through the pool, located near the first station of Via Dolorosa. Pool During a fascinating tour of the Western Wall Tunnels – Hidden layers of the Wall are revealed underground. They tell the story of ancient Jerusalem and of generations of longing for it. Did you meet ancestors as you traced the Western Wall of the Holy Temple? [divider] The tour takes approximately an hour and 15 minutes. Opening hours: Sunday – Thursday: 7am – evening (depending on reservations). Fridays and on the eve of festivals: 7am – 12pm The site is closed on Shabbat and festivals, and on the eve of Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashana, and on Tisha B'av. On Chol Ha'moed the site is open as usual (with a reservation and payment). The hotline  (02-6271333) is operational between 8:30 – 17:00. Visitation of the site is only through guided tours which must be ordered in advance. It is recommended that you book two months in advance. To receive your ticket - bring the credit card with which you made your order. The Generations Center is accessible for all kinds of handicaps. Please speak with our representative about this so that we will be able to give you the best possible service and assistance. Tours are given in English and in Hebrew. During the month of August tours are given in French as well. For reservations in French call 02-6271333 group tour reservations (line no. 1). Fees for individuals and for groups using a guide from the Western Wall Heritage Foundation:
  • Adult: 30 shekels
  • Student / Soldier / Security officer: 15 shekels
  • Child (Age: 5-18) / Senior citizen / Handicapped: 15 shekels
Fees for groups with their own guide:
  • Adult: 25 shekels
  • Student / Soldier / Security officer: 10 shekels
  • Child (Age: 5-18) / Senior citizen / Handicapped: 10 shekels
For your information: There is a discount when ordering a combination ticket for the Tunnels and the Chain of Generations Center.  

Been there, Done that? leave a comment!

 

The Jerusalem Museum for Islamic Art

  [caption id="attachment_8266" align="aligncenter" width="500"]The Jerusalem Museum for Islamic Art The Jerusalem Museum for Islamic Art[/caption] Islamic cultural heritage has its home in Israel at the L.A. Mayer Museum for Islamic Art in Jerusalem, which features ancient collections along exhibitions of modern Arab-Israeli artists. The museum aims to encourage coexistence between members of all religions by introducing Islamic art and culture to the Israeli public and to foreign visitors. http://youtu.be/aAudd2r_q8I

[caption id="attachment_8265" align="aligncenter" width="670"]Islam-Art-Museum Islam-Art-Museum[/caption]

Watches & Clock collection

The world-renowned Sir David Salomons collection contains more than 180 watches and clocks. This important, beautiful and rare collection came into being thanks to Sir David’s knowledge of horology and to his prosperity. The collection’s most significant and special timepieces are the ground-breaking group of clocks by Abraham Louis Breguet (1747-1823). The inventor of some of the greatest technological innovations in modern watch-making, Breguet was among the most influential individuals in modern horology. Most of the watches that were returned to the Museum were made by Breguet, including watch number 160, known as the "Marie Antoinette". http://youtu.be/QbYOsMa4HTY [caption id="attachment_8268" align="aligncenter" width="433"]Sir David Salomons Collection Sir David Salomons Collection[/caption]
Visitor information
Entrance fees
  • Adults 40 NIS
  • Police/ Soldier 30 NIS
  • Student 30 NIS
  • Children and teenagers 20 NIS
  • Israel Senior citizen 20 NIS

Opening Hours

  • Sun-Mon-Wed 10:00-15:00
  • Tues-Thurs 10:00-19:00
  • Friday and Holiday Eves 10:00-14:00
  • Saturday and Holidays 10:00-16:00
Directions
  • 2, Hapalmach Street  (P.O.B. 4088 )Jerusalem, Israel 91040
  • By car: From the city's entrance, go straight and count 8 traffic lights (starting with the one at the entrance past the gas stations). You will pass Sacker Park and the Valley of Rehavia on your right. At the 9th traffic light, turn left on to Hapalmach Street and continue straight until the end. The Museum is at the end of Hapalmach on your left.
  • Parking:There is free parking in an open lot on Chopin Street, opposite the Jerusalem Theater, and along Chopin, Dubnov and Hapalmach Streets.
  • By bus: No. 13 from the Central Bus Station via the city center stops on Hapalmach St. Nos. 9, 19, 22, 31, 32 stop on Aza Road, a short walking distance from the Museum
Contact Information Phone: 972-2-5661291 Fax: 972-2-5661291 Email: islamart@netvision.net.il

The Jerusalem Light Festival

A Festival of Light in Jerusalem's Old City

Dozens of installations and displays throughout the Old City will offer viewers a uniquely exhilarating experience of light. 5-13 June 2013, 20:00-24:00 Free admission Jerusalem Festival of Light 2013: the Fifth International Light Festival in Jerusalem's Old City The Jerusalem Development Authority presents the Jerusalem Festival of Light – one of an elite group of light festivals held around the world. You are invited to stroll along the illuminated routes and take part in this very special festival that juxtaposes the enchanted Old City ambience with innovative and challenging artwork. You'll be able to ramble through the Old City's picturesque lanes, among breathtaking works of art from Israel and abroad, and view enthralling light shows, three-dimensional artistic displays and huge video screenings on landmark Old City buildings and on the Old City walls.   http://youtu.be/eta2cAx6aEA  

Tourist Attractions

Tower of David Night Spectacular As night falls and light touches stone, the Tower walls fade into a breathtaking three-dimensional trompe-l'oeil illusion. For ticket purchase and performance times see the website: www.towerofdavid.org.il, or call: (02) 626-5333. Open every day, except for June 9th and 11th.   The Generations Center Music, sculpture, archaeology and light effects combine in a masterwork that delights all the senses. For ticket purchase and opening hours see the website:www.thekotel.org. Special prices for Festival attendees. City of David  3D Movie An artistic video presentation illuminating the stones of the City of David's seat of government, the film describes the birth of the city from the site of the ancient spring through the modern rhythm of contemporary Jerusalem. For ticket purchase and screening hours see the website: www.cityofdavid.org.il, or phone: (02) 626-8700 | 6033* *Professional photography competition at the Jerusalem Festival of Light 2013. Information at: www.lightinjerusalem.org.il .

The Israel Coast – A tour of Caesarea, Haifa, Acre and Rosh HaNikra

This guided tour of the Israel coast gives you a combination of Roman, Crusader and Ottoman history. The different cities each offer breathtaking views of the coast and cultural treasures along the shores. This is perfect for the upcoming Sukkot vacation. http://youtu.be/m4neoP8V2ps

The Hospitaller Fortress, Acre

Knights' Halls

The most significant historic site that have survived in the old city of Acre are either Crusader or Ottoman. That is what you can see and they are what can be visited. In my opinion the most impressive is the Hospitaller Fortress. The Hospitallers were a military, monastic order. To our modern ear this may sound illogical, but this was a way of live in the Middle Ages. The Hospitallers were devoted to caring for the sick in the Holy Land and to maintaining the personal safety of the pilgrims. Indeed they fought to the death to protect the Christian patrimony in the Holy Land. Two hospitals were managed by them, one in Jerusalem and one in Acre. The Hospitaller Order thrived in Jerusalem during the First Crusader Kingdom (1187-1099), but upon its demise was forced to transfer its headquarters to Acre during the Second Crusader Kingdom (1291-1191). Enter the gigantic underground store rooms. View the vaulted roof of the refractory. You can now see the newly discovered crypt with a Crusader museum just opened. If you choose, you can exit through the medieval sewage conduit which serviced the largest public latrine in the middle ages. Israel's  Ministry of Defense's Underground Prisoners Museum is currently located above the archeological site. The Hospitaller Fortress The Hospitaller left three main buildings in Acre:
  1. The headquarters (Knights' Halls)
  2. St. John's Church south of the headquarters (now a municipal community center in the Ottoman Saraya House)
  3. The hospital south of the church.
As part of the admission ticket, individual visitors are provided with an electronic tour guide in their language of choice. The guide is available in 8 languages - Hebrew, Arabic, English, German, French, Spanish, Italian and Russian. The visitor is requested to leave an identifying document, which will be returned to him at the end of the visit. [satellite gallery=39 auto=on caption=on thumbs=on]

The Hospice of St. Nicodemus and St. Joseph of Arimathea

 The Hospice

The Franciscan Order established the “Custodia di Terra Santa” – the “Guardianship of the Holy Land” and built this hospice as hostel for Catholic pilgrims from Europe. It was named after Joseph of Arimathea (Yosef Haramati) due to the similarity between "Arimathea" and "Haramati", even though Yosef-Joseph came from a different area near Jerusalem. Even so, the site was pronounced sacred to Catholics and a monastery was built adjacent to the hospice. Joseph of Arimathea, together with Nicodemus (Nakdimon), took Jesus off the cross. The Hospice of St. Nicodemus and St. Joseph of Arimathea has a clock-faced, square tower. In 1799, Napoleon used the hospice as his headquarters during his Palestine campaign. Tour guides tell us that Napoleon shot the muezzin of the nearby mosque who disturbed his sleep. The room he stayed in is closed to visitors, but you can see it from the outside below. [caption id="attachment_8995" align="aligncenter" width="618"]Clock Tower - The Hospice of St. Nicodemus and St. Joseph of Arimathea Clock Tower - The Hospice of St. Nicodemus and St. Joseph of Arimathea[/caption] [caption id="attachment_8996" align="aligncenter" width="618"]Minaret by the Hospice of St. Nicodemus and St. Joseph of Arimathea Minaret by the Hospice of St. Nicodemus and St. Joseph of Arimathea[/caption] [caption id="attachment_8997" align="aligncenter" width="618"]Napolean's Room - The Hospice of St. Nicodemus and St. Joseph of Arimathea Napoleon's Room - The Hospice of St. Nicodemus and St. Joseph of Arimathea[/caption]

The Church

The present Franciscan Catholic church was built at the end of the 19th century. An "original" painting of The Descent from the Cross" by the Italian renaissance painter Titian, was donated by the city of Madrid in the year 1846. Art experts now claim that this painting was done by a student of Titian and not by Titian himself. On the second floor of the church one can see the room of Napoleon Bonaparte, emperor of France. [satellite gallery=45 auto=on caption=off thumbs=off] Address: Bialik St. corner of Hamisdar Hafranciskani St. Visit only by reservations against a symbolic fee Tel: 08-9127200, City service center - 08-9771780/79  

Emblems of the Franciscan order in the Holy Land

  • Two pairs of hands; one pair is covered by the sleeves of a robe (St. Francis), and the second pair is bare (Jesus).
  • A cross surrounded by four smaller crosses, called the Jerusalem Cross,  a symbol of the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem  in the 12th century.
[caption id="attachment_8999" align="aligncenter" width="618"]Franciscan Symbols Franciscan Symbols[/caption]

The Monastery of St. Nicodemus and St. Joseph of Arimathea

A peek into the monastery through a door left open by mistake. [caption id="attachment_9001" align="aligncenter" width="618"]Monastery of St. Nicodemus and St. Joseph of Arimathea Monastery of St. Nicodemus and St. Joseph of Arimathea[/caption]

Terra Sancta School

In the "Terra Santa" school Muslim and Christian children study together. The school was built in the 19th Century.   [caption id="attachment_8998" align="aligncenter" width="618"]Terra Sancta School Terra Sancta School[/caption]

Ramla Guided Tour GPS Application and Voice Guide

Download this free audio guide. The tour begins at the bazaar 's parking lot (King Solomon Boulevard).The tour is a circular. Please make sure that your batteries are full, activate the GPS in your device. Currently, the tour is available ONLY in Hebrew. Google Play iTunes Ramla app Ramla app   app_screen_shots

The Great Mosque of Ramla

The Great Mosque of Ramla is the largest original and complete crusader church in Israel. Masjid al Omari means that a previous building was transformed into this mosque. The cathedral of John the Baptist was here built in the 12th century. After the conquest of Ramla in the Judean Lowland by the Mamluks led by Baybars (1260), the cathedral was turned into a mosque with a minbar and mihrab (to the South). However the architecture is crusader. It has and apse (to the East ), three halls, a nave and two aisles. This is a classic Basilica.  Why did Baybars convert it into a mosque instead of destroying it?

Baybars Inscription

According to an inscription of Baybars it serves as a mosque from 1268. This inscription probably came from the White Mosque and it describes the occupation of Jaffa by the Mamluk ruler Baybars [caption id="attachment_8888" align="aligncenter" width="800"]The Great Mosque Ramla Inscription The Great Mosque Ramla Inscription[/caption] [caption id="attachment_8889" align="aligncenter" width="800"]The Great Mosque Ramla Inscription The Great Mosque Ramla Inscription[/caption]  

The Minaret

An inscription dates the present minaret to 1314. [caption id="attachment_8883" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Masjid al Omari Masjid al Omari[/caption] [caption id="attachment_8884" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Masjid al Omari inscription Masjid al Omari inscription[/caption] [caption id="attachment_8885" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Masjid al Omari original lattice work Masjid al Omari original lattice work[/caption]

Note the interesting signs:

[caption id="attachment_8890" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Nice spelling Nice spelling[/caption] [caption id="attachment_8891" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Begging Forbidden Begging Forbidden[/caption] Note the classic Mamluk striped red-white-black stonework in above photo.  

The Basilica Mosque

[satellite gallery=43 auto=on caption=off thumbs=off]   The Al-Omari Mosque is an active mosque and can be visited. Address: Shlomo Hamelech Blvd., Ramla Phone: 08-9225081 Admission fee: Free
Opening hours of the Al-Omari Mosque:
Sunday – Thursday: 10 am –2:30 pm, 3 pm – 4 pm: By appointment only.
Saturday: large groups and by appointment only.

Download the free audio tour application (Android/iPhone) for "Ramla Tour":

[caption id="attachment_9176" align="aligncenter" width="225"]Ramla Tour App Ramla Tour App[/caption]

The Gospel Trail

[caption id="attachment_326" align="aligncenter" width="300"]israelandyou.com The Gospel Trail[/caption] The Jesus Trail is a 65-kilometer hiking trail in the Galilee region of Israel which connects important sites from the life of Jesus as well as other historical and religious sites. The Jesus Trail offers an alternative for travelers and pilgrims to experience the steps of Jesus in a way that is authentic, adventurous and educational by hiking through the rugged and beautiful landscape of the Galilee in Israel. The Gospel Trail offers pilgrims and tourists, individuals and groups, the opportunity to discover the cradle of Christianity by experiencing – both physically and spiritually – the same biblical landscapes and sites of the Galilee where Jesus and his disciples once walked. The Gospel Trail incorporates specially-signposted footpaths and roads which can be traveled on foot, by bicycle and/or car, culminating in the spiritual highlight of sailing on the Sea of Galilee. [caption id="attachment_325" align="aligncenter" width="225"]israelandyou.com The Gospel Trail[/caption] http://youtu.be/MlLrh_Sz6Ag The modular trail, which  is fully open to the public since the 29 of Nov. 2011, follows historical routes and paths that Jesus is believed to have taken when he left Nazareth, the home of his childhood, for Capernaum on the northwestern shore of the Sea of Galilee, which became the center of his ministry. Luke 4: 29 -31: “And they led him to the brow of the hill on which their city was built, that they might throw Him down over the cliff. Then passing through the midst of them, he went his way. Then he went down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee…” gospel trail

The main section of the trail, which begins at Mount Precipice, includes Jezreel Valley, Beit Qeshet Oak Reserve, along the Arbel Mountain through Magdala, Tabgha, Ginosar (Jesus boat), Migdal, Nebi Shu'eib, and Capernaum. Secondary routes of the Gospel Trail will take visitors to Mount Tabor, Cana, Nebi Shu'eib, Nazareth, Zippori and the Church of the Transfiguration, Kafr Kanna, the Horns of Hitim, Mount Arbel, and the Mount of Beatitudes. All of these routes will end at the main destination at the Capernaum center, where Gospel Trail walkers will be able to continue their spiritual journey on the Sea of Galilee itself. A special dock has been constructed, and there will be areas for prayer and inspirational solitude on the shoreline.
For the Gospel Trail Handbook click here (PDF 1mb)        

The Good Samaritan Museum

  The museum at the Good Samaritan Inn archeological site by Ma’ale Adumim is the only mosaic museum in the country and one of only three in the world. the Inn of the Good Samaritan existed only in a parable, a real-life site was proposed in the early Christian centuries to edify the faith of pilgrims.The site served as a hostel along the ancient road from Jericho to Jerusalem, with remains from the Roman period to the Ottoman period. A nearby Crusader fortress (the Red Fortress) protected the road, and its ruins are seen above the site. http://youtu.be/39fIz-hRagA The Good Samaritan Museum is situated half way between Jerusalem and Jericho, and is associated with the biblical Ma’ale Adumim which marked the border between the tribes of Judah and Benjamin (Joshua 16, 7; 18, 17). During the Byzantine era, the site was associated with the inn mentioned in the Parable of the Good Samaritan from the New Testament (Luke 10, 25-37). http://youtu.be/SEWDzJfmKYg The Samaritan Inn includes seven attractions:

  • Byzantine church: built on the traditional location of the Inn of the Good Samaritan, was constructed in the 6th C.
  • Outdoors Mosaics Museum
  • Indoors Mosaics Museum
  • Outdoors Archaeological Museum
  • Indoors Archaeological Museum
  • Agricultural Installations
  • The Red Fortress
Hours: Sun-Thu 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. For additional information: 972-2-5417555 http://youtu.be/Okgo3o9qdeA

The Golan Magic

I just returned from a trip to the Golan Heights with my cousins from Canada. Our visit to "Golan Magic" was unforgetable. The service was very thoughtful; English spoken here. The presentation and the rest rooms were all accessable. This is perfect place to begin your tour of the Golan. Israelandyou recommends! Golan Magic Exciting in the Golan Heights... Golan Magic is the ideal place for a family outing or a group get-together. It is the perfect spot for beginning your hikes, deepening your knowledge of the Golan and getting the information you need about everything new and exciting in the area. Here, in Golan Magic, you will catch a glimpse into a magical world you've never seen before; Golan Magic is smack in the centre of the Golan Heights, about 2 km east of Katzrin. This vast and beautiful complex, a pioneer of its kind in Israel, combines new and exciting attractions: an exceptional movie which depicts the Golan Heights in a spectacular multi-sensual display spread on Israel's only 180 degrees screen; an exact model of the Golan Heights, the largest in the country, accompanied by an audiovisual show, telling its story. Together with the incredible attractions you are welcome to step into "Taste of the Galilee and the Golan", the coffee shop which is a combination of a kosher dairy restaurant and a shop selling local produce and cosmetics. Here you can benefit from the blend between the fruits of this fertile region and man's creativeness. You can purchase these quality products right here. http://youtu.be/ZuIBfn3Rvho  

Opening hours – visitor's center Golan Magic(movie+model)

  • Sun-Thu 9:00-17:00
  • Fri-9:00-16:00
  • Sat – 9:00-17:00
  • Special screenings in the summer, extra night screenings for groups
Entrance Fee 
  • Adults– ILS 25 
  • Children– ILS 20 
  • Senior citizen – ILS 20
  • Soldiers – ILS 18
  • Special prices for groups – 04-6963625
The shopping center nearby includes:  Gali – shoe shop, Happening – toys and gifts, Steimatzki – book store, Gifts, Clothing, Pharmacy and Supermarket.    Additional information:
  • Golan Magic is suitable for individuals, families with children and groups.
  • Package deals to suit all groups.
  • Accessible for disabled visitors and for the elderly.
  • Rest rooms for men women and disabled visitors.
  • Air conditioned
  • Plenty of parking spaces for private cars and buses.
  • Public transportation available. Call *3254
Recommended attractions in the vicinity:Ancient Katzrin, The Golan Winery, Capernaum Vista Olive farm, Golan Archeological Museum

The Golan Brewery -a kosher restaurant inside a beer brewery open all week from 11:30 AM. Brewers of Bazalt Beer.

The Generations Center

Blog Directory [caption id="attachment_63" align="aligncenter" width="259"]israelandyou.com The Generation Center[/caption] [caption id="attachment_64" align="aligncenter" width="275"]israeandyou.com The Generation Center[/caption]

The Generation Center (Sharsheret Ha Dorot)

A new permanent exhibit called “The Generations Center” has recently been opened near the Western Wall. Visitors will enjoy a moving experience that relates the fascinating story of the Jewish people throughout the generations. This story takes us through 3,500 years- from exile to statehood, from destruction to rebuilding, and from crisis to hope. Guests to the center will find an unusual and enchanting fusion of many creative elements: music, sculpture, archeology and light effects that together create a masterpiece to delight all the senses. The visitor is more than a spectator; he becomes an active participant who delves deeply into the history of the Jewish nation. http://youtu.be/qXkQxThElQw The Generations Center Fifty five exciting minutes of an unforgettable experience – a special journey following the secret of the Jewish people's existence; with special effects and an amazing view of the Western Wall. Opening hours: Sunday through Thursday: From 8am until evening (depending on reservations). Friday and holiday eve: 9am to 12 noon. The site is closed on Shabbat and festivals, and on the eve of Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashana, and on Tish'a B'av. On the days of Chol Ha'moed the site is open as usual (with a reservation and payment.) Tours in English and in Hebrew. Tours using headphones available in Russian, Spanish, French, and German. Ordering two months in advance is recommended. * Visiting the center individually is recommended for children above the age of 11. To receive your ticket - bring the credit card with which you made the order. The Generations Center is accessible for all kinds of handicaps. Please speak with our representative about this so that we will be able to give you the best possible service and assistance. Our hotline for reservations is *5958 extension 1 (service representative – group tours). Reservations: 02-6271333 The hotline is operational between 8:30 – 17:00. Fees for individuals and for groups using a guide from the Western Wall Heritage Foundation: Adult: 25 shekel Student/ Soldier/ Security officer: 15 shekel Child / Handicapped: 15 shekel Senior citizen: 12.5 shekel For your information: There is a discount when ordering a combination ticket for the Tunnels and the Chain of Generations Center. Get details by calling *5958.

The Crusader Castle at Caesaria

 

Caesarea National Park

Caesarea National Park is one of, if not Israel’s, most impressive archaeological site. Caesarea is a dream attraction because there is a unique Caesaria for visitors of all faiths, age groups and interests. Under King Herod Caesarea Maritima grew to become the largest city in Judaea with a population of over 125,000. Herod's The great revolt against Rome began in Caesaria in the year 66 C.E.  Some 69 years later after defeat of Bar Kochba, Rabbi Akiva was brought specifically to Caesarea and tortured for his support of this revolution against Rome. If you are interested in Roman architecture, the beautifully restored harbor here was built by King Herod and is a work of engineering marvel. Port of Sebastos The site is a fascinating place to explore and the museum includes a great multimedia explanation of the history of the port. [gallery ids="7209,7210,7211"] The ruins of Herod's palace on a promontory jutting out into the sea are still visible today. [gallery ids="7206,7207,7208"] Nearby is the Hippodrome erected for horse and chariot races. It was later converted into an amphitheater to hold  Gladiatorial games. [gallery ids="7212,7213,7214,7228"] Christian tourists can find the presence of Pontius Pilate, the city where  Peter the apostle baptized Cornelius the Centurion and where the Apostle Paul sought refuge and was later  imprisoned . [gallery ids="7216,7217,7218"] Medieval Caesarea was strongly refortified and rebuilt by the Crusaders. The remains of the Crusader city walls, the castle and a Crusader cathedral and church. [gallery ids="7219,7220,7221,7222,7223,7224,7225,7226,7227"] Between 1884 and 1948 Bosnian Muslims had a settlement there.

Mosque

The Harbor Beach is located within the Park although you can enter separately, and is totally unique in its setting, with superb facilities. Harbor Beach The city declined under later Byzantine and Arab rule. Its port and part of the ancient citadel were rebuilt by the crusaders; the city was successively taken and retaken by Muslim and crusader forces, until finally it was captured and razed by the Mamluk sultan Baybars I in 1265.

Visiting Caesarea

Caesarea National Park is a half-day attraction which is great all-year round. It is easily accessible by road, although getting to Caesarea by public transport can be tricky. Many tourists therefore decide to visit the site on a tour of Caesarea, many of which incorporate other sites along the coast and can start from either Tel Aviv or Jerusalem. Caesarea is a great place to enjoy a sunset and meal so go late afternoon in the summer and enjoy the sunset in one of the many restaurants in Caesarea harbor.

Entry Fees

Fees: Adult: NIS 38; child: NIS 23 Israeli senior citizen: 50% discount. Group (over 30 people): Adult: NIS 34: child NIS 21 Enquiries: 04-626-7080

Directions to Caesarea

Caesarea is located just off of Road 2, the main coastal highway about mid-way between Haifa and Tel Aviv. It is about a 1 hour drive from downtown Tel Aviv. Often joining a group tour or taking a private guide can be the most practical way to reach the site.  

Underwater Museum at Caesarea

The Park is also home to a unique museum, the world’s only underwater museum where you are able to dive through the underwater ruins of this ancient city. Wow! For more call the Caesarea Dive Club (04-6265898).

The Church of the Nativity

No better time to take a virtual visit to the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem than the day before Christmas! UNESCO inscribed this church on the World Heritage List in 2012. The church, originally octagonal,  was built in 327 AD by Constantine and his mother Helena over the traditional location of the cave of Jesus' birth. (Luke 2:7; Matthew 1:18). Merry Christmas! Hours: Summer: 6:30 AM-noon, 2-7:30 PM daily; winter: 5:30 AM-noon, 2-5 PM daily. Grottoes closed to tourists Sunday mornings.   http://youtu.be/TxzKA3wqBfw Read more: Travel Palestine – Bethlehem Christmas in Israel – Celebrating Christmas in the Holy Land

The Church of the Nativity 3D 

Be sure to view the 3D video tour of the Church of the Nativity.

Free app Guided Tour of the Church of the Nativity

When in Bethlehem download a free app of an Interactive Virtual Tour of the Birthplace of Jesus Christ .

O Little Town of Bethlehem

Written by Phillips Brooks, an Episcopal priest, Rector of the Church of the Holy Trinity, Philadelphia. He was inspired by visiting the city of Bethlehem in 1865. Will you be inspired, too? http://youtu.be/cpHY3jU27dc

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Previous post on Church of the Holy Sepulchre: http://www.israelandyou.com/church-of-the-holy-sepulchre/ http://www.hoshvilim.com/%D7%9B%D7%A0%D7%A1%D7%99%D7%99%D7%AA-%D7%94%D7%A7%D7%91%D7%A8/ The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, called the Church of the Resurrection by Eastern Christians is a must. Shared by several Christian sects pilgrims are drawn here from the world over. [satellite gallery=3 auto=on caption=off thumbs=on] The Church is open daily from 05:00 AM to 8:00 PM in the summer (April to September) and from 05:00 AM to 7:00 PM from October to March. Admission to the site of the Holy Sepulchre is free! Visitors of any religion can enter inside, but they are advised to be dressed modestly. There is no crowd control at the church entrance so sometimes it is overcrowded and you’ll have to wait in a line for around 1 hour. To avoid crowds, go visit the church as early as possible. During Easter the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is particularly crowded. http://youtu.be/4oPZxVJEdhA    

The Broad Wall

The Western Wall gets all the attention, but only a couple minutes' walk away is another wall, significantly older and arguably of greater historical (if not spiritual) significance. This is the Broad Wall, also known as Hezekiah's Wall. Though its ruins run beneath much of the modern Old City, a large portion has been excavated in a location immediately adjacent to the Jewish Quarter's central square (to the left side if heading towards the Western Wall). [gallery ids="5301,5302,5303,5304,5305,5306,5307,5318"] This mighty wall, twenty feet thick and ten feet high in places, was commissioned by King Hezekiah of the Kingdom of Judah in the eighth century BCE, part of an ambitious plan to bolster the city's defenses in the wake of the Assyrian conquest of the northern kingdom of Israel. Hezekiah's plan seems to have worked well enough: with the new wall completed. Jerusalem was able to withstand the armies of Sennacherib even as the countryside was ravaged - though Assyrian and Jewish accounts of the matter are quite different. The Bible claims an angel struck down tens of thousands of Assyrian troops as they camped outside the city and forced the army's retreat; Sennacherib recalled that his siege of Jerusalem kept Hezekiah "trapped like a bird," and it was only through the payment of massive piles of tribute that the Assyrians withdrew. Whatever the truth of the matter, the construction of the wall certainly attracted local controversy. The prophet Isaiah, Hezekiah's contemporary, raged at the king: "You counted the houses of Jerusalem and tore them down to fortify the wall!" (Fascinatingly, it is plain to see at the current Broad Wall site that the prophet was not exaggerating: the wall stands on the foundations of destroyed houses). Nehemiah, a returnee from Babylon who oversaw the reconstruction of Jerusalem after it was razed by the Babylonians, recounts how a team of laborers repaired the city "as far as the Broad Wall." The Broad Wall also served as definitive archaeological evidence that by the mid-First Temple Period, the settled areas of the city of Jerusalem had expanded to what is now the Old City, and were not, as previously thought, still limited entirely to the Ophel. The Hezekiah Wall in the Cardo [gallery ids="5308,5309,5310,5311,5312,5313,5314,5315"] Reconstruction work following the 1967 war allowed archaeologists to excavate various areas in the Jewish Quarter. One of the most significant finds from the Old Testament First Temple period was the Broad Wall. Built by Hezekiah in the days before the 701 B.C. invasion by the Assyrian king Sennacherib, the Broad Wall enclosed the Western Hill and increased the walled area of Jerusalem five-fold. 1979972_693719127337349_1290096926_o Archaeologists cannot agree why there is a north-south part of the Wide Wall built below what is now the Cardo (It can be viewed through windows in the pavement.) and also an east-west part of the Wide Wall, discovered by Nahman Avigad, built by Hezkiah which is shown in the photographs above. Did one wall replace the other (as Avigad claimed)? Or, was this a double fortification (as Eyal Meron claims)? broad-wall-A-450      

jrst0208

The Bahai Gardens in ‘Akko

The Bahai Gardens in ‘Akko surround the historic mansion residence of Baha’u’llah, the Prophet-Founder of the Baha'i Faith. Baha'ullah lived here at Bahjí for 12 years and was buried here. The Gardens are a  World Heritage Site. For those of you who have difficulties walking through the garden paths, there is a fine panorama of the garden from the roof of the entrance gate. In the garden you may meet Baha'i volunteers from all over the world working in the garden. Note that they spread a tarp on the floor while trimming the bushes. Each leave must be properly disposed. There are several Bahai Holy sites in the old city of Akko and around it.

The Baha’i Gardens

[gallery columns="2" ids="7253,7255,7256,7257,7258,7259,7260,7261,7263,7265"]   Tours:  Tours for organized groups of 25 or more and those with special interests. Visiting hours: 9:00 to 16:00, seven days a week. Recommended visiting hours are: Friday, Saturday, Sunday or Monday between 9:00 and 12:00 noon. Guests are requested to remain quiet, although guides are permitted to speak. Closed on Bahá’í holy days and Yom Kippur. Directions: Near the North ‘Akko intersection on Route 4, at the end of the old access road to Kibbutz Shomrat. Clothing: Clothing should cover your shoulders and reach your knees. Comfortable shoes with good traction are recommended for the pebble paths. During the summer, bring a hat and sun screen. Photography is permitted, except for the interior of the Shrines. Food and drink: Visitors may bring a bottle of water, however beverages, eating, chewing gum and smoking are not allowed inside the gardens. Other prohibitions: Animals and weapons are prohibited.
http://youtu.be/jGBgapi9E1c

The Abbud House

Located on the corner of Hahagaana St - the main western road - and Zalman Hazoref road, it stands out from the rest of the houses along the main road with its striking white walls and turquoise-painted windows. Bahá’u’lláh lived in one room of the eastern section, and it was there that he wrote the Book of Laws, the Kitáb-i-Aqdas (about 1873).

[gallery columns="2" ids="7267,7266"]

The Austrian Hospice

The Austrian Hospice of the Holy Family, Jerusalem

The Austrian Hospice serves as a boutique hotel and pilgrim house in Jerusalem's Old City. The view from the roof is perhaps the best panorama from within the Old City. In 1847 Pope Pius IX decided to re-establish the patriarchal seat in Jerusalem which had been abandoned since the late fourteenth century. Officially the seat was under exclusive control of the French Protectorate, but the Austrian monarchy sought to establish a visible presence of its own in Jerusalem. The Chapel, hospice and pilgrim house was completed in 1858. In 1869 Emperor Franz Joseph of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, whose title encompassed that of King of Jerusalem, visited Jerusalem's holy sites and made an impressive entrance in the Holy Land on behalf of the Habsburg monarchy and resided in the Hospice. Since the Crusades, Franz Joseph was the first crowned head of a Catholic country to come to Jerusalem . In 1918 the British military requisitioned the Hospice and turned into an Anglican orphanage run by the "Syria and Palestine Relief Fund" until 1923. On 3 September 1939, the Hospice was seized by the British authorities and served as an internment camp for all priests and monks. In October 1948, the Hospice was taken over by the Jordanian government which  continued running it as a hospital. THe hospital continued to function until December 1985 when it was returned to Austrian hands and was restored as a hospice. [satellite gallery=38 auto=on caption=on thumbs=off]  

Panorama from the roof of the Austrian Hospice

The Hospice management allows tourists to climb up the stairs to the roof to view a wide panorama of the Old City's places of worship of Jewish, Christian and Moslem faiths. [caption id="attachment_7021" align="alignnone" width="640"]View from Austrian Hospice View from Austrian Hospice[/caption] View from Austrian Hospice [caption id="attachment_7025" align="alignnone" width="640"]Yeshivat HaKotel Yeshivat HaKotel[/caption] IMG_7217 [caption id="attachment_7028" align="alignnone" width="480"]Dome of the Rock Dome of the Rock[/caption] [caption id="attachment_7030" align="alignnone" width="640"]El Aqsa El Aqsa[/caption] [caption id="attachment_7032" align="alignnone" width="640"]View from Austrian Hospice View from Austrian Hospice[/caption] View from Austrian Hospice [caption id="attachment_7035" align="alignnone" width="640"]View from Austrian Hospice View from Austrian Hospice[/caption] Austrian Hospice Via Dolorosa 37 P.O.B. 19600 91194 Jerusalem Tel: 00972 / 2 / 626 58 00 Austrian Hospice

The ANTI project startup – Caitlin Marga Taylor & Amy Martin

Hi Amy, Hi Cait Hi Ori! How are you? I hope you have an umbrella for this weather we have here, it's very common here in Tel Aviv. Amy: I'm very well prepared for it! Being from the middle of the North Atlantic Sea- The British Isles! I am sure Cait was expecting something different altogether. Share a few words about yourself, what brings you to our cool island? Your island is pretty damn amazing! Thanks. Other than this surprising summer rain it is indeed most of the time. But seriously, what is a British + American girl are doing here? For our MA in Migration Studies at Tel Aviv University. Its a pretty interesting place to study migration. Israel is very unique. I have heard of migration but not about migration studies. What's the program about? Well.....We learn about different migration policies around the world and how this relates to citizenship, nationality, identity, culture and so forth. So is it mostly for foreign students? The course is part of the international school but we also had “olim” in the class and returning citizens! OMG, Israel is such a bonanza these days. Are you living in Tel-Aviv? How do you find it? Yes! We wouldn't live anywhere else. Not even a kibbutz?  It has the big city amenities and the beach life, but with the feel of a small city/village life. Not even a kibbutz!! Cait? Even you? Cait: Even me! And we even have surfing here. What more do we need? Well maybe an underground transportation system. I hear this is in the pipeline! Our great grandchildren may see it open! If they stay here for sure. Is that an option? (hmm hmm) Who knows with the world migrating at such a fast rate. I forgot a big point too....We must not forget we live in the startup nation, The Silicon Wadi! shall we tell you a bit about our own start-up? Ya! Bitte. Tell me more about that. How two young and promising academics caught the Tel Aviv famous israeli startups virus.  With pleasure. We are the ANTI project. A small social venture that seeks to empower young, at-risk women by giving them information and safe job channels via a web based tool. Sounds terrific, and important. You are working on it in Tel Aviv? I guess there is a lot of tech stuff to make a startup of any kind these days. Is this the place to be? We are still in the developmental stages but have found that Israel has been a great place to base ourselves because of the extensive networks and support. That's interesting. Yeah, exactly but within this sea of programmers we still can't seem to find one that will work with us. Well this is a call out for developers, among others. (: Other than that we have met a ton of amazing people who are interested in what we are doing. theantiproject Is the fact that israel is a migration state itself has anything to do with it? I mean, it's like making chocolate in Switzerland or something? Perhaps, we have had a lot of interest from the migrant community living here. Which brings me to the next thing. Do you need any field experience for this? To make a start up? To keep in touch with migration issues while putting the tech thing to work Oh, yes, fieldwork is probably just as important as academic knowledge. For this reason we are starting to reach out to local organizations and also NGO's in eastern Europe - our specific target area. We have also begun conversations with experts in the field. For example, the other day we spoke with a former Knesset member that has been instrumental in creating better anti-trafficking measures in israel. Aha! So you are superwomen kind of thing, I see. Haha, we wish! We shall see, for now we are in the last but not least part of our short acquaintance. The quick TLV questions. Ready? Yep 1. Whats your favorite tel aviv neighbourhood? Neve tzedek! Easy one (jap) 2. Favorite fast food? Falafel! OMG you have been here too long? 3. Best beach? Yafo! In Tel Aviv Habonim in Israel I totaly agree. 4. Best pub\bar? There's a cool cocktail bar/speakeasy called "Minibar" next to Bar Geula - no, there's no name, just a wooden door Obviously I am dealing with experts here. Even I don't know about it. Well, I'll have to check it out. Thank you for the talk, ANTI project. Where can ppl find you online? Thank you!! You can find us at: http://www.Theantiproject.Org/

The Ancient Village of Itri, Judean Hills

  חורבת עתרי

  Itri is an archaeological site of an ancient Judean village that was destroyed during the Bar Kochba Revolt against the Romans nearly 1900 years ago (132 -136 CE). The site was excavated in recent years, Dr. Boaz Zissu and Amir Ganor. The are several "Hiding Caves" on the site, some of which have been converted to burial caves with exquisite relief engraving of Jewish symbols. It was a village of extremely pious Jews that has a large synagogue, four mikvas (ritual baths), and one of the most well-preserved winepresses from the period of the Second Temple. In one of the mikvas the archaeologist found the bones of 15 victims with their property, evidence of the Bar Kochba Revolt. The synagogue has a secret passage leading to a Hiding Cave. The village is off the beaten tourist path, quite near the valley where David fought Goliath in the western Judean foothills.  The site is located in modern day Israel and is situated in the Judean Hills, southeast of Bet Shemesh. The name Itri which not yet noted in hiking maps comes from a clay ostracon found on the site, which was probably an agricultural receipt. The site derives its name from the ancient Jewish village of Kfar Atra. http://youtu.be/hZLBHKJmPe8 How to get there: Drive south on Route 38 to the entrance to Givat Yishayahu. Continue 500 meters more south turn left (East) to a paved road marked "black" and follow the JNF road signs. Continue 2.4 kms and pass Khirbet Midras. Continue to drive another 3.7 kms till you reach a "T" and turn right. Drive for another 500 meters and by a cypress grove turn left  on a road marked "blue". Drive one km to the parking area. The visit to the site takes about one hour to walk one km by foot. The site is not accessible to visitors with special needs. Don't forget you flashlights if you want to enter the caves! הורד (16) The  white Virgin's Bower or Clematis (זלזלת הקנוקנות) which blooms here in January and February was mentioned by the Rambam as a medicinal plant.

Temple Mount Compound – Accessible Audio Walking Tour in the Old City of Jerusalem

A Tour Through the Temple Mount

Time of tour: 2 to 4 hours http://youtu.be/GrfsAwQ6InA In the 7th century, the Muslims reached Jerusalem. The believers of the new religion came forth from the deserts of Arabia, creating a mighty empire. Jerusalem is not mentioned explicitly in the Qur'an, but its Muslim rulers cemented its status - the third most important site to Islam - and built magnificent and impressive buildings in the city. The "Literature in Praise of Jerusalem" gives special expression to Jerusalem's importance in Islam, praising the city and emphasizing traditions related to it. The tour will lead us around the sites of the Temple Mount. Highlights include: the Dome of the Rock and the Golden Gate. [divider]

Территория Храмовой горы - маршрут для инвалидов

http://youtu.be/hnWWMDIZMnY В рамках нашей экскурсии мы посетим мусульманские святыни, находящиеся на Храмовой горе и вблизи нее. [divider] The Jerusalem Development Authority presents a Guide for the Independent Tourist. The Old City of Jerusalem Audio Walking Tours takes you through the allies of the Old City of Jerusalem in a fascinating journey through time to a city that is the center of religious and spiritual worship for thousands of years. Walk through the ancient quarters following 15 different tours and explore the churches, synagogues, masques and historical points of interest. Explore the colorful marketplaces and enjoy the smell of exotic local foods. Glimpse the Temple Mount compound where 3 religions meet in a focal point of worship. Visit the Western Wall, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Dome of the Rock, the Garden Tomb and many more religious iconic locations. Walk in the footsteps of Jesus, see the Temple's cycles of birth and destruction, witness the sites of Islam.  

The videos on this channel are introductions to all audio tours in the app.

Temple Mount Compound

The purpose of this post is to present to three different monotheistic versions of a tour of the Temple Mount: Jewish, Christian and Muslim. (Actually five if you include the Israeli Russian language audio walking tour and the Arabic language 3D virtual tour.)  It is amazing how this hill became so central to civilization over such a long period.

A Tour Through the Temple Mount Compound - Audio Walking Tour in the Old City of Jerusalem

http://youtu.be/UEz4Mimq9Ss This version produced by the City of Jerusalem presents the history and architechture of the existing Muslim sites, giving a balanced explanation of the importance of Jerusalem to Islam. Unfortunately, since there there are no archaeological projects on the Temple Mount, the tour deletes the Jewish historical and religious sites yet to be excavated. In the 7th century, the Muslims reached Jerusalem. The believers of the new religion came forth from the deserts of Arabia, creating a mighty empire. Jerusalem is not mentioned explicitly in the Qur'an, but its Muslim rulers cemented its status - the third most important site to Islam - and built magnificent and impressive buildings in the city. The "Literature in Praise of Jerusalem" gives special expression to Jerusalem's importance in Islam, praising the city and emphasizing traditions related to it. The tour begins at the Dung Gate and ends near the Al Khaldieh library building and the tomb of Baraqa Khan. Highlights include: the Temple Mount, the Dome of the Rock, the Golden Gate, the Cotton Merchants' Market and the Palace of Lady Tunshuq. Time of tour: 2 to 4 hours [divider] Территория Храмовой горы (Russian language version of above) http://youtu.be/WzU4Hy4LWnM

В рамках нашей экскурсии мы посетим мусульманские святыни, находящиеся на Храмовой горе и вблизи нее.

The Jerusalem Development Authority presents a Guide for the Independent Tourist. The Old City of Jerusalem Audio Walking Tours takes you through the allies of the Old City of Jerusalem in a fascinating journey through time to a city that is the center of religious and spiritual worship for thousands of years.
Walk through the ancient quarters following 15 different tours and explore the churches, synagogues, masques and historical points of interest. Explore the colorful marketplaces and enjoy the smell of exotic local foods. Glimpse the Temple Mount compound where 3 religions meet in a focal point of worship. Visit the Western Wall, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Dome of the Rock, the Garden Tomb and many more religious iconic locations. Walk in the footsteps of Jesus, see the Temple's cycles of birth and destruction, witness the sites of Islam. The videos on this channel are introductions to all audio tours in the app. [caption id="attachment_5501" align="aligncenter" width="302"]Palestine Mandate Currency  Showing Temple Mount Palestine Mandate Currency Showing Temple Mount[/caption] [divider]

The Temple Mount According to Christian Prophecy

http://youtu.be/tba4u-aLB2s This clip is an evangelical Christian tour of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem with Dr. David Reagan, a good friend of Israel, on the show "Christ in Prophecy!" Dr. Reagan's tour stresses the Jewish historical and religious importance of the Temple Mount. [divider]

A Virtual Walking Tour  - The Al Haram Al Sharif

Here we would like to present the English language Muslim version  a tour to the Temple Mount (Al Haram Al Sharif), produced by Saudi Aramco. Unfortunately the Saudi Aramco website does not allow us to share or embed the Virtual Walking Tour. So after viewing the introduction you must click the link below. However there is a good clip which describes the Saudi Aramco English language Muslim version of the virtual walking tour to the Temple Mount. http://youtu.be/tJ4MfGLGq6k Saudi Aramco Virtual Walking Tour of Al Haram Al Sharif   

3D Tour Journey on Al Haram Al Sharif

This clip in Arabic presents a computerized 3D Muslim virtual tour of  Al Aqsa Mosque and Al Haram Al Sharif. http://youtu.be/8P9T50yslO0   View Larger Map

Temple Mount

[caption id="attachment_292" align="aligncenter" width="717"]Al Aqsa Mosque Al Aqsa Mosque[/caption]

 Temple Mount

At least four religions are known to have used the Temple Mount: JudaismChristianityRoman paganism, and Islam. Today the Temple Mount, a walled compound within the Old City of Jerusalem, is the site of two magnificent structures: the Dome of the Rock to the north and the Al-Aqsa Mosque to the south. In the southwest stands the Western Wall—a remnant of the Second Temple and the holiest site in Judaism. Some 300 feet from the Al-Aqsa Mosque, in the southeast corner of the compound, a wide plaza leads to underground vaulted archways that have been known for centuries as Solomon’s Stables—probably because the Templars, an order of knights, are said to have kept their horses there when the Crusaders occupied Jerusalem. In 1996, the Waqf converted the area into a prayer hall, adding floor tiles and electric lighting. The Muslim authorities claimed the new site—named the El-Marwani Mosque—was needed to accommodate additional worshipers during Ramadan and on rain days that prevented the faithful from gathering in the open courtyard of the Al-Aqsa Mosque. http://youtu.be/rR3vSHW7QZU   Accommodations

Tel Yodfat

Yodfat is an off-the-beaten-track adventure you won’t want to miss if you are an avid fan of Roman history and a reader of Josephus, whose immortal descriptions bring alive the Temple, Jerusalem, Massada, Caesarea, and of course, this Galilee mountain town, which he called Jotapata - especially if you tour with Nir Keinan. http://youtu.be/Mlr5fiiGelE Ancient Yodfat (Jotapata), situated to the south east of the modern moshav, is mentioned in the Mishna as a fortified Jewish village dating from the time of Joshua, corresponding with the Iron Age.  Archaeological exploration of the site, however, have thus far revealed a modest village established some time during the Hellenistic period, between the 4th and 3rd centuries BCE. As the Hasmonean kings extended their influence into the Galilee during the last decades of the 2nd century BCE, a change of population occurred at Yodfat and the village was populated by Jews. It was here that Josephus, who was a general in the Great Revolt of the Jews against the Romans (66-70 CE) before he was its chronicler, was captured by Romans. From the top of the mound, Josephus’ rich description of the site and the battle comes alive. [satellite gallery=9 auto=off caption=off thumbs=on] By the first century CE Yodfat had expanded to encompass an area of 50 dunams (13 acres). Its siege and subsequent destruction in 67 CE are described in Josephus Flavius' The Wars of the Jews, his chronicle of the Great Jewish Revolt against the Romans. Josephus Flavius, then the northern commander of the revolting Israelites, stood up against the mighty forces under the command of Vespesian. After days of siege all the defenders committed suicide, but Josephus surrended himself to Vespesian and later became a writer of the Roman and Jewish history, and provided the details of the tragic story. Future emperor Vespasian besieged Yodfat, meeting strong Jewish resistance. After 47 days the city fell by treachery, and Josephus describes the death of 40,000 Jews and the enslavement of 1,200 women and children. Yodfat was razed and burnt on the first of the Hebrew month of Tammuz. While a few dozen remaining fighters committed suicide, Josephus managed to survive this pact and was captured by the Romans. http://youtu.be/vVwHQi25_Dc After its capture by the Romans, Yodfat was re-established at a nearby site by refugees from Jerusalem, among them the priestly family of Miyamin. It flourished for another 300 years, before being destroyed once again. After that, the village lay in ruins until 1960. The modern community Yodfat which is just a kilometer away. The center of the ancient city lies on top of a steep hill (419M altitude, 50-100M above the valleys around it). Yodfat’s caves and cisterns (careful, not all are marked!) played a part in the dramatic story that Josephus tells of his own capture here and the suicide pact that led to it. On the north side of the mound, remains of the Roman wall can be seen. Beautiful vistas are revealed from the mound and on the trail to it, including oak and carob groves, olive orchards and Jewish National Fund pine forests. View Larger Map To reach the site you can drive close to the entrance of the Modern Yodfat, then walk down to the site through the Roman/Byzantine ruins north-west of the hill. Alternatively, you can drive from the junction of Yodfat and the road to Misgav off road 784, following signs posted in English and Hebrew on the rough gravel nature road that direct you around the Modern Yodfat, reaching to the access road  from the south-west side. The road is 2-3 kilometers long and reaches a grove from which visitors can climb to Tel Yodfat.

Tel Yizrael

Ahab's Yizrael

[gallery ids="4356,4357,4358,4359,4360,4362,4363,4364,4365,4366"] Yizreel (Jezreel) was a major Biblical city, and at the 9th C BC it was the northern capital of the Israel Kingdom. The Bible tells about many events associated with the city: the King's palace in the city; the battle of the Gilboa when King Saul was killed; the Naboth vineyard and the plot of Jezebel to posses it; the fate of Jezebel and her  son. Excavations in the 90s found some of the Israelite structures, as well as other periods, but they were not yet fully published. According to the excavations, the city was inhabited in the Canaanite/Late Bronze period (starting from the 15th C BC) and Israelite/Iron period.  The city belonged to the region of the tribe of Issachar. Its important location on the entrance to the north-south trade route - made the city a gate-keeper, just like Megiddo and Yokneam which are located west to here on the other routes to the south. The Tell is located east to the modern Kibbutz by the same name - Yizreel - on the road from the Yizreel valley to the west (Ta'anach/Megiddo/Afula). A parking lot is located on the south side of the Tell, and can be accessed from a service road that starts at the entrance to the Kibbutz. On the south-east side of the Tell are picnic tables and walking trails. One of the trails leads down to the Yizreel spring, which is also reachable by car from a road closer to the junction of Afula / Beth-Shean. View Larger Map The Tell is roughly a rectangle  170M (north-south) x 350M (east-west).

Ein Yizrael

[gallery ids="4367,4368,4369,4370,4371,4372,4373,4374,4375,4376,4377,4378"] This is a fresh water spring that emerges from the banks of Tel Yizrael, and flows through a beautiful open stone tunnel into a clean blue pool in the huge eucalyptus grove. http://youtu.be/iRTb6y8LdPE

Tel Sheva

Is this Tel Sheva or Tel Beer Sheva? According to our guide, Ofir Jacobson, Tel Be'er Sheva is to be found in the modern, downtown city of Be'er Sheva, buried underneath the Bedouin market, therefore the correct name of the archaeological site near the Bedouin City of Tel Sheva is "Tel Sheva". Unfortunately the Israeli Nature and Parks Authority thinks otherwise. IMG_1786   Tel Beer Sheva National Park World Heritage Site Tel Beer Sheva National Park is located east of the modern city of Beer Sheva near the communities of Omer and the Bedouin City of Tel Sheva. The mound represents an urban ruling center from the biblical period in the southern part of the country, where excavations revealed a system of walls and gates along with public and residential buildings, a storehouse, water systems and more. Tel Beer Sheva was declared a national park in 1986, covering a  total area of 180 dunams (about 44.5 acres). In 2005, UNESCO listed the biblical tels, including Tel Beer Sheva, as a World Heritage Site. [satellite gallery=8 auto=off caption=off thumbs=on] Remains of early settlement at Tel Beer Sheva attest to its habitation in the fourth millennium BCE (the Chalcolithic period). Finds from this period include sherds, although no architectural remains were found.  After a gap of more than 2,000 years, at the end of the second millennium BCE (the Iron Age, also known as the Israelite period) settlement on the mound was renewed. The mound was then continuously occupied for about 500 years. Excavators identified nine strata from this period, representing the stages in the building and destruction of the site. Archaeologists have uncovered two-thirds of a city dating from the early Israelite period (10th century BCE) at Tel Be'er Sheva in the Negev. The site is of unparalleled importance for the study of biblical-period urban planning, biblical history and its outstanding universal value. The streets of ancient Be'er Sheva are laid out in a grid, with separate areas for administrative, military, commercial and residential use. The town is regarded as the first planned settlement ( ancient urban planning) in the region.

Four-Room House

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Better known as an Israelite pillared building, this typical structure has been found around the country throughout the Iron Age (1200-600 BC).

Subdivided by pillars into smaller rooms, these houses were often built against the city wall, with the house's back wall forming a portion of the city's casemate wall.

Stables or Storehouses?

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Three tripartite pillared buildings were revealed in the excavations.  The archaeologists believe that these are storehouses in part because of the large quantity of vessels found inside.

Other scholars regard this building design as characteristic of stables and overwhelming evidence suggests this is a more accurate identification.

Four-Horned Altar

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Sandstone blocks integrated into the walls of the storehouses were originally part of a four-horned altar.  Three of the sandstone blocks preserved the shape of large horns typical of four-horned altars, while a fourth showed evidence that the horn had been broken off. Another of the stones bore the image of a deeply incised serpent.

Cistern Tunnel Adventure

[gallery ids="2631,2632,2633,2634,2635,2636,2637,2638,2639,2640,2641,2642,2643"] The site is also noteworthy for its elaborate water system and huge cistern, carved out of the rock beneath the town. You’ll explore the city’s sophisticated water system and see a 70-meter-deep well – the deepest in the Negev. Several ancient buildings have been reconstructed using authentic mud-brick.  Don't forget your helmet!

Lookout Tower

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Well at Gate

http://youtu.be/7OPq63AXrBQ Best season: Year-round Hours: April-September 8 A.M.-5 P.M;  October-March 8 A.M- 4 P.M. Phone: 08-646-7286 Entrance fee: NIS 15; child: NIS 7; Israeli senior citizen: 50% discount; Group (over 30 people): Adult: NIS 14: child NIS 6

Tel Lachish

I have passed by Tel Lachish before. It was on Shvil Yisrael. We rested in the small grove near the entrance and fantasized about the tasty Tali grapes from neighboring Moshav Lachish. Unfortunately this immensely important site was not yet ready for visitors. Only now are final changes being made to enable visitors to climb the up the mound and view the artifacts. But when it is finished put this on your "bucket list" because you will not forgive yourself if you don't see this spectacular battle field. [caption id="attachment_2891" align="alignleft" width="120"]Lachish Letters Stamp Lachish Letters Stamp[/caption]     Second only to ancient Jerusalem, Tel Lachish (Tell ed-Duweir - Arabic for "small-round), the site of biblical Lachish, is one of the largest and most prominent mounds in southern Israel. The mound is nearly rectangular, its flat summit covering about 65 dunams. The slopes are very steep as the result of the massive fortifications constructed here in ancient times.  Tel Lachish is adjacent to Moshav Lachish, 9KM southeast of the city of Kiryat Gath. The mound is surrounded by deep valleys, providing a natural defense.  The top of the ancient site is 273m above sea level, or 50m above the valley on its north side. The meaning of Lachish is not known, perhaps based on the root word "lechesh" - raffia made of palm tree fibers (from the Talmud). Tel Lachish is presently open and there is no entrance fee, however, renovations are in process, planned to be finished April-May 2014, which may change this. At present the mound is not accessible for special needs.   [satellite gallery=17 auto=on caption=off thumbs=off] The highlights of the visit to the ruins of the city include the Assyrian siege ramp, the base of the Judean palace-fort, and the gate complex. Lachish-approach-ramp-to-city-gate,-tb022201260-bibleplaces The city was surrounded by two walls including a lower retaining wall.  The approach ramp led to the outer gatehouse which in turn led to the inner triple-chambered gatehouse. Settlement in Lachish started in the Neolithic period, and by the later part of the Early Bronze Age it was already a large settlement. During the Intermediate Bronze Age the settlement apparently shifted to a nearby hillock. The mound was resettled at the beginning of the Middle Bronze Age. Remains of a cult place dated to Middle Bronze. During Middle Bronze II Lachish became a major city in southern Canaan. The Middle Bronze city was destroyed by fire at the end of the period. During the Late Bronze Age settlement was renewed. The city developed slowly and eventually became one of the largest and most prosperous Canaanite cities in Canaan. A number of letters from the rulers of Lachish were found in the el-Amarna archive. By the time of the 20th Egyptian Dynasty Lachish prospered under Egyptian hegemony. Lachish was completely destroyed by fire, possibly by the invading Sea Peoples, about 1130 BCE, and the site remained abandoned for a long period of time. Lachish15s

 A deep (44m) well is located on the north-east corner of the mound. The location of the well is the closest from the top of the mound to the riverbed at the middle of the valley, where the ground water can be extracted.  This well was the main water supply of the city, the source of life in ancient Lachish.

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Approaching the palace from the east side, the large wall can be seen on the top of the hill. The palace was located on top of this raised platform behind the wall, with an area of 37m wide by 78m long, and raised up to 10-11m high.

The outer gate was located to the west of the inner gate, extended 20m outside of the city walls.  This was probably the largest gatehouse of the Judean Kingdom.

At the end of the tenth century BCE, or more probably during the ninth century, one of the kings of Judah constructed here a fortress city, turning Lachish into the most important city in Judah after Jerusalem. The fortress city, built according to an overall town planning, included massive system of fortifications and a huge, central palace-fort complex. At the end of the Judean monarchy, this governor's residence was half an acre in size.  It is the largest Iron Age structure known in Israel. A second century BCE temple (called the Solar Shrine by the excavator because it faces to the East), which uses the basic plan of the Israelite temple, but with a courtyard and two rooms. It is not clear whether this temple was used for Jewish worship. http://youtu.be/o043KZDK1kA The fortress city, continued to serve as the main fortress of the kingdom of Judah till its destruction by Sennacherib in 701 BCE. See 2 Kings Chapters 18 and 19. Lachis3Lachis2 A drawing of one section of the Lachish siege reliefs from Sennacherib's palace in Nineveh, now held in the British Museum. The city wall and towers are clearly marked, as are important civic buildings After a period in which Lachish was apparently abandoned, the settlement was apparently renewed and re-fortified. This city was poorer, less densely inhabited, and had weaker fortifications than its predecessor. It was destroyed by fire during the conquest of Judah by the Babylonians in 587/586 BCE. Lachish is mentioned in Jeremiah 34 7 as one of the fortified cities in Judah that Nebuchadnezzar attacked.   00257v_small A group of moving Hebrew ostracon, known as the 'Lachish letters' was found by the British expedition sealed beneath the destruction debris in the ruined city-gate. They date to shortly before the Babylonian conquest and were sent to a military commander named Yaush. These ostraca form one of the most important groups of pre-exilic Hebrew inscriptions known today.
  • Letter No. 4:12–13 reports that the writer could no longer see the signal-fires of Azekah—that means that Lachish itself was the last to go, beginning with the guardhouse in flames.
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Tel Kedesh

  Tel Kedesh National Park, together with Tel Kedesh, the ruins of the ancient Canaanite village of Kedesh, is one of the largest "tel" sites in the Upper Galilee, Israel, and is located by Kibbutz Malkiya. It was inhabited from the Bronze age to the Roman period. Joshua conquored Kedesh and it was given to the tribe of Naphtali. Later, Kedesh became  one of the six Cities of Refuge along with Shechem and Kiriath Arba (Hebron)(Joshua 20:7).  During the reign of Pekah, King of Israel, in the 8th century BCE, Tiglath-Pileser III of Assyria took Kedesh and deported its inhabitants to Assyria (2 Kings 15:29). Only a part of the Tel Kedesh National Park is open for the publicץ There is only a short trail to the sarcophagi in the Mausoleum leading to the Roman temple.  A different Kedesh, Kedesh-Naphtali, is mentioned in the battle of Deborah and Barak as the birthplace of the military leader Barak (Judges 4). Scholars identify this Kedesh as the small village on the south-west side of the Sea of Galilee (near Pori'ya). There was also another Kedesh in Judaea (Joshua 15:23) and yet another in Issachar (Joshua 12:22). The Tel Kedesh National Park spreads over 1,350 dunams on both sides of the North Road (number 899), about two kilometers west of Yesha Junction. Free parking No entrance fee No accessible [caption id="attachment_8728" align="aligncenter" width="720"]Tel Kedesh Tel Kedesh[/caption] [caption id="attachment_8729" align="aligncenter" width="400"]Kedes 19th Century Map Kedes 19th Century Map[/caption]

The Mausoleum

Many large sarcophagi are found on the site. [caption id="attachment_8730" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Sarcophagi in Tel Kedesh Sarcophagi in Tel Kedesh[/caption] [caption id="attachment_8731" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Sarcophagi in Tel Kedesh Sarcophagi in Tel Kedesh[/caption] [caption id="attachment_8732" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Sarcophagi in Tel Kedesh Sarcophagi in Tel Kedesh[/caption]  

The Pagan Temple

Next to the remains of the Roman-Hellenistic temple are found ruins of an ancient settlement. The pagan temple has similarities with the Talmudic synagogue in Tel Bar'am. Sarcophagi in Tel Kedesh [caption id="attachment_8734" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Pagan temple in Tel Kedesh Pagan temple in Tel Kedesh[/caption] [caption id="attachment_8735" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Pagan temple in Tel Kedesh Pagan temple in Tel Kedesh[/caption] [caption id="attachment_8736" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Pagan temple in Tel Kedesh Pagan temple in Tel Kedesh[/caption] [caption id="attachment_8737" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Pagan temple in Tel Kedesh Pagan temple in Tel Kedesh[/caption] [caption id="attachment_8738" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Point of libation in Pagan temple in Tel Kedesh Point of libation in Pagan temple in Tel Kedesh[/caption] [caption id="attachment_8739" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Pagan eagle symbol Pagan eagle symbol[/caption]  

Pistacia Atlantica

[caption id="attachment_8740" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Tel Kedesh Tel Kedesh[/caption] [caption id="attachment_8741" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Tel Kedesh Tel Kedesh[/caption]

Tel Itstaba

Many remains of a settlement from the Hellenistic period were uncovered in Tel Itstaba, near Beit Shan, including a residential section and a large public building. Tel Itstaba is not open to the public. This is as close as you will get. So see here what you missed! http://youtu.be/DQeZUOco4Ws Archaeologist unearthed about 300 meters of the remains of the Byzantine wall  – this is the most prominent finding on the tel (mound). [caption id="attachment_9222" align="aligncenter" width="640"]Byzantine wall (10:00 from broken bridge in center of photo) Byzantine wall (10:00 from broken bridge in center of photo)[/caption] The Kirie Maria (Lady Mary) monastery from the Byzantine period was also found, with beautiful mosaic floors including one with the signs of the zodiac. The mosaic floor is under the rusty roof, across the street from the Hacienda Congress Center, in the photo below. [caption id="attachment_9223" align="aligncenter" width="640"]Site of  Kirie Maria (Lady Mary) monastery Site of Kirie Maria (Lady Mary) monastery[/caption] The Andreas Church which was established in memory of an anonymous martyr is also there. [caption id="attachment_9225" align="aligncenter" width="640"]Tel Itstaba Tel Itstaba[/caption] The remains of an ancient synagogue were found outside the Byzantine city wall. Its mosaic floor included depictions of the Ark of the Covenant with candelabras, shofars (ram’s horns) and censers on either side. The inscription appearing on the mosaic is Samaritan. For this reason, some researchers believe that this was a Samaritan synagogue. In the Byzantine period (fourth century CE), "Beit She'an became an important Samaritan center under the leadership of Baba Rabbah, (an ancient Samaritan leader and reformer) at which time the Samaritans were granted national sovereignty until the end of the reign of Emperor Justinian. Another site, “Bet Leontis”, in classical Beit She'an, is considered by some archaeologist to also be a Samaritan synagogue.

Tel Gezer

Situated on the crossroads near the International Coastal Highway and also guarding the primary route into the Israelite hill country, Gezer was one of the most strategic cities in the Canaanite and Israelite periods.  The Gezer site is a prominent 33-acre site that overlooked the Ayalon Valley and the road leading through it to Jerusalem. Tel Gezer has not yet been given the status of a nationa park, and the tel remains run-down and unprotected as you can see below. Tel Gezer The ancient name of Gezer is preserved in the Arabic name of the tel: Tel el-Jazari. Verification of the site comes from Hebrew inscriptions found engraved on rocks, several hundred meters from the tel. Such Sabbath boundry inscriptions are found in many Judaean and Galilee villages.  These inscriptions from the 1st century BCE read "boundary of Gezer, refering to the Sabbath boundry." Tel Gezer (Gezer Mound), located near the village of Karmei Yosef, is a unique National Park due to the fact that 25 layers of settlement were found in it. It rises to the height of 210 meters above sea level, which is very high in comparison to other mounds such as Lachish, and about 95 meters above the area at its foot. Tel Gezer (Gezer Mound) was inhabited already 5,500 years ago, but the Roman period was the last time in which it was thriving. http://youtu.be/ien7Si0RYKw

Gezer Calendar

Researchers attribute the famous Gezer Calendar, found in excavations conducted at the beginning of the 20th century, to the Solomonic period. The calender is a small limestone tablet on which a list of agricultural chores performed during the different seasons, identified by months, is engraved. The Gezer Calendar is regarded as one of the earliest paleo-Hebrew texts known, and testifies to the use of Hebrew writing as early as the the 10th century BCE.1 [gallery columns="2" ids="7167,7168,7169,7170"] All around the Tel Gezer National Park there are remnants from the Middle Bronze Age and the early Kingdom of Israel.

Gezer Water System

One of the most impressive examples is the Gezer waterworks, established either during the Canaanite period or the Israelite period. This very deep system reaches down to the water table by a 7 meter round shaft and a 45 meter sloping tunnel. [gallery ids="7171,7172,7173,7174,7175"]

Grave of Sheikh

There is also the destroyed tombstone of a 16th century sheikh and other Muslim graves. [gallery ids="7176,7177,7178"]  

Middle Bronze Tower

The city was protected by a large wall which included a massive tower.  Fifty-two feet in width, this tower is the largest structure in any defensive system in this period. Tel Gezer

Middle Bronze Gate

Built with a stone foundation and a mudbrick superstructure, this city gate was constructed about 1650 BC. and is of the typical style of the period.  This gate was connected to a four meter wide city wall which likely had 25 or more rectangular towers.  The Middle Bronze city was probably destroyed by Thutmose III in his invasion c. 1477 BC. [gallery columns="2" ids="7180,7181,7182,7183"]

Standing Stones

A series of ten standing monoliths were uncovered in early excavations of the site. The stones may have represented a treaty alliance (cf. Exod 24) or have been a cult center (cf. Lev 26). A row of the ten stone steles - the tallest 3 m. high - stood at its center, is oriented north-south. A large, square, stone basin that has been interpreted as serving for libations in cultic ceremonies, was found in front of one of the steles. This could be a unique Canaanite temple of mazzeboth (standing stones), both in terms of the number of steles and their size. Some researchers suggest that the stones represent the city of Gezer and nine other Canaanite cities; rituals related to a treaty between these cities may have been probably performed here. The Canaanite city at Gezer was destroyed in a violent conflagration, traces of which were found in all excavation areas of the tel. It is assumed that the destruction was the result of the campaign of the Egyptian pharaoh Thutmose III. [gallery ids="7185,7186,7184"]

Solomonic Gate

The date of this gate is confirmed by the presence of a destruction level underneath it (from the unnamed pharaoh who gave the city to Solomon) and a destruction level not long after its construction (by Shishak in 925 BC).  Biblical history is dramatically confirmed by these archaeological findings. At the beginning of the 10th century BCE, Gezer was conquered and burned by an Egyptian pharaoh (probably Siamun), who gave it to King Solomon as the dowry of his daughter. Pharaoh King of Egypt had come up and captured Gezer; he destroyed it by fire, killed the Canaanites who dwelt in the town, and gave it as dowry to his daughter, Solomon's wife. (I Kings 9:16) Gezer appears to have been destroyed soon after the death of Solomon and the division of the United Kingdom, during the campaign waged by Shishak King of Egypt against King Jeroboam in 924 BCE. (I Kings 14:25)

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Free admission
Opening hours of Tel Gezer (Gezer Mound): Unlimited.
Tel Gezer (Gezer Mound) Phone: +(972) 2-5006261
Arrival through road number 44. View Larger Map

Tel Facher

Prior to the Six Day War of 1967, Tel Facher was the strongest and most important Syrian base in the northern Golan Heights. For several decades, Syrian guns on Tel Faher dominated and terrorized the entire region. During the Six Day War, however, Israeli troops fought one of the fiercest battles in Israel’s military history, determined to retake the base and thus end the Syrian stranglehold over Israeli citizens. Today, the site is known as Mitzpe Golani or Golani Lookout, renamed for the Israeli Defense Force’s infantry brigade whose soldiers fought and died for this base. [gallery ids="4544,4546,4547,4548,4549,4550,4551,4552,4553,4554"] Visitors who stop here as part of their tours of northern Israel can walk around the base while listening to prerecorded commentary in English. It’s still possible to descend into the trenches that were dug by Syrians troops and to walk through the narrow bunkers that protected the Syrians from counterattacks during their years of aggression against Israel. Flying next to the Israeli flag is the yellow and green flag of the Golani Battalion. The ironwork surrounding the monument features a Star of David pattern and the names of each of the fallen soldiers are inscribed on the low wall surrounding the memorial. http://youtu.be/234s0W3LwbM View Larger Map

Tel el Ful

Tel el-Ful (literally, Hill of Beans) is located within the boundaries of the Jerusalem Municipality, just west of Pisgat Ze’ev in Beit Hanina, and overlooks the Arab neighborhood of Shuafat. It is 2,754 feet above sea level, making it one of the highest summits in the entire region. Many identify Tel el-Ful with the original Givat Shaul mentioned in sefer Shmuel, which was the capital of Shaul Hamelech. However, others, such as Israel Finkelstein,  suggest other identifications. See: TELL EL-FUL REVISITED: THE ASSYRIAN AND HELLENISTIC PERIODS (WITH A NEW IDENTIFICATION) Israel Finkelstein [gallery ids="4726,4727,4728,4729,4730,4731,4732,4733,4734,4735,4736"] There are ruins of a double-walled rectangular fortress, and four corner towers are evident. A number of archeological digs have been carried out here, the first conducted in 1868 by Charles Warren, and further excavations in 1874 and again in 1922/3. The Royal Palace аt Tell el-ful stands near Beit Hanina, atop а hill named Tell el-Ful . Іt wаs intended tо be а summer residence fоr King Hussein оf Jordan, whо hаd controlled Jerusalem аnd the rest оf the West Bank by annexing the territory аfter the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. Construction started іn the mid-1960s, but wаs interrupted when Israel captured the area during the 1967 War. Still owned by the Hashemite Kingdom, іt remains today аs found іn 1967, аn unfinished shell. The palace wаs built іn reaction tо the locating оf the residence оf Israel's president іn West Jerusalem. The site is referred to today by the Arabs as Al Kusor (Home of the King) referring to  Hussein’s Palace. http://youtu.be/KdWFgXaOhoM The building was planned by the Hashemite Kingdom’s finest architects, and the site was chosen owing to its spectacular views of the rolling Jerusalem hills and to its strategic location. The grandiose structure was to be an architectural masterpiece and serve as the official vacation retreat of the Jordanian royal family. In 1964, just before King Hussein of Jordan began building his “dream villa” on the site, a sixweek excavation took place in order to save and document archeological findings before construction would have caused it all to be destroyed. The finds corroborate the various events that are recorded in the Bible in connection to the region. In sefer Yehoshua 18:28, Binyamin is allotted the Givah among cities and their villages. The city lay along the main highway that linked the region of Yehudah and Yerushalayim to the hills of Ephraim (Shoftim 19:11-13). At the end of Shoftim we are told that Am Yisrael did not tolerate misdeeds of a small fringe element of youth who lived in Givah, who had tried to copy the evil Canaanite ways. Klal Yisrael arose as one man to uproot and eradicate evil from their midst, resulting in a great civil war; some 75,000 of Bnei Yisrael fell in battle. The city of Givah was burnt to the ground, and also the rest of the nation vowed to withhold their daughters from marrying the remainder of Shevet Binyamin, thereby causing the Shevet to die out. However, after contemplating how terrible it would be to lose one of the twelve Shevatim, Bnei Yisrael took 400 women from Yavesh Gilad - a city in Ever HaYarden that had not participated in the battle against Givah and was thus not bound by the oath - so that the small number of men of Binyamin who survived would have women to marry (Shoftim 19 and 20). The Navi Shmuel anointed Shaul from Shevet Binyamin as king (Shmuel I 10). After he was proclaimed king, Shaul immediately went home to Givah. It is told he ruled from the rebuilt Givah, after which the site started to be called Givat Shaul. Nachash, the king of Ammon, had been oppressing Yisrael for quite a while (which was, in fact, one of the reasons the nation had requested a king). The blood relatives of Shevet Binyamin from Yavesh Gilad had being especially hard hit. They begged Shaul Hamelech to help them. He roused the people by taking a pair of oxen, dismembering them, and sending the pieces to all twelve tribes, warning them that their own herds would meet the same fate if they did not join in battle against Ammon. (This symbol is reminiscent of the way the nation was galvanized into the civil war against Givah). The first Jewish king sent his graphic message from Givah (Givat Shaul). Thus, instead of Givah’s being the source of terrible violations and the cause of the nation’s separation, it now became the uniting force from where justice against the Jews’ enemy emanated. People flocked to join Shaul’s army. Hashem wrought a great victory for his people, and from this point on, Shaul was accepted unanimously as king. (Shmuel I 11). Apparently, the location was the source of more strife later on. Josephus tells us that the infamous Roman 10th Legion camped at Givah, awaiting instructions to destroy Yerushalayim and the Beis Hamikdash before the destruction of Jerusalem. View Larger Map The magnificent three-level edifice with interconnected arches and coated with Jerusalem stone was intended to host dignitaries from around the globe. Construction was halted after Israel regained control of the region during the 1967 Six Day War, and the uncompleted palace stands on the ruins of what apparently was the massive citadel of Shaul Hamelech.

Tel Dan Nature Reserve

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Tel Dan

Dan Springs and Dan (Biblical City) The Tel Dan Nature Reserve is a kind of wonderland: Streams flow everywhere into a wild river and tall trees provide welcome shade even on the hottest summer afternoon. Level of difficulty: easy Wheelchair-users: Walkers The Dan River is the largest and most important source of the Jordan. It is fed by rain and snow that trickles down through the rock of Mount Hermon and emerges at its foot in hundreds of springs, creating the most plentiful karstic spring in the Middle East with an annual 240 million cubic meters of water. Although the size of the reserve is only 481 dunams (about 120 acres), it features three varied trails, one of which is partially wheelchair-accessible. The trail passes along streams, the river, and through a shady tangle of trees, mainly laurel, Italian buckthorn and Syrian ash. The ash, thanks to the good conditions here, grows as tall as 20 m. Farther along the trail is a flour mill that operated until 1948, and the ruins of the Canaanite city of Laish, which was captured by the tribe of Dan during the period of the Judges. Among the special finds here is the High Place, attributed to the time of King Jeroboam. The Israelite city gate has been restored, as has the Canaanite gate, with perhaps the earliest constructed arch ever discovered. A great companion-visit to the reserve is nearby Bet Ussishkin, the regional museum of nature and archaeology. http://youtu.be/DJZKI6KUMA4 How to get there: On road 99 (Kiryat Shmona-Mas’adeh) about 11 km east of the Metsudot junction north of Kiryat Shmona, near Kibbutz Dan Length of tour:1-2 hours Best season:year-round Other facilities and attractions:Restaurant, picnic area, wheelchair access. Hours:April-September: 8 A.M.-5 P.M. October-March: 8 A.M.-4 P.M. Fridays: 8 A.M. Phone:04-695-1579 Fax / Email:04-695-0218 Entrance fee:Adult: NIS 27; child: NIS 14Group rate (over 30 people): Adult: NIS 22; child: NIS 13 Senior citizens 50% discount Accessibility: Wheelchair-accessible trail Information http://youtu.be/bmeOy5_tcwI

Tel Dan National Park

View Larger Map Tel Dan National Park is located between Kiryat Shmona and the Golan Heights. At  Tel Dan you get two attractions for the price of one. First of all Tel Dan is an archeological site where the remnants of the Bronze-Canaanite Era  Laish or Leshem can be found. The city was later renamed renamed Dan by the tribe of the same name. The Canaanite Gate, discovered by Avraham Biran, has a mud brick arch built hundreds of years before the earliest know arches of the Romans. This gate was eventually closed and buried which saved the mud brick arch (red and tan strips of brick layers from different kinds of mud) to be found by modern  archaeologists. The Israelite Gate is  composed of three different gates for maximum protection. Outside the external gate, dated to Yerovam ben Navat, the first king of the Kingdom of Israel, were found the remains of a commercial center and platform for idol worship. Here archaeologists discovered the earliest mention of a king of the House of David. This was a revolutionary discovery for both the Christian and the Jewish world. There is a good copy of the inscription near the middle gate. Next to the internal gate archaeologistד uncovered a Mycenaean grave with a great variety of household items, which are now in the Beit Ussishkin Museum in Kibbutz Dan. The altar at Dan continued to be a religious center until its destruction by Tiglat Pilesar. http://youtu.be/DJZKI6KUMA4 Near the site, there is the Dan River, one of the three sources of the Jordan River together with the Hatzbani (Nachal Snir) and Banias (Nachal Hermon). Its water coming from the snowmelt of nearby Mount HermonVisitors can opt for one of the three hiking trails Tel Dan has to offer. Each route is different based on characteristics including length and sites along the trail. Not to miss on the trails are the high tree canopies that offer shade, as well as ancient mills and city gates. IMG_2626 Some trails pass by small pools of water where visitors can break for a quick dip in the sparkling water. A wading pool offers a refreshing break. [caption id="attachment_3246" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Accessible Park Accessible Park[/caption] Tel Dan National Park combines a lush nature reserve with a biblical archaeological experience with three easy hiking routes and a short wheelchair-accessible trail. When you visit be sure to learn to identify at least two trees:  the laurel tree and sycamores (plane trees). [caption id="attachment_3261" align="alignleft" width="300"]Sycamore Sycamore[/caption] [caption id="attachment_3260" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Laurel Laurel[/caption]

At the heart of the park is Tel Dan, the capital of the ancient northern kingdom, where you can see a High Place ancient city gates and other finds.

[gallery ids="3250,3251,3252,3253,3254,3255,3256,3257,3258,3249,3263,3264"] The park is off of road 99 north of Kiryat Shemonah. Lift up your eyes and you can easily see Mount Hermon, Qala'at Namrud and Har Dov. [gallery ids="3358,3360,3359"]

    IMG_2611Tel: +972-(0)4-695-1579 Fax: +972-(0)4-695-0218 1069

When driving up to Tel Dan you may want to stop at the combined bus station and mall in Hatzor Haglilit. You know, "Go when you can not when you must." Just remember I told you so:-

[gallery ids="3273,3272,3271"]

Tel Beit Shemesh

The Valley of Soreq (Sorek), Tel Beit Shemesh, Samson and Delilah are all one story which took place here. Whenever you visit here, don't forget your Bible. Tel Beth-Shemesh (Also known as Tel Bet Shemesh, Tel Beth-Shemesh, Tell er-Rumeileh, Ain esh-Shems, 'Ain Shems, Beth-shemesh, Bethshemesh, Har-Heres and Ir-Shemesh) is an important biblical site in the northeastern Shephelah (lowland) of Judah. The 7-acre mound is located near the modern town of Beth-Shemesh, some 20 km west of Jerusalem, and overlooks the Sorek Valley. Situated at the geographical, political and cultural border, as well as the meeting point between Canaanites, Philistines and Israelites. The site is open and there is no entrance fee. [satellite gallery=13 auto=on caption=off thumbs=off] Biblical History Beit Shemesh is referenced the book of Samuel (6,12).   Beth Shemesh was initially given to the tribe of Dan (Joshua 19 41), However the tribe was not able to overcome the iron age chariots of the Canaanites on the coast (present day Tel Aviv) and most of them moved to the very north of Israel to Tel Dan.  In the In the 13th century Joshua took the town  of Beit Shemesh (Joshua 21,16) and a minority of the Dan tribe moved to these foothills of Judaea. Eventually Samson became the Judge of this tribe. Read about  Shimshon's adventurous life martyrdom in Judges Chapters 13-14-15-16. Beit Shemesh is also referenced the book of Samuel (6,12). In the 11th century the Philistines defeated the Israelites in  battle of Even HaEzer (near Rosh HaAyin) and captured the Ark of the Covenant; but its possession brought them bad luck and they were forced to return the Ark to the Israelites. The cart carrying the Ark, drawn by two Oxen, passed through Beth-shemesh (Samuel I 6,12) and then continued to Qiryat Yearim, near Abu Ghosh. About 800 B.C. there was a battle between King Amaziah of Judah and King Jehoash of Israel (2 Kings 14,11). On the north side of the Sorek Valley across from Beth Shemesh are the ancient villages of Zorah  and Eshtaol. This is the birthplace of Samson. From Tel Beit Shemesh you can view the vineyards of the Soreq Valley. Samson of course as a "Nazir" could not  partake of the wine or grapes. This is the valley where he killed the lion barehanded and returned to eat the honey from it's carcass. You can see the Philistine city of Timna where young Samson had an unsuccessful marriage ending when the nameless wife of his convinced him to tell her the solution to his riddle. [caption id="attachment_2952" align="alignleft" width="300"]Tel Eshtaol Tel Eshtaol[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2951" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Tel Tzora Tel Tzora[/caption]   http://youtu.be/CS1gTs7k1v8   The name Beth-Shemesh ("House of the Sun") is suggestive of the deity that was worshipped by the Canaanite inhabitants of the ancient city. Identification of the mound with biblical Beth-Shemesh is based on its geographical description in the Bible, on Byzantine sources and on the name of the nearby Arab village 'Ain Shems, which preserved the ancient name.

Excavations

Prof. Shlomo Bunimovitz and Dr. Zvi Lederman of Tel Aviv University conducted the archaeological digs in Tel Beit Shemesh. Over 30,000 animal bones were found on the Tel, none of which were from pigs, which the Hebrews were forbiden to eat . Beit Shemesh can be traced back over three thousand years to the times of Yehoshua. Excavations near Beit Shemesh show the existence of a Hyksos and later a Canaanite town dating back to the 18th century B.C. The archaeological evidence indicate that the city was destroyed at the end of the 12th C, and was shortly reoccupied. Perhaps, this resettlement was due to the change of the population from Canaanite to Israelite. In excavations conducted at Tel Beth-Shemesh remains of several successive cities from the Bronze and Iron Ages were uncovered. The Iron Age covers the periods of the Judges and the Israelite Monarchy, 12th-7th centuries BCE in which  a large village or town spread all over the mound. The architecture of the houses as well as the pottery used by the inhabitants of Beth-Shemesh during this period is in the Canaanite tradition. But the bones of the animals they consumed attest to a diet typical of the Israelites who occupied the hill country--pigs are entirely absent. During the days of the United Monarchy or the beginning of the Kingdom of Judah, the village of Beth-Shemesh was transformed into a regional administrative centre of the kingdom on its border with Philistia. The importance of Beth Shemesh is largely owing to its situation along the route leading south to Lachish.  This route was the major artery through the Shephelah in the historical periods.  Travelers going south from Beth Shemesh will meet most of the major cities of the Shephelah along this route: Azekah, Moresheth Gath, Mareshah/Beth Guvrin and Lachish.

Ancient Iron Age Reservoir

To guaranty the water supply of the governmental town, a large subterranean reservoir was quarried. The rock-cut reservoir is cruciform in shape with four large halls coated with thick hydraulic plaster. Its capacity is about 800 m3 of rainwater collected from the town's streets by plastered channels. One may descend down into the underground halls via an impressive entrance complex constructed of a stairway partly built and partly cut in the rock. But don't forget your flashlight. Huge cigar-shaped stones cover the stairway passage During the 10th to the beginning of the 9th centuries BCE, an iron workshop was active in the place. Dozens of iron implements and slags were found within the workshop, the earliest of its kind in Israel. During the 8th century BCE, the inhabitants of Beth-Shemesh engaged in olive oil production. Remains of olive crushing basins, oil presses and stone weights, all used in the process of oil extraction, were found in the buildings by all three expeditions excavating at the site. Beth-Shemesh was destroyed by the Assyrian king Sennacherib in his campaign against Judah in 701 BCE, and abandoned. To ensure the abandonment of Beth-Shemesh, the entrance to the reservoir was deliberately blocked with 150 tons of earth and debris. A Roman road from Jerusalem/Bethlehem (on the east) passed at the site, connecting it to the west. Beit Jimal (or Beit Jamal monastery is located in the Judean hills next to the city of Beit Shemesh. [caption id="attachment_2953" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Beit Jamal Monastery Beit Jamal Monastery[/caption] A small and well-appointed church, called St. Stephen, was built in 1930 on the ruins of a large 5th-century Byzantine church on the south side of Tel Beth Shemesh. Modern Day Beit Shemesh was established in 1950 as a "development town primarily for new immigrants. Today Beit Shemesh is a thriving city with many modern conveniences and modes of public transportation (bus, train, taxi). Beit Shemesh is located in the Jerusalem region at the start of the Judean Hills. Beit Shemesh is located 30km/20miles west of Jerusalem. Near by Parks/Forests: Brittish ParkBeit Guvrin National ParkEin Hemed National ParkCastel National ParkEshtaol Forest, Gilo Forest, Herodium (Herodion) National ParkJerusalem ForestLatrun areaMartyrs ForestPeace Forest, Presidents Forest, SatafStalactite cavesSorek-Salmon Ridge, U.S. Independence Park, Yishi Forest, Park Begin near Mevo Beitar Near by Modern Day History Sites: Harel/Burma Road, Netiv HaLamed Hei, Har Yaale, Nes Harim Near by Caves: Stalactite caves, Bat caves, Twin caves, Bar Kochba caves, Beit Guvrin National Park, Ukbah caves, Luzit caves Near by Biblical Sites/Tels: Tel Bet Shemesh, Emek Haela, Tel Azaka, Tel Yarmut, Tel Shocho, Kever Dan, Kever Shimshon View Larger Map jrst0503

Geological Map of Beit Shemesh

Scan_Pic0607 Beit Shemesh is approximately 10 kilometers from hi-way 1 (Shar Hagay exit).  Travel hiway 38 until you reach Beit Shemesh.

Tel Azekah

Azekah Mound

Tel Azekah, Valley of HaElah and David and Golaith are the story of this day's tour. This is the site to let your imagination run wild. Listen to the Philistine soldiers ranting. See Goliath slowly approach the battle field below. Watch young David bend over to choose the stones for his sling! Perched 117 m above the rolling hills of the Judean lowlands (Shephelah) sits Azekah, in antiquity one of the main towns and the regional center of the fertile plains of the magnificent Valley of Elah. For millennia, Azekah flourished and grew, benefiting from both its rich natural and strategic location on one of the main routes leading from the coastal plain to Jerusalem and the south. Water was supplied from Nachal Elah. http://youtu.be/lCnxPzOu3is Today, most of the finds (burial caves) are covered by sand, and one can no longer enter the small and moderate system of hiding tunnels from the time of Bar Kokhba.  But due to restrictions at the time, the British excavators had to backfill their project. The site is reached through the Britannia Park. The park has special accessible parking and picnic tables, however the mound can only be reached by foot. The Azekah Mound is open and there is no entrance fee. The travelers who climb up to the top of Tel Azekah are accompanied by Biblical verses that are etched on plaques, some of which describe the battle which took place nearby between David and Goliath. At the top awaits the visitors a beautiful plaza from which one can look all around toward the Coastal Plain, the Valley of Elah, the Mountains of Jerusalem and more. Just sit in the shaded plaza and imagine the Israelite on the hill across Nachal Elah on Socho Mound and the Philistine forces on Tel Azekah where you are sitting. Can you see David picking up his five stones from the Elah brook? http://youtu.be/D4L6Ms7S8Mc The mighty Assyrian king Sennacherib called "an eagle’s nest…with towers that project to the sky like swords". This is the  Judahite stronghold that Sennacherib bragged about, “With the power and might of Ashur, my lord, I overwhelmed the district of Hezekiah of Judah...Azekah, his stronghold, which is located between my land and the land of Judah...I besieged by means of beaten earth ramps, by great battering rams brought near its walls, and with the attack of foot soldiers...I captured this stronghold, I carried off its spoil, I destroyed, I devastated, I burned with fire.” 100 years later, once again Azekah was an important Judahite border-stronghold, mentioned by the garrison at Lachish that cried out probably at the time of its capture by the Babylonians in 586 BCE: "We cannot see any more the fire-signals of Azekah". [gallery ids="2960,2961,2962,2963,2964,2965"] Azekah is above the valley below that is remembered in cultural memory as the arena of the battle between the boy David as he confronted the giant Goliath. http://youtu.be/AYSYBkE3zgQ Another glorious page of Azekah's history took place in the Hasmonean period, at the top of the mound where there is a massive fortress built by the great Hasmonean king, John Hyrcanus I. View Larger Map

Tel Aviv From Jaffa to Azriely Towers

[caption id="attachment_547" align="aligncenter" width="259"]israelandyou.com Azrieli Towers[/caption]

Tel Aviv From Jaffa to Azriely Towers

[scribd id=130141102 key=key-121n56ob93tbf3dpamr0 mode=scroll] Igal Morag English: Gila Kaye morageng@artvision.net.il morag-i@013.net.il

Tel Arad

I loved my visit to Tel Arad. I learned so much about Archaelogy. But it left me so confused. Why did the Canaanites desert their city? Why did the Israelite city have an altar? Did this altar have male and female deities? Why was the altar eventually buried? Why does the wilderness sometimes spreads out to the north and sometimes spreads out to the south? Did the King of Arad live in a tent? Why did the Israelites build a fortress and why did t he Romans abandon it? You will have to visit the site to learn the answers.

Tel Arad National Park

Tel Arad, (Arad Mound‎) northwest of the modern city of Arad in the northern Negev, consists of two separate sites - a lower city of the Bronze (Canaanite era) and an upper city of the Iron era ( Israelite period ). You can visit two for the price of one. Best season: Year-round. Length of tour: 1-2 hours. Hours: April-September 8 A.M.-5 P.M.; October-March 8 A.M- 4 P.M. Last entry one hour before above closing hour Entrance: Adult: NIS 15; child: NIS 7;  Israeli senior citizen: 50% discount;  Group (over 30 people): Adult: NIS 14: child NIS 6 Phone: 057-776-2170; http://youtu.be/DoQVQ7_B0f0

The "Arad House"

The standard plan of the dwellings, whose style became known as the ‘Arad house’ included a broad room and a kitchen or storage room.

The houses at this site had very similar features (not unlike today's suburban tracts in the U.S.).  The "Arad House" was found at other sites in the Early Bronze, but nowhere more than here.  The features include a broad-room style house, benches lining the walls, a stone pillar base in the center to support the roof, and a door socket on the left-hand side of the entrance.

 

Early Bronze City

The lower city was inhabited only in the Early Bronze Age (3150-2200 BCE) and never reached this size again. At approximately 100 dunams (25 acres) Arad was one of the largest cities of its day in this country, and surrounded by a strong 1,200-meter wall. The city's streets, plazas, and buildings were meticulously planned, including a reservoir in the lowest part of the city to which surface runoff was channeled.   Its importance at this time was because of trading expeditions which traveled from here - to Sinai in the south to mine copper, and to the east for extracting bitumen from the Dead Sea.  

Border Fortress

The fortress was built to protect the border and the roads and prevent encroachment by nomadic tribes. [gallery columns="2" ids="2610,2611,2612,2613"] In the Iron Age, a major fortress was erected on the summit of the site to protect Israel's southeastern border.  While Amalekites and other nomadic peoples could be troublemakers, Judah's chief enemy in this direction was Edom.  This fortress was destroyed by the Edomites at least once. The upper city was first settled in the Israelite period (1200 BCE). When Edom fell to the Romans and the border markings were moved to the south, there was no longer an need for this fortress.

Waterworks between Lower City and Upper City Fortress

Archaeologist suggest that the water was taken by pack animals up the hill from the well in the Caananite city area to the fortress and spilled into a channel which by gravitation filled a cistern inside the fortress walls. [gallery ids="2620,2615,2614"]  

Judaean Temple

[gallery columns="2" ids="2617,2616"] The upper city of Tel Arad represents one of the forbidden “high places” referred to in Scripture. In fact, interpretive signs reveal the outline of a temple patterned after Solomon’s temple in Jerusalem. Inside the Iron Age fortress, archaeologists found remains of a temple used for several centuries during the time of the Divided Monarchy.  Though worship centers outside of Jerusalem were forbidden by Moses (Deut 12), high places flourished throughout the land according to the Bible.  The sacrificial altar is visible in the outer courtyard.

A highlight of the visit to Arad is the Israelite temple, which included a large outer sacred area, the hechal, and a smaller ‘holy of holies.’ The temple in Arad was a miniature version of Solomon's Temple in Jerusalem. A meter-high, stone monument, painted red, was found on the paved bamah of the holy of holies. An altar was found in the courtyard in front of the hechal. Another famous find at Arad are inscribed potsherds bearing the names of priestly families.

No ancient documents describe the worship practices of this temple, but the existence of two standing stones and two incense altars points to the worship of two deities at this site.  A definite breach in faithfulness to the Torah! During either King Hezekiah’s or King Josiah’s reigns, the temple was dismantled (see 2 Kings 23:8).  Most probably, the Israelites here worshipped "Yahweh and his Asherah," a corruption of true biblical religion that is attested in other archaeological finds.

Tel Afek

If you are looking for family friendly, tourist attraction which is also an important and impressive historical site, then Yarkon and Tel Afek National Park is just what the doctor ordered. The park is actually two parks:

  1. Tel Afek (Antipatris) with its Ottoman fortress overlooking the Yarkon springs
  2. Yarkon Springs: including the British Mandate pumping station and sensational yellow water lily.
This post will introduce you to historical Tel Afek. [caption id="attachment_9171" align="aligncenter" width="618"]Yarkon and Tel Afek National Park Yarkon and Tel Afek National Park[/caption] A family friendly trail leads from the upper Yarkon Stream near Tel Afek and continues to the Yarkon sources. Length of tour: 2 hours-all day. Best season: Year-round. Other facilities and attractions:playground with equipment, basketball court, volley ball net, ping-pong tables, picnic tables, barbecues, physical fitness trail, ecological education center. Hours:
  • April-September 8 A.M.-5 P.M.
  • October-March 8 A.M- 4 P.M.
  • Last entry one hour before above closing hour
Phone:
  • Education Center: 03-903-3190
  • Afek compound 03-903-0760
Entrance fee required. Pets prohibited Accessibility:The area has wheelchair-accessible trails and picnic tables. Visits to the fortress, the Canaanite and the Roman ruins are accessible with assistance. Download PDF map of Nachal Yarkon Trails including Yarkon and Tel Afek National Park

Tel Afek

Antipatris was a city built in the site by Herod the Great, and named in honour of his father, Antipater II of Judea. Almost nothing is left from that period, save the name. The city was destroyed in 363 CE by an earthquake. What we see is the Ottoman fortress ( Binar Bashi) built in its place in the 16th century. The local Arabs called the local village Ras al-Ayn, now the name of the neighboring city, Rosh HaAyin in Hebrew. How to get there:  The Afek entrance is on the Petah Tikva-Rosh Ha‘ayin road (no. 483) between Kibbutz Giv‘at HaShlosha and Kibbutz Einat. The Rosh Ha‘ayin train station is near the Tel Afek entrance; Dan buses 27, 7, 17 and 93 also stop at this entrance.   [caption id="attachment_9161" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Tel Afek Tel Afek[/caption]

British Mandate pumping station

Yarkon spring water was once pumped by the British to Jerusalem. Tour of the pumping station by calling the Mekorot water company: 03-938-8961. [caption id="attachment_9151" align="aligncenter" width="800"]British Mandate Pumping Station British Mandate Pumping Station[/caption]

Pump Station Lake

[caption id="attachment_9152" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Tel Afek Tel Afek Lake[/caption] [caption id="attachment_9153" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Tel Afek Tel Afek Lake[/caption]  

Oldest photos of Tel Afek

[caption id="attachment_9154" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Tel Afek Tel Afek[/caption] IMG_20141105_100620   [caption id="attachment_9163" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Tel Afek Tel Afek[/caption]

Ottoman Fortress, Binar Bashi

Built in 1571 [caption id="attachment_9156" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Ottoman Tower added to Crusader Wall. See  unhewn filler stones and columns used to strengthen wall Ottoman Tower added to Crusader Wall. See unhewn filler stones and columns used to strengthen wall[/caption]

Square Tower

The Ottomans added defense towers in each corner to the remains of the Crusader wall foundations. The largest tower was the Octogonal Tower. [caption id="attachment_9158" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Square Tower Square Tower[/caption]

Octogonal Tower and defense ports

[caption id="attachment_9162" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Octogonal Tower Octogonal Tower[/caption]

Egyptian Governor's Residence

[caption id="attachment_9164" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Egyptian Governor's Residence Egyptian Governor's Residence[/caption] [caption id="attachment_9165" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Egyptian Governor's Residence Egyptian Governor's Residence[/caption]

Cardo

[caption id="attachment_9166" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Cardo Cardo[/caption] [caption id="attachment_9167" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Cardo Cardo[/caption]

Roman Road

[caption id="attachment_9168" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Roman Road Roman Road[/caption]  

Odeon

[caption id="attachment_9169" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Odeon Odeon[/caption]

Tefen

Tefen Industrial Park

Do not let the unattractive name of "Industrial Park” deceive you. This well-kept complex, situated not far from the city of Ma'alot-Tarshiha, combines between local industry and local culture and art- as is traditional with the industrialist Stephen Wertheimer. A sunning sculpture garden situated in the green grounds of the park with work by Israel’s leading artists.
In addition to some charming outdoor sculptures that are displayed here on the lawns and in front of the Galilee landscape, there are also four different museums here. One of the Tefen Industrial Park museums is the Museum of Vintage and Classic Cars, which includes approximately 100 cars of various models in excellent condition, some of which will get nostalgia enthusiasts excited, as well as children who are not familiar with the Mustang. Another less known museum at the Tefen Industrial Park is the somewhat different but interesting Art of Industry Museum, which presents a collection of processing and cutting tools from prehistoric times and until today. One can also find here the Yekke Heritage Center (the German-Speaking Jewry Heritage Museum), an archeological collection, an art gallery and plenty of scents and fresh air.
Guided group tours may be booked in advance, as well as special activities for the general public on holidays.
http://youtu.be/mZK5nq3CZps  

Tefen Metal Working Museum

Art of Industry Museum: Museum of industrial art, presenting milestones in the evolution of cutting and chiseling techniques. [gallery columns="2" ids="4472,4471,4470,4469"]  

Tefen Industrial Park Open Sculpture Museum

A sunning sculpture garden situated in the green grounds of the park with work by Israel’s leading artists. http://youtu.be/-CFcZZmTtR8 [gallery ids="4473,4474,4475,4476,4477,4478"]

The Automobile Museum

A collection of classic cars, including 40 cars from the 1930′s. http://youtu.be/ssrtfOiWfJg  

Tefen Museum of German Speaking Israelis

Museum of German Speaking Judaism The museum tells the story of the glorious past of central European Jewry in Germany, Austria and Czechoslovakia prior to the Second World War. The Museum thus presents the achievements of German-speaking Jews in Israel in a range of significant areas, and the cultural influence of German-speaking immigrants on Israel's Western character. There is no research facility. [gallery ids="4458,4459,4460,4461,4462,4463,4464,4465,4466,4467,4468"] Tefen Industrial Park Postal Address: The Open Museum POB 1 Migdal Tefen 24959 Tel: +972-4-9109614 E-mail: contact form on website

Tabgha

[caption id="attachment_380" align="aligncenter" width="300"]isralandyou.com The Church of the Multiplication of Loaves and Fishes[/caption]

Tabgha

Tabgha  is the traditional site of the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes. The site's name is derived from the Greek name Heptapegon ("seven springs"). The seven springs that emerged at Tabgha (today only six have been discovered) produced water warmer than that of the Sea of Galilee.  This warmer water helped the production of algae, which in turn attracted the fish.  Fishermen thus have frequented this area for thousands of years. http://youtu.be/NdKBAcGo5W4

Tabgha Priory, Lake of Gennesaret

The members of the Church have prayed and worked at Tabgha on the shores of the Sea of Galilee since 1939. Their main task is to take care of the The Church of the Multiplication of Loaves and Fishes. The property belongs to the German Association of the Holy Land. [slideshow gallery_id="6"]

Times of Opening

Monday to Friday: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday: 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Access only 15 before closing. Sunday: Only fot the Eucharist at 9 a.m.  

Times of Worship

Sunday and major feast days On workdays
6.30 a.m. Lauds 5.45 a.m. Laude
9 a.m. Eucharist 6.30 a.m. Eucharist
6 p.m. Vespers 6 p.m. Vespers
8 p.m. Compline (or Vigils) 8 p.m. Compline

Taba, Egypt

Many Israelis used to adventure to the Red Sea and enjoy this popular tourist destination in the Sinai region. Unfortunately, Israelis and international tourists are now advised not to cross the Egyptian border to Taba because of the increased terrorist activities in the Sina peninsula. "The gateway to Sinai" is a beautiful place - I have been in all of the attractions pictured here when Sinai was held by Israel and later again back under the Egyptian government - and loved it. Taba was a fast growing resort 75 km north of Nuweiba. Well known for its charming bays and coastline, tourism has blossomed recently with the opening of its International Airport, which has direct flights from many parts of Europe. The 12th century fortress of Saladin on Pharaoh's Island is a joy to visit as it is in a remarkable condition. It is surrounded by blue and turquoise waters and its reefs are a paradise for snorkelers and divers. [gallery ids="4228,4229,4230,4231,4232,4233"] Just 50 km south of Taba is the stunning Coloured Canyon, a marvel of the natural world and a kaleidoscope of colour. The Fjord, another spectacular site, just 15 km south of Taba, is a delightful and protected bay with stunning coral refs and unforgettable scenery.   http://youtu.be/3vioAbVwYcU  
View Larger Map    

Syrian Chapel in Holy Sepulchre

Holy Sepulchre Politics

You think Israeli politics is confusing? Wait till you visit the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in the Christian Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem. Different Christian denominations within the church each control a part of it: Catholics, Armenian, Greek Orthodox, Syrian Orthodox, Coptic and Ethiopian. The key to the main door is held by neighboring Muslim families since 1187. Historically they used to sit in the entrance to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, manage the church, and mediate  between the different denominations. For instance the argument between the sects over the removal of a ladder forgotten on the window sill above the entrance. Ask your guide to show it to you.

The Famous Holy Sepulchre Ladder

   

Syrian Chapel

Behind the tomb of Jesus, on the western side of the Holy Sepulchre Rotunda walls,  is the Jacobite (Syrian Orthodox) chapel. This sect obviously does not have the funds for repairs. The chapel looks more like a Syrian battle zone. The chapel is located in the 4th Century C.E. Constantine church walls. The walls and altar were damaged by fire. On the southern side of the chapel are typical 1st Century C.E. Jewish tombs. According to Christian tradition, they are of Joseph of Arimathea and Nikodemus who took down and buried the body of Jesus (Luke 23: 50-56). The Syriac (or Syrian Orthodox) Church of the Antiochene Rite is the direct heir of the ancient Judeo-Christian Church, and today represents Syriac (Aramaic) speaking Christians spread throughout many Middle Eastern countries. The language of its liturgy is Syriac, a language closely related to Aramaic, the ancient language spoken by Jesus. Syriac is similar to Aramaic but with a different alphabet. A number of dialects of Aramaic remain in use today in large Aramaic-speaking communities in Syria, Iraq, Turkey and Iran, and among smaller populations in Lebanon, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Israel. Aramaic "diasporas" also exist in Sweden and the United States, whose members are at the forefront of preserving it and speak the language. [gallery columns="2" ids="7150,7151,7152"] Sepulcher map   More photos of the Holy Sepulcher [gallery ids="7155,7156,7157,7158,7159,7160"] http://youtu.be/INV7m9ItdaA [caption id="attachment_7164" align="aligncenter" width="640"]Madaba Map showing Sepulcher Madaba Map showing Sepulcher[/caption]

StyleLife: Travel Tips

By Michelle in  Pinque limited21-682x1024 Here are my favorite travel tips and an easy printable packing list to help make your next vacation a little easier. - See more at: http://www.pinqueblog.com/archives/5260/#sthash.ZF1Ktw81.dpuf d69b5a5163d1ac1365f076cff3115596   1} While cleaning your house before you leave can be a hassle, it is worth it to come home without a list of chores that need completing. I also like to have all my clothes washed so I don’t have double the laundry upon my return! 2} My must have apps include: Flipboard – To catch up on my favorite blogs. Twitter – To keep up with social media and share great travel finds. Instagram – What’s better than sharing your travel photos instantly? Alarm System – Ours notifies when the alarm has been deactivated so we know our home is safe and sound. Pinterest – Great for wasting time in the airport while waiting on your flight. 3] There is nothing worse than lost luggage, so never leave anything you cherish in your checked baggage. 4} Free water vs. $3 bottled water? Easy decision. 5} Inevitably my packed liquids always leak, so packing them in airtight bags prevents them from ruining my precious clothes. 6} Do you really want your shoes that are full of dirt and germs contaminating your clean clothing? I didn’t think so. 7} Everyone knows I love shopping on a trip, so I always make sure to have room or an extra bag to bring some goodies home! 8} Even if it is 100 degrees at your destination, airplanes, airports and restaurants are ALWAYS freezing. 9} Nothing stresses me out quite like airport security, so I always make sure to wear sandals or slip-on shoes to make things move a little quicker. 10} Vacations should be FUN, not stressful! packing_thumb1 - See more at: http://www.pinqueblog.com/archives/5260/#sthash.ZF1Ktw81.dpuf

St. Stephen’s Church

St. Stephen's Church and the The École Biblique are located along the ancient road to Damascus, approximately 1/4 mile outside the walls of Jerusalem's Old City.   The base of the statue of the St. Stephan, the martyr, marks two dates: 460 C.E. (founding of the ancient Byzantine Church) and 1900 C.E. (founding of the modern church). The modern Dominican monastery and French School for Biblical archaeology (Couvent Saint-Étienne and L'École Biblique et Archéologique Française) sit on the slope of the hill adjacent to the Garden Tomb, in a region of Jerusalem that was once a large necropolis. [gallery ids="5255,5256,5257,5258,5259,5260,5261,5262,5263,5264,5265,5266"] This church, re-dedicated in 1900, is based on the remains of fifth-century house the Relics of St. Stephen built by the Empress Eudocia.

Stephen,s believed to have been a Greek Jew, who converted to Christianity.  was the Greek Christian commissioned by the leaders of the Jerusalem church to look after the Greek-speaking poor of the city as part of the church's mission. He aroused the enmity of members of various synagogues by his teachings. Accused of blasphemy, at his trial he made a long speech fiercely denouncing the Jewish authorities who were sitting in judgement on him and was stoned to death. His martyrdom was witnessed by Saul of Tarsus (later better known by his Roman name, Paul), a Pharisee who would later become a follower himself of Jesus and an apostle.

The original church was built by the Empress Eudocia at the end of the fifth century to house the Relics of St. Stephen, the first Christian Martyr, and the adjoining Monastery complex was so large that by the beginning of the sixth century it housed close to 10,000 monks. Having been destroyed in the 12th century by crusaders not wanting to give Salah id-Din a base outside the walls, the new church was re-dedicated in 1900, based considerably upon the remains of the old. The world-famous Ecole Biblique (Bible School) was founded in 1890.

Behind the school, church and library is the cloistered area of the monastery, where one finds added serenity from the hustle and bustle of the Middle Eastern daily life.  Housing for the students and faculty are found here, as is the museum of archaeology. An apartment which serves as the project laboratory is also found in this area of the monastery.

[gallery ids="5267,5268,5269,5270,5271,5272"]

Among the graves photographed above are:

Maurice Benoit (3 August 1906 – 23 April 1987), better known as Pierre Benoit, was a French Catholic priest, exegete, and theologian, directed the École from 1964 to 1972. He became involved in archaeological investigations carried out at Christian sites in Jerusalem. One of his most extensive pieces of archaeological work was the thorough and definitive excavation at the site of the Antonia Fortress, and the surrounding area.

Father Roland Guérin de Vaux OP (17 December 1903 – 10 September 1971) was a French Dominican priest who led the Catholic team that initially worked on the Dead Sea Scrolls. He was the director of the Ecole Biblique, a French Catholic Theological School in East Jerusalem, and he was charged with overseeing research on the scrolls. His team excavated the ancient site of Khirbet Qumran (1951–1956) as well as several caves near Qumran northwest of the Dead Sea. The excavations were led by Ibrahim El-Assouli, caretaker of the Palestine Archaeological Museum, or what came to be known as the Rockefeller Museum in East Jerusalem.

At the turn of the present century, in the course of construction work for a Sephardi Hospital, ancient remains were uncovered about a hundred yards west of the Temple Mount. Closer investigation by the Dominican Father Hugo Vincent, a renowned Jerusalem scholar, revealed the ruins of walls and mosaic floors. These he described in an article in the Order’s archaeological journal Revue Biblique (No. XI 1914), suggesting that they formed part of the cherished Nea Church.

There are several tomb complexes, including the one from which the project collection was exhumed.

Address: 6 Nablus Road, Jerusalem 91190 Country: Israel Israel Telephone: +972-2-6264468

St. Peter in Gallicantu

The Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu has a surprise for tourists of all faiths: A Catholic shrine, a model of Byzantine Jerusalem and a panoramic view of modern Jerusalem. The Gallicantu Model of Byzantine Jerusalem completes the Model of First Temple Jerusalem at Mercaz Ariel and the Model of Second Temple Jerusalem (The Holyland Model) near the Shrine of the Book at Israel Museum. [caption id="attachment_7090" align="aligncenter" width="640"]Gallicantu Gallicantu Model under red roof[/caption] [caption id="attachment_7092" align="aligncenter" width="480"]Gallicantu Gallicantu: Caiphe was Jewish High Priest[/caption] [caption id="attachment_7094" align="aligncenter" width="480"]Gallicantu Gallicantu = Crowing Rooster[/caption]  

St. Peter in Gallicantu

What does "gallicantu" mean? Gallicantu refers to the cock’s crow, and comes from the story of Peter’s triple denial of Jesus and the cock crowing twice (Mark 14: 26-72; Matthew 26:69-75; Luke 22: 57 and Luke 27:  34-61).  According to Christian tradition this is the place of the palace of the high priest, Caiaphas, where Jesus was held after his arrest at Gethsemane on the night of Holy Thursday. The church is located on the eastern slopes of Mount Zion. The present church was built in 1931 by the Augustinians of the Assumption congregation on the ruins of earlier Byzantine and Crusader basilica which were destroyed. The church is believed to stand on the site of the high priest’s house, however archaeologists are divided. In the courtyard a statue depicts the denial, including the rooster, the woman who questioned Peter, and a Roman soldier. [caption id="attachment_7074" align="aligncenter" width="720"]Gallicantu Statue The denial, including the rooster, the woman who questioned Peter, and a Roman soldier[/caption] These are the caves under the church, dated to the 2nd temple period and the sacred pit, where Jesus was believed to be held in custody, as well as Peter and John after his resurrection ( Acts 5:  19-42). Gallicantu http://youtu.be/URvtef2XF9Y

Model of Byzantine Jerusalem

This model shows all the churches in Jerusalem during the Byzantine Period: Cardo Maximus and Eastern Cardo, Via Dolorosa (Decomanus), Holy Sepulcher, Nea Church, Hagia Sion, St. Anne's, St. Peter Gallicantu, St. John the Baptist Church. [caption id="attachment_7081" align="aligncenter" width="640"]Ecce Homo Ecce Homo[/caption] [caption id="attachment_7079" align="aligncenter" width="640"]Church of the Holy Sepulcher Church of the Holy Sepulcher[/caption]  

Panoramic View from the Belvedere Balcony

The Belveder balcony provides a spectacular panoramic view of the Temple Mount, the Mount of Olives and the Kidron valley. [caption id="attachment_7083" align="aligncenter" width="640"]Temple Mount Temple Mount[/caption] [caption id="attachment_7084" align="aligncenter" width="640"]Mount of Olives Mount of Olives[/caption] [caption id="attachment_7086" align="aligncenter" width="640"]Convent of Akeldema Convent of Akeldema in Kidron Valley as seen from St. Peter in Gallicantu[/caption]   Visiting Hours Tel.: 972-2-6731739 Open: 8.30am-5pm (closed Sunday)

Spelunking at Hirbat Midras

Hirbat Midras 

About 15miles south of Bet Shemesh in Park Adulam in the heart of the Shfela, Midras had a significant population during the Second Temple period destroyed in the Bar Kochba Revolution. Many scholars believe that it is the site of the home and grave of the Prophet Zechariah. Some exceptionally well preserved mosaics, uncovered in 2011, are on the site. There are remains of a Byzantine Church. An ancient burial cave, located just above the apse of the Byzantine structure is possibly Zecharia's Tomb, based on a reading of the Madaba map. http://youtu.be/Viwer8G8Df4

Spelunking

The site includes some extensive hiding places  from both the Great Revolt (66-70) and the Bar Kochba (132-135) Uprising, where coins, period pottery and vessels were discovered. This is the place for family friendly spelunking or caving. But don't forget your flashlight or head lamp. Over-weight, elderly and the physically challenged should not consider this exploit.  Unfortunately I fail in all three categories so I had to be satisfied with a friend's clip.  http://youtu.be/9-4iVaFtCAg However, Israeli schools regularly bring entire classes here for an exciting outing. Take a look! Want to try? http://youtu.be/efGYvrlqvHw

Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel

SPNI The Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel (SPNI) is Israel's leading environmental non-profit organization. For the past 60 years SPNI has been dedicated to protecting and preserving Israel's natural resources, environment, natural assets and unique landscape. The work carried out by SPNI now will determine what the land of Israel will look like in the generations to come. http://youtu.be/U28hgObFI94

The Environmental Protection Department is involved in pioneering research projects and developing a body of knowledge that is used to drive SPNI’s activities and to create sustainable solutions to environmental issues in Israel. This includes developing energy policy, conserving water supplies, protecting Israel’s native species, participating in planning and zoning committees, coordinating public campaigns, lobbying and advocacy. Our Education Department manages and develops environmental programs for hundreds of thousands of young Israelis, in both formal and informal settings, inspiring them to engage with their surroundings and raise an environmentally responsible and proactive generation. SPNI’s revolutionary vision for urban lifestyle in the 21st century is encapsulated by our Kehilot (Urban Communities), a hub for green activism, sustainable green living and higher quality of life in cities. Our Kehilot are managed locally with emphasis on the unique challenges facing each community. Through the Kehilot SPNI strengthens civil society, trains decision makers, protects open spaces and preserves urban nature sites, for the public and with the public. SPNI operates Eco-Community Centers located in Israel’s social and economic periphery that work to fill societal gaps by creating a cadre of passionate young people who feel connected to their immediate surroundings and are empowered to make changes in their immediate environment. Through these programs we create grassroots movements that expand their circles of influence to make positive environmental changes at the national level. SPNI’s International Ornithological Center (IOC) operates a network of birding centers that monitors migration patterns of 500 million birds on behalf of the international community, provides safe haven for birdlife and makes Israel a world center for bird watchers. The IOC is also involved in regional collaborations with the Palestinian Authority and Jordan. Recognized for their expert guides and high standard of educational programming, SPNI’s Field Schools are a network of Eco-Tourism Centers, situated in Israel’s most striking nature reserves. Our field schools are used as bases for nature excursions and hikes, a central pillar of Israeli culture. SPNI also initiated and maintains the popular Israel National Trail.  
 

Contact

United States aspni@aol.com 1-800-411-0966
France irl@club-internet.fr +33(0) 617-260044
Canada spnicanada@gmail.com 1-416-224-2318
Israel international@spni.org.il +972-3-638-8653  

Sneak Peek: The New Temple Institute Visitor Center in Jerusalem

The Holy Temple in Jerusalem

What is the Holy Temple of Jerusalem really about?? WATCH this amazing sneak peek of the New Temple Institute Visitors Center Before it is open to the public. http://youtu.be/F6prYdPPPaQ

[Published on Jul 10, 2013 by http://www.israelnationalnews.com]

 The Temple Institute PO Box 31876 Jerusalem, Israel 91317 Tel: 972-(0)2-6264545 Fax: 972-(0)2-6274529 Exhibition Halls: 19 Misgav Ladach Street Visiting Hours and Tours/Reservations
      •  Sunday – Thursday: 9:00 – 19:00. (Last group entrance 18:00)
    • 15:15, (3:15) guided tours for individuals, in English
    • 16:30, (4:30) guided tours for individuals, in Hebrew
  • Friday, and days preceding holidays: 9:00 – 13:00.
    • Fridays, guided tours for individuals, in Hebrew, 10:30.
 
    • The Visitors center is closed each day between 14:00 -14:30
    • Closed Saturday (Shabbat)
    • The tour is one hour long.
    • Group reservations must be made in advance. To make a reservation in advance by email:  office@temple.org.il
    • Please designate your preferred time for your visit.
    • Reservations can also be made by phone or by fax:
    • Telephone: 972-(0)2-626-4545 Fax: 972-(0)2-627-4529.

Sisters of Notre Dame de Sion

While visiting the Sisters of Notre Dame de Sion you "time travel" back Herodian Jerusalem and Hadrian's Aelia Capitolina. Authentic, ancient artifacts reveal the secrets of how Roman soldiers spent their free time. The sisters have provide very comfortable "amphitheaters" for tour groups to sit and learn about the New Testament.

Ecce Homo Arch

The Ecce Home Arch was built by Hadrian as a triumphal triple arch in 135 C.E. adjacent to the Forum and to the Via Dolorosa in the Old City of Jerusalem. The largest of these three arches is known as the "Ecce Homo Arch". It spans the Via Dolorosa and continues into the Basilica as part of the chancel screen where the smaller northern section can be seen. Close by stood the Herodian Antonia Fortress where the place where Jesus was taken to stand before Pilate. The name "Ecce Homo" refers to John 19:5 : "Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them: "Behold the man".  [gallery columns="2" ids="7044,7045"]

The Struthion Pool

A canal in what is now the Western Wall Tunnels (Minharot HaKotel) , constructed at the time of the Hasmoneans (2nd century B.C.E), provided water to the Temple Mount cisterns. King Herod destroyed part of the canal when he built a moat around the Antonia Fortress . The Struthion Pool, a water reservoir, was dug into this moat to serve the fortress and its environs. This pool was vaulted over and later turned into a cistern by Hadrian (in 135 C.E.). A large portion of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Sion Convent was constructed above the remains of the cistern. [gallery ids="7047,7048,7049"]

Pavement with "The Game of the King"

Archeologists have found the markings of the game known as The Game of the King on the floor of the Antonia FortressIt was played with dice on a playing board.  The soldiers would choose one soldier to be the “king”.  They would give him robe, a crown, a scepter, and they would pay homage to him.  During the course of the day the soldiers would gamble for all of his possessions culminating in gambling for who got to kill him. Game of King

Ecce Homo Basilica

The church is built on the edge of the Eastern forum of Hadrian's city of Aelia Capitolina. The identification of the church with Jesus or Pilate is considered  inaccurate as the site dates from 135AD - one hundred years after Jesus or Pilate. [gallery ids="7052,7053,7055,7056,7057,7058,7059"]   Visiting hours: 8:00 am – 5:00 pm •    Open only for prayer on Good Friday •    Guides are asked to give their explanations only in the "amphitheatres". •    The house does not provide guides. •    In order to view the Arch, enter by the outside door which comes before the front door, it opens from the Via Dolorosa. Places offered for prayer or liturgy:
  • The Basilica
  • The Lithostrotos before 8:00 am & after 8:00 pm
Via Dolorosa 41-POB 19056 – 91190 Jerusalem Tel: +972 (0)2 627 72 92  –  Fax: +972 (0)2 628 22 24 Email: eccehomo@eccehomoconvent.org

Shrine of the Book

http://youtu.be/npH3IA1binc   The Shrine of the Book is the home of several exceptional archaeological finds: the Dead Sea Scrolls and other rare ancient manuscripts. The dome covers a structure which is two-thirds below the ground, and is reflected in a pool of water that surrounds it. IMG_6121 The striking juxtaposition of the white dome and black basalt wall, precise and opposing geometrical shapes, creates a monumental effect and an extraordinary phenomenon in the Israeli landscape. IMG_6124 Here are the many ways to learn more about and experience the Dead Sea Scrolls: Interactive Virtual Tour of the Shrine of the Book The Digital Dead Sea Scrolls Explore the Isaiah Scroll Explore the Temple Scroll The Qumran Community 260609   The Qumran Library The Shrine Complex Interactive Tours of the Shrine, the Second Temple Period Model of Jerusalem, and the Dead Sea Scrolls A Wandering Bible: The Aleppo Codex The Dorot Auditorium For children: A 20-minute Hebrew animation film for ages 6+: Time Tunnel: The Story of the Dead Sea   http://youtu.be/P6fH9TxfSwA  

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    http://youtu.be/FlkqPkSBhAc Museum Information Please feel free to contact Museum Information with any questions. 02-670-8811 info@imj.org.il The Israel Museum is located in Jerusalem on Ruppin Boulevard, near the Knesset (Israeli Parliament). The Israel Museum, Jerusalem POB 71117 Jerusalem, 9171002 Israel Tel: 972-2-670-8811 Fax: 972-2-677-1332

Regular Museum hours

Sun, Mon, Wed, Thurs 10 am - 5 pm Tues 4-9 pm (The Museum is closed on Tuesday mornings and during special holiday hours) Fri and holiday eves 10 am - 2 pm Sat and holidays 10 am - 5 pm מלתחהCloakroom and folding chairs A cloakroom and folding chairs are available at the end of the Route of Passage, next to the elevators. Please inquire at the Information Desk. נגישות לנכיםWheelchairs and disabled access Wheelchairs are available in the Entrance Pavilion. Please inquire at the Information Desk for details. Much of the Israel Museum is wheelchair-accessible, and an ongoing renovation program continues to improve access for the disabled. Wheelchair-accessible places include the entrance pavilion,  the Shrine of the Book, and the Model of Jerusalem in the Second Temple Period. Download the PDF accessibility map of the campus. 4399_71967334_1377694862

Shiloh (Biblical City)

Tel Shiloh - Shiloh (Biblical City)

 
israelandyou.com
Shiloh - Basilica
[caption id="attachment_117" align="aligncenter" width="614"]israelandyou.com Shiloh - Jama a Sittin - Mihrab of Mosque[/caption] [caption id="attachment_119" align="aligncenter" width="614"]israelandyou.com Shiloh - Jama al Yatim[/caption]

Ancient Shiloh

Shiloh was an ancient city mentioned in the Hebrew Bible. Its site is at modern Khirbet Seilun, south of ancient Tirzah and 10 miles (16 km) north of the Israeli settlement of Beth El in the West Bank. It was the capital of Israel before the first Temple was built in Jerusalem. Shiloh is mentioned in the Hebrew Bible as an assembly place for the people of Israel. The "whole congregation of Israel assembled...and set up the tabernacle of the congregation..." (Joshua 18:1), built under Moses' direction from God (Exodus 26) to house the Ark of the Covenant, also built under Moses' direction from God (Exodus 25). According to Talmudic sources, the tent sanctuary remained at Shiloh for 369 years[3] until the Ark of the Covenant was taken into the battle camp (1 Samuel 4:3–5) at Eben-Ezer and captured by the Philistines at Aphek (probably Antipatris). At some point during its long stay at Shiloh, the portable tent seems to have been enclosed within a compound or replaced with a standing structure that had "doors" (1 Samuel 3:15) a precursor to the Temple. The Mishkan left Shiloh when Eli HaCohen died. (more...) [caption id="attachment_121" align="aligncenter" width="614"]israelforyou.com Modern audio-visual presentation in the Migdal Ha Roeh Tower at Tel Shiloh http://telshilo.org.il/en/[/caption] Tel Shiloh is a place of significant beginnings for the Jewish People, and even without grand palaces or powerful walls, it is one of the most dramatic sites in the country. There,  in the territory of the tribe of Ephraim, the children of Israel brought the Tabernacle (Josh. 18:1). making Shiloh a religious center for the Israelites even before Jerusalem. The path to the mound has a beautiful view of the valley where one of the most colorful stories in the Bible took place – the summer grape-harvest festival when the daughters of Shiloh came out dancing and the men of Benjamin sought brides from among them (Judges 21:15-23). Visitors can stand at the exact place on Tel Shiloh where some scholars believe the Tabernacle stood. This would also be the spot where Hannah came to pray for a son. Later, she dedicated that son, Samuel, to serve in the Tabernacle. It was from Shiloh that the Ark was taken into battle and temporarily lost to the Philistines. Shiloh has a visitor center with an interesting model of the Tabernacle and an engaging audiovisual presentation.   For reservations and guided tours, call the visitor center at +972-(0)2-9944019 or +972-(0)52-720-3415  

Shikhin

As luck would have it, I participated on Friday October 18, 2013 in a WORLD QUALITY tour of the Excavations at Shikhin, lead by Dr. Moti Aviam,  Director of the "Institute for Galilean Archaeology" at the Kinneret Academic College, Israel. The tour was organized by Dugrinet which is part of the Galilee Foundation for Value Education. I recommend following both Dr. Aviam and Dugrinet. IMG_1516

Excavations at Shikhin

An archeological survey of Shikhin began in 2011. The Excavations at Shikhin is a multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional, international, cultural heritage project whose goal is the recovery and preservation of the site of Shikhin in the Lower Galilee of Israel. In 2012, excavation got underway. Samford University is the primary sponsoring institution. Professor James Riley Strange of Samford University, USA, serves as Director. Associate Directors are Professor Mordechai Aviam of Kinneret College and the Institute of Galilean Archaeology, Israel, and Professor David Fiensy of Kentucky Christian University, USA. IMG_1514 In August 2013, the team announced that it had uncovered evidence of an ancient synagogue and houses. They also found evidence of pottery production in the area. Plans for future excavation will focus on "studying the cultural heritage of the village." The archaeology is done by volunteers from all over, many of them students from Samford University, Centre College, University of South Florida, and Kinneret College. No experience is necessary in order to participate. http://youtu.be/R9Lp6W9ENJI

 Shikhin

Shikhin was a central Galilean village about 5 miles (8.0 km) northwest of Nazareth in the central Galilee near Sepphoris that was abandoned in the fourth century AD. As of May 2012, the site is under excavation. So far, evidence of extensive pottery work and a synagogue have been uncovered. Shikhin is located within Zippori National Park. First-century historian Josephus refers to Shikhin as Asochis. He described the village as one of the first Jewish settlements formed in Galilee. He dated it to the Hasmonaean Dynasty (140-63 BC). The Talmud describes the village as being home to many potters. The village was abandoned in the fourth century AD when the buildings were dismantled and the stones reused elsewhere. http://youtu.be/dfVyj0PGyCY

Ossuaries on Jabel Qat

An ossuary is a chest, building, well, or site made to serve as the final resting place of human skeletal remains.  Both plain and decorated ossuaries have be found in the Jabel Qat cemetery of Shikhin. IMG_1542 The ancient village of Shikhin perched on a low knoll in the lush hills and broad valleys of the Tuscany of Israel: the Lower Galilee. Travelers on the Roman highway that linked Acco/Ptolemais on the Mediterranean coast with Tiberias on the Sea of Galilee could turn south to the city of Sepphoris, gleaming atop its own hill. Just before reaching the city, they would cross the foot of Shikhin and could take the opportunity to refresh themselves before completing their journey. Sepphoris and Shikhin had similar beginnings as new Jewish settlements in the Perisan period, and the population of both grew in the Hellenistic period.  The fates of the two diverged, however, when some time in the early second century BCE Ptolemy Lathyrus successfully attacked Shikhin on a Sabbath but was fended off by Sepphoris’ militia. This suggests that Sepphoris was already fortified. Gabinius, the Roman proconsul of Syria, located one of the Sanhedrins at Sepphoris in around 57 BCE, and Sepphoris would receive further prestige when Herod made it his northern headquarters in 39/38 BCE. Shikhin did not join the city in revolt at the death of Herod, and so the village was probably spared when the Romans destroyed Sepphoris in 4 BCE and sold its inhabitants into slavery. Afterwards, Antipas, one of Herod’s sons, made Sepphoris his capital city: “the ornament of all Galilee,” according to the historian Josephus (he called the village Asochis). It was at Sepphoris that Rabbi Judah “the Prince” completed the compilation of the Mishnah in the first decade of the third century CE. That text would become the basis for Judaism’s two great Talmuds. The hill of Sepphoris supported continuous settlement up to the present day, while Shikhin’s population declined and eventually abandoned its hilltop in the seventh century, never to resettle it. Yet Shikhin managed to distinguish itself on its own terms. Its potters gained a reputation for throwing vessels that were not likely to break. Consequently, throughout the Roman periods Shikhin probably became a supplier of bowls, cooking pots, storage jars, jugs, and oil lamps for many towns in the Galilee, perhaps even Sepphoris. Shikhin was ideally situated to distribute its wares because of its location near the highway. The village also gained some wealthy and influential residents. Several rabbinic sources recount a story of firemen at Sepphoris rushing to put out a conflagration at the house of Joseph Ben Simai, a “government official” who lived at Shikhin. The story suggests a close connection between the populations of the two towns, and that city officials thought it was important to protect the villagers—or at least this particular villager—from fire. Despite that relationship, Shikhin may also have bypassed Sepphoris’ markets. In the Galilee, archaeologists are discovering some villages in which they find none of Sepphoris’ city coins, but, surprisingly, they do find Jewish coins minted centuries earlier in the Hellenistic period. One of the questions we will be asking is, "Did Shikhin participate in the same resistance economy?" IMG_1523 Because Shikhin sat a scant mile from Sepphoris (around a 20-minute walk), and over the same Roman highway that the city oversaw, the site stands to teach us much about Galilean village life in relation to the city. What we learn about Shikhin will have important implications for the beginnings of Christianity and Formative Judaism, for this Galilee formed the world of Jesus’ ministry and the Sages who compiled the Mishnah. Our two primary research questions are about pottery production and economy, and they have implications for broader questions about categories such as “Judaism”–“Hellenism” and “village/countryside”–“city”. The first question is, “Where did Shikhin distribute its pottery?” After one season of excavating we can show that Shikhin’s potters were producing most known Galilean forms, including lamps, and that they were doing so in great quantities. The volume of waste sherds found—broken bits of pots and lamps that failed in production—suggests that Shikhin’s kilns were putting out far more than could be used by the villagers, which in turn suggests that pottery manufacturing was one of the village’s export goods. The question of which Galilean villages were pottery manufacturing centers, and to whom they distributed their wares, is critical for understanding the Galilean economy. The second question is, “Did Shikhin participate with other Galilean Jewish villages in an economy that bypassed the city markets of Sepphoris and Tiberias, or that existed alongside them?” Recent excavations at other Galilean village sites have been discovering that Hasmonean coins minted in the Hellenistic periods remained in use into the Roman periods. At the same time, in some of these villages, no city coins of Sepphoris (which was granted authority to mint its own coins) have turned up. These two pieces of evidence suggests that some villages resisted to the city’s economy and established an alternative economic system that kept ancient Jewish coins in use. At Shikhin, we want to know if we will discover the same pattern.

Shefaram

Shefaram (Shfaram, Shafa-Amar, Shefa-'Amr, Shfar'am) is an Arab Moslim-Druze city east of the bay of Haifa, and the site of an ancient Jewish-Roman city which was the second Galilee site of the Sanhendrin in the end of the 2nd Century. This city is located at the western hills of the Galilee (100M height), 8 KM away from the bay of Haifa, on the road to Nazareth. It is strategically  located close to the road that split from Via Maris, the main North-South highway, towards the east (center Galilee, and Jordan). This eastern fork passed through the city (towards  Sepphoris, Yafia and Nazareth) and through Iblin, 2 KM to the north, towards Netufa valley and the sea of Galilee. In the Roman times this was a village, one of many agriculture villages in the area.  Its location on the western hills, close to strategic roads, made it important. During the Roman times (150-163AD) the Jewish religious and administrative leadership, the "Sanhedrin", moved to this city. It was its second Galilee location after the destruction of the temple (the first was Usha, about 2 KM south; the 3rd was Beit-Shearim). The Crusaders fortified the city in order to protect the pilgrimage road from Acre to Nazareth. They named the fort "La Safran" and was controlled by the Templers.  After defeating the Crusaders, Saladin had his headquarters in the city to control the region and as a base against the last Crusaders' stronghold in Acre. [gallery ids="2745,2746,2747"] In the 18th C, during the Ottoman period, a Bedouin called Daher El-Omar,  captured the city and made it his headquarters (1751-1767) before taking Acre as well. He built the fort (1771) that stands today in the center of the city, in the highest place, probably above the ruins of the Crusaders fortress.  He also built 4 towers (Burj), where only the west one remains to date. The citizens  changed the name to Shafa-Amar (health of Amar) in his honor, since according to their tradition he was cured by waters of the local well. In the city lived several Jewish families from the 16th C until 1920, which is quite rare in Israel. Due to the massive building in the 20th C, most of the old sites are gone; only the larger buildings survived.  

Shfaram Synagogue

Record of a synagogue in Shfaram dates to the mid-18th century when Bedouin chieftain Dhaher al-Omar gave permission to the Jews to return and renovate the ancient house of prayer there.  Although being abandoned, the keys to the former house of worship are held by a local Muslim and the synagogue is treated with respect by the local Arabs.     [gallery ids="2734,2733,2732"]  

St. Peter & St. Paul Church in Shefaram

We toured the Greek Catholic St. Peter & St. Paul Church,  located on one of the town's peaks in the old city, with our friend, Father Said Hashem. The church was built by Ottoman the son of the Ottoman ruler Daher al-Omar. Masses are conducted in the church in Arabic and because the Greek Catholics are a majority in the city it is considered the main church of the city. During the years 2010-2011 the church went through a major improvement.  It has a high bell tower and a large purple dome. [satellite gallery=10 auto=off caption=off thumbs=on]  

The Greek Orthodox Church in Shefaram

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St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Shefaram

The Anglican Church in Shefaram. IMG_2273  

Preparations for Christmas in Shfaram

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Shechoret Canyon

Shechoret Canyon

[gallery ids="4038,4039,4040,4041,4042,4043,4044,4045,4046,4047,4048,4049,4051,4052,4053,4054,4055"] Travel by car to this beautiful canyon ( "Black Canyon" or Nachal Shechoret) , where you can see first-hand the geological formations that make up this landscape. Have a look at a fault line and what the effect has been of “plate tectonics” in the Eilat mountains. At the end of the trip, you can have a look at a 19th century Bedouin leopard trap, before returning to the car. (2-3 hours).  

Har Shechoret

[gallery columns="2" ids="4073,4074"]   I have been to Har Shechoret before when I climbed Har Shechoret on Shvil Yisrael on my way south to Eilat. It was so exciting. [gallery ids="4057,4058,4059,4060,4061,4062,4063,4064,4065,4066,4067,4068,4069,4070,4071,4072"] Hike through a wadi (Arabic for nachal, which is Hebrew for riverbed) and, after seeing a few scattered acacia trees, the only trees able to survive in the harsh climate, you descend into the Canyon Shechoret–the Black Canyon. This canyon is so named because it is made out of Plutonian rocks that are very dark in color. The mountain above the canyon, Har Shechoret, is actually divided by a massive fault line that dates back to 500 million years ago, when a shift of tectonic plates forced the limestone layers hundreds of meters higher, creating this line running from the middle of the ridge all the way across the Eilat Mts.

Descent from Har Shechoret

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Shechem

 History of Shechem

The Hebrew name is probably derived from the word for “back” or “shoulder” - an apt description of Shechem's location in the narrow valley between Mt. Gerizim and Mt. Ebal approximately 65 km North of Jerusalem. It was strategically located controlling major North-South and East-West roads, but lacked natural defenses and for that reason required heavy fortification. In addition to Jacob’s Well (400m to the South East) it is thought that the city derived its water supply via a conduit from a cave in Mt. Gerizim, while the fertile plain of ‘Askar provided the city with food. Shechem was the location of numerous events of Bible History:  The place is first mentioned when Abram (see Abraham) arrived in what would become the land of Israel. The Lord appeared to him there and promised the land to his descendants. Abram then built an altar there (Genesis 12:6-7). When Jacob returned from Paddan-Aram with Leah and Rachel, after his meeting with Esau, he purchased land from the sons of Hamor at Shechem (Genesis 33:18-19). The incident involving Dinah and Shechem, the son of Chamor the Chivite who had the same name as the city, occurred around Shechem, and it was there that her brothers Levi and Simeon took their revenge (Genesis 34:1-31). Joseph's brothers were herding sheep near Shechem before they sold him away to Egypt (Genesis 37:12) In the time of Joshua, the area was allotted to the tribe of Ephraim (Joshua 16:1-10, 17:1-18) Joseph's remains, that the Israelites under Moses and Aaron had brought out of Egypt with them in the Exodus, was buried at the plot of ground that Jacob had purchased there (Joshua 24:32) After the death of Solomon, Rehoboam was made king of Israel at Shechem (1 Kings 12:1, 2 Chronicles 10:1).  After the Israelites split into two kingdoms, Jeroboam became the first king of the new northern kingdom of Israel at Shechem (1 Kings 12:25) (see Kings of Israel and Judah.
  • Shechem is not mentioned by name in the New Testament, however Jesus would have often travelled through the city. His conversation with the Samaritan woman occurred in the area (John 4:1-26). Biblical Shechem was destroyed by the Assyrians in the 8th century BCE.

 Nablus

Nablus, known as the site of biblical Shechem, is one of the largest Palestinian cities with a population of more than 50,000 people. The area of Biblical Shechem can be found in the Balata neighborhood in the south-eastern section of the city. Inside the area known as Biblical Shechem are the remains of a defensive wall, a 3,600-year-old Hyksos temple and Joseph’s Tomb. Jacob’s well, found inside a Greek Orthodox monastery. This site is also holy for Christians who believe Jesus spoke here to a Samaritan woman.

The modern city of Nablus derived its name from a Roman town that was founded in 72 CE, which was close to the biblical city of Shechem. Originally the town was known as Flavia Neopolis, but it was eventually shortened into Nablus, after the Arab conquest in 636 CE.

During the period of the Crusader rule, in the 12th century, Nablus was renamed Naples. A palace and citadel were built by the Crusaders and it became the second most important city in the kingdom.

Inside the city of Nablus, at the entrance to the casbah, the traditional city center, there are the remains of an amphitheater built in the 3rd century CE, when Nablus was a Roman city. Near Nablus’s market is a tower erected in 1902 by the Turkish Sultan Abdul Hamid, a house used by the Turkish governor and the main mosque.

The Home of Munib al Masri

The home of the rich Palestinian contractor overlooks the city of Nablus from Mount Gerizim. http://youtu.be/zP76ul64iIY  

Mount Gerizim and the Samaraitans (Shomronim)

http://youtu.be/N-g_VTr59Fs

Mount Gerizim is another place considered holy by the Jews and the Samaritans. A Samaritan temple was built on Mount Gerizim in the 4th century BCE. At the end the second century BCE, the temple was destroyed by Yohanan Hyrcanos I and was converted into a Temple to Zeus by Antiochus II in 170 BCE.

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In 484, the site changed hands again, this time to the Byzantine emperor Zenon, who built a church on the site. Below you can see the panoramic view from Mount Gerizim at the site of the ancient entrance to the Byzantine Church. The church is not built as a basilica, but is a round church. The center of the church is built just above the Holy of  Holies of the Samaritan temple.

http://youtu.be/RQfdlmMMzjU

Today, only 600 Samaritans remain and about half live in Nablus and the other half live in Holon, near Tel Aviv. Every year the Samaritans continue to make an annual Passover sacrifice on Mount Gerizim.

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West of Mount Gerizim, is the Samaritan quarter. Inside the quarter, there is a synagogue that contains Samaritan Torah scrolls believed to date back to the 13th year of settlement of the Israelites in Canaan. The Samaritan children in the clip are Israeli citizens, living in Palestinian Nablus, speaking both Arabic and Hebrew. See  the smiling kids recite their Hebrew prayers.

http://youtu.be/9eQOf4gQHcI

Mitzpe Yoshef

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Shacharut

Han Shacharut

[gallery ids="3896,3897,3898"] Han Shacharut (chan shacharut) used to be a very nice retreat center, on the ridge overlooking the arava valley. You could stay in beduin style tents (pretty formidable though and they are permanent) or adobe one room (small) buildings. I stayed there with friends on Shvil Yisrael and it was delightful. You slept on mattresses, you had a wood burning stove, privacy from other people staying in other parts of the tent, comraderie and socializing with others. Unfortunately the Han has been sold and has been closed. A modern boutique desert experience hotel is presently being constructed.    

 Shacharut

[gallery ids="3893,3894,3895,3900,3901,3902,3903,3899"] Shaharut (Hebrew: שַׁחֲרוּת) is a communal settlement 40 kilometers north of Eilat, in the Southern District of Israel ,and 6 kilometers west of Yotvata on a ridge above the Arava Valley in the far south of IsraelThe word "Shaharut" means "youth", as in Ecclesiastes chapter 11. It is the only settlement in the area that is not in the valley itself. It belongs to the Hevel Eilot Regional Council. It was founded in 1985 and is named after the nearby Shaharut Mountain. As of 2010, twenty eight families live there amounting to 120 people.  

Mikdash HaNemerim (The Tigers Temple)

[gallery ids="3917,3916,3915,3914,3913,3912,3911,3910,3909,3908,3907,3906,3905"] Mikdash HaNemerim (The Tigers Temple) is an ancient site in the east of the Ovda Valley that is dated to the 5th century BCE. Mikdash HaNemerim (The Tigers Temple) is named so because of the images of tigers that were created by the placement of small stones on the ground. Mikdash HaNemerim (The Tigers Temple) served a semi-nomadic society. Mikdash HaNemerim (The Tigers Temple) is an open temple that is typical of the desert. It contains small stone monuments and round stone altars.  

Kasui Valley

[gallery columns="2" ids="3919,3920,3921,3922"] Head for the Kasui valley and its sand dunes. The sand dune here was one of the few places in the Negev that looked like your classic sandy desert instead of lots of rocks. Running down it was a blast - it felt like running on puffs of air.  

Kibbutz Neot Semadar

Kibbutz Neot Semadar is located in the Southern Negev Desert of Israel, about 60 km. north of Eilat. The Kibbutz was established in 1989 by a group of friends interested in creating a learning community that focuses on cooperation and creativity in daily life. As individuals in a dynamic community, members explore what it means to live together as co-learners, observing themselves in everyday activities and relationships. The interest in relationship extends to the environment through organic farming, desert architecture, water recyclingThe Art Center and more. Today there are 90 adult members (families and singles), 70 children of various ages, and about 50 volunteers of all ages. These volunteers, from Israel and from abroad,come to Neot Semadar to find a fresh and independent perspective on life.   http://youtu.be/wIKKZ0tU5F0

Pundak Neot Semadar

[gallery ids="3925,3926,3927,3928,3929"] Pundak Neot Semadar is a restaurant, cafe and a shop that carries all of our local organic products grown and made in the Kibbutz. It sits on the road leading from Mitzpeh Ramon to Eilat (Rt.40), in a shaded green oasis surrounded by the desert. It is a good point for a stop on the long road for snack and refreshment. Here we serve light vegetarian meals, combining cheeses and juices produced and grown on the organic farm of the kibbutz, along with good coffee, home made cakes and ice cream. A choice of Neot Semadar's organic products are sold here:wine, olive oil, pickled olives, juices, jams and dried fruit. These are all produced from fruit grown in the pollution-free desert environment and processed in small plants, paying careful attention to organic ingredients and given a homemade touch. They offer several cheeses and yogurts made from fresh goat milk. [The milk products are Kosher.]
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Second Temple Period – Accessible Audio Walking Tour in the Old City of Jerusalem

A Tour to the City of David National Park and the Jerusalem Archeological Garden

Time of tour: 2 to 4 hours The tour will begin at Dung Gate and will take us through the sites of ancient Jerusalem to the Western Wall. Highlights include: The Western Wall, the Jerusalem Archaeological Park and the Hulda Steps. http://youtu.be/u2EivdkG1mM The Jerusalem Development Authority presents a Guide for the Independent Tourist. The Old City of Jerusalem Audio Walking Tours takes you through the allies of the Old City of Jerusalem in a fascinating journey through time to a city that is the center of religious and spiritual worship for thousands of years. Walk through the ancient quarters following 15 different tours and explore the churches, synagogues, masques and historical points of interest. Explore the colorful marketplaces and enjoy the smell of exotic local foods. Glimpse the Temple Mount compound where 3 religions meet in a focal point of worship. Visit the Western Wall, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Dome of the Rock, the Garden Tomb and many more religious iconic locations. Walk in the footsteps of Jesus, see the Temple's cycles of birth and destruction, witness the sites of Islam. [divider]

Иерусалим в эпоху Второго Храма- маршрут для инвалидов

http://youtu.be/nXMr9Ok19K4 Второй Храм продержался более 500 лет с момента его постройки евреями, возвратившимися из пленения в 516 году до н.э., до его разрушения римлянами в 70 году н.э. [divider] The videos on this channel are introductions to all audio tours in the app. View Larger Map

Scroll of Fire

The Scroll of Fire

Scroll of Fire (Feuerrollen) is a monument found in the Jerusalem hills, and it commemorates the Holocaust and Independence.  This site should be on the itinerary of all visitors to Israel, Jewish and Gentile alike. The monument was inaugurated in 1971. The initiative for the monument came from B'nai B'rith of the United States, and was funded by them. The monument was sculptured by the artist Nathan Rapoport, who is a Holocaust survivor.  The photos in this post  were taken by me when I personally visited there with my friends from the Tour Guide School. A future guide must  experience each site and attraction himself.

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Megillat Haesh

The sculpture is made of bronze and is eight meters high. It is in the shape of two scrolls, a gesture to the Jewish nation being the "People of the Book". One of the scrolls describes the Holocaust and the other describes independence. The Scroll of Fire is one of the most beautiful sculptures in Israel. Located in what is the single largest memorial to the Holocaust in the world, the Martyrs Forest in the Jerusalem hills, it is an imposing work rich in detail and history – it tells the story of the rebirth of the nation from the Holocaust up to the Six Day War. The sculpture commands a spectacular view of its surroundings. http://youtu.be/-9Sqt6kvqis In the scroll describing the Holocaust, there are sculptured among others Janusz Korczak and his children, a row of helmets symbolizing the Nazi soldiers, a member of The Ghetto Fighters holding a grenade, and other characters behind fences of concentration camps. This scroll ends with holocaust survivors immigrating to Israel in Aliyah Bet, people from Israel helping them get off the boats, and a Jewish man kissing the Land of Israel. In the scroll describing independence, there are sculptured symbols of Israel, such as: Olive trees, a child holding a cluster of grapes, a man blowing a shofar near the Western Wall, the menorah as described in the Arch of Titus, an old character representing Elijah, people dancing Hora and flags flying near an angel blowing a trumpet. In the space between the two scrolls, there are two rooms of memorial, and in each one is engraved a quote from the bible. Free parking. No entrance fee. Ask you guide to take you to the Scroll of Fire.

Sataf

Sataf National Park

Sataf is a serene place on the terraced slopes, where ancient mountainous agriculture is practiced as it was by the Israelites thousands of years ago. The 250-acre (1000 dunam) site is maintained by the Jewish National Fund, as a reconstruction of ancient agricultural methods especially terraces and channel-irrigated agricultural plots. The springs here were not plentiful, so the existing water supply had to maximized. This was achieved by tunneling into the water-bearing strata. An ingenious system of channels (parts of which are clearly visible) conducted the water that was stored in large pools to the terraced plots. The word `terrace' is derived from the Latin word ‘terra' for 'land'.The agricultural terraces were constructed by a process described in the Bible as clearing the rocks, izuk, and transferring them to the edge of the natural terraces, sikul.The stones that were cleared provided the necessary support for the terrace walls into which new soil was placed. [gallery ids="2543,2545,2544,2546,2548,2552,2549,2550,2551,2553,2554,2555"] Watch towers were built to guard the crops as described in the Parable of the Vineyard, "My beloved had a vineyard on a very fertile hill. He dug it and cleared it of stones, and planted it with choice vines; he built a watching place in the midst of it, and hewed out a vineyard in it." (Isaiah ). The Sataf includes a ‘prototype’ vineyard such as the one described in the parable; the vineyard includes 26 ancient types of vine that were known to have grown in Eretz Israel. There are in total, five hiking trails at Sataf which work in unison to provide visitors with various options or a circular walk starting from the main entrance and car park. For a circular walk, head out on the blue trail passing through olive groves, past the well, and a cave that was once inhabited. You will see the excavations of a Chalcolithic site which has the oldest traces of agriculture in the region, and the plots which are being used today to grow organic vegetables and herbs. As you continue along the hillside you will pass an ancient olive press and enter a pomegranate orchard, eventually reaching Ein Sataf and Ein Bikura, which are ruins of ancient and more modern settlements here.
Continue onto the green trail back up the hill (you can take the green trail in the other direction, down towards the Soreq Stream), passing cultivated plots, ancient forests, and other sites of beauty, before arriving back at the start point and the upper car park.
Sataf  was an Arab village in the District of Jerusalem depopulated during the 1948 Israeli War of Independence. There are traces of Chalcolithic and Byzantine culture at the site. The Sataf site is situated to the east of Har Eitan, 10 km west of Jerusalem,  where a green slope tumbles down to Nahal Soreq ("Wadi al-Sarar") on the east. The two springs that emerge from the site water the agricultural terraces that serve as a reminder of an almost vanished Hebrew culture dating back thousands of years. Here, as in the days of the ancient Israelites, irrigated vegetable gardens grow alongside vineyards, olive groves and almond orchards that need no artificial irrigation and color the countryside green all year round. Both the Jerusalem Trail and the Israel Trail cross the Sataf National Park. Sataf is free to enter and open during daylight hours.

Samar

Kibbutz Samar

הורד (4) Samar (Hebrew: סָמָר) is a kibbutz founded in 1976 in the Aravah valley in the far south of Israel located near Eilat. Samar is one of the few kibbutzim that continues to maintain a lifestyle consistent with the original socialist ideals of the kibbutz movement. Kibbutz Samar is primarily engaged in growing and exporting organic dates. Most of Samar's electricity is set to be provided by a 30 m solar power tower that provided 100 kilowatts of energy, as well as the kibbutz's heating needs. http://youtu.be/uzh96OclEQM

Save Samar sand dunes

http://youtu.be/LUAe3NwM-bg  

Desert Kites

[gallery ids="4133,4135,4136,4137,4138"] Desert kites were first identified in the 1920s by Royal Air Force pilots flying over the eastern desert of Jordan; the pilots named them "kites" because their outlines as seen from the air reminded them of the children's toy kites. Extant remnants of kites number in the thousands, and are distributed throughout the Arabian and Sinai peninsulas and as far northward as southeastern Turkey. Over a thousand have been documented in Jordan alone. figure3big The earliest desert kites are dated to the Pre-Pottery Neolithic B period of 9th-11th millennia BP, but the technology was used as recently as the 1940s to hunt the Persian goitered gazelle (Gazella subgutturosa). Ethnographic and historic reports of these activities state that typically 40-60 gazelles could be trapped and killed in a single event; on occasion, up to 500-600 animals could be killed at once. All 11 Negev kites are located in carefully chosen, advantageous and strategic settings. The kites can be divided into two major groups according to their environmental locations. Some were built at the opening of rich pasture areas while others were constructed along ancient local migration routes of ungulates. The latter kites are isolated and located at topographic 'bottlenecks' or cliff edges in hilly environments . Among the kites near large pasture areas three are adjacent (e.g. the Samar Kites).

Rujm el Hiri

Gilgal Rephaim

Sixteen kilometers east of the Sea of Galilee in the western part of the historic Bashan plain of the Golan Heights , Israel are the ruins of a most unusual structure, which scholars believe was built at least in part for archaeo-astronomical purposes. I have been there since Rujm el Hiri is on the Golan Trail. Located at 515 meters above sea level, Rujm el-Hiri consists of a central cairn, a dolmen, covered with a mound of rocks, a tumulus, with a set of concentric rings encircling it. 2010-03 085 Built during the late Chalcolithic or Early Bronze Age about 5000 years ago, Rujm el-Hiri (also called Rogem Hiri or Gilgal Rephaim) is made of an estimated 40,000 tons of uncut black volcanicbasalt field stones piled and wedged into between five and nine concentric rings (depending on how you count them), with heights reaching to 1 to 2.5 meters (3-8 feet) high. The name of the site refers to "giants". It is possible that the inhabitants of the Chacolithic Golan were taller than the nomadic peoples who built the site. Sites such as Stonehenge and Rujm el Hiri raise interesting and curious theories such as those proposed in the following video. http://youtu.be/YQVpLCDqd70 A very good model and audio-visual explanation of Gilgal Rephaim can be found in the Golan Archaeological Museum, in nearby Katzrin, which is accessible. So what does this unusual ancient monumental construction mean?  Who originally built it, and why? A variety of proposed explanations have emerged. A large following suggests that it was a place of worship, where ceremonies were held during the longest and shortest days of the year.  Others maintain that it was simply a monumental burial site for a major chieftain or important leader. Still others advance suggestions that it was a place to conduct astronomical observations for calculations related to religious purposes or an ancient calendar for agricultural purposes. All of the hypotheses have been based on interpretations of the material remains discovered and studied at the site. One new theory, however, stands out from the rest, and takes into account not only the archaeological evidence at the site, but also the cultural contexts of ancient Chalcolithic practices and the surrounding Chalcolithic archaeological sites. Dr. Rami Arav, long-time co-director of the Bethsaida excavations northeast of the coast of the Sea of Galilee and Professor of Religion and Philosophy at the University of Nebraska, Omaha, has proposed that the site was built for both funerary purposes and as a means for "excarnation", the removal of flesh from the bones of the deceased for placement in ossuaries, or bone boxes, by the ancient Chalcolithic inhabitants of the area. The practice is interpreted by some to suggest that the ancient Chalcolithic people, at least in this area of the ancient Near East, believed in a resurrection. The ossuaries were seen as "magic boxes" that had the power to resurrect the dead. But again this is just a theory. View Larger Map

Roberg’s Restaurant

Roberg's Restaurant

[slideshow gallery_id="1"] Robergs is one of Israel's best kept secrets - a real gourmet restaurant that is kosher!! Having visited Roberg's with guests, I can seriously recommend the "Roberg Experience". Each course is a master piece. Chef Ilan graciously receives each table and explains the recipe. It is run by Master Chef Ilan Roberg and members of his family - a spacious restaurant with a focus on viewing the kitchen. If the view of the kitchen isn't quite clear enough then follow the action on the video screens or enjoy the  amazing views of the Kinneret instead. There is a full program of activities, meals and master classes. It is located in Livnim which is fairly remote - but there is a reason that people make the pilgrimage often hiring minibuses to get them there. Our recommendation - fast for a day before your visit - take the "Tasters' Menu"  and stay fairly close because it will be hard to motivate yourself for a long drive home. Even better you can come back in the morning for breakfast!! Beteiavon!! Website (Almost entirely in Hebrew) http://roberg.co.il/ Email roberg@kinneret.co.il Phone 04-6715656 Getting There Road 90 by the Kinneret. Take 8077 just north of Ginosar and then after several kilometers the left hand turn towards Livnim

Rihaniya

This Circassian village, 8 km north of Safed is the twin of the only other Circassian village in Israel: Kafr Kama. The residents of Rihaniya are mostly Circassian.  The village was established in 1873 by refugee survivors from the Circassian Holocaust, at the hands of the Russian Empire. The Circassians were invited by the Ottoman Empire to settle sparsely populated areas. As soon as you enter either of the Circassian villages it is obvious that you have arrived to a unique surroundings. The architecture is unlike other Arab or Moslim villages in Israel.  The have brought the best atrtibutes of the Caucasian culture. They serve in the IDF as well. It is worthwhile to visit them.

 Circassian Heritage Center, Rihaniya

Guided tour explaining the Circassian language, tradition, religion and dress. Your guide wears traditional Circassian clothing and has a good sense of humor. Continue to the folklore exhibition and view the interesting video. [caption id="attachment_8764" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Rihaniya Rihaniya[/caption] [caption id="attachment_8765" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Rihaniya Rihaniya[/caption] [caption id="attachment_8766" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Rihaniya Rihaniya[/caption] [caption id="attachment_8767" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Rihaniya Rihaniya[/caption] [caption id="attachment_8768" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Rihaniya Rihaniya[/caption]   http://youtu.be/-DWoHys-L1M In addition to the Circassian Museum, at the Circassian Experience in Rihaniya you will find a fine Circassian Restaurant (non-Kosher), Circassian music and a Circassian Dance Group. Group arrangements can be made for "A Circassian Evening". For reservations:    

Research and Development in the Arava

The R&D activity in the Arava Valley was initiated in 1986 in the framework of Negev-Arava R&D, aiming to serve the developmental needs of the new settlements as they were officially declared high priority regions along the Israeli borders. The Arava Valley, along the eastern portion of the Negev Desert, has three agricultural research stations; Zoar, Yair and Arava. The Arava region is located along 180 km from the Dead Sea in the north to the city of Eilat on the Red Sea coast, in the south. The width of the region varies between 3 to 10 km from the mountains of the Negev highlands in the west and the Edom Mountains of the Jordan Kingdom, in the east. Central-and Northern-Arava Research and Development [satellite gallery=21 auto=off thumbs=off]

The R&D activity takes place in 3 agricultural villages (moshav) of Sodom Valley - Tamar Council (Neot-HaKikar, Ein-Tamar, and Ein-Hazeva (pvt farm)), and in five agricultural villages (Idan, Hazeva, Ein-Yahav, Zofar, and Paran) and two communal villages (Sapir Center and Zukim) of Central Arava Council. The regional public activities and services are located in Sapir Center and Yair Experimental Station

A modern visitors center will be opened officially in March, 2014 and will feature an interactive model of how the Syrian-African Rift Valley was created. Guided tours of the agricultural hothouses are available.

http://youtu.be/UDQ5W0gV5sA

The population of the Central-Arava region is comprised of approximately (May 2013) 700 families (of which 530 are farmers), about 3,360 people, and that of the Sodom Valley (Tamar) 120 families (110 farmers) about 550 people. The arable land comprised (2012/13 season) of 35,760 dunam (9,000 acres, 3,643 hectares), of which 82% vegetables, 16% fruit trees plantation (mainly dates) and 2% cut flowers. The pepper (Capsicum) is the major crop in the region and holds 50% of the total arable land and 66% of the vegetables area. The bio-organic farming holds about 10% of the growing area.

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Southern Arava R&D

SA R&D hosts various scientific activities including soil and water sciences, postharvest, horticulture, flowers and ornamental plants, vegetables, plant protection and agrotechnology. The lab for soil, water and plant analysis serves the SA R&D researchers and together with extension officers of the Ministry of Agriculture, provides comprehensive support for the region’s farmers, landscapers and gardeners.

Arava Valley research has focused on new varieties of peppers, strawberries, dates, flowers, aquaculture, livestock, fodder crops, flower-seed growing and harvesting, and developing jojoba beans, used in cosmetics and lubricants, a year-round cash crop for the region. Results from this research have been encouraging. The Arava region produces about 60% of the total Israeli export of fresh vegetables and about 10% of the cut flowers export. Over 90% of Israel’s melon exports come from the Arava Valley. The region also produces more than 40% of Israel’s vegetable and field crops.

A thriving fish industry... in the Israeli desert

http://youtu.be/fLX8qR1pmZI
View Larger Map

Red Canyon Eilat Israel

Beautiful red sandstone, in which floods passing in the stream carved a lovely narrow path, decorated with wall paintings created by nature itself. The Red Canyon, which is located 15 kilometers north of the city of Eilat, at the height of 700 meters, is undoubtedly one of the most charming and impressive places in Israel. [gallery ids="3858,3859,3860,3861,3862,3863"] The Red Canyon, which is a part of the Nahal Shani (Shani Stream), was created by the delving of the stream’s water into the local reddish Nubian sandstone that contains iron oxide, and hence its name. The Red Canyon offers an adventurous trail that is suitable for the whole family. [gallery ids="3864,3865,3866,3867,3868,3869,3870,3871,3872,3873,3874,3876,3877,3878,3879,3880,3881"] The walk inside the crevice here passes among impressive rock formations painted in strong red and the memorable climb down into the picturesque crevice is done with the help of metal ladders. It is pleasant to walk in the Red Canyon also during the summer in the early hours of the morning, but during the winter there are strong winds here, sometimes even too strong. One can arrive at the Red Canyon through road number 12. Free admission http://youtu.be/x9xat6pbdN8 If you’re feeling a little adventurous and fancy some hiking in amazing desert scenery, head out of Eilat to the Red Canyon (head out west on Road 12). You’ll probably want to book a tour just to be on the safe side, and the tour will likely include a number of other sites, depending on what you want, but of course, you can always go solo (but please take lots of water with you!). [gallery ids="3882,3883,3884,3885,3886,3887"] The Red Canyon itself is approximately 150 meters long and 2-3 meters wide, reaching a height of some 30 meters. And why is it the Red Canyon? Well, the canyon is mostly deep red sandstone, with additional shades of red, purple and white. Any tour of the Red Canyon takes about two hours, possibly more if you’re out of shape!
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Ramparts Walk South – Audio Walking Tour in the Old City of Jerusalem

Ramparts Walk South

The tour leads us from Jaffa Gate to Kidron tombs, viewing the city both within and outside the walls, from different observation points Time of tour: 2 to 4 hours http://youtu.be/HnD-4u7BRc4 We start the tour from the entrance of the Ramparts Walk near to Jaffa gate and finish at the Kidron tombs, near Dung Gate. Highlights include: the Kishle, the Armenian Quarter, the Garden of Resurrection and the Jewish Quarter and the Temple Mount. The walls surrounding the Old City of Jerusalem were built in the 16th century at the command of the Ottoman ruler Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent. For 400 years Turkish soldiers marched along the path atop the city's ramparts, patrolling between the gates and guard towers. That path, which was recently renovated and turned into a promenade, is a unique walking route that offers unusual views of Jerusalem inside and outside the walls, looking at remnants from the past and development in the present. The British who conquered the Holy Land from the Turks in 1917 felt a responsibility for preserving the city's appearance and established certain standards to help safeguard its special character. Among other things, they decided that the undeveloped valleys surrounding the Old City would remain so, to serve as a green belt that would separate the old from the new. The British instituted regulations that prohibited construction adjacent to or near the walls. This approach was also adopted by Israeli planning authorities and is still in effect today. Following the War of Independence and the capture of the Old City by the Jordanian Arab Legion, the border between Jordan and Israel was drawn close to the wall. This border divided Jerusalem for a period of 19 years, until the Six Day War. Later on the Old City Ramparts Walk was opened, as well as the Walls Around Jerusalem National Park at the foot of the walls. [divider]

Южный маршрут по стенам

http://youtu.be/RJzlRlMSJsA В рамках экскурсии мы пройдем по удивительному отрезку южной стены, который позволит нам увидеть Иерусалим в необычном ракурсе: как внутри Старого города, так и вне его стен. [divider] The Jerusalem Development Authority presents a Guide for the Independent Tourist. The Old City of Jerusalem Audio Walking Tours takes you through the allies of the Old City of Jerusalem in a fascinating journey through time to a city that is the center of religious and spiritual worship for thousands of years. Walk through the ancient quarters following 15 different tours and explore the churches, synagogues, masques and historical points of interest. Explore the colorful marketplaces and enjoy the smell of exotic local foods. Glimpse the Temple Mount compound where 3 religions meet in a focal point of worship. Visit the Western Wall, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Dome of the Rock, the Garden Tomb and many more religious iconic locations. Walk in the footsteps of Jesus, see the Temple's cycles of birth and destruction, witness the sites of Islam. The videos on this channel are introductions to all audio tours in the app. View Larger Map

Ramparts Walk North – Audio Walking Tour in the Old City of Jerusalem

Ramparts Walk North

The tour leads us from Jaffa Gate to Lions Gate, viewing the city both within and outside the walls, from different observation points Time of tour: 4 to 6 hours http://youtu.be/5uzjgMqZQBI The walls surrounding the Old City of Jerusalem were built in the 16th century at the command of the Ottoman ruler Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent. For 400 years Turkish soldiers marched along the path atop the city's ramparts, patrolling between the gates and guard towers. That path, which was recently renovated and turned into a promenade, is a unique walking route that offers unusual views of Jerusalem inside and outside the walls, overlooking remnants from the past and the development of the present. The British, who conquered the Holy Land from the Turks in 1917, felt a responsibility for preserving the city's appearance and established certain standards to help safeguard its special character. Among other things, they decided that the undeveloped valleys surrounding the Old City would remain so, to serve as a green belt that would separate the old from the new. The British instituted regulations that prohibited construction adjacent to or near the walls. This approach was also adopted by Israeli planning authorities and remains in effect today. Following the War of Independence and the capture of the Old City by the Jordanian Arab Legion, the border between Jordan and Israel was drawn close to the wall. This border divided Jerusalem for a period of 19 years, until the Six Day War. Later on the Old City Ramparts Walk was opened, as well as the Walls Around Jerusalem National Park at the foot of the walls. We start the tour from the entrance of the Ramparts Walk near to Jaffa gate and finish at the Lion's gate. Highlights include: the Latin Patriarchate, the Notre Dame Center, Damascus Gate, and Herod's Gate [divider]

Северный маршрут по стенам Старого города

http://youtu.be/qukqcixOgHU В рамках экскурсии мы пройдем по удивительному отрезку северной стены, который позволит увидеть Иерусалим в необычном ракурсе:как внутри Старого города,так и вне его стен. [divider] The Jerusalem Development Authority presents a Guide for the Independent Tourist. The Old City of Jerusalem Audio Walking Tours takes you through the allies of the Old City of Jerusalem in a fascinating journey through time to a city that is the center of religious and spiritual worship for thousands of years. Walk through the ancient quarters following 15 different tours and explore the churches, synagogues, masques and historical points of interest. Explore the colorful marketplaces and enjoy the smell of exotic local foods. Glimpse the Temple Mount compound where 3 religions meet in a focal point of worship. Visit the Western Wall, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Dome of the Rock, the Garden Tomb and many more religious iconic locations. Walk in the footsteps of Jesus, see the Temple's cycles of birth and destruction, witness the sites of Islam. The videos on this channel are introductions to all audio tours in the app. View Larger Map

Ramla Museum

The Ramla Museum presents the history of the city from its founding in the 8th century AD and to this day. [caption id="attachment_8976" align="aligncenter" width="670"]Ramla Museum Ramla Museum[/caption] The most amazing exhibition is dedicated to the coins of Ramla city and the three buried treasures discovered in and around the city. Particularly worthy of note is the buried gold treasure from the Abassi period, which includes 376 gold coins and six golden ingots. http://youtu.be/fE6ycScVJ8A [caption id="attachment_8977" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Model of White Tower Model of White Tower[/caption] [caption id="attachment_8978" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Golden Treasure Golden Treasure[/caption] [caption id="attachment_8979" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Golden Treasure Golden Treasure[/caption] [caption id="attachment_8980" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Life-size model of "Ma'abara" Life-size model of "Ma'abara"[/caption]

Address: 112 Herzl Street, Ramla

E-mail: tour@goramla.com

Hours:

  • Sunday-Thursday at 10:00-16:00
  • Fridays and holiday eves at 10:00-13:00

Reservations for groups:

  • Tel: 08-9292650
  • Fax: 08-9292450
  • City service center - 08-9771780/79
Coordination of combined visits to the Pool of Arches, the White Tower and the Ramla Museum (12 NIS per person): 08-921 6873 Reservations for a combined tour, please click here. For a change I have added a short video in Hebrew about Ramla antiquities and the  Gold Treasure in the Ramla Museum. The reason for this is that the clip features the Director of the Ramla Museum, Ron Peled. When I recently visited the Ramla Museum, I had the pleasure of meeting him and was very impressed by him. His dream is to brand the Ramla Museum, the White Tower and the Pool of Arches into one unified authentic attraction  - together with Ramla's other attractions: the Ramla-Lod Market on Wednesdays, the Church of St. Nicodemus and St. Joseph of ArimatheaAl-Omari Mosque and  the Universal Karaite Judaism Center. Ron described his plans to rebuild the museum his dream for a new and modern Ramla. I wish him the best of luck to achieve his dream.

Ramchal Synagogue in Acco

The Jewish community of Acre had two synagogues from the 16th to 18th centuries, under Moslem rule: the Achav Synagogue and the Ramchal Synagogue.

The Achav Synagogue

There is a disagreement over which of the two synagogues was destroyed by Dahar el-Omar in approximately 1754. Most scholars believe that the Achav synagogue was the one that was destroyed. Many people believe that the Achav synagogue still exists underneath the mosque. Achav Synagogue  

The Ramchal Synagogue

Ramchal Synagogue The Ramchal Synagogue was named after Moshe Chaim Luzzatto, also known by the Hebrew acronym RaMCHaL. Ramchal was a prominent Italian Jewish rabbi, kabbalist, and philosopher who lived in Acre from 1743 to 1747. The Ramchal Synagogue was by far the larger and more elegant of the two and was one of the city's most impressive buildings.  The Bedouin ruler of Acre, Dahar el-Omar, took over the synagogue in 1758 and built the el-Mualek Mosque on top of it. This name translates as ‘the suspended’, apparently in reference to its location on the ruins of the destroyed synagogue building.There is a claim, yet to validated by archaeologists, that the remnants of the original synagogue are still preserved beneath the mosque. The Jews were given a small building north of the el-Mualek Mosque at the end of Market Street. The synagogue has recently been restored and renovated  and is open to the public.  it is called "Ohel Chaim" after its famous benefactor, the nobleman Chaim Farchi although some believe it was named after Moshe CHAIM Luzzato. Chaim Farchi was an adviser to the Turkish Sultan, and led the resistance to the invasion of the French armies under Napoleon. Visits to the site may be arranged in advance through the Visitors Center by calling 04-6519813.     http://youtu.be/VPYZ4D_OnSQ

Ramat Hanadiv

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Welcome to Ramat Hanadiv!

At the southern end of Mount Carmel, between Zikhron Ya'akov and Binyamina, lies Ramat Hanadiv, a natural gem dedicated to the memory of Baron Edmond de Rothschild. Ramat Hanadiv's vision focuses on the creation of sustainable interactions between man, nature and the environment. In this context, we invest great efforts in innovative management techniques, scientific research, environmental education, outdoor recreational activities, and tourism. Ramat Hanadiv cordially invites visitors to enjoy the Memorial Gardens, the Nature Park, and the Visitors Pavilion.

Things to See The Memorial Gardens beckon guests into a place of rare tranquility. Stroll the pathways here among exquisitely designed gardens and breathe their fragrance all through the year. A gracious combination of European formality and Mediterranean-style plantings, the Gardens reflect the Baron de Rothschild's legacy of dignity and modesty. Here at the crypt of the Baron and his wife Adelheid, you can pay your respects to the man called 'the Father of the Yishuv' (the pre-state Jewish community).

The Nature Park offers visitors many pleasurable pursuits. Circular hiking trails, suited to walkers of different capabilities, are studded with observation points. Along the way you can gaze on Mediterranean scenery and the remnants of ancient human settlement, discover a spring hidden in greenery, and look at the special acclimatization cage where birds of prey are prepared for their release back into nature –  part of Ramat Hanadiv's efforts to re-establish and preserve the fauna of the land of Israel. The Memorial Gardens are wheelchair accessible. Visitors Pavilion Before entering the Memorial Gardens, take time to step inside the Visitors Pavilion, Israel's first certified 'Green Building'. It blends into its surroundings with a minimal impact on the environment. The film Beyond the Gardens presents the story of Ramat Hanadiv.  

Worth Knowing… Whether it's music in the Memorial Gardens or orienteering in the Nature Park, everyone can find something of interest in Ramat Hanadiv's wide-ranging activities. Among the attractions: bird ringing, ambling with goats, concerts, lectures, and special family events. To register for any of these, call the Information Desk (preferably in advance), or sign up there when you arrive.

Located in the gallery, the Information Desk staff gladly offers assistance to visitors. Walking maps, informative leaflets, and activity booklets are also on sale here.

Be the first to know what fun events are happening at Ramat Hanadiv  – sign up for our mailing list at the Information Desk.

Visiting hours: Sunday – Thursday: 8:00 am – 4:00 pm Friday: 8:00 am – 2:00 pm Saturday: 8:00 am – 4:00 pm. (crypt is closed) Last Admission  is 15 minutes before closing. Visiting hours may vary on holidays and festivals. Telephone: 04-6298111

How to get to Ramat Hanadiv? The entrance to Ramat Hanadiv is located along Route 652 between Zikhron Ya'akov and Binyamina. Turn off Route 652 at the sign pointing westward to Ramat Hanadiv; the access road will take you directly to the car park.

Rachel’s Tomb

Is this Rachel's Tomb?

Well, it depends on who you ask. The Ministry of Religions obviously thinks so. Look at how the IDF gerrymandered the Separation Fence deep into Bethlehem to leave our Matriarch Rachel in Israeli territory. The Bible says: "And Rachel died, and was buried on the way to Ephrath, which is Bethlehem. And Jacob set a pillar upon her grave: that is the pillar of Rachel's grave unto this day." — Genesis 35:19-20". However in the period of the Bible there were three Bethlehems: one in Judaea south of Jerusalem, one in Benjamin north of Jerusalem and another one in the Galilee. It is plausible, as many scholars believe that Rachel died near Ramah, modern Al-Ram north of Jerusalem. For Muslims, the present site is the Bilal bin Rabah mosque ( مسجد بلال بن رباح‎). For centuries this small religious building encased in concrete was revered by Jews, Christians and Muslims. The tomb is located within a Muslim cemetery. Rachel's Tomb Rachel's Tomb Rachel's Tomb Separation Barrier Rachel is considered the "eternal mother" who cares for her children in distress. The Tomb is visited especially by barren or pregnant woman. At the entrance to the tomb you can buy a red string to be worn as a charm for fertility. Entrance is free, but modest clothes and head covering are required. [gallery ids="7663,7664,7562"]

The Separation Fence

I remember after the Six Day War, we were able to freely travel to Bethlehem and Rachel's Tomb. One could stop for a cold drink in a local store or purchase some trinkets in the market. When local Arabs began to throw stones at visitors to the grave site, a small wall was built to protect the Tomb. Following the Second Intifada, Israel built the barrier to protect Israeli civilians from Palestinian terrorism. Although 95% of the length of 700 km is just a fence, in Bethlehem there is a high concrete wall. Israelis call it the  "security fence" or "anti-terrorist fence" while in Arabic it is called  "jidar al-fasl al-'unsuri" (racial segregation wall). [gallery ids="7578,7579,7577"]  

Rachel's Tomb in Israeli Philately and Numismatics

The original small wall was incorporated into the renovations and expansion of the Tomb. Because of all the walls and renovations you cannot recognize the original domed building made famous on the British Mandate currency and stamps. [gallery ids="7666,7667,7668,7669,7670"]

 

Moses Montefiore and Rachel's Tomb

Monifiori's tombstone in shape of Rachel TombThe tomb was entirely restored by Moses Montefiore in 1845. Montefiore's own tomb, adjacent to the Montefiore synagogue in Ramsgate, England, is a replica of Rachel's Tomb.

Purim in Mahane Yehuda Market, Jerusalem, 2013

[caption id="attachment_333" align="alignleft" width="225"]israelandyou.com Purim in Jerusalem[/caption] [dropcap]M[/dropcap]achane Yehuda market, however, represents the contemporary—and the future—heart of Jerusalem. Machane Yehuda integrates, in a unique way, the old and the new. Both a bustling marketplace and a neighborhood, it incorporates food, drink, shopping, bars, restaurants. The shuk still retains its most important characteristics: it remains authentic, with all the flavors and aromas, the colors and the traders' interaction with the crowds. The story of Purim is told in the Biblical book of Esther. The heroes of the story are Esther, a beautiful young Jewish woman living in Persia, and her cousin Mordecai, who raised her as if she were his daughter. Esther was taken to the house of Ahasuerus, King of Persia, to become part of his harem. King Ahasuerus loved Esther more than his other women and made Esther queen, but the king did not know that Esther was a Jew, because Mordecai told her not to reveal her identity. The villain of the story is Haman, an arrogant, egotistical advisor to the king. Haman hated Mordecai because Mordecai refused to bow down to Haman, so Haman plotted to destroy the Jewish people. In a speech that is all too familiar to Jews, Haman told the king, "There is a certain people scattered abroad and dispersed among the peoples in all the provinces of your realm. Their laws are different from those of every other people's, and they do not observe the king's laws; therefore it is not befitting the king to tolerate them." Esther 3:8. The king gave the fate of the Jewish people to Haman, to do as he pleased to them. Haman planned to exterminate all of the Jews. Mordecai persuaded Esther to speak to the king on behalf of the Jewish people. This was a dangerous thing for Esther to do, because anyone who came into the king's presence without being summoned could be put to death, and she had not been summoned. Esther fasted for three days to prepare herself, then went into the king. He welcomed her. Later, she told him of Haman's plot against her people. The Jewish people were saved, and Haman and his ten sons were hanged on the gallows that had been prepared for Mordecai. The book of Esther is unusual in that it is the only book of the Bible that does not contain the name of G-d. In fact, it includes virtually no reference to G-d. Mordecai makes a vague reference to the fact that the Jews will be saved by someone else, if not by Esther, but that is the closest the book comes to mentioning G-d. Thus, one important message that can be gained from the story is that G-d often works in ways that are not apparent, in ways that appear to be chance, coincidence or ordinary good luck. See what Purim in Mahane Yehuda Market looks like. http://youtu.be/GG2HSaClDtA

Postcard from Israel – Haifa

Published on Jan 23, 2013 by ISRAEL21c A look at the Israeli port city of Haifa. http://youtu.be/DRSg3heocBk Music by kind permission of Yair Yona.

Port of Caesaria

The old port - Herod's Harbor

Once the site of a Phoenician port, over the course of 12 years Herod built Caesarea (Keysarya or Caesaria) into the grandest city other than Jerusalem in Judaea, with a deep artificial sea harbour of large concrete blocks (called Sebastos, i.e., Augustus in Greek). It served as a port for Herod’s newly built city at Sebaste (Greek: Augusta), the ancient Samaria in central Israel. Caesaria Port

Herod began to develop this insignificant site into a magnificent harbor befitting his kingdom.  The harbor was built using materials and a unique technology that would allow the concrete to harden underwater.  The forty-acre harbor would accommodate 300 ships, much larger than the modern harbor existing today. Herod's plan was to create a strategic harbor to gain recognition by Rome.

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This may have been the first harbour ever constructed entirely in the open sea (i.e., without the benefit of any protective fringing bay or peninsula) and was protected from the sea primarily by two huge breakwaters built of concrete blocks and filled with stone rubble. Josephus compared this spacious harbour favourably with that of Athens at Piraeus, was one of the technological marvels of the ancient world and helped make Caesarea a major port for wheat trade between the Roman breadbasket in Asia - Egypt - and Rome. Caesarea also served as a base for the Herodian navy, which operated in aid of the Romans as far as the Black Sea. What a shame it only lasted about 100 years before it sank into the Mediterranean.

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Travel Through Time - Sound and Light Show at the Port of Caesarea

When you visit the site be sure to see the crowning glory of the impressive Travel Through Time display, which highlights the tour and transforms the visit into a historical trek through time. The 10-minute multimedia clip presents the city throughout the ages. This is a History lesson in a nut shell. An innovative computer simulation visually displays how the city passed from one hand to another and how the city appeared in the various ages. Nearby is a hall with 4 hologram screens that welcome visitors with 12 figures from various historical periods of the city: a personal meeting with King Herod, with Louis IX, Rabbi Akiva, Baron Rothschild, Hannah Senesh and others can be scheduled, to hear their stories and to become introduced to the events of that era. Even in the age of Internet you can enjoy this hologram demonstration.

http://youtu.be/wIGoxzMtmEk

Tower of Time

Continue to the Tower of Time display located in the recreated fortress. The view over the fishing port, still in use, from the top of the tower is good enough reason to climb to the top. "The Time Tower" overlooks Caesarea's magical vistas, allowing guests to observe these views over history through computerized animation on a giant screen. In both Tower of Time halls, visitors can view a sophisticated computer system that allows them to view on a giant screen the ancient structures of the city that were excavated. Tourists can take a virtual tour of the city, enter buildings and visit the streets, even participate in various activities such as horse racing in the hippodrome, performances in the theater, roaming around the market booths, and receiving ships arriving at the port, all of which tangibly and powerfully indicate Caesarea's importance throughout the ages.

Reservations: Tel.: *6550 Extension 3

The port these days

Alongside all the ruins are modern cafes, quaint restaurants, romantic corners and a sandy beach. When you sit down with a cold cup of coffee and let the breeze treat you nicely you suddenly understand what a great king Herod was. In this link you can find a list of the restaurants in the port, and some next to it: http://www.caesarea.com/en/home/tourism-and-leisure/harbor/restaurants helena

Petra, Jordan

[caption id="attachment_567" align="aligncenter" width="296"]israelandyou.com Petra, Jordan[/caption]

Petra, Jordan

Petra is not really in Israel, but since it is included in many tourist packages to Israel'e southern seaport of Eilat in the Israeli Negev, I felt I could include Petra in your itinerary. Several years ago, just after the signing of the Peace Treaty with Jordan, I visited there with two of my children and created this 8 mm film. The guide was my good friend Shimon Dan. Since Kosher food is not available, even in Amman, the capital, we took frozen Kosher meals with us. Recently religious Jews have encountered difficulties entering Jordan with Tefillin (Phylacteries). It always amazed me how the Nabataeans invested so much effort in tombs, while the mound (tel) and ruins of the  ancient city of Petra are minimal. Getting around the site is easy. Either walk or you can relax in a donkey cart ride. http://youtu.be/eacOjxmBne4 The giant red mountains and vast mausoleums of a departed race have nothing in common with modern civilization, and ask nothing of it except to be appreciated at their true value - as one of the greatest wonders ever wrought by Nature and Man. Although much has been written about Petra, nothing really prepares you for this amazing place. It has to be seen to be believed. Petra, the world wonder, is without a doubt Jordan’s most valuable treasure and greatest tourist attraction. It is a vast, unique city, carved into the sheer rock face by the Nabataeans, an industrious Arab people who settled here more than 2000 years ago, turning it into an important junction for the silk, spice and other trade routes that linked China, India and southern Arabia with Egypt, Syria, Greece and Rome. Let me know if you enjoyed your visit!

Peki’in

Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai (Rashbi) in Peki'in

Rashbi, said to be the auther of the mystical "Zohar",  hid in ths cave in Peki'in with his son both buried up to their necks in sand, and was saved by the carob tree and the spring.  Rashbi is one of the most popular "saint" of modern Jewry. His followers visit his cave in Peki'in and his grave in Meron. His memory is celebrated on the Jewish holiday "Lag B'omer". [caption id="attachment_8159" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Rashbi Cave, Peki'in Rashbi Cave, Peki'in  -  I love the spelling.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_8160" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Rashbi Cave, Peki'in Rashbi Cave, Peki'in[/caption] Notice the statues of Druze heros with Druze flag in the ancient well in the center of town. This square has become a tourist attraction with restaurants, zimmers and shops. It is only a short walk down from the Rashbi cave through the residential area to the Well. [caption id="attachment_8161" align="aligncenter" width="618"]Peki'in Well Peki'in Well[/caption]  

The Ancient Synagogue in Peki'in

Margalit Zinati holds the key to the old Jewish synagogue. She inherited it from her father who was in charge of all the Jewish holy sites in the village. She was kind enough to open the synagogue for our tour. Although Moti Aviam made an extensive archaeological dig the earliest ancient synagogue was not found. Relics or perhaps copies of relics from later periods can be seen in the synagogue.

[caption id="attachment_8172" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Meeting Margalit Zinati Meeting Margalit Zinati[/caption] [caption id="attachment_8170" align="aligncenter" width="800"]The Ancient Synagogue in Peki'in The Ancient Synagogue in Peki'in - archaeological finds[/caption] [caption id="attachment_8169" align="aligncenter" width="800"]The Ancient Synagogue in Peki'in The Ancient Synagogue in Peki'in - archaeological finds[/caption] [caption id="attachment_8168" align="aligncenter" width="800"]The Ancient Synagogue in Peki'in The Ancient Synagogue in Peki'in - archaeological finds[/caption] [caption id="attachment_8167" align="aligncenter" width="800"]The Ancient Synagogue in Peki'in The Ancient Synagogue in Peki'in - Building donation plaque[/caption] [caption id="attachment_8171" align="aligncenter" width="800"]IsraelandYou was here. IsraelandYou was here.[/caption]  

Modern Jewish Peki'in

The Jews of Peki'in had to leave the village during the Arab riots of 1939 and also during the War of Independence in 1948. Very few return to their homes. Today only two Jews live in the village, Margalit Zinati and Ilan  Toma-HaCohen. [caption id="attachment_8162" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Jewish Peki'in - School Jewish Peki'in - School[/caption] [caption id="attachment_8163" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Jewish Peki'in Jewish Peki'in Tourist Center[/caption] [caption id="attachment_8164" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Jewish Peki'in Jewish Peki'in[/caption] [caption id="attachment_8165" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Jewish Peki'in Jewish Peki'in[/caption]    

Druze Peki'in

The Druze are the overwhelming majority of the village population. During the War of Independence the Druze decided to side with the Jews of Palestine and have remained loyal citizens ever since. Many of their young men serve in the IDF. [caption id="attachment_8182" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Druze IDF Soldiers Memorial Druze IDF Soldiers Memorial[/caption]

Christian Peki'in

Most of the Christian Arabs in Peki'in have moved to new neighboring village, unofficially called Buqei'a al Gharbieh "West Peki'in" as opposed to the official name "Machoul". [caption id="attachment_8173" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Christian Peki'in Christian Peki'in[/caption]

Peki'in Tourism

One can find many B & B's, restaurants and even a hotel in the village. Tourism is replacing agriculture as the main source of income. [caption id="attachment_8180" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Sultan al-Atrash and Druze Tourism Sultan al-Atrash and Druze Tourism[/caption] [caption id="attachment_8174" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Peki'in Tourism Peki'in Tourism[/caption] [caption id="attachment_8175" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Peki'in Tourism Peki'in Tourism[/caption] [caption id="attachment_8176" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Peki'in Tourism Peki'in Tourism[/caption] [caption id="attachment_8177" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Kosher Peki'in Kosher Peki'in[/caption] http://youtu.be/aZ9D8Y-OvQk [caption id="attachment_8178" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Kosher Peki'in Kosher Peki'in[/caption]

Once a Center of the Silk Industry

During the Ottoman Period the Jews of Tzfat and  Peki'in grew mulberry trees for the local silk industry. One tree still stands proudly next to the spring.

Social Unrest in Peki'in

[caption id="attachment_8179" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Signs of troubles Signs of troubles[/caption]

Pater Noster Church Jerusalem

  The name of this church recalls Jesus' teaching of the Lord’s Prayer to his disciples. Steps below the altar lead down to the crypt of the 4th-century basilica, partially built in a cave with a 1st-century tomb. The Lord's Prayer appears in 140 languages different languages at the Church of the Pater Noster in the cave that forms the grotto under the church. [caption id="attachment_8565" align="aligncenter" width="618"]The Lord's Prayer appears in 62 different languages at the Church of the Pater Noster The Lord's Prayer appears in  many different languages at the Church of the Pater Noster[/caption] [caption id="attachment_8564" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]Pater Noster panorama Pater Noster panorama[/caption]   http://youtu.be/7WL1rU_mTM4 Administered by: Carmelite Sisters Tel.: 972-2-6264904 Open: 8.30-noon, 2.30-4.30pm (Sunday closed). An alternate site of Jesus' teaching is at the site of the Chapel of the Ascension, located on the Mount of Olives, in the At-Tur district of Jerusalem. [caption id="attachment_8567" align="aligncenter" width="640"]The Chapel of the Ascension is a shrine located on the Mount of Olives, in the At-Tur district of Jerusalem. The Chapel of the Ascension is a shrine located on the Mount of Olives, in the At-Tur district of Jerusalem.[/caption]   The present church and its Carmelite Sisters cloister were completed in 1874 by Aurélie de Bossi, the Princess de la Tour d'Auvergne. Mauzoleum Aurelie de Bossi, Pater Noster

Park Sharon

Hiriya Recycling Park, the main attraction at the Ariel Sharon Park (Park Sharon) east of Tel Aviv is more than meets the eye: Not only does it contribute essential, green open space to the Dan region; it has become a symbol of renewal in Israeli society. http://youtu.be/NkoxZ-8meOY http://www.albatross.co.il/ Albatross is known as one of the best photography agencies in Israel and the leading one in the field of artistic and technical aerial and outdoor photography. Albatross excellences in all kinds of photography services from artistic highly creative to technical, Geo-referenced photography. Albatross’s photography crew, lead by Duby Tal and Moni Haramati shows high creativity, high quality of results, high standard service and professional knowledge in all fields of photography.

Palestine Tourism

  These "chutzpadik" videos share a fantasy view of Palestine, touting a cultural and natural heritage and the spirit of a Palestinian people:- all from the point of view of the Palestinian Authority's Ministry of Tourism & Antiquities. However, most of the itinerary sites are pre-1967 Israel and clearly Israeli. A few are in Samaria and Judaea in areas under Israeli control. In fact Hoshvilim has been to many of these sites, both as an IDF reservist and as a peaceful civilian tourist. Some other sites are out-of-bounds for Israelis - at least Jewish Israelis. Just imagine what a grand tourist venture would be possible if the Palestinians and the Israelis were able to cooperate, at least on tourism. The clip was funded by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)   another United Nations commission that lives in Never-Never Land. http://youtu.be/OUpjoEpbWsM   [caption id="attachment_8417" align="aligncenter" width="490"] Palestine-tourism-ad
Palestine-tourism-ad[/caption] "Palestine is the land of many faiths." But not for Jews. http://youtu.be/bIgo0lbe5zA   This clip has drafted even the Western Wall and Masada into Palestine. http://youtu.be/-dTdp_KVG7I I wonder how Israeli Arab and Palestinian Authority Tour Guides present this subject to their tourist guests.

Oz 77

OZ 77 Battle Heritage Site in Kibbutz Elrom

Oz 77 is a battle heritage site in Kibbutz Elrom near the Valley of Tears (Emek HaBacha). Here, inside a cinema is screened a fascinating film which tells the story of the battle of the Valley of Tears, when the Syrian Army tried to penetrate the Israeli frontline during the Yom Kippur War and was stopped by the Israeli Armored Corps’ 77th "Oz” Regiment of the 7th Armor Brigade together with soldiers from the 188th Armor Brigade. In the film are heard testimonies and hair-raising recordings from the battle field. The commander of the "Oz” Regiment, Avigdor Kahalani, who received a decoration for his part in this bloody battle, describes how even with smaller numbers and difficult conditions, without night vision equipment and not much ammunition, being tired and even exhausted, the Israeli fighters managed to overcome the enemy, with only Zionism and determination on their side. The film’s length is approximately 20 minutes.  

Valley of Tears Memorial

http://youtu.be/h5DblJrJesE During the Yom Kippur War, Syria launched an attack from a valley north of Kuneitra. From this point, they planned to take control of the central Golan Heights and then into Israel. In a day long battle, battalion commander Avigdor Kahalani led the Israelis to victory. Over 500 Syrian tanks and armored personnel carriers were left in Israel when the Syrians retreated. This battleground is known as the Valley of Tears. At the memorial, an audio tells the story of the battle. A tree was planted for each of the soldiers in the 77th regiment who fell in this battle. Tip: There are no facilities at this site Tip: There is no entrance fee. [gallery ids="4594,4595,4597,4600,4601,4603,4605,4607,4608"]

Otzrot BaHoma Museum

Ethnographic Museum "Treasures in the Walls"

This unique museum, Otzrot BaHoma or Treasures in the Walls, is located within the north-eastern walls of old Acre, originally built by the Ottoman ruler of the area, Ahmed Al-Jazzar Pasha. This massive wall was built after Napoleon´s attempt to conquer the city in 1779. The museum is housed in the commander´s tower "Burge-el-commandar".  The Tower was divided into arched halls which were used to hold the Ottomans garrison and now hold a beautiful and rare collection which gives an insight into the life in the Galilee during the 19th and the beginning of the 20th centuries. Among the exhibits are a market street, an apothecary, a blacksmith’s and a shoemaker’s workshops.

http://youtu.be/JOICOIFe2DY [gallery ids="7316,7315,7314,7313,7312,7311,7310,7309,7308,7307,7306,7305"] Opening hours:
  • Weekdays,Sat., & holidays between:  10:00- 17:00
  • Winter until: 16:00
  • Fridays:    10:00- 15:00
2 Weizmann St., Eastern Wall, Old Acre

 Tel:  04-9911004                 Fax: 04-9917059

ozarot@gmail.com

Treasures in the Walls  The museum is not "Accessible", but is cool and has an souvenir shop and rest rooms. [caption id="attachment_7448" align="aligncenter" width="640"]Otsarot  Hahoma Otsarot Hahoma[/caption]

Old Mishmar Hayarden

   

The Battle of Mishmar Hayarden

Mishmar HaYarden was a moshava (a Jewish settlement not aligned with socialist parties) that was established in the Upper Galilee in northern Israel during the First Aliyah. It was destroyed during the Israeli War of Independence in 1948. The Syrian army attacked the settlement during the Israeli War of Independence, on 6 June 1948, but the attack was repulsed. The settlement was attacked again on 10 June and  after house-to-house fighting the moshava was captured and destroyed. Fourteen residents and defenders of the moshava were killed. A small number of survivors fell captive to the Syrians and remained as prisoners of war for thirteen months. Survivors claim that reinforcements were not sent to aid the defenders due to the political alignment of the moshava. On 20 July 1949 at the end of the war, the area returned to control of Israel as part of the cease-fire, but the moshava was not rebuilt because of the "cease-fire" status of the area. Kibbutz Gadot, aligned with socialist parties, was later built on this land despite the "cease-fire" status. The workers' moshav (New) Mishmar HaYarden was established nearby.

Park Mishmar Hayarden

IMG_20141001_162805 [caption id="attachment_8610" align="aligncenter" width="618"]Old Mishmar Hayarden Old Mishmar Hayarden[/caption] [caption id="attachment_8611" align="aligncenter" width="618"]Old Mishmar Hayarden Old Mishmar Hayarden[/caption]    

Mishmar Hayarden IDF Memorial

[caption id="attachment_8612" align="aligncenter" width="618"]Old Mishmar Hayarden Old Mishmar Hayarden[/caption] [caption id="attachment_8613" align="aligncenter" width="618"]Old Mishmar Hayarden Old Mishmar Hayarden[/caption]  

Old Jaffa Port

Old Jaffa Port (also known as Namal Yafo) was the ancient port of the city of Jaffa, out of which modern day Tel Aviv has grown. The Old Jaffa Port is reputed to be one of the oldest ports in the world, notably being the port from which Jonah set off in the famous Biblical story of Jonah and the Whale. Its long and fascinating history as  strategic port in the Eastern Mediterranean continued until only recently when new ports were built south of Tel Aviv in Ashdod and north in Haifa, to cater for modern-day shipping methods. Today the port is used largely by local fishermen who continue the centuries old tradition of the area. http://youtu.be/0SJGy-yFIsQ

"Jaffa Tales" – Old Jaffa Visitor's Center

“Jaffa Tales” Magical Exciting Multi-Sensory Experience Come and partake in the renewed experience at the Visitor’s Center of Old Jaffa, Tour the archaeological site; walk on the floating bridge into virtual performance That brings past heroes to life, spectacular views and unique creative animation of cultural wealth, beauty and charm…

The new visitors center in the heart of Kdumim Square

Come experience 5000 years of history in one the most ancient port cities in the world. Observe the major archeological discoveries found in Jaffa, meet the central characters in the tales of Jaffa, and learn the city’s history. Contact by phone: 03-6037686, 03-6037000, or by email: tourism@oldjaffa.co.il

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Jaffa is one of the oldest port cities in the Mediterranean. For over 5000 years Jaffa has served as a gateway between east and west, north and south, a cosmopolitan city that witnessed the passage of warriors, pilgrims and visitors, goods, ideas, fashion, and stories. The tales of Jaffa are presented in the new visitors' center at the heart of Kdumim Square in Old Jaffa, within an archeological space located under the popular square.

At the Jaffa Harbor pier you will find the major archeological finds discovered in excavations in the city, representing the cultures, goods, armies and pilgrims that have passed through the city over millennia and left their mark on it. Visit ancient buildings thousands of years old and meet Yehuda Agronimos, a Jaffa man of the first century CE, who lived in an ancient house in the middle of the visitors' center. Yehuda Agronimos meets various personae of Jaffa that come to lodge at his home and recount to him the tales of the city.

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Exhibit languages: Hebrew, English, Arabic, French, German, Spanish and Russian.

Opening hours:

Sunday-Thursday & Saturday

 9:00-20:00 Summer (March-November)

9:00-17:00   (Winter (December-February)

Friday

9: 00-17:00   (Summer (March-November)

 9:00-15:00   ( Winter (December-February)

One can coordinate group visits during other hours as well

Entry is by advance invitation or on the basis of available space.

It is advisable to reserve a place by telephone: 03-603-7700, 03-603-7686

Or by e-mail: tourism@oldjaffa.co.il

Ohn-Bar Guesthouse, Amirim

  Terraced gardens, fruit trees and lush greenery, shrouded in privacy, wooden cabins and suites await you in the Upper Galilee. Each unique  cabin has its own qualities. Choose your favorite style: Bustan, Kinneret, Ofek, Eshed, Etz HaTut, HaBe'er, Ely Nof, Afam, Shachar, Shani, HaEtz HaGadol, Bat Harim, Horesh and Ginat Egoz. For your next vacation choose a different cabin with another unique atmosphere. Returning guests receive discounts. Ohn-Bar Guesthouse is perfect for couples and families. It is rated 8.9 Fabulous by Booking.com reviewers. The view facing the Galilee Hills is spectacular. You see Lake Kinneret on one side and the Golan Heights on the other. Members of my family stayed at Ohn-Bar twice this summer to relax and get away. I pass on their warm recommendation.

  • Free WiFi
  • Telephone (in cabins), fax (in the office)
  • Jacuzzi (in cabins)
  • Swimming pool
  • DVD library (no charge)
  • Laundry room and laundry service
  • Babysitting service
  • Air conditioning (If you prefer fans, they are available upon request.)
  • Vegetarian restaurants near by in the village (including Kosher)
  • Synagogue, mikve and separate sex swimming (after Tu B'Av), Shabbat hot-plate, hot-water pitcher and portable Shabbat timers are available.
  • Alternative therapeutic treatments available in the village
  • Infant playpens, highchairs and baby bathtubs and a small pool for toddlers on site.
  • Maps for hiking
[caption id="attachment_8113" align="aligncenter" width="519"]Ohn Bar Ohn Bar[/caption] +972-4-6989803 skype:ohnbar Moshav Amirim is a vegetarian and vegan village, established in 1958 high in the Galilee 600 meters above sea level. Barbecues and mangals are not allowed, and there are no meat products (including fish and fowl). Enjoy the restaurants, alternative treatments, local art galleries, jeep tours and hiking that the village has to offer.

Here is a preview of your next vacation venue:

http://youtu.be/3Oa-EOqoBlg

Odem Forest

Yaar Odem

Odem Forest in the Golan heights, near Moshav Odem, is a stunning encounter with nature with apple and cherry orchards, deer that wander around freely, breath-taking landscapes, refreshing water pools and think forests. Odem Forest is, in fact, the largest Nature Reserve in the Golan Heights region. Twenty-three craters of different sizes can be found on the nature reserve and this unique natural phenomenon is probably a result of volcanic activity. [gallery ids="4567,4568,4569,4570,4572,4573,4574,4575,4576,4577,4578,4580,4581,4582,4583,4585,4586,4587,4588,4591,4592,4593,4596,4598,4599,4602,4604,4609"]  

Bab al Hawa - Sha'ar Haruchot

Another interesting site here is the Winds Gate- an archaeological site containing remnants from the Iron Age an up until the Byzantine period.  There is an archeological site called Bab El Hawa (Gate of the Wind), where findings included artifacts thousands of years old.The name “Gate of the Wind” is a result of the cool weather and the western wind that blow in the region. Archeological excavations there disclosed artifacts from the Bronze Age to the Byzantine Period. The site was inhabited during the Iron Age and was destroyed by a major fire in the 9th century BCE. It was then abandoned for 800 years, until the Roman Era, when it was resettled.  Most of the structures were destroyed by a major earthquake, and, in the 6th century [CE], Bab El Hawa was settled by the Ghassanids who were Arabian Christians. Additionally, much to the delight of fairy-tale lovers, there is a wishing tree decorated with ribbons also on site. A group of KKL-JNF tree experts discover a rare ancient cherry tree in Bab El Hawa, in the Golan Heights. In the Golan, next to Mount Bental, there is a wild cherry tree that has been there for hundreds of years, the only one discovered in Israel, and it not only reaches a height of 15 meters and is old, but it also bears fruit in the cherry season. How to get there: From Highway 959, between Bental Junction and Baron Junction in the northern Golan, where it intersects the Golan Trail, proceed on foot toward the village.

Deer Forest (Ya’ar HaAyalim)

In the Deer Forest area, in the village of Odem, deer, ibexes and gazelles wander around. The deer forest is located in the heart of redness, large oaks in the forest. Deer forest park features: Camping area for tents to sleep under the open skies (the place is suitable for 200 persons each) You can get a mattress instead. Parking nearby With toilets and showers with hot water. Picnic tables Outdoor lighting + lights every think There is barbecue facilities are available, but you can bring it with you. For lighting a fire there in half-barrels are fully equipped kitchenette with refrigerator, microwave, electric kettle  

Nimrod Fortress

The Nimrod Fortress was considered a Crusader castle for many years until recent archaeological efforts proved that this was a mistake, as you can see below. IMG_7049 I love the fortress and spent hours taking photos - as is obvious in this post. Qala'at Namrud is the biggest Ayyubid-Mameluk castle in all of Israel, a mountain-top stronghold spanning back to the 13th century. With awesome views of much of the Golan, the Nimrod Fortress is situated on a peak neighboring Israel’s highest and only snow-capped mountain, Mount Hermon. Below the fortress are the lush Banias forests with the rivers and waterfalls. The ruins of Nimrod Fortress are beautiful and well-preserved, a truly visible snapshot of history. The fortress was built in 1228 by Al-Maliq al-‘Aziz ‘Othman, the governor of Banias, to block passage to the army of Friedrich II, who threatened to march from Acre to Damascus. The fortress was built simply at first, but after its conquest by the Mamluk Sultan Beibars it grew huge and sophisticated. http://youtu.be/h4-Vn76eBjU Within the stately ruins of the Nimrod Fortress – some 420 meters in length and 150 meters in width, a route has been mapped out, each place of interest marked with descriptive signs. From the lower western section, where most of the interesting antiquities are found, to the upper eastern section, the oldest part of the fortress, some 13 marked sites are to be seen on the route. Starting with the Northwest Tower, a short walk up from the parking lot, a collection of rooms, arches and even a small toilet room are seen. Here you can see the the Baybars Inscription [gallery ids="6732,6733,6737,6738,6739"]   Next is the Western Tower.  which is not yet excavated. [gallery ids="6734,6735,6736"] Then, still following the route, the Southwest Tower and the Large Reservoir – a spectacular indoor reservoir pool within an arched room, are to be enjoyed. Water was stored in rock-cut plastered pools below the fortress, accessible via protected staircases, thus guaranteeing the supply of water in times of siege. During 1993-94, the debris which blocked the tower-gate on the western side of the fortress were cleared. On this side, a deep moat cut into the rock, probably with a drawbridge, protected its entrance. The gate-tower, according to an inscription inside it, was built by the Ayyubid ruler al-Aziz Othman in 1230. The double-paneled entrance doors were locked with wooden beams inserted into grooves in the doorjambs. Also well preserved is the narrow groove for lowering the defensive iron net (portcullis).

Fragments of a monumental Arabic inscription of considerable length indicate that the Mameluke sultan Baibars restored the gate-tower in 1275. This new gate house was constructed of particularly large, well-trimmed stones weighing several tons each; it measured 29 x 23 m. and was 30 m. high. A toilet from the period can be seen next to the gate-tower. In 1998, a large stone was discovered on which the image of a panther, Beibars’ heraldic symbol, was carved.

A large cistern was hewn in the rock beneath and a narrow staircase connected the tower’s different stories. A 27-meter-long stepped, secret passage led from the gate tower to the outside. It would have enabled the defenders of the fortress to launch a surprise attack on besiegers, or if necessary, to flee from it.

[gallery ids="6730,6729,6727,6742,6743,6744"] Continuing along the wall to the upper western section, the “Beautiful Tower” can be found, a round room with a great faceted pillar holding up the stone ceiling. [gallery ids="6751,6750,6749,6748,6747,6746"]     Crossing the dry Moat, the Donjon (Keep or dungeon-fortress within a fortress) measuring 65 x 45 m.  is next. Atop the Keep one gets the best view of both the fortress, the outer fortress, an outside reservoir and the surrounding area, a beautiful blend of stone and foliage. The keep served as living quarters for the commander of the fortress; in time of siege it became an additional inner defense position. [gallery ids="6752,6753,6754,6755,6756,6757"] Returning to the western section, the Prison Tower can be visited and when you want to “escape” you can sneak through the Secret Passage (27 meters or 88.5 feet long) which opens up in the Northwest Tower – where the route started. [gallery ids="6758,6759,6760"] Along the walls, particularly on the southern side and Secret Passage where extra strength was required, numerous rectangular and semi-circular towers, roofed with pointed cross-arches, were erected. [gallery ids="6761,6762,6763,6764,6765,6766"] The full circle can take up to several hours, depending on how long one spends both examining the magnificent architecture and the incredible panoramic vista. The Nimrod Fortress National Park, containing the fortress and the forested mountain on which it rests, covers a total of 195 dunams (49 acres). Somewhat hidden in the land and accessible either by walking down from the fortress or up from the main road, a huge pool can be found. The pool, once used for irrigation and watering the herds, measures an impressive 26 x 54 meters (85 x 177 feet) in surface area and holds the depth of 5 meters (16.5 feet). The Nimrod Fortress (known in Arabic as both Qal’at Subayba and Qal’at Nimrud, Cliff Fortress and Nimrod Fortress, respectively) once controlled the region’s road which began in Tyre (part of modern-day Lebanon) and ran down the Mediterranean coastline, through the Hula Valley and Banias on the way to Damascus. The fortress is named after Nimrod, the great warrior from the early days in Biblical times, who was also rumoured to have built his own castle up on the mountain. Some thousands of years later when the Crusaders lost to Saladin, the nephew of Saladin, al-Aziz Othman, built up the eastern section of the fortress. Throughout the next 50 years, the fortress was enlarged and improved in three more stages. Bilik of the Mamelukes finished off the building in the year 1275 and signed his work with a glorious stone inscription which can still be seen today. At the end of the 13th century, the Muslim conquest of the port city of Acre on the Mediterranean signified the end of Crusader rule in the Holy Land. The Nimrod fortress lost its strategic value and fell into disrepair; the ruins visible today bear silent witness to its past might.

Opening Hours

October to March: Saturday to Thursday: 8am-4pm and Friday: 8am-3pm April to September: Saturday to Thursday: 8am-5pm and Friday: 8am-4pm

Ticket Prices

Adult: NIS 21                 Child: NIS 9 Combo ticket (Nimrod Fortress & Banias): Adult: NIS 38            Child: NIS 19                   Groups of 30+ qualify for special rates

Directions to Nimrod Fortress

1. Take Road 99 east from Kiryat Shmona and Banias or west from Masada 2. Exit Road 99 north onto Road 989 3. Exit Road 989 northwest at Nimrod Fortress

Contact: Phone: 04-694-9277

Nachal Zavitan

 

The Yehudiya Forest Nature Reserve

Shmurat Teva Yaar Yehudiya in the central Golan Heights covers 66,000 dunams (16,500 acres) and five main streams: the Meshushim, the Yehudiya, the Daliyot, the Zavitan and the Gamla, all of which flow down to the the flat Bethsaida Valley and Lake Kinneret. My family and I chose this classic attraction for our vacation hike. Important! Stop at the information center to get the latest on the condition of the trails in the reserve and find out the rules visitors must follow. There has been a rock-slide several years ago and the trails have been altered. Some of the trails have shoulder deep water (for and adult) and small children are prohibited. The information center keeps account of each visitor to ensure that no one remains on the trail at night. I must say that the guide that spoke with us was so polite and so pleasant. He helped us choose the best itinerary for our mixed aged group. Thanks to him we all made it home safely. Trails: There are at least 8 different trail itineraries in the Reserve from 2 hours to one full day. Difficulty ranges from Moderate to Strenuous. Believe me, even " moderate" can be difficult if you are not in shape, as some members of my family learned yesterday. However the shorter trails are perfect for kindergarten children with adult supervision, again according to my experience. The trails are open all year, however summer can be very hot. During the winter the information center recommends only the outlook on Zavitan Falls. Those are my grandsons, below, jumping into the pool in the first photo below. [caption id="attachment_8011" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Hexagonal Pools in Nachal Zavitan Hexagonal Pools in Nachal Zavitan[/caption] [caption id="attachment_8012" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Hexagonal Pools in Nachal Zavitan Hexagonal Pools in Nachal Zavitan[/caption] [caption id="attachment_8013" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Hexagonal Pools in Nachal Zavitan Hexagonal Pools in Nachal Zavitan[/caption]  If you are ready for a hike in real "nature" you will love this reserve. Don't forget water, hat, sun screen and hiking shoes!  Directions: The reserve is located off the Yehudiya-Hushniya road (no. 87) 7 km east of the Yehudiya junction, approximately 5.5 km south of Katsrin. The following video show you how students from the USA enjoy The Hexagon Pools on Nachal Zavitan: http://youtu.be/2EvhkXhBXzQ

Hours: 

  • April-September 8 A.M.-5 P.M.
  • October-March 8 A.M.-4 P.M.
  • Fridays and holiday eves: 8 A.M.-3 P.M.
  • Last entry two hours before above closing hour
Phone: 04-696-2817; 04-696-3043 Entrance fee:
    • Adult: NIS 22; youth: NIS 10
    • Israeli senior citizen: 50% discount
    • Student 19 NIS
    • Group rate (over 30 people): Adult: NIS 19; youth: NIS 8.
    • *The entrance fee to the Meshushim Nature Reserve is the same as the entrance fee to the Yehudiya Nature Reserve.
    • *Discounts may be available; inquire at the reserve.
There is no lifeguard at the Zavitan pools. Overnight camping: NIS 50 per adult; NIS 40 per youth Canteen: A kiosk is open during the day. Toilet: Public toilets clean at the information center. You can meet some interesting people at the Hexagon Pools in Nachal Zavitan: http://youtu.be/zhsEmtbpIGU

Meshushim Nature Reserve

The Meshushim Reserve is part of the Yehudiya Forest Nature Reserve. The length of the tour is 20 minutes down to the pool and 30 minutes back to the parking lot. Additional trail to the Zavitan Stream ending at the Yehudiya parking lot: a 4-6 hour walk. Do not start out on this trail after 11 A.M. The best season is fall, winter, spring. [caption id="attachment_8015" align="aligncenter" width="550"]Meshushim_Park Meshushim_Park[/caption] Swimming in the pool: There are no lifeguards and the water is deep and very cold. Jumping into the water is dangerous and prohibited. Directions: The entrance to the reserve is from road 888 along an unpaved road north of the community of Had-Nes. Phone:  04-682-0238 Pets: Only leashed dogs may be taken on the trails. Dogs defined as dangerous must also be muzzled. The Meshushim Pool's hexagonal basalt column is an extraordinary natural phenomenon. http://youtu.be/ePF9MR3En1Y Click here for site pamphlet

Nachal Tavor

Basalt Canyon in Nachal Tavor

http://youtu.be/K_eQoMLJ7uk [caption id="attachment_8370" align="aligncenter" width="765"]Nachal Tavor Map Nachal Tavor Map[/caption] [caption id="attachment_8371" align="aligncenter" width="521"]Nachal Tavor Map Nachal Tavor Map[/caption]

Nachal Tavor Hike

http://youtu.be/Qh1r-Jr1H_A

Nabi Shouaib

 

Nabi Shouaib

Nabi Shu'aib (meaning "the Prophet Jethro") is the name used in English to refer to a site in the village of Hittin not far from Tiberias, where the tomb of the Islamic prophet Shuaib is believed to be located. The Druze make an annual pilgrimage there every April between the 25th and the 28th. http://youtu.be/1pNRxnZNAYA The grounds, grave and prayer rooms are maintained well. It is a real pearl in the Galilee. One may purchase a snack or tourist gifts and also picnic in the park. Don't come in shorts or sleeveless tankers. They are forbidden. Non-believers must take off their shoes and don long Druze gowns to view the grave, but don't step on the doorstep because devout Druze kiss the doorstep. Only Druze are allowed to stand near the grave. The attendents are very friendly. I hiked down from the Horns of Hittin (Hattim), but you can drive directly to the site.It is close to Mount Arbel. You can see the multicolored Druze flag flying over the building. If you are in Tiberias, make a point to visit Nabi Shu'aib.  

Nabi Sabalan

This site is the second most holy site of the Druze in Israel. Some believe Sabalan is supposed to be Zebulun, the son of Jacob. Others believe He was one of the early emissaries (da'is) who joined the Druze religion and helped promote it in the region. This is considered to be the site in which he lived and was buried. There are four good springs on the site which played an important part in the Battle of Hattin. The Muslim village was depopulated during the Israeli War of Independence. The Druze religious leadership established Eid al-Nabi Sabalan ("Feast of the Prophet Sabalan") in 1971. Today, The land and the Nabi Sabalan holy shrine were annexed to the Druze town of Hurfeish. You have to drive up to the top of Mount Zvul, although I left  my car down in the village and hiked up. The view is spectacular. The entrance to the shrine of the grave of Nabi Sabalan is free. There is a very large asphalt parking lot surrounded by picnic tables. Next to the entrance there is a kiosk and souvenir shop as well as public toilets. The shrine itself is spic and span as if prepared for military inspection.   http://youtu.be/zsg7QLTFHZY     [caption id="attachment_8185" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Entrance to Nabi Sabalan Entrance to Nabi Sabalan[/caption] [caption id="attachment_8186" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Nabi Sabalan Nabi Sabalan[/caption] [caption id="attachment_8188" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Nabi Sabalan Nabi Sabalan[/caption]   Don't forget to remove your shoes. When entering the shrine men must wear sleeves and shorts are forbidden. Women, of course, must dress modestly, so don't forget at least a light scarf. Don't step on the door sill, because the Druze kiss it when entering the room. It is forbidden to photograph inside the shrine. [caption id="attachment_8189" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Nabi Sabalan-Entrance to Burial Cave Nabi Sabalan-Entrance to Burial Cave[/caption]

Muslim tourists need to visit Jerusalem

India Post, May 20, 2011, A.Q. Siddiqui   CHICAGO: Muslims all over the world have a reason to visit Jerusalem. The Holy land has been the native land for all the Prophets Muslims believe in. There is Al-Aqsa Mosque the first direction (Qibla) to which Muslims prayed in early days. The Holy Rock where Prophet Abraham brought his son Ismael for sacrifice and from where the Prophet Muhammad ascended to Heaven to meet his Lord. But there is yet a strong reason for Muslims to visit Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa mosque. It is the announcement of Allah Himself in Holy Quran that declares it a place, “the neighborhood whereof We have blessed” (the very first line of Surah The Children of Israel, in Quran). So anyone who wants to enter the “blessing of Allah” shall enter the Al-Aqsa mosque. This is an open announcement for those who read Quran and understand it. The smallest verses in Holy Quran have great meanings. For example, for Holy Kaaba (the House of God), Allah says in Quran, “who so ever enters it, is safe!”(Verse 97 surah Al Imran). Now it is up to believers to understand what safety they get when they enter the House of God. Of course, they will be safe from the fire of Hell, from the evils of world and you keep counting. This was my second visit to Jerusalem and the very first thought that crept to my mind when I visited the deserted Al-Aqsa mosque was; this is the place where all American Muslims must visit and donate generously to make it a great place of worship. There were only 2-3 Palestinian women praying inside. The Dome of the Rock needs repairs. It was built in year 691 by Caliph Abd-el Malik on the holy rock upon which Prophet Abraham is believed to have brought his son for sacrifice. At right hand side, the Turk rulers have built a small enclosure containing the footprint of Prophet Muhammad as he ascended upon the Buraq for his journey to Heaven. Also there is a visible mark believed to be the handprint of the Archangel Gabriel who held down the rock during Prophet Muhammad’s ascent. Just within short walking distance is the Church of Holy Sepulcher. According to Christian tradition, Adam’s bones are buried here and there is the grave of Jesus. This was the place where Prophet Jesus was crucified. The Romans have prepared a grave for him. Christians believe the Jesus was buried there. The believing Christians touch the grave and pray for healing. Muslims believe it is an empty grave, because Prophet Issa (Jesus) was ascended to Heaven. On the other side of Al-Aqsa mosque and within walking distance is the Western Wall, the remaining of Temple Mount Jews world over face to pray and believe the Holy Presence never left the Western Wall. Jerusalem, the Holy land for world’s three monotheistic religions is very easy to visit by American Muslims. U.S. Passport holders need no visa to enter it from Tel Aviv airport. Many Muslims travel to Jerusalem via Amman. But it takes only 40 minutes and USD60 from Tel Aviv airport to your hotel in Jerusalem. All the 5 star hotels were full with Christian tourist from across the world. As I visited the city of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, I wondered what the Muslim countries achieved since the boycott of Israel for last 43 years. Israel has built beautiful twin cities of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem within a short time. ... On my way to Dead Sea, I saw a road sign that read, “the Mountain where Prophet Moses was seen last”, in the same mountain desert, I saw a Palestinian family living in a makeshift tent under the hot sun. If Muslim world makes truce with Israel and develops Muslim tourism, Jerusalem will be the next most visited place in the world after Makkah and Medinah. The untapped Muslim tourism industry will yield to share the prosperity by Palestinians. Muslims world over yearn to visit Jerusalem. However, a security concern deters Muslims all over the world from visiting Jerusalem. At the same time thousands of Christians from all over the world visit Jerusalem. The 5-star hotel where I stayed was full of Christian tourists from European countries. And ours was the only Muslim family in the entire hotel. Busloads of tourists left the hotel in early morning. The receptionist informed me the tourists keep pouring in throughout the year. If there occurs a truce between Israel and Muslim world, the Muslim tourists will flock to the Holy land perhaps more than the Christian tourists. The Muslim countries can invest in tourism projects in Jerusalem that will ultimately benefit the local Palestinians. The Israel boycott has not benefited Muslim world in the least. It has only kept away the Muslims from Muslim countries visiting the Holy land. The hotel I stayed was a Jewish management and I enjoyed my stay and the kosher food in the hotel. When I entered the Western wall security managed by Israeli soldiers, they respectfully inspected my family and allowed us to visit the Western Wall. A Palestinian from a distance yelled at us why we Muslims are visiting the Jewish place of worship? American Muslims can travel via Tel Aviv. Israeli immigration officer only asked us if we have hotel booking for our stay. Turkish airlines offer most convenient connections to U.S. Muslims from Chicago, New York or Washington to visit Israel and proceed to Saudi Arab for Umrah. For comments, please email sidakl@yahoo.com A.Q. Siddiqui

Museum of the History of Eilat

Um Rash Rash

[gallery columns="2" ids="4015,4017,4018,4019"] Um Rash-Rash was the site of a British police station between the years of 1940 and 1948. In 1949, Israeli forces reached the police station and raised an improvised flag of Israelprepared from a shirt and ink thereby establishing Israeli control over the southern-most city in Israel. The soldiers arrived at Um Rash-Rash after travelling through the desert from Beer Sheva in what was to be the last military operation of the Israeli Independence War. A year later the city of Eilat was established in the area around the police station. Only one building survived from the period and next to it is a monument that replicates the moving moment of the raisin of the ink flag. How to get there: The site is situated directly south of "Mul HaYam" Mall in Eilat. http://youtu.be/FGjyX76nNeM

"Eilat My City" Museum

The Eilat museum tells the history of the city of Eilat, highlighting milestones over the years. Photographs and displays in the museum include the ink flag being raised in Eilat after the city was liberated in 1949, the new port being opened along with the Straits of Tiran in 1956, and the peace agreement with Egypt in 1982. The museum has displays and information about the industry in the  Eilat region, such as the history of the Timna Copper Mines, which began production in 1958, including water issues, the salt and electricity companies, the Eilat port, Arkia, the underwater observatory and more. [gallery ids="4021,4022,4023,4024,4025,4026,4027,4028,4029,4030,4031,4032"] One sector of the museum is devoted to matters relating to the natural environment surrounding the city, with another section devoted to the development of the city`s economy and tourism. The museum also has displays which relate to terror in the area. The story of the 1954 ambush on the bus in Maale Akrabim, on its way to Eilat, is related, with an old restored bus from that time period on display alongside. A missile storage container which was captured from the smuggling boat Karina-A is also on display in the museum. Tip: An explanation of the displays in English is available on a leaflet at the entrance to the museum. This is necessary for the displays which do not always have sufficient English, as well as to understand the layout of the museum. View Larger Map Tip: There is an entrance fee. Tip: The museum is open from Monday-Thursday from 10:00-14:00. Tip: The museum is located opposite the IMAX building in Eilat.

Mount Zion to Jaffa Gate – Accessible Audio Walking Tour of the Old City of Jerusalem

A tour through the sites of Mount Zion and the Armenian Quarter

http://youtu.be/YjyywQ-tEoA Time of tour: 2 to 4 hours The tour will begin at Jaffa Gate and will lead us to Zion Gate and its sites. Highlights include: Christ Church, King David's Tomb, the Dormition Abbey, and David's Citadel. The Jerusalem Development Authority presents a Guide for the Independent Tourist. The Old City of Jerusalem Audio Walking Tours takes you through the allies of the Old City of Jerusalem in a fascinating journey through time to a city that is the center of religious and spiritual worship for thousands of years. http://youtu.be/wyN8AiyeOTM Walk through the ancient quarters following 15 different tours and explore the churches, synagogues, masques and historical points of interest. Explore the colorful marketplaces and enjoy the smell of exotic local foods. Glimpse the Temple Mount compound where 3 religions meet in a focal point of worship. Visit the Western Wall, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Dome of the Rock, the Garden Tomb and many more religious iconic locations. Walk in the footsteps of Jesus, see the Temple's cycles of birth and destruction, witness the sites of Islam. [divider]

От Ворот Сиона до Яффских Ворот - Маршрут для инвалидов

http://youtu.be/X4-AIWuDg6c От горы Сион до Яффских ворот Маршрут пролегает мимо исторических зданий, многое поведавших на своем веку и свято хранящих их тайны. Мы познакомимся с прошлыми эпохами и современной историей мест, расположенных на данном отрезке. [divider] The videos on this channel are introductions to all audio tours in the app. View Larger Map

Mount of the Beatitudes

Mount of the Beatitudes

[caption id="attachment_375" align="aligncenter" width="300"]israelandyou.com Mount of the Beatitudes[/caption] Mount of the Beatitudes refers to the hill in northern Israel where Jesus delivered the Sermon on the Mount, between Capernaum and Gennesaret (Ginosar) near Tabgha, Mount Arbel and Horns of Hattin. The architecture and the gardens are beautiful. The quiet atmosphere is perfect for pilgrims. http://youtu.be/fZ9kFoqF_1o The mountain is topped by a Catholic chapel built in 1939 by the Franciscan Sisters with the support of the Italian ruler Mussolini.  The building which was constructed by the noted architect Antonio Barluzzi is full of numerical symbolism.  In front of the church, the symbols on the pavement represent Justice, Prudence, Fortitude, Charity, Faith and Temperance.  Inside the church hangs the cloak from Pope Paul VI's visit in 1964. [slideshow gallery_id="5"]
Site Information
Names: Mount of Beatitudes; Church of the Beatitudes; Church of the Sermon on the Mount
Location: Tabgha, Galilee, Israel
Faith: Christianity
Denomination: Catholic
Order: Franciscan
Categories: Biblical Sites; Churches
Date: 4th century; 1938
Features: Footsteps of Jesus
Status: active
Photo gallery: Mount of Beatitudes Photo Gallery
Visitor Information
Coordinates: 32.880858° N, 35.555792° E   (view on Google Maps)
Lodging: View hotels near this location

Mount Meron

  The circular route around the peak of Mount Meron is perfect for families, but not for baby carriages. If you hike at the end of the fall/beginning of winter you can catch the beautiful Helmonit. I have been there several times in all seasons. Believe me it is worth the effort. There is potable water available as well as plenty of shade and panoramic views in all directions. If you are hungry after the hike you can drive down to Meron for a kosher meal. I hope I got the difference between Alon Mazui and Alon Tola correct. Let me know if I have to correct them.  

Flora on Mount Meron

[caption id="attachment_8211" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Har Meron Har Meron Ela - Pistacia Berries[/caption] [caption id="attachment_8209" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Har Meron - Hazazit - Lichen Har Meron - Hazazit - Lichen[/caption] [caption id="attachment_8212" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Har Meron - Hazazit - Lichen Har Meron - Hazazit - Lichen[/caption]   [caption id="attachment_8213" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Alon Alon Maztui  (Quercus Calliprinos, Palestine Oak) with dentate (serrated) leaves[/caption] [caption id="attachment_8214" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Alon Alon Tola (Quercus Bossieri, Quercus Infectoria) with non-serrated leaves[/caption] [caption id="attachment_8215" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Har Meron - Ela - Pistacia Har Meron - Ela - Pistacia Leaves[/caption]   [caption id="attachment_8218" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Shezif HaDov  - Prunus ursina Shezif HaDov - Prunus ursina[/caption] [caption id="attachment_8221" align="aligncenter" width="425"]Helmonit - yellow sternbergia flowers. Flowers in fall after first rain. Helmonit - yellow sternbergia flowers. Flowers in fall after first rain.[/caption]

 Panorama (East) from Mount Meron

http://youtu.be/kh5y9kl9lYQ  

Panorama (North) from Mount Meron

http://youtu.be/JnHZYHwgORQ  

View (South) From Mount Meron

Two parallel mountain ranges rise (both from the south-east to north-west direction) in the Central Upper Galilee of Israel: Mount Meron Range and Mount Beit Jan Range. In the photo below you can see the forest ranger's home on the southern edge of the Mount Meron Range and the village of Beit Jan on the Mount Beir Jan Range further south. [caption id="attachment_8156" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Mount Meron to the South Mount Meron to the South[/caption]

Mount Meron Summit Trail

Access: On Route 89, between the Druze village of Horfesh and Kibbutz Sasa, there is an entrance to the road belonging to the Mt. Meron nature reserve and the Mt. Meron Field School. Drive 5.5 kilometers to the trailhead. At the trailhead there's a park where you can picnic before or after your walk. Trail Marking: Red Required equipment: walking shoes, water, hat Difficulty: easy - for the whole family

Mount Arbel

Arbel National Park and Arbel Nature Reserve

Mount Arbel is a wonderful park for nature lovers to hike and a challenging climb for extreme sports, a station on both the Israel Trail and the Gospel Trail. It is a must for both learning about Jewish History and for visiting the Christian sites mentioned in the New Testament. mount arbel Mount Arbel (Hebrew: Har Arbel) is a mountain in The Lower Galilee near Tiberias in Israel, with high cliffs, views of Mount Hermon in the Golan Heights, trails to a cave-fortress, and ruins of an ancient synagogue. The peak, at 181 metres above sea level (380 metres above the surrounding area), dominates the surroundings (much of the area is below sea level) and from the lookout atop the mountain, almost all of the Galilee into the Golan Heights including Safed, Tiberias and most of the Sea of Galilee, is visible.   http://youtu.be/1M8_N6bKFHI The historian of the Roman period, Josephus Flavius, is the only source for a description of the battle between the Galilean Zealots, who barricaded themselves at Arbel, and Herod the Great, in 37 CE. Josephus relates that Marc Antony had sent Herod to suppress a rebellion by Jews from “the village of Arbella” who were “…lurking in caves…opening up onto mountain precipices [that] were inaccessible from any quarter, except by some tortuous and extremely narrow paths leading up to them; the cliff in front of them dropped sheer down…” (Josephus, War 1: 305, 310). Herod overcame the rebels only after he had the best of his warriors lowered to the caves in cages suspended by ropes, from which the zealots became convenient targets for their fiery brands and arrows. The Zealots fought to the death. mount arbel kineret In the early first century CE, Jesus of Nazareth preached and performed miracles in the Valley of Ginnosar at the foot of the Arbel, moving between Migdal and Capernaum with his disciples and followers. Some Christian traditions locate the site of those miracles in the Valley of Arbel.  
  • Use marked trails only.
  • The trail to the scenic lookout is comfortable and accessible to all walkers. The other trails are for experienced hikers only and require use of hand-holds and cables installed at the site. The ‘red’ trail is recommended for descent to the fortress. The ‘black’ trail is recommended for ascent from the fortress.
  • A recent trail map is recommended (Lower Galilee, the Valleys and the Gilboa).
  • Do not go near the edge of the cliff. Beware of falling and rolling stones.
  • On rainy days the trail is wet and slippery. Do not descend the cliff!
  • Do not remain in or traverse the national park and nature reserve after dark.
  • Rappelling and cliff-climbing is prohibited. Do not climb walls and ancient structures.
  • Carry 3 liters of water per day per person. Do not depend on natural water sources for drinking.
  • Wear walking shoes and a hat.
  • Do not harm flora, fauna or inanimate objects.
  • Keep the area clean. Do not bury or burn trash. Please take you trash out with you and dispose of it in a trash bin.

Moa

Moa

A Nabatean site on the Spice Route, built in the 1st century, a world Heritage Site. The Incense Route and Desert Cities of the Negev reflects the hugely profitable trade in frankincense and myrrh. [gallery ids="4235,4237"]

Moa Oasis - Eco Resort Arava, Israel

In a unique oasis , Moa was founded for the purpose of being a home for a culture of peace: inner peace of each individual, peace between a man and his fellow brother, between different segments ,races and cultures in our society, between nations and most of all between the humane race and the natural living environment. 01 Through ecological and holistic vision, built with local earth bricks and an architectural approach of simplicity and sustainability, all those in order to provide a base for workshops, conferences and gatherings in the magical ambiance of the desert. Moa is surrounded by a vast ancient untouched desert ,located along the ancient Nabatean incense route, between the legend city of Petra towards the seaport of the Mediterranean in an area recently declared as a world heritage site.  

Moa Overnight Campground

Moa Overnight Campground, located in the Negev, not far from moshav Tzofar, provides some kind of a historical justice, as in this place was located a Nabatean inn in which travelers who travelled the Nabatean Spice Route spent the night about 2,000 years ago. In short: history and desert all in one. Moa Overnight Campground is accessible to vehicles. It does not include water taps, toilets, showers or electricity. It is only you and what was left from the time of the Nabateans. Moa Overnight Campground is open throughout the year and is free of charge. It also serves travelers on the Israel National Trail, which provides fascinating encounters with interesting people. Beyond this, the campground serves as an excellent starting point for many trips in the Negev and Arava areas.
Arrival at Moa Overnight Campground: drive on road number 90 and about 1.5 kilometers to the south of Tzofar turn carefully west onto a dirt road, according to the signs.
Free parking and admission.
View Larger Map

Mitzpe Shalom

Peace Vista

הורד (2) (Peace Vista), Kfar Haruv, Ramat HaGolan, Israel The Peace Vista is situated on the high basalt cliffs of the Southern Golan Heights above the untamed gardens of a beautiful nature reserve with spectacular views of the Sea of Galilee spread out in its entire length and width, Mt. Hermon, hills of the Galilee, Mt. Tabor and the fields of the Jordan Valley. Make sure your tour guide stops at Mitzpe Shalom. Here you can view Israel settlements as the Syrian Army did before 1967. The members of Kfar Haruv designed Peace Vista to signify their longing for permanent peace in the region. On your way to the Vista you pass luscious kibbutz agricultural fields. Gift store and toilets are open at the Vista.       http://youtu.be/tGrbCL6asSU  

Peace Vista Country Lodge

s6 In the heart of this magical scenery lies the village with its wooden cabins, luxurious suites and unique holistic experience: "A breeze over the water"…     s2  

  ****** Bikta Restaurant at Mitzpe Hashalom מסעדת-הבקתה_01 At Mitzpe Shalom in the magnificent southern Golan Heights, at the edge of a basalt precipice overlooking a breathtaking panoramic landscape of the Sea of Galilee, Mount Hermon, the Galilee mountains, the peak of Mount Tavor and the fields of the Jordan Valley, lies the Bikta ("Hut”) Restaurant, a Kosher meat restaurant that specializes in smoking and aging choice cuts of meat. Bikta’s abundant menu is based on a selection of savory meat entrees, such as aged entrecote, sirloin, breast of veal and more. Their unique dishes of beef, lamb and young chickens are served in individual pots, and the menu offers a host of delicacies. An extravagant salad bar is offered free of charge to accompany any entrée you order.      

How to Arrive

By way of Coursi Junction – moderate ascent. From Tzemach Junction go eastward on Road 98. After approximately 3 km turn left towards Ein-Gev and Katzarin. Keep going till Coursi Junction, and go up in the direction of Ramat Ha’golan until Pick Junction. Turn right and travel straight on until passing kibbutz Kfar Charub. About 200 meters southward is the right turn to Mitzpeh Ha’shalom. By way of Chamat Gader – steep and twisted ascent. From Tzemach Junction go eastward on Road 98 in the direction of Chamat Gader. Before the entrance to Chamat Gader, turn left towards Ramat Ha’golan, the continuation of Road 98. The road goes up and twists until you reach the Golan Heights, and then it becomes straighter. After passing kibbutz Mevoh Chama, the entrance to Mitzpeh Ha’shalom will be your left.

Mitzpe Hashalom

images (9)Mitzpe Shalom, also known as Peace Lookout or Peace Vista, offers what is hands-down the most spectacular view you’ll find in Israel’s Southern Golan. The Hebrew name seems to be undecided since some signs on the site read "Mitzpe LeShalom" and others read "Mitzpe HaShalom, while "Mitzpe Shalom will also get you there in Google Search. The Peace Vista is situated on the high basalt cliffs of the Southern Golan Heights above the untamed gardens of a beautiful nature reserve with spectacular views of the Sea of Galilee spread out in its entire length and width, Mt. Hermon, hills of the Galilee, Mt. Tabor and the fields of the Jordan Valley. The neighboring settlement of Kfar Charuv or "carob village, was founded in 1973, and took its name from an Arab village that had been located there, Kafr Hareb which was apparently named for the village Haruva that existed during the Talmudic era. Kfar Haruv’s main lines of business are industry (ARI-hydraulic equipment), agriculture,  and tourism (Peace Vista). The Kibbutz is a co-owner of Hamat Gader. To the north are the Susita nature preserve and Nahal Pik. The kibbutz was founded by English speakers and is economically strong.  The weather is comfortable, compared with the Jordan Valley, and it isn't as chilly as the Golan.   [gallery ids="3385,3386,3388"]   Since the visibility was very bad on the day I visited this week, I am providing a personal video of another visit on a day with much better visibility. http://youtu.be/tGrbCL6asSU Consider taking a short, 10-minute nature hike down from the lookout promenade, through the wildflowers to one of the springs (Maayan Mitzpe Hashalom) that feed the Kinneret. Steps with railings have been installed to make the short but steep walk downhill a bit easier. The springs can be located by looking for the bamboo reeds that grow up from the water source. Keep your eyes open for figs growing near the springs. A small, square, man-made pool traps the spring water. This pool was originally built by the Syrian army so their sergeants would have a place to refresh themselves. Today, the man-made stone pool is a great place for hikers to rest.

mitzpehashalommastmuna In the Mitzpe HaShalom complex one can also find audio information stations for those who would like to learn more about the local geography. A few sets of steps near the observation point will lead you to several short circular trails, some of which pass by orchards.

  [caption id="attachment_3391" align="aligncenter" width="200"]תל קציר ורמת הגולן תל קציר ורמת הגולן[/caption]

Near Mitzpe Hashalom you may be interested in the Kibbutz Tel Katzir Museum, a small museum in the kibbutz about its history and the period between 1948 and 1967. Contact Devorah 050-8890237 or 04-6756809 or orty21@walla.com.

View Larger Map How to arrive: By way of Coursi Junction – moderate ascent. From Tzemach Junction go eastward on Road 98. After approximately 3 km turn left towards Ein-Gev and Katzarin. Keep going till Coursi Junction, and go up in the direction of Ramat Ha’golan until Pick Junction. Turn right and travel straight on until passing kibbutz Kfar Charuv. About 200 meters southward is the right turn to Mitzpeh Ha’shalom. By way of Chamat Gader – steep and twisted ascent. From Tzemach Junction go eastward on Road 98 in the direction of Chamat Gader. Before the entrance to Chamat Gader, turn left towards Ramat Ha’golan, the continuation of Road 98. The road goes up and twists until you reach the Golan Heights, and then it becomes straighter. After passing kibbutz Mevoh Chama, the entrance to Mitzpeh Ha’shalom will be your left.

Mini Israel Park

Mini Israel Park is the Israeli Madurodam. 385  exact 1:25 dioramas in full miniature detail of Israel's most important religious, historical,  archeological and modern sites - on dollhouse scale - arranged in the shape of a Star of David. 25,000 tiny, animated  figures move with music and sound. The park also offers a 3D MiniMax aerial movie of Israeli sites with spectacular angles and breathtaking photography of Israeli landscapes – all in 3D . [satellite gallery=34 auto=on caption=off thumbs=off] Unfortunatelly the replicas have suffered from years Mediterranean sunshine since the opening in 2002 and are presently being slowly repaired. The models also suffer from over-commercialization with tasteless advertising between the dioramas. One blatant case is the replica of the planned Egged Bus Museum which has not even been built yet. With that said, Mini Israel is still an exhilarating experience. In order to overcome the loss of income due to decrease in tourist traffic, the Mini Israel Park offers a restaurant and catered private events in the park and even produces musical programs in a small amphitheater on the site. Mini Israel Park is located just off the main Tel Aviv- Jerusalem highway,  in Latrun, half way between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem (only 20 minutes away) and only 15 minutes from Ben-Gurion International Airport. Many tourists come to this theme park directly from the airport. Other groups will sum up their visit with a peaceful stroll among the models.  http://youtu.be/phpuvWcQZk8   Mini Israel Park  

Quesity

Quesity is a cell phone app is a tour and a game turns every trip to Jerusalem and Tel Aviv into an exciting adventure of family fun. There is a special edition for touring Mini Israel Park, available in Hebrew and English. This is an Android App which can be downloaded on Google Play. [gallery ids="6809,6810"] http://youtu.be/rK9MRNFanv0

Mini Israel

Take advice from an old tourist guide, if you don't have time to see all of Israel, see a good portion of it, at least in miniature, at Mini Israel. This theme park covers the major regions of the country including many of the important religious and tourist sites, and reduces the size of each to a fraction of their real size. If Lego ever made an Israel land park, it would look something like this, only the materials are not blocks, so everything looks realistic. However some of the models are over-commercialized, especially the "historic" Egged Bus Building which has not  yet been erected!

[caption id="attachment_7943" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Mini Israel Mini Israel[/caption]

Mini Israel is designed like a "Star of David" marked by a red brick path (Remember the old "Yellow Brick Road"?) that allows you to see model airplanes at Ben-Gurion Airport, the Dead Sea, the Old City of Jerusalem, Jaffa, and Tel Aviv. Many of the sites have sound effects, such as the sound of a muezzin calling Muslims to prayer on the Temple Mount and lifeguards yelling at swimmers on the beach at Tel Aviv. Unfortunately the sound effects spread out over other models as well.

The park takes about an hour to tour and is a great place for kids, especially those seeing Israel for the first time, because it allows them to identify places they have seen or will visit. Many tourist guides will take their guest here directly upon arrival in Israel on a night flight from the Far East. Other guides  will come to Mini Israel to review a week's intensive touring before the tourists embark for return home.

   .Mini Israel is an exciting attraction that featuring over 385 beautifully crafted exact replica models of Israel's most important historical, religious, archeological and modern sites, at a scale of 1:25. To be fair, you must  be aware that many of the models are suffering from the heat and exposure to sunlight and radiation. The management is investing much time and effort to refurbish the models, so some of them may be closed for repairs when you arrive. Here, Israel's historical, archeological and architectural wonders are inhabited by some 25,000 residents each no more than 7 cm (about 2.76 inches) in height. The models are situated among 70,000 rich greenery Bonsai trees and thousands of miniature figures of Israelis of all types. The park offers an amazing 3D movie of Israel landscapes

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 .Although you can purchase refreshments at Mini Israel, many tour guides will recommend the local Alonit as the most popular attraction in the Latrun area

View Larger Map

 .Accessibility: The entire Mini Israel site is accessible to the physically challenged

  :Opening hours

  •  Sep-June  -  10:00-18:00
  • July -  August  - 17:00-22:00  throughout the week except Friday 10:00 - 14:00
Admission:
  • Adults - 69 NIS
  • Children aged 2 to 5 - 29 NIS
  • Children 5 or older - 69 NIS
  • Children under 5 - free
  • Adult/Child 5 and up in group - 52
  • Seniors 59 NIS
  • Disabled 59 NIS, Students 59 NIS.
Location: Latrun Half way between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv 30 minutes’ drive from either city,only 15 minutes drive from Ben Gurion International Airport

.Pets: Your animals cannot enter the Mini Israel Park, but they will certainly be happy to hear of your experiences when you come home

http://youtu.be/phpuvWcQZk8

Migdal Tzedek

Due to vandalism, quarry traffic and danger caused by construction failure Migdal Tzedek National Park is closed until further notice. Migdal Tzedek and all of its historical predecesors stands on the eastern edge of the only pass 2km wide (between the swamps of the Yarkon River springs and the foothills of the Shomron) on the strategic road linking Egypt and Mesopotamia:- Via Maris. The western side of the pass is Tel Afek. One cannot enter the Crusader and Ottoman ruins, but while enjoy the view all the way to the Mediterranean you will be able to understand the strategic importance of this elevation (altitude of 140 m). The park is only a short walk from Rosh HaAyin. [caption id="attachment_9146" align="aligncenter" width="450"]Sharon Cross Section Sharon Cross Section - Mediterranean, 3 Sandstone ridges and 2 troughs, red sand hills, Marzeva (Gutter), Shomron foothills[/caption] The Israelite fortress was named Migdal Afek - the twin of Tel Afek. The Crusader fortress was called Mirabel. Mirabel was conquered and destroyed by Salah ad-Din in 1191. Under the Ottomans it was called Majdal Yaba. Early in the 19th Century Sheikh Salah Tzadek Jam'ini came from the village of Jam'in, near Ariel, and settled here. The fortress "adopted" his name: Majdal Tzadek or Migdal Tzedek in Hebrew. During the British Mandate in Palestine there was an active quarry nearby, which was closed after the Israeli War of Independence. The fortress was incorporated into a national park in 1905. Since then the quarry has been reopened and has caused severe environmental damage to the national park. The Biblical site of the Battle of Even Haezer is very close at Izbet Zarta in Rosh HaAyin. In this battle between the Israelites and the Philistines, the sacred Ark of the Covenant was taken by the Philistines.

How to Get There

The tour will start at Migdal Tzedek. To get there take the access road south of Rosh HaAyin at the end of Route 444.  Proceed into Yehuda HaLevi St. 10 m [33 f] after the turn you will see a sharp climb onto a dirt road that leads to a monument in memory of the warriors who fell in the Rosh HaAyin area. Take this dirt road until a fortress looms in front of you and  park the car there. [caption id="attachment_9140" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Migdal Tzedek - Migdal Afek Migdal Tzedek - Migdal Afek[/caption] [caption id="attachment_9141" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Migdal Tzedek - Migdal Afek Migdal Tzedek - Migdal Afek[/caption] [caption id="attachment_9142" align="aligncenter" width="800"]IsraelandYou at Migdal Tzedek IsraelandYou at Migdal Tzedek[/caption]   http://youtu.be/hUMFW5BM8oY

Metzad Ateret

Jacob's Ford

The crossing, known as Jacob’s Ford in ancient times, had settlements around it.Archaeological remains found in the area date to the lower Paleolithic, or Stone Age period of 750,000 years ago. The bridge was a major crossing point between Acco and Damascus. In 1918, Turkish forces retreating from the British in World War I destroyed the bridge. The bridge was destroyed again on June 16-17, 1946 by the Haganah on the night of the bridges. After the Israeli War of Independence, the bridge was part of the demilitarized zone. Ateret Fortress Metzad Ateret, or Qasr Atara is adjacent to The Daughters of Jacob's  Bridge (Gesher Bnot Yaakov) in the Jordan River valley. The name of the fortress is a comedy of errors. Early Christians identified the city of Bethulia (Beit El) from the Apocryphal Book of Judith as the city of Safed. From here it led to additional mis-identifications by moving Jacob and his family to the Galilee, for instance  Jacob's Bridge, thinking that this is where Jacob crossed theYabok (Jordan) to meet his brother Esau. The Moslems called this ford Makhdat al Akhsan (The Crossing of Sadness) the place where Jacob heard that his son Joseph had died. Khan Job Yusuf is the well into which Joseph was thrown. The Cave of Shem and Ever, in Safed.  Akko became Acre (Ekron). Baron Rothchild mis-identified Machanaim with Jacob's crossing of the Yabok. Last but not least the Daughters of Jacob's Bridge. In the 12th Century there was a nunnery in Safed named after Saint James. They received part of the customs and taxes paid at the St. James Ford. James was translated via the French Jaques to Jacob. http://youtu.be/isjWLsKtZWI After the victory of the Crusaders on Sultan Saladin in the Battle of Montgisard in November 1177, King had Baldwin IV of Jerusalem began in October 1178 to build on the "James Ford" a mighty castle. This ford was the safest Jordan transition between Acre and Damascus and therefore had special strategic value. images (1)   Mason's symbols can still be found on the fortress stones.   Medieval teen king, precocious politician, and successful battlefield commander, Baldwin IV not only surmounted disabling neurological impairment but challenged the stigma of leprosy, remarkably continuing to rule until his premature death aged twenty-three. His coronation as sixth king of Jerusalem at age thirteen coincided with the seventy-fifth anniversary of the Crusader Latin Kingdom in July, 1174. Twelfth-century Jerusalem, with a population larger than any European city. The castle was as a defensive bulwark the northern flank of the Kingdom of Jerusalem and put pressure on Saladin fortress city of Damascus. In April 1179, the first phase was completed and with a garrison of the Knights Templar occupied. הורד (11) Soon after construction began Saladin had learned from the work, but he was not initially able to prevent these military because his main force was bound by Muslim uprisings in northern Syria. Thus, Saladin decided to offer Baldwin money. He offered 60,000 dinars if this would be to set the construction work. When Baldwin refused, the Sultan increased its offer to 100,000 dinars.  The king refused again and continued the expansion of Chastellet. In the summer of 1179, the castle is said to have had a massive, ten-meter high perimeter wall and a tower and the building work went even further.
Saladin then gathered his army and marched against Chastellet. King Baldwin was half a day's march away in Tiberias at that time. The audacious goal of the attackers was to conquer the castle before Baldwin would advance with a relief army. After about six-day siege succeeded the Muslims on 30 August 1179 to undermine the castle wall and make a breach through which they stormed the castle. That same day King Baldwin appeared with his army of relief before Chastellet, too late to save the soldiers and construction workers in the castle, which were all to be killed or enslaved.  Baldwin withdrew and Saladin had the castle destroyed systematically. archaeologist found the remains of those killed (said to be 700) during the dig.
הורד (10)
Modern archaeology has found signs of medieval earth quakes (paleoseismicity).
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A trail marked with black trail markers heads south and north of Jacob's Ford Bridge. The northern section is good for bikers, while the southern section is good for hikers. Leave your car by the Bailey bridge on route 91. Walk southward on the road for about 25 meters and take the jeep road by the new concrete bridge (note that the jeep road is blocked off and inaccessible by vehicle). Continue on the black trail as far as you desire; there are many places where you can head down to the river. Do not enter the water near the Kfar Hanassi Hydroelectric plant. This is a small project on the Jordan River that produces and sells electricity to the National Grid when the river is in high flow. The following clip does not take place at Jacob's Ford, but  it presents the atmosphere of the Crusaders and their "holy wars". http://youtu.be/h6SkaFMTihI
View Larger Map

Meron

 

The Ancient Synagogue of Meron

The Meron synagogue built in the last decade of the 3rd century CE survived the earthquake of 306 CE, and was destroyed by another earthquake in 409 CE. It is one of the largest ancient synagogues in Israel. Using basilica style with a large room with eight columns on each side leading to the facade and a three-doored entrance framed by a columned portico. Even ancient synagogues have politics. Compare the low lever of restoration of the Ancient Synagogue of Meron with the Ancient Synagogue of Baram. Ask you your tour guide if he has an answer. [caption id="attachment_8192" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Ancient Synagogue in Meron - Repaired Door Frame Ancient Synagogue in Meron - Repaired Door Frame[/caption] [caption id="attachment_8193" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Ancient Synagogue in Meron - Excvated Wall Ancient Synagogue in Meron - excavated Wall[/caption] [caption id="attachment_8194" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Ancient Synagogue in Meron Ancient Synagogue in Meron[/caption] [caption id="attachment_8195" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Ancient Synagogue in Meron Ancient Synagogue in Meron[/caption]    

Rashbi's Grave

The Tomb of Shimon Bar Yochai in Meron is the second most popular Jewish religious site in Israel after the Western Wall. Every year hundreds of thousands of believers come to camp out near the site and celebrate a Lag B'Omer Hillula and give their three year old sons a first haircut (upsherin).  Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai was a Rabbi in the Mishna period during the first-century C.E. and is attributed to be the author of the mystic, kabbalistic book of Zohar. [caption id="attachment_8196" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Rashbi's Grave-Candle Burner Rashbi's Grave-Candle Burner[/caption] [caption id="attachment_8197" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Rashbi's Grave Rashbi's Grave[/caption] [caption id="attachment_8198" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Rashbi's Grave - Dome over the Grave Rashbi's Grave - Dome over the Grave[/caption] [caption id="attachment_8199" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Grave of Rabbi Elazar Ben Shimon Grave of Rabbi Elazar Ben Shimon[/caption] [caption id="attachment_8200" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Grave of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai Grave of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai[/caption]

The Forgotten Burial Cave of Rabbi Hillel and Rabbi Shamai

Saints also have politics. According to tradition these two famous Rabbis were also buried nearby. However, their memory has been side tracked so as not to interfere with the mystical believers of Rashbi. [caption id="attachment_8206" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Burial Cave or Hillel and Shamai Burial Cave or Hillel and Shamai[/caption]  

Modern Tasteless Additions

You can understand my feelings according to the title above. Private "religious" interests control Rashbi's Grave for their own profit and no aesthetic values. Perhaps it would be better if the Ministry of Religions would nationalize the site and organize it. [caption id="attachment_8201" align="aligncenter" width="800"]A patch on a patch on a patch A patch on a patch on a patch[/caption] [caption id="attachment_8202" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Lag B'Omer Stadium Lag B'Omer Stadium[/caption] [caption id="attachment_8203" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Real Estate Battle Real Estate Battle[/caption] [caption id="attachment_8204" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Chastity Chastity[/caption] [caption id="attachment_8205" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Chastity Chastity[/caption]

Megiddo

Archaeologists working in Megiddo (Armageddon, el-Lejjun, Tel el-Mutesellium, Tell el-Mutesellim, Tel Megiddo, Campus Legionis, Har Megiddo, Har-Megeddon, Harmagedon, Isar-Megiddo, Legio, Lejjun, Megiddon) have unearthed an incredible 30 layers of settlement built on top of each other that cover a period of 35 centuries.

Megiddo Museum

The Museum is not really a museum, but houses the various model of the archaeological site. The buildings originally served the American archaeologists during their digs.

[gallery ids="4268,4269,4270,4272,4273,4274,4275,4276,4277"]

The city of Megiddo dates back roughly 8,000 years. The city ceased to exist after the Persian invasion of Palestine some 2,300 years ago and, today, nothing is left but the ruins of what once was a regional administrative and military center during the reign of King Solomon.

http://youtu.be/BYMWrLfqers

History of Megiddo

Megiddo's long history is related to its strategic position overlooking the Via Maris, one of the main routes used for travel between Egypt, Syria and Mesopotamia.  Megiddo assumes a prominent role. This is largely owing to its strategic location astride the Megiddo Pass (Wadi Ara). The city is referred to in the New Testament as Armageddon, a name St. John derived from the Hebrew for Mount Megiddo, Har Megiddo. According to the book of Revelation, this the place where the last great battle will be fought when the forces of good will triumph over evil.   [caption id="attachment_4257" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Scan_Pic0647 Five Israel Lira coin saved by my Father-in-Law Dan Ehrlich ז"ל for his children[/caption]  

The first people to inhabit Megiddo arrived during the Neolithic period. A watershed period occurred in the 20th century B.C.E. when it became a fortified city-state. Egypt later dominated the area then known as Canaan and massive walls were built around the city, which indicate Megiddo had become wealthy and required protection.

The first written reference to Megiddo; indeed, the first recorded battle in history, is a detailed account of the 1479 B.C.E. invasion of the Egyptian Pharaoh Thutmose III. The city subsequently became a center of culture and politics.

http://youtu.be/TqycKW-OBK0 Strongly fortified throughout the ages, Megiddo boasted a stone Syrian-type gate in the days of Canaanite inhabitation.  Megiddo is first mentioned in the Bible in Joshua 12:21. At the time the city was inhabited by Canaanites. The city later came under the control of King Solomon, though there is some controversy as to how much of a connection he had to the remains that have been discovered.

Walls and Gates of Megiddo

[gallery ids="4311,4312,4313,4314,4315,4316,4317,4318"] The Israelite connection to the city ended around 732 B.C.E. when the Assyrians conquered Palestine. Though the city was destroyed and rebuilt several more times, it gradually declined in significance. Most recently, Megiddo was the place where British General Edmund Allenby launched his attack against the Turks in 1917. It also served as a base for Israeli forces in the 1948 war.

Sacrificial Altar

[gallery ids="4319,4320,4321,4322,4323,4324,4325,4326,4327"] Part of a large religious complex from the third millennium B.C., this sacrificial altar is striking in its size (10m diameter) and location (behind the temple).

Granary

It looks like a big hole in the ground. Luckily there is a fence so tourists won't fall in. What is it? There are stairs up and down the walls. The walls are not plastered so it was not a cistern. Archaeologists found grains of wheat among the rocks and came to the conclusion that this is the strategic granary.

[gallery ids="4329,4330,4332"]

 

Solomon's Stables?

The stable is not wide enough to hold horses. The troughs are too small to feed hungry war horses. There is no source of water either give the horses to drink or to clean the stable? So what is it? Some archaeologist want this to be Solomon's stable or at least Ahab's stable. However, it is much more likely that these are store rooms, very similar to those found in Tel Sheva. The chariot war horses probably were pastured outside near the local brook, Nachal Kini. [gallery columns="2" ids="4333,4334,4335,4336"] One of the interesting parts of the excavation is the chariot stables, called Solomon's Stables even though we now know they were built by King Ahab during the 9th century B.C.E. The only parts that remain are the posts where the horses were apparently tied and troughs. A grain silo dates from the reign of King Jeroboam in the 8th century B.C.E.

 Water Works

[gallery ids="4337,4339,4340,4341,4342,4343,4344,4345,4346,4347,4348,4349,4350,4351"]   Today, water is considered vital to the security and survival of Israel. That this has been true since ancient times is evident in many archaeological sites throughout the country, including Megiddo. There was an earlier system based on a camouflaged exit in the wall leading to the spring. Later, an ingenious system was devised so the townspeople would not have to leave the safety of the city walls to collect water. A vertical shaft was dug within the city to the depth of the nearby spring and then a tunnel was built connecting to the water source. You can walk down 183 steps into the shaft, which is 120 feet deep, and then along the tunnel, which stretches another 215 feet. There is an accessible wheel chair conveyor available at the end of the tunnel. Ask at the gate. View Larger Map

Megiddo Prison Mosaic

The archaeological site at the Megiddo Police hill is identified as the Jewish village Kfar Othnai, mentioned in written sources. The camp of the Roman Legion VI Ferrata and a city named Maximianopolis, mentioned in historical sources, were erected next to it. This is perhaps the earliest Christian religious center, but not yet a church. [gallery ids="4298,4299,4300"] The Roman Period site represents a rare cultural grouping of Village-Camp-City in a limited geographical space, which is located near the biblical Tel Megiddo that is recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. The Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) archaeological excavations at the Megiddo Prison revealed a building dated to the third century CE, based on the archaeological finds both below and above its floors. The building has a rectangular hall with a mosaic floor bearing geometric patterns, a medallion decorated with drawings of fish, and three Greek inscriptions. One inscription mentions an army officer who contributed toward the paving of the floor. The second inscription is dedicated to the memory of four women, and the third inscription mentions a woman who contributed a table (altar) to the God Jesus Christ. All the inscriptions are related to Christian community ritual activities that took place in the building. The incorporation of the three inscriptions in the third century CE mosaic floor, that link a Roman army officer to Christianity in a building that dates prior to the recognition of Christianity as an official religion, is rare and unique and very important toward the understanding of early Christianity.

Mearat Paar

  Mearat Paar Nature Reserve ( 14-dunam) is a Karstic Sinkhole in the Upper Galilee. Mearat Paar cave is located between the Mount Adir (part of the Meron Range), and Kibbutz Sasa. [caption id="attachment_8702" align="aligncenter" width="618"]Pa'ar Cave Pa'ar Cave[/caption] [caption id="attachment_8703" align="aligncenter" width="618"]Pa'ar Cave Pa'ar Cave[/caption] [caption id="attachment_8704" align="aligncenter" width="618"]Pa'ar Cave Pa'ar Cave[/caption] IMG_20140917_093907 [caption id="attachment_8706" align="aligncenter" width="618"]Pa'ar Cave Pa'ar Cave[/caption] Directions: Route 89 north of Sasa Season: Year-round Difficulty: Family friendly No accessibility No entrance fee

Mearat HaKeshet

"Mearat HaKeshet" (the arched cave), in the hills of the Western Galilee in Kibbutz Adamit. The arch is an extraordinary miracle of nature, and for the particularly rugged, rappelling is an option at this stop. The day I visited the IDF was going through rappelling exercises. While approaching the cave, take the time to appreciate the local flora. You will be walking along the Amir Meital Trail above the Bezet Stream to the Keshet Cave  and will pass the memorial of the the soldiers who were killed, including Amir Mei-Tal, Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev by the Hezbollah in July 2006 - the incident that began the 2nd Lebanon - Israel conflict.  There are two ceremaic plaques in the memorial area. At the bottom of the plaque are the dates of Amir's birth and death. [gallery ids="4481,4482,4483,4484,4488,4489,4505,4490,4493,4492,4491,4497,4498,4499,4502,4504,4494,4495,4496,4501,4503"] Speechless wonder is the reaction to the astounding beautiful vision seen though the Arch of the Keshet Cave at the Adamit Park in the Galilee. One of the most amazing natural wonders in Eretz Yisrael, the Me’arat Hakeshet — also known as the Rainbow Cave or Arch Cave — can be found up against the Israel-Lebanon border just a few kilometers from Rosh Hanikra and the sparkling blue Mediterranean Sea. It is situated amid the wild scenery on the cliffs of Nachal Betzet and Nachal Namer, on the Adamit Ridge. Why is this place called a cave? As this is actually a huge rock arch hanging between heaven and earth, above the landscape of the Western Galilee region, high up on Ramat Admit (Admit Heights or mountain ridge). Although it is still impressive on second, third and even forth visit, but where is the cave here? Apparently this arch is only what remains from the ceiling of a cave which has collapsed a long time ago. And it is this remnant that is the best natural attraction in the area, especially due to the observation point overlooking the landscape around it which it provides, making it almost like flying a light aircraft. And yes, it is as scary as it sounds, but also great fun. The views include the ridge of Rosh HaNikra, the Haifa Bay, the Carmel, Yehi'am Fortress,Mount Meron, and more. In order to make the experience complete, it is very much recommended to start with the path which leaves from the "Khenyonof” (meaning: view park) and come back to it through the wilder and rockier "Amir Meital” trail. Arrival through road number 8993.  

Masada

Masada is a rugged natural fortress, of majestic beauty, in the Judaean Desert overlooking the Dead Sea. It is a symbol of the ancient kingdom of Israel, its violent destruction and the last stand of Jewish patriots in the face of the Roman army, in 73 A.D. It was built as a palace complex, in the classic style of the early Roman Empire, by Herod the Great, King of Judaea, (reigned 37 – 4 B.C.). The camps, fortifications and attack ramp that encircle the monument constitute the most complete Roman siege works surviving to the present day. הורד (1) Masada is a dramatically located site of great natural beauty overlooking the Dead Sea, a rugged natural fortress on which the Judaean king Herod the Great constructed a sumptuous palace complex in classical Roman style. After Judaea became a province of the Roman Empire, it was the refuge of the last survivors of the Jewish revolt, who chose death rather than slavery when the Roman besiegers broke through their defences. As such it has an emblematic value for the Jewish people. http://youtu.be/zJ1B2CHhJpo It is also an archaeological site of great significance. The remains of Herod's palaces are outstanding and very intact examples of this type of architecture, whilst the untouched siegeworks are the finest and most complete anywhere in the Roman world. [satellite gallery=24 auto=on caption=on thumbs=off]

Masada - World Heritage Site

The Masada complex, built by Herod the Great, King of Judaea, who reigned between 37 BCE and 4 CE, and particularly the "hanging" palace with its three terraces, is an outstanding example of opulent architectural design, elaborately engineered and constructed in extreme conditions. The palace on the northern face of the dramatic mountain site consists of an exceptional group of classical Roman Imperial buildings.  The water system was particularly sophisticated, collecting run-off water from a single day's rain to sustain life for a thousand people over a period of two to three years. This achievement allowed the transformation of a barren, isolated, arid hilltop into a lavish royal retreat. When this natural defensive site, further strengthened by massive walls, was occupied by survivors of the Jewish Revolt against Roman rule, it was successfully besieged by a massive Roman army. The military camps, siegeworks and an attack ramp that encircle the site, and a network of legionary fortresses of quadrilateral plan, are the most complete anywhere in the Roman world. Masada is a poignant symbol of the continuing human struggle between oppression and liberty.
  • Masada is a symbol of the ancient Jewish Kingdom of Israel, of its violent destruction in the later 1st century CE, and of the subsequent Diaspora.
  •  The Palace of Herod the Great at Masada is an outstanding example of a luxurious villa of the Early Roman Empire, whilst the camps and other fortifications that encircle the monument constitute the finest and most complete Roman siege works to have survived to the present day.
  •  The tragic events during the last days of the Jewish refugees who occupied the fortress and palace of Masada make it a symbol both of Jewish cultural identity and, more universally, of the continuing human struggle between oppression and liberty.

Roman Camps

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View from above the Ramp

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Byzantine Church

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Western Palace

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Bath in Western Palace

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Mikvah

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Public Bath House

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Beit Midrash

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Columbarium

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Swimming Pool

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Souther Cistern

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Model of Aquaducts and Cisterns

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Store rooms

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Bath House

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Northern Palace - Top floor

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Northern Palace - Bottom floor

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Aquaducts and Cisterns

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Ramp

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Hill of the Grave

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Models at foot of the Ramp

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MASADA , ISRAEL - A WALKING TRAVEL TOUR

http://youtu.be/l2w9dyzdlvM

Masada Call Centre

For your connivance Masada has set up a dedicated call centre   You can get all the information and you can Book your visit to Masada National Park
  • Access for the disabled to most locations
  • Accommodation
Masada offers complete facilities for Corporate functions & family celebrations such as weddings & Bar Mitzvas up to 1200 people Telephone: +97286593607order@masada.org.il  

If you are thirsty on the way home

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Dutch

http://youtu.be/rtq7x59F6_E  

Spanish

http://youtu.be/jfsuxeYZcY0 jrst0157

Massada Guest House & Youth Hostel

Featuring an outdoor pool and air conditioning, Massada Guest House & Youth Hostel lies at the foot of the Massada plateau on the eastern edge of the Judaean Desert. It features en suite rooms and dormitories with free Wi-Fi. Accommodation at the Massada Guest House is air conditioned and is fitted with a kettle, cable TV and fridge. Rooms have functional furniture and tiled floors and the bathroom is complete with toiletries and a shower. On the shores of the Dead Sea, the Ein Gedi Spa and the beach are about a 15-minute drive from the property. You can go for a walk along marked routes close to the desert streams. Alternatively, you can go for a panoramic moonlit tour around the Massada and Sdom marlstones.
Hostel: 81 rooms

Marketplaces in the Old City – Audio Walking Tour in the Old City of Jerusalem

A tour through the markets and shopping boulevards of the old city Time of tour: 2 to 4 hours http://youtu.be/6LDJJAe8EAw *** City markets have always been a point of attraction for local residents, merchants and visitors. The fusion of flavors, colors and aromas, with the voices of the vendors harking their wares in the background, makes the marketplace a colorful, lively and bustling place that invites fascinating encounters. The Old City of Jerusalem has numerous bazaars, each one with its own merchandise and characteristics, each one with tales about its goods and its residents. We begin our tour in the "Alrov - Mamilla Boulevard" and finish in the Christian Quarter Road. Highlights include: the Stern house, David street, the Cardo, the three markets: meat, perfumes and gold, and Avtimus Market. [divider] Рынки Старого города http://youtu.be/rmm99iO2JA8 В Старом городе Иерусалима огромное разнообразие рынков, и каждый из них представляет собой особый мир. Пестрая мозаика культур, языков и рас придает им неповторимый колорит. [divider] The Jerusalem Development Authority presents a Guide for the Independent Tourist. The Old City of Jerusalem Audio Walking Tours takes you through the allies of the Old City of Jerusalem in a fascinating journey through time to a city that is the center of religious and spiritual worship for thousands of years. Walk through the ancient quarters following 15 different tours and explore the churches, synagogues, masques and historical points of interest. Explore the colorful marketplaces and enjoy the smell of exotic local foods. Glimpse the Temple Mount compound where 3 religions meet in a focal point of worship. Visit the Western Wall, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Dome of the Rock, the Garden Tomb and many more religious iconic locations. Walk in the footsteps of Jesus, see the Temple's cycles of birth and destruction, witness the sites of Islam. The videos on this channel are introductions to all audio tours in the app.

View Larger Map

MadaTech

The Israel National Museum of Science Technology and Space http://youtu.be/9OYPqpfHN0E I just returned from a family visit to the MadaTech Museum in Haifa. Both the adults and children found the museum to be exciting and educational - really top notch. As my grandson says, "MadaTech presents science by experience and fun."  The Technion Museum can be visited by all ages, but I recommend 6+. Although the exhibition is for Hebrew speakers, Anglophones and others can enjoy and appreciate the beauty of the historical building and can participate in the fun of the permanent exhibits demonstrating the various aspects of modern science: Noble Energy Science Park at MadaTech   A Jewel for my Wife Green Energy Exhibition Smile! It's Science Fly High – Aviation Exhibition A Matter of Chemistry Leonardo da Vinci Dark Room Mirror, Mirror Hall From Calculations to Computers Puzzles & Games Visual Deceptions The Secrets of Life The Printing Press Exhibition My green Home Exhibition Magical Science A Toy's Story I have been to this museum before, but  each special exhibit is worthy of a new visit, and perhaps membership in the Museum Society.  The present special exibit is:- Beyond Planet Earth: The Future of Space Exploration, a new exhibition in collaboration with the American Museum of Natural History from New-York. The exhibition offers a vision of the future of space travel as it boldly explores our next steps in our solar system and beyond. The exhibition takes visitors on humanity’s journey to explore the next frontier, either ourselves or via robotic proxies, which have already traveled to every planet in our solar system. Future missions highlighted in Beyond Planet Earth, once limited to the realm of science fiction but today discussed by leading scientists and engineers, include building a space elevator on the surface of the Moon, deflecting a hazardous near-Earth asteroid, and traveling to Mars—perhaps even establishing colonies there. Don't forget to buy your tickets to the 3D full-experienmovie at the in-house "CinemetriX". Now playing (Masa be Yakum) "Voyage in the Universe" - The film is in Hebrew. IMG_0950

MadaTech

Established in 1983, Madatech is housed in historic landmark buildings, located in the heart of a 7acres green campus in mid-town Haifa. Designed at the turn of the 20th century, by renowned German Jewish architect, Alexander Baerwald, it was originally home to the Technion – Israel’s Institute of Technology, the country's first academic institution. The Historic Technion Building 25 Shmariyahu Levine St. / 12 Balfour St Hadar Hacarmel P.o.box 44927 Haifa 31448 Ph: 04-8614444 Fax: 04-8679103 Faxmail: 03-6177134 Disabled facilities and access available  

Maccabean Graves

Kivrei Hamaccabim

There is no doubt today that the 'official' location of the Maccabean graves at Kubur al-Yahud situated on the northern side of Road 443, near Modi'in, is not the real site. The site contains 20 stone tombs cut deep into the rock. However they are not monumental and cannot be seen from the sea, as per Joshephus (Antiquities XIII:211–213).

All the evidence points to the fact that these graves are of Christians and pagans of the Byzantine period and that this burial site actually belongs to an ancient monastery. In fact, the tombs are from about 500 years later than the days of the Maccabees.

How to go there: On Road 443, near its northern side, about three kilometers from Modi'in.

  [caption id="attachment_7236" align="aligncenter" width="640"]Maccabean Graves un-Maccabean Graves[/caption] [caption id="attachment_7241" align="aligncenter" width="640"]Maccabean Graves un-Maccabean Graves[/caption]

Horbat Ha-Gardi

Not far away, is the site know in Arabic as Sheikh al Gharbawi (Sheikh of the West). In Hebrew it is Horbat Ha-Gardi,  Yohanan Hagardi Ruins, located c. 3 km northwest of the town of Modi‘in, next to the settlement of Mevo Modi‘in and alongside a dirt track (the patrol road) from Kubur al-Yahud.This site is named after Yohanan Hagardi, son of Mattathias [Matityahu].  Gardi means a weaver (or perhaps a furrier). A number of burial rooms were discovered, possibly with pyramid-like roofs as per Josephus Flavius' description. This is one of the sites identified with the Tomb of the Maccabees and also the site of  al-Midiya, ancient Modi'in.  The ruin consists of two sites: the tomb of Sheikh Gharbawi and 18 m to the north, the remains of a magnificent structure, which the local villagers refer to as al-Qala‘a (the fortress). The authentic site of the Hasmonean Graves described by Josephus is still a moot question. How to go there: From Kivrei Hamacabim, walk one kilometer up the dirt road, north of the site with the sign "Grave of the Maccabees".     [caption id="attachment_7244" align="aligncenter" width="600"]The sheikh’s tomb and the courtyard in its front, looking south. The sheikh’s tomb and the courtyard in its front, looking south.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_7243" align="aligncenter" width="640"]Site plan Site plan[/caption] [caption id="attachment_7245" align="aligncenter" width="620"]Reconstruction of the structure exposed by Clermont-Ganneau. Reconstruction of the structure exposed by Clermont-Ganneau.[/caption]

Hasmonean Village

The Hasmonean Village is an open museum near Modi'in. The museum, which offers activities to children and their families, displays the lifestyles of the Hasmoneans, offering a tour and various activities in the reconstructed village, such as a  bow and arrow range, ancient writing pens, making oil lamps of clay or preparing medicinal plants bags from the herbs that grown in the village. Kfar Hashmonaim, Shilat   08-976-1617 or 054-448-0463   kfarhash@012.net.il [caption id="attachment_7246" align="aligncenter" width="640"]Hasmonean Village Hasmonean Village[/caption] [caption id="attachment_7248" align="aligncenter" width="403"]Hasmonean Village Hasmonean Village[/caption]

Maayan Hagoshrim Kayaks

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Hagoshrim Kayaks

    http://youtu.be/zytteLX7m-s Last week I drove up to Kibbutz Hagoshrim with my son and his children. We three generations manned two rubber kayaks and scooted down the shute to the river's edge. The Family Kayak Route was not "white water" but it was sufficient for our delight and we had some waterfalls, too. Lucky that our sandwiches were wrapped well in plastic bags because we all got soaked with the water on the floor, other boats splashing and oars smacking the waves. It was great fun as we raced each other down the hour+ long river, bumping into the shore and other boats, sometimes on purpose and sometimes not. Many boats stopped along the way to have a picnic along the river bank. At  the end of the race we debarted and were returned to the entrance gate. There we sat and ate our sandwiches and bought cold drinks and icecream at the Hagoshrim Store. I rate Maayan Hagoshrim Kayaks as a highly recommended attraction in Israel. The kibbutz has not invested a lot of money in the facilities - but it all adds on to the "extreme" feeling of the attraction. HaGoshrim Kayaks – Haniyon Ma’ayan You can’t beat this for fun! Remember children have to be min. 5 years old.
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Come and enjoy the most challenging rafting in the Galilee – fun for all the family – floating down the river, past banks of natural greenery, feeling the cool refreshing waters, glimpsing the myriad birds and wild animals that make it their home. IMG_6418

Speedy Slide into the Hatzbani River:

The routes begin with a unique kayak slipway adding a special something to the cool-water experience!
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Family Route:

For all the family (from age 5 upwards).
Length of route: approx. 5 km.
Length of time: between 1-1 ½ hours.

Challenge Route:

Without accompanying instructor.
Length of route: approx. 6 km.
Length of time: between 1 ¼ and 2 hours.
At the end of the route you’ll find an appetizing snack-bar, and changing-rooms for your convenience. Many attractions such as camping, trekking, sound and light show, 4-wheeled ATV tours, bicycle tours, mini-zoo, cliff climbing are available nearby.
Booking/Arrangements: Tel: 04-6816034, FAX: 04-6816036

Ma’aleh Akrabim (Scorpions Ascent)

Ma'aleh Akrabim (Scorpions Ascent) is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful scenic roads in Israel. I just re-visited this old road on my way to Eilat. The serpentine turns are very scary, but are much more interesting than the boring Arava Road. The traffic is one way north to south and a new lookout parking area for a bus has been provided to enable the best view of the famous Lion's Head Rock (aka Frog's Head Rock). 800px-Ma'aleh_Akrabim This road was paved in 1927 and served as the main transport route between the cities of Be’er Sheva and Eilat, until 1956 when Ma'ale Ha'atzmaut (Independence Ascent) was paved in Mitzpe Ramon. Ma'aleh Akrabim (Scorpions Ascent) is a very steep and winding road, which probably gave it its name ("Akrab” in Arabic means "winding, and in Hebrew "Akrabim” is the plural of "scorpion”). [gallery ids="3750,3751,3752,3753,3754,3755,3761,3762,3763,3764,3765,3767,3768,3769"]   On March 17, 1954, terrorists attacked an Egged bus returning from the celebration marking 5 years since the liberation of Eilat, and 11 people were killed." 200px-Stamp_of_Israel_-_Airmail_1954_-_150mil   1617329_673736262668969_359117393_o View Larger Map

Lod’s Tourist Potential

Lod has all the potential to become a tourist center in Israel, however the future of tourism and pilgrimage in Lod is not optimistic. The municipal government and the Ministry of Tourism must, I repeat, must cooperate and create the conditions for successful attractions in this city.  The target is urban regeneration based on partnerships between the different communities in Lod with an emphasis on the Arab-Jewish relations.

  • The physical condition of the city is very poor.
  • Road and sidewalk maintenance leave much to be desired.
  • Vandalization is not repaired. See St. George Church for example, although the church itself is extraordinarily beautiful and very well maintained.
  • Sites have no directional signs, markers, explanation for tourists. See Jindas Bridge for example. Some of the site appear to be abandoned. Most of the sites lack any development.
One of the problems of tourism in Lod is the fact that "Jesus never came here." Saint Peter performed miracles in Lod and St. George is buried in the crypt of his church. The only Christian pilgrims who come to Lod are Russian Orthodox. If only Jesus had visited Lod things would have been different. Nonetheless Lod has a treasure of historical attractions, Christian, Muslim and Roman as well a the colorful Ramla-Lod Market every Tuesday. The potential is there. Now that the Lod Mosaic has been returned to Israel, it is time plan tourism reform and fulfill Lod's Tourist Potential for all the tourist sites in the city to be united in a single plan and presentation.

Jindas Bridge

A Mamluk bridge also know as the Baybars Bridge dating back to the 13th century stretching over Nachal Ayalon is still in use. The bridge is part of the Mamluk postal road (Tariq al Barid) project. The Jindas Bridge is one of the most Impressive ancient bridges in Israel. Despite its age it is the only bridge in the area to withstand the floods of 1992. There is only one other Mamluk bridge in Israel, the Jumping Bridge in Yavneh, which is no longer used. [caption id="attachment_8886" align="aligncenter" width="640"]Jisr Jindas Jisr Jindas[/caption] [caption id="attachment_8924" align="aligncenter" width="640"]Baybars leopard or lion toying with its victim, a little mouse Baybars leopard or lion toying with its victim, a little mouse[/caption]    

St. George Church and Al-Khidr Mosque

Christian and Mulim neighbors
St. George : The current church, built in 1870, shares space with the El-Khidr Mosque
St. George : The current church, built in 1870, shares space with the Al-Khidr Mosque
[caption id="attachment_8918" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Vandalization not repaired Vandalization not repaired[/caption]

Khan el-Hilu

Ottoman caravanserai in Lod, adjacent to St. George Church and Al-Khidr Mosque     [caption id="attachment_8913" align="aligncenter" width="640"]Lod caravansary Lod caravansary[/caption] [caption id="attachment_8920" align="aligncenter" width="700"]Khan el Hilu Khan el Hilu[/caption]

The Lod Mosaic

In 1996 the Lod Roman mosaic was discovered in 1996 during highway construction in Lod (formerly Lydda). A rescue excavation was immediately conducted by the Israel Antiquities Authority, revealing a series of mosaic floors measuring approximately 50 feet long by 27 feet wide. A museum to house this unique mosaic has yet to be constructed. [caption id="attachment_8915" align="aligncenter" width="579"]Lod Mosaic Lod Mosaic[/caption]   http://youtu.be/ZSq5Xc29XPA    

Hasuna Oil Press and Soap Factory

If reconstructed the press and factory could retell the history olive oil in Israel. [caption id="attachment_8921" align="aligncenter" width="640"]Machinery inside one of the buildings of the masbane (olive oil processing and soap factory) of Hasuna family. Machinery inside one of the buildings of the masbane (olive oil processing and soap factory) of Hasuna family.[/caption]

Leonardo Basel Hotel

Leonardo Basel Hotel

 156 Hayarkon street, Tel Aviv 63451, Israel
TripAdvisor, Reviewed by Ron Spinner  April 3, 2013
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The food was fantastic, location is great, the room was clean and perfect for us. The view to the Mediterranean sea and marina was perfect and the staff was wonderful We have been in many 5 star hotels and the food here was really great. One caveat: On the hotel website there is a nice red banner: Best Price Guarantee. I tried to order the room on their site but it didn't work so I called their support no. There they took my reservation. The next day I thought to extend our stay and found a better price. I printed out the price and brought it to the hotel when we checked in. The looked into it and came back with different excuses. I wasn't happy with their answers and they said the reservations center would get back to me. It has only been a few days so maybe they will. Could be that there is fine print somewhere on the website that disqualifies the offer which is why I recommend not to be taken in by their "best price guarantee" banner.
Room Tip: We were on the top floor facing the sea. It had a great view. The business lounge is on this floor.
Ron and  I are old friends from aims.co.il and neighbors.

Le tombeau du Roi David et le Machiah

 

3ème visite- Découverte du tombeau du Roi David et le Machiah avec le Rav Dynovisz

(en Francais) [caption id="attachment_7884" align="aligncenter" width="640"]tomb of david Le tombeau du Roi David[/caption] 3ème visite d´une série de 3, en direct de Jerusalem. Visite du tombeau du Roi David, Mont Sion, le mont des oliviers. Le tombeau du Roi David est situé dans la vieille ville de Jérusalem au nord de Har Habait, le tombeau du Roi David est visité en particulier pendant la période de Chavouot qui est la date de son décès (le 6 Sivan) Thème: Pourquoi le Machiah doit être un descendant du Roi David ? Découvrez le Jerusalem de la délivrance avec le Rav Haim Dynovisz http://youtu.be/5uVixundHnI http://youtu.be/RZuzCpK9BWE

Landwer Cafe Heichal Hatarbut

Unfortunately the Landwer Cafe Heichal Hatarbut does not rate the IsraelandYou Recommendation. My wife and I sat a few hours nursing a capuchino while the electricity in the kitchen was being repaired. When our pizza finally arrived it was inedible, just dry crust and some modern painting brushed on top. This may be a result of summer part-time employees. However, a friend of ours says he goes there often and his pizza is always fine. Take your chances and let us know if you recommend the Landwer Cafe at Heichal Hatarbut. This was the first branch of the Landwer network and is housed in a "national monument" overlooking the new pools in Habima Square. There is plenty of elevator-accessible parking downstairs underneath the Square. They specialize in dairy meals: fish, salads,  pasta, pastry or just coffee.  I would expect that the only Kosher cafe in the Heichal Hatarbut building would have accessible rest rooms. But if you have to go to the loo be prepared to climb down and up stairs. By the way do you know why restrooms are called "loo" in English? Because many architects number the restroom  as room "100". One note that I did like was the multi-lingual napkins served with our coffee. Mine said ice coffee in Vietnamese (Cafe Sua-Da). Boy, am I glad to drink my Vietnamese coffee in Tel Aviv now and not in Saigon during the Viet Nam War. Ca-phe-sua-da Recipe: Cà phê sữa đá is made with coarsely ground Vietnamese-grown dark roast coffee individually brewed with a small metal French drip filter (cà phê phin) into a cup containing about a quarter to a half as much sweetened condensed milk, stirred and poured over ice. Landwer This Landwer Cafe is on the ground floor of Heichal HaTarbut (Culture Palace also known as the Charles Bronfman Auditorium). Culture Palace sounds so Communist! This is the main concert hall in Tel Aviv, Israel. Heichal HaTarbut and was opened in 1957 and neighbors Habima Theater. Mann Auditorium This is the main concert hall in Tel Aviv, Israel. Heichal HaTarbut and was opened in 1957 and neighbors Habima Theater.

Habima Theater

Habima Theatre is the national theater of Israel. Originally founded in 1912 in as a Hebrew theater in Czarist Russia and continued in Moscow under the Communist regime. In 1926 some of the actors expatriated themselves to America where they had productions in Hebrew and Yiddish. Others took the company in 1928 to the British Mandate in Palestine. Habima's success as a national Hebrew theatre with a permanent repertoire and stage in Tel Aviv led it to become the national theater company. Habima
  • 11 Dizengoff Street, Tel Aviv
  • Tel: 03-6246064
  • Open: Sun-Thur 08:00-00:00
  • Friday 08:00 till Shabbat
  • Saturday: From the end of Shabbat till 01:00
  • Kosher

La Vieille Ville de Jérusalem

 

Rony Akrich visite interactive sur les guerres de Jérusalem 2ème visite

[caption id="attachment_7876" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Ben Zakai Synagogue Raban Yochanan Ben Zakai[/caption] Visite guidée interactive en direct depuis la vieille ville de Jérusalem. Itinéraire: 4 synagogues,Batei Mahasei, le batiment Rothschild, la dernière bataille, soldats tombés pendant la guerre de l'indépendance,maisons pittoresques. Suivez Rony Akrich, et re-découvrez notre ville sainte. (en Francais) http://youtu.be/nu8yScWmGgQ

Kitron Hoshaya Boutique Hotel

http://www.israelandyou.com/

Kitron Galilee Resort – Above and Beyond all Luxury Hotels in Israel
The Galilee resort of Kitron in Hoshaya respects the importance of luxury, privacy and serenity.
In the heart of the lower Galilee, overlooking the ancient city of Zippori (Sepphoris) you’ll be surrounded by the breath-taking sights and smells of Israel’s green northern countryside.
 “Kitron is Zippori (Sepphoris), a land of milk and honey”. (Megillah 6/A)
Kitron Galilee Resorts provides the perfect escape from your everyday routine. From the minute you arrive, all you have to do is sit back, relax and enjoy the view from one of our 21 Israeli zimmers (cottages).
Request a private massage session with the in-house masseuse to relieve yourself of unwanted tensions before the weekend, or enjoy a day at the Spa.
The relaxed atmosphere of Kitron provides a sense of serenity and comfort which surpasses that of other luxury hotels. Whether you are looking for a romantic getaway or family retreat, Kitron’s Galilee Resort will cater to your every need, ensuring that your stay will be perfect.  Are you planning a special event in Israel? Celebrate by renting out all 21 of our cottages for your family and friends!  
Located in the heart of the Lower Galilee, Kitron is conveniently located between Haifa and Tiberius, just a short drive away from the northern cities of Safed and Nazareth. Treat yourself to a luxury suite at the Kitron Galilee Resort!
 
If you have any questions contact Kitron Hoshaya Boutique Hotel 

King David Hotel, Jerusalem

IMG_5121 The fabled King David has one of the most stunning views of the Old City and is in the exclusive Yemin Moshe neighborhood. The palatial European-designed limestone building, completed in 1931, was built by the Egyptian-Jewish Mosseri family. Its dignified public spaces are adorned with Assyrian, Hittite, Phoenician and Muslim motifs evoking a sense of history, fitting for a hotel which has been the setting for many world changing events. The vibe itself is totally serene, with landscaped gardens and pine trees surrounding the city's largest pool. Suites (including four duplexes) have private terraces and sweeping Old City vistas. Grandest are the sprawling Presidential and Royal Suites on the upper floors. http://youtu.be/wmDZW37ndcM **** The quality of the video clip on YouTube isn't so good. Israelandyou recommends uploading and new (and modern) promo clip. Our cousin from Canada stayed here this week and chose the smallest room, which cost $550 a night (double occupancy). Obviously this hotel is not for the working class. The room was nice, the bath room a little small, and the service was quick when the hair dryer broke down. Strangely enough the same room costs $643.50 per night in booking com - I would have expected booking.com to be cheaper. Lunch on the terrace overlooking the pool and the old city walls was disappointing. The bread and spreads were spartan. We even had to ask for butter and drinking water. The miniscule salmon served was bland with only samples of vegies on the plate: all this for $39.  I think I shall leave this hotel for President Obama. **** Features:

  • Oriental Bar, lobby lounge. Shopping arcade. Meeting rooms, convention, and banquet facilities. 24-hour room service. Butler service. Fully air-conditioned. Cable TV, CNN, In-room safes. Business center. High-speed Internet connection in guest rooms.
  • Pool, tennis, and fully equipped fitness center, with exercise room and masseur. Children's pool.
    • Meetings & Events
    • Fitness Center
    • Historic Landmark
    • Tennis Resort

The King David

23 King David Street Jerusalem 94101, Israel 35 minutes from Ben Gurion Airport
(USA & Canada) Call 1 800 745 8883 (UK) Call 00800 10 10 11 11
 

Kidron Valley

The Kidron Valley is one of Jerusalem’s most sacred locales, due to its location between the Temple Mount and the Mount of Olives.  It runs from eastern slope of Mount Moriah through the Judean Desert and continues for about 20 miles towards the Dead Sea. [gallery ids="6198,6199,6200,6201"] On the Mount of Olives is the world’s oldest Jewish cemetery, where it is believed the resurrection of the dead will begin when the Messiah comes. Legend has it that a miraculous bridge will span the valley at the end of time, over which the righteous will pass on their way to the Temple Mount. This part of the Kidron is also called the Valley of Jehosafat, where God will judge the nations of the world (Joel 3:12). Another name for the valley is the Vale of the King; it was once intensely cultivated and the revenues went to the king.

Gethsemane

[gallery ids="6177,6178,6180"] A visit to the Catholic Church of Gethsemane is one of the highlights of religious experience for Christian believers. This is where Jesus came after the Last Supper. Here he was also caught and brought before the High Priest. At the entrance to this place is an ancient olive tree garden, which leads to a beautiful structure with twelve domes representing the Twelve Apostles. The domes are decorated with various symbols which relate to the twelve countries which took part in the building of this church. Near the eastern wall is a rock on which, according to tradition, Jesus sat in seclusion. The rock is surrounded by a metal lattice which is designed as a Crown of Thorns. During the digging of the foundations for this church, the remnants of an ancient Byzantine church were discovered and the new church was built according to the design of the old one, including the colorful floor mosaics. In the church’s floor are set glass panels which cover the ancient Byzantine mosaic floor. Many olive trees have recently been brought here to restore the ancient landscape.
Opening hours:
October – March: 8 am – 12 pm, 2 pm – 5 pm
April – September: 8 am – 12 pm, 2 pm – 6 pm

Grave of Mujir al-Din

[caption id="attachment_6256" align="aligncenter" width="640"]Grave of Mujir al-Din Grave of Mujir al-Din[/caption] The monument of Mujīr al-Dīn al-'Ulaymī  ‎(1456–1522) was a Jerusalemite qadi and historian whose principal work chronicled the history of Jerusalem and Hebron in the Middle Ages. Entitled al-Uns al-Jalil bi-tarikh al-Quds wal-Khalil ("The glorious history of Jerusalem and Hebron") (c. 1495), it is considered to be invaluable, constituting "the most comprehensive and detailed source for the history of Jerusalem" written in its time. The Kidron also has the earliest tombs in the cemetery:

Zechariah’s Tomb

[gallery ids="6191,6192,6193,6194"] Named after a First Temple priest. Tomb of Zechariah is curved out of the bedrock. The legend has it that the Jewish priest Zechariah, son of Yehoyada the Priest, was scolding people in front of the temple for worshiping the pagan idols. Angry crowd has stoned him to death.  

Tomb of the Sons of Hezir

A Second Temple-era priestly family. Bnei Hazir tomb is situated right next to Zarchariah’s tomb and is dated back to the beginning of the 1BC, during the Hasmonean rule over Jerusalem. The tomb is a burial cave dug right into the cliff.  At the entrance a Hebrew inscription reveals it to be a burial place for Cohanim or priestly family by the name of Bnei Hezir. [caption id="attachment_6263" align="aligncenter" width="640"]Tomb of the Sons of Hezir Tomb of the Sons of Hezir[/caption] The Tombs of James and Zechariah lie outside the walls of the Old City, in the Kidron Valley. Although the tomb on the left has traditionally been identified by Christians as that of James, the head of the early church in Jerusalem, an inscription inside the tomb establishes it as the tomb of the Bene Hezir, the sons of Hezir. It is not clear how this particular tomb came to be associated with James. The inscription is translated as follows:
This the tomb and the nephesh of Eleazer, Haniah, Jo'azar, Iehudah, Shime'on, Iohannan, (the) sons of Joseph sone of 'Obed (and also) of Joseph and Eleazer (the) sons of Haniah, priests (of the family) of the sons of Hezir.
 

Absalom’s Tomb

[gallery ids="6181,6182,6183,6184,6185,6186,6187"] The conical-roofed Absalom’s Tomb received its name because the Bible says this rebellious son of David built a monument here so he would be remembered. Absalom was eventually killed by his father’s men; Jerusalemites of old would bring their sons to pelt the tomb with stones and recall the fate of rebellious offspring. King David fled across the Kidron Valley escaping from his rebellious son Absalom who had a blind ambition to be a king at the expense of his father. After the rebellion was dealt with Kind David instructed one of his generals, Joab, to “deal gently with the young man”. Joab has caught up with Absalom and killed him defying King David’s orders. He buried him in a pit instead of beneath the pillar Absalom had built for himself. Located on the eastern side of Kidron Valley and facing the Temple Mount, the Tomb of Absalom with its conical shaped roof was cut out of the solid rock. Although traditionally it was associated with prince Absalom, archeologists have determined that shrine can be dated back to the 1st century A.D. In the Middle Ages and even up to 100 years ago the Jews used to spit or throw stones at the Absalom pillar to show their disgust for disloyal son of their beloved king. This part of the Kidron is also called the Valley of Jehosafat. The cave behind Absalom's Tomb is called Jehosafat's Cave.

Kibbutz Lotan

 

 The Center for Creative Ecology

The Kibbutz Lotan Center for Creative Ecology (CfCE) is rooted in “Tikkun Olam” -- the Jewish concept for repairing and transforming the world – and started as a dream and vision. [gallery ids="3815,3816,3817,3818,3819,3821,3822,3823,3824,3825,3826"]   It began with a small desert organic garden, and once we realized how much knowledge we had accumulated, expanded to become a unique ecological center that combines hands-on, experiential environmental education within the framework of a living community.  
Fred in the garden
Each project helps us evaluate new directions we wish to pursue. Utilizing creative recycling and alternative/natural building techniques, the center now includes an ecological theme park, migratory bird reserve, nature trails,recycling center, and constructed wetlands for treating the waste water of the entire kibbutz. http://youtu.be/_yz6ggl03_0  

Kibbutz Lotan

Kibbutz Lotan is a young community situated in the Arava Desert in the south of Israel. We are far away from urban Israel in a quiet area, surrounded by beautiful landscapes. Lotan was established in 1983 by graduates of the Reform Jewish youth movements from Israel and overseas. We came together to create a community based on a modern, liberal approach to Judaism that strives to fulfill values of equality between the sexes, equality in work, and genuine communication between people.   Before anything else we are a community Lotan’s population is equally divided between native-born Israelis and immigrants from all over the world. Hebrew is the commonly used language but English isalso spoken. Our economy is based on date plantations, dairy,tourism, holistic health center, mariculture and various professions held by members who work outside of the kibbutz. Presently we number 55 adult members and around 60 children. Kibbutz Lotan maintains a co-operative lifestyle in which means of production and resources are shared. We are members of the “Co-operative Stream” in the Kibbutz Movement.
View Larger Map

Kibbutz Haon Holiday Village

 

Kibbutz Haon Holiday Village

[slideshow gallery_id="2"] Kibbutz Haon Hotel Holiday Village is located on the eastern shore of Lake Kinneret, outside the city of Tiberius, situated in an unique Ostrich Reserve. Within easy driving distance to Mount of Beatitudes, Tabgha, Capernaum, Hammat Gader crocodile farm and The Golan Heights. Haon is the perfect location for a family event or class reunion. Enjoy a perfect weekend with all the amenities. "Israel and You" recommends Haon Holiday Village. Kibbutz Haon Hotel holiday village offers 72 mini suites and 24 rooms. A friendly welcome (from the ostriches and staff) awaits you in this ``homey`` village with a private beach supervised by a trained lifeguard in season, including water sports, dining room restaurant offering Kosher Israeli breakfast, lunch and dinner are available on request. Massage therapy centre, Ostrich Reserve, coffee shop & pub onsite. Paintball competitions & playground for children. Synagogue & disabled guest rooms available. Free private car parking for guests. http://youtu.be/NQhqOCEOKMc

Khirbet Qeiyafa

During the past 30 years, the biblical narrative relating to the establishment of a kingdom in Biblical Judah has been much debated. Were David and Solomon historical rulers of an urbanized state-level society in the early 10th century BC, or was this level of social development reached only at the end of the 8th century BC, 300 years later? Recent excavations at Khirbet Qeiyafa, the first early Judean city to be dated by 14C, clearly indicate a well planned fortified city in Judah as early as the late 11th-early 10th centuries BC. This new data has far reaching implication for archaeology, history and biblical studies.   Khirbet Qeiyafa is located ca. 30 km southwest of Jerusalem, on the summit of a hill that borders the Elah Valley on the north. This is a key strategic location in the biblical Kingdom of Judah, on the main road from Philistia and the Coastal Plain to Jerusalem and Hebron in the hill country. The city has the most impressive First Temple period fortifications, including casemate city wall and two gates, one in the west and the other in the south. The gates are of identical size, and consist of four chambers. This is the only known city from the First Temple period with two gates. The urban planning of Khirbet Qeiyafa includes the casemate city wall and a belt of houses abutting the casemates, incorporating them as part of the construction. Such urban planning has not been found at any Canaanite or Philistine city, nor in the northern Kingdom of Israel, but is a typical feature of city planning in Judean cities. Khirbet Qeiyafa is the earliest known example of this city plan and indicates that this pattern had already been developed by the time of King David.   http://youtu.be/aKrSsBduiqc At the close of the seventh season of excavations at Khirbet Qeiyafa, the Hebrew University Professor Yosef Garfinkel and IAA archaeologist Saar Ganor announced the discovery of “the two largest buildings known to have existed in the tenth century B.C.E. in the Kingdom of Judah” with great fanfare. One of these buildings is a centrally located 100-foot-long palatial structure decorated with elegant imported vessels. Garfinkel siad that “there is no question that the ruler of the city sat here, and when King David came to visit the hills he slept here.” The other structure, a pillared storeroom, features hundreds of storage jars “stamped with an official seal as was customary in the Kingdom of Judah for centuries” . Tel Aviv University’s Israel Finkelstein and Alexander Fantalkin published an article calling this an unsensational archaeological and historical interpretation critiquing Garfinkel’s methods, chronology and interpretations. Khirbet Qeiyafa has produced numerous exciting and controversial finds that have kept the Biblical archaeology world buzzing. Overlooking the Valley of Elah in the Judean foothills, the fortified Judahite site of Qeiyafa, on the border with the Philistines, has produced persuasive evidence to support the kingship of David at the beginning of Iron Age II, when the Bible says he ruled. The unique presence of two gates at the site has led Garfinkel to identify it as Biblical Sha’arayim, which means “two gates” in Hebrew. http://youtu.be/d-CQn--q-vk

Qeiyafa Ostracon

Qeiyafa_Ostracon1

The 2008 discovery of the Qeiyafa Ostracon has captivated the attention of epigraphers and archaeologists alike, and the diversity of translations and interpretations have simultaneously kept the sherd from Khirbet Qeiyafa in the spotlight and shrouded in mystery. The highly regarded French epigrapher Émile Puech provides one of the most groundbreaking interpretations, presenting the Qeiyafa Ostracon as the earliest text on the formation of the Kingdom of Israel and the only artifact referencing King Saul.

Khirbet Qeiyafa

Tel Qeiyafa - A Revolutionary Archaeological Mound

The digs on this historical mound have created a revolution in Israeli archaeology with academic as well as political repercussions. The only known Judahite fortified city dating to the time of Saul and David, Khirbet Qeiyafa has reshaped debates on urbanism during the early Israelite monarchy. Put it on your must list. Khirbet Qeiyafa is located ca. 30 km southwest of Jerusalem, on the summit of a hill that borders the Elah Valley on the north. The nearest village is Kibbutz Netiv Ha-Lamed Hei. This is a key strategic location in the biblical Kingdom of Judah, on the main road from Philistia and the Coastal Plain to Jerusalem and Hebron in the hill country. The city was constructed on bedrock, 2.3 hectares in area, surrounded by massive fortifications of megalithic stones. The Archaeological excavations were led by Prof. Yosef Garfinkel (Hebrew University) and Mr. Saar Ganor (Israel Antiquities Authority). The city has the most impressive First Temple period fortifications, including an 800 meter casemate city wall and two gates, one in the west and the other in the south. The gates are of identical size, and consist of four chambers. This is the only known city from the First Temple period with two gates. Prof. Garfinkel concludes that this is the Biblical city of Sha'arayim, which name means "two gates", which were actually found in the excavations. The city of Sha'arayim ("two gates") was one of the cities of the tribe of Judah (Joshua 15: 20, 35-36): "This is the inheritance of the tribe of the children of Judah according to their families.... Socoh, and Azekah, And Sharaim,...". In this area one of the world's most famous battles took place, the battle between David and Goliath. The city also appeared in the Biblical account of the aftermath of the battle between David and Goliath of Gath. (1 Samuel 17: 52) "And the wounded of the Philistines fell down by the way to Shaaraim, even unto Gath, and unto Ekron".

The West Gate

[satellite gallery=14 auto=on caption=off thumbs=off] This is not the first time archaeologists have announced what they believe to be evidence of the figure. In 2008, Israeli archaeologist Eilat Mazar said that she found what she believed to be King David's palace in an ancient area of Jerusalem by using Biblical descriptions to guide her excavations. However, the Times of Israel notes that Mazar's findings remain controversial.

The Southern Gate

[gallery columns="2" ids="2998,2999,3000,3001"]   The urban planning of Khirbet Qeiyafa includes the casemate city wall and a belt of houses abutting the casemates, incorporating them as part of the construction . Such urban planning has not been found at any Canaanite or Philistine city, nor in the northern Kingdom of Israel, but is a typical feature of city planning in Judean cities: Beersheba, Tell Beit Mirsim, Tell en-Nasbeh and Tell Beth-Shemesh. Khirbet Qeiyafa is the earliest known example of this city plan and indicates that this pattern had already been developed by the time of King David. This conclusion has drawn academic critique by Prof. Israel Finkelstein and Dr. Alexander Fantalkin of Tel Aviv University. [gallery ids="2974,2975,2976,2977,2978"]

Our Guide, Uriel Feinerman

http://youtu.be/Tpf8cvI0QMs Thus, during five excavation seasons (2007-2011), very rich assemblages of stone tools and metal objects were found, as well as many cultic objects, scarabs, seals and pottery of Iron Age (early 10th century BCE) and Hellenistic period. IMG_2371 The most famous discovery is the "Khirbet Qeiyafa Ostracon", an inscription written with ink on a pottery shard. The 2008 discovery of the Qeiyafa Ostracon has captivated the attention of epigraphers and archaeologists alike, and the diversity of translations and interpretations have simultaneously kept the sherd from Khirbet Qeiyafa in the spotlight and shrouded in mystery. The highly regarded French epigrapher Émile Puech provides one of the most groundbreaking interpretations, presenting the Qeiyafa Ostracon as the earliest text on the formation of the Kingdom of Israel and the only artifact referencing King Saul. [caption id="attachment_2982" align="alignleft" width="300"]Tel Sochoh Tel Sochoh[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2981" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Tel Azeka Tel AzekaFrom Khirbet Qeiyafa one can see the ancient cities of Azeka and Sochoh ( (Kh. Abbad, Shuweike preserved the ancient name).[/caption] View Larger Map

Ketef Hinnom

Shoulder of Hinnom

 

Merkaz Begin

The Center’s museum is an experiential, multimedia exhibit telling the story of one of the most important chapters in the history of the State of Israel through the life of Menachem Begin.  The museum takes visitors on a time-journey that includes historical reconstructions and reenactments, rare dramatic documentary videos, interactive touch-screen exhibits, striking presentations and a surround sound narration. Visitors are “invited” to experience firsthand and to “take part” in the different chapters of Begin’s life – his childhood in Poland, his years as the commander of the Irgun, the leader of the Opposition and finally, as Prime Minister of the State of Israel.

[gallery columns="2" ids="5006,5007,5008,5013"]

St. Andrews Church

IMG_5345

St Andrew's Scottish Guest House (‘The Scottie’) is set on a small hill, with panoramic views to the golden walls of the Old City and beyond. Within easy walking distance of both the old and new city of Jerusalem, the Guest House and Church offer a unique and peaceful setting.  There is a warm welcome, and visitors and guests from across the world have come to expect and enjoy traditional Scottish hospitality St Andrew's Scottish Guest House (‘The Scottie’). With 19 double/twin rooms plus a two bedroom apartment, comfortable and flexible accommodations are offered.

First Temple Period Graves

[gallery ids="5010,5011,5012"]  

Ketef Hinnom Silver Amulet

In 1979 Prof. Gabriel Barkay decided to do some archaeological research outside the walls of the Old City and decided on a ridge above the Hinnom valley by the Scottish Church of St. Andrew in Jerusalem. He called the area Ketef Hinnom and did a survey that uncovered the remains of a Byzantine church with mosaic floor and some tombs hewn in the rock whose roofs had collapsed. With the help of 12-13 year olds from a youth group from Tel Aviv run by the Society for the Protection of Nature he began excavating. A boy by the name of Nathan was assigned to clean a nook underneath one of the burial benches. By chance he also had a hammer and after cleaning, he got bored and started banging on the floor of the nook. To his surprise the stone bottom broke revealing an entryway to another room full of treasure. In the sifting, a second, smaller silver object, 4 cm in length, was also found. Both objects have the Priestly Blessings from Numbers 6:24-26 engraved on the silver in proto-Hebrew script. The Lord bless you and protect you. The Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you. The Lord lift up His countenance upon you and grant you peace. silver-amulet

Kaukab Abu al-Hija

Kaukab Abu al-Hija  is an Arab Muslim village in Israel, in the Lower Galilee is  located on the rolling hills of the Segev area of Lower Galilee, 425 metres above sea level. The village, with its population of some 2,500 Sunni Moslems, has a panoramic view westwards towards the Mediterranean Sea, south towards Nazareth, east to the Sea of Galilee and north to the mountains of Upper Galilee. View Larger Map

Sculptures for Peace

The idea of establishing a sculpture garden in Kaukab dedicated to the concept of peace and coexistence, was initiated after the signing of the Oslo agreements in 1993, implementing the ongoing peace process in the Middle East. It was taken at the initiative of the Kaukab local council together with Beit Hagefen, the Arab-Jewish Centre in Haifa, and with the help and backing of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Education and the Haifa Municipality. [satellite gallery=11 auto=off caption=on thumbs=on] The sculpture garden extends over two hill tops with other pieces scattered around the village and its entrance. At present there are some 30 works in situ with others planned. The sculptures have been donated by their Israeli (Arab and Jewish) and Palestinian artists.  

Shrine of Abu al-Hayja

To the north of the village is the shrine and tomb of Husam ad Din Abu al-Hayja, a two domed structure with a courtyard to the north. Entering the shrine is done into the eastern domed chamber. This is a prayer chamber, and has a mihrab set into the south wall. The grave is often visited by Moslim, Christian and Jewish to pray and seek cures. The shrine is always open with blue ribbons tied at the entrance gate. Visitors pull threads from these ribbons to wrap around their wrists. [gallery ids="2760,2759,2758,2757,2756,2764"] In the rectangular courtyard, there are two cenotaphs (an "empty tomb" or a monument erected in honour of a person or group of people whose remains are elsewhere), one on each side of the door entering the shine. The cenotaph to the west of the door belongs to Ali Badawi Abu al-Hayja, who died in 1183 H (1769 CE), the east of the door carries an inscription dated to 1181 H (1767-1768 CE).

Katzrin

Ancient Qatzrin Park

The ruins of the ancient Jewish Talmudic Village of Katzrin (Katsrin or Qatzrin)  are located in the central Golan, some 13 km. northeast of the Sea of Galilee. The village was built on a gentle slope surrounded by fertile fields. A number of perennial springs in the wadi (dry riverbed) north of the village provided some water, but the main source was the spring located in the village, from which water was channeled to a small collecting pool cut into the basalt bedrock. Over the hundreds of years of the village's existence the level of its streets rose, and retaining walls had to be constructed around the spring, to allow continued drawing of water. [satellite gallery=19 auto=on caption=off thumbs=off] The location of Katzrin, mentioned in ancient Jewish sources, was identified at the end of the 19th century. The synagogue was discovered in 1967 during a survey, in which an ancient gravestone bearing the Hebrew inscription Rabbi Abun, may he rest in honor was also found. The reconstructed village is across the street from the modern city of Katzrin, which has an archaeological museum to complement your experience, and can also be a good place for a break before or after your visit. During the summer and holidays guides, dressed as ancient, local residents will explain the daily life in the ancient Talmudic village. The Talmudic village park also offers an audio-visual show about Rabbi Elisha ben Abuya (Acher). I don't know why they chose to present this story, since it is not the most important subject in Jewish religious tradition and did not occur in Katzrin or in the Golan. Althought the movie is confusing, don't miss the Dura Europos style room in which the movie is screened. http://youtu.be/0hPL-u-u6ZY A synagogue was first built in the 4th-5th centuries - a modest, square building with six columns. In the 6th century, a large and elegant synagogue was built on its ruins; during the years of its use, it was renovated several times, and additions were built. Constructed entirely of basalt. In the 6th century, the synagogue was paved with colored mosaics, of which only small portions have been preserved. The Katzrin synagogue was in use even after the Muslim conquest; it was apparently destroyed during The Seventh Earthquake  (Ra'ash Shvi'it) in 749, which also destroyed most of the village. A small mosque was built in the northern part of the synagogue in the Mamluk period, but it was in use for only a short time. The village was then abandoned and covered by debris until its discovery. There is an admission fee. [divider]

The Golan Heights Tourist Visitors Center

http://youtu.be/ZuIBfn3Rvho Golan Magic is the ideal place for a family outing or a group get-together. It is the perfect spot for beginning your hikes, deepening your knowledge of the Golan and getting the information you need about everything new and exciting in the area. Here, in Golan Magic, you will catch a glimpse into a magical world you've never seen before; Golan Magic is smack in the centre of the Golan Heights in the Chutzot Hagolan Commercial Center, about 2 km east of Katzrin, next to the Golan Brewery and the Mey Eden Visitor Center (presently closed for renovations). This vast and beautiful complex, a pioneer of its kind in Israel, combines new and exciting attractions: an exceptional movie which depicts the Golan Heights in a spectacular multi-sensual display spread on Israel's only 180 degrees screen; an exact model of the Golan Heights, the largest in the country, accompanied by an audiovisual show, telling its story. Together with the incredible attractions you are welcome to step into Taste of the Galilee and the Golan, the coffee shop which is a combination of a kosher dairy restaurant and a shop selling local produce and cosmetics. Here you can benefit from the blend between the fruits of this fertile region and man's creativeness. You can purchase these quality products right here. There is an admission fee. [divider]

Golan Archaeological Museum

The museum is situated in the city of Katzrin. It displays various Hebrew inscriptions from ancient synagogues in the area. Look for the display on Rujm el Hiri, especially if you don't have the time to climb the tumulus in the field. You can learn something about the Bronze Era in the Golan and perhaps something about  giants. There are interesting archaeological finds from many pagan, Roman and Byzantine non-Jewish sites. There is a special hall devoted to the heroic history of Gamla. displays many archeological artifacts that were discovered in the Golan Heights, as well as a fascinating audiovisual presentation on the story of Gamla, the city renowned for its heroic resistance during the Jewish Revolt against the Romans. There is an admission fee. [gallery ids="3472,3473,3474,3475,3476,3477,3478,3479,3480,3481,3482"] View Larger Map

Kathisma

The ruins of the Church of the Seat of Mary known as the Kathisma Church remain unredeemed despite their important archaeological and religious value. Had not a bulldozer accidentally uncover mosaic floor 1992 near the Monastery of Mar Elias south of Jerusalem (only two hundred meters from Ramat Rachel), the church might have been lost forever. Here stood a Byzantine church built in the 5th century and restored in the 6th century and again in the 8th century, later converted into a mosque. It was destroyed in the 12th C, probably after the defeat of the Crusaders. Since then its location was forgotten. The church apse points to the east, while the Moslem Minbar faces Mecca. The church stands on land owned by the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate,    [caption id="attachment_7552" align="aligncenter" width="640"]Kathisma Mary's Seat Kathisma Mary's Seat[/caption] [caption id="attachment_7553" align="aligncenter" width="640"]Kathisma apse in background Kathisma apse in background[/caption] [caption id="attachment_7550" align="aligncenter" width="640"]Kathisma chapels and rooms Kathisma chapels and rooms[/caption] The name Kathisma, or Seat in Greek, refers to the resting-place of Mary, halfway on the road from Jerusalem to Bethlehem, and dedicated to Mary Theotokos (God bearer).  See Luke 2 4-5, Matthew 2 1-9, and  Protoevangelium of James  (17). The name was saved in Arabic for the nearby open water reservoir, known by its Arabic name, Bir Kadismu. Kathisma_plan The octagonal plan  of the church (three concentric rings) surrounds Mary's stone seat.  There is an inner octagonal walkway (ambulatoria) where worshippers could view the seat and an outer octagonal hall with rooms and chapels. Mosaic floors were discovered in all the rooms and chapels and were later covered for protection. One mosaic motif was a date tree. Some archaeologists claim that the octagonal plan and date tree motif were the copied in the Dome of the Rock which is also octagonal, built around a rock and includes date tree mosaics. The octagonal design of this church is similar to other churches in Israel:

  • Church of the Beatitudes, Capernaum
  • Church of the Annunciation, Nazereth
  • Church of Nativity, Bethlehem
  •  Church of Mary Theotokos on Mount Gerizim, near Shechem (Nablus)
  • St. Peter's house in Capernaum
The reason that the church has not yet  been opened to the public may be due to the competiton between Christian sects or because the site is just happens to stand directly on the old 1949 Armistice Line between Israel and Jordan. The site is at present covered over and not open to the public.

Karnei Hittin

  Horns of Hattin is an extinct volcano with the crater between two peaks. Archaeologists have found remains of settlement from the Chalcolithic and Early Bronze era. The Canaanite settlement was destroyed by Joshua and replace by a large Israelite village.  The mountain reaches 554 meters above the Sea of Galilee and 346 meters above sea level. This is the site of the Battle of Hattin, Saladin's victory over the Crusaders in 1187, which was fought in summer when the grass was dry. Saladin's troops set fire to the grass, cutting off the Crusaders' access to water in the Nebi Shu'eb Springs. [caption id="attachment_9112" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Karnei Hittin Karnei Hittin[/caption]   http://youtu.be/9HNnHrdW_Bg [caption id="attachment_9121" align="aligncenter" width="618"]Map of Battle of Hattin Map of Battle of Hattin[/caption] [divider]

The Church of G-D Monument

On the way up to the summit of Karnei Hittin, you pass this monument built by the Church of G-D, a Pentecostal Church of God, with many schisms and  over seven million members in over 170 countries. They identify Karnei Hittin as the place of the Sermon on the Mount. This black monument replaces an earlier white stone monument. http://youtu.be/SViklXTcLBU [caption id="attachment_9113" align="aligncenter" width="600"]The New Church of G-D Monument The New Church of G-D Monument[/caption]   [caption id="attachment_9114" align="aligncenter" width="618"]Old Church of G-D Monument Old Church of G-D Monument[/caption]

My good friend Yaakov Yaari wrote the Church of G-D to inquire who gave them permission to build a monument in a National Park:

‏בתאריך יום שלישי, 11 בנובמבר 2014, Stephen Smith <ssmith@thechurchofgod.org> כתב: Dear Mr. Yaakov Yaari, I apologize for being slow to answer your inquiry.  I have been in the country of Guatemala, and just returned.  In reference to the monument on Mt. Hittin: This is a replacement monument.  Fifty-two years ago the Israeli government gave our church permission to place a monument on Mt. Hittin. If you have been on Mt. Hittin in the past you probably saw a much larger monument, which was the one we  placed there 52 years ago.  The monument was in decay and disrepair due to the many years of weather on the mountain.  The government gave us permission to replace the larger monument with this smaller one. We hope the monument is a blessing to those who pass by, and that all will remember the words, “Love thy neighbor as thyself” which are engraved on the marker in English, Hebrew, and Arabic.  In this day of strive and war, people need to learn to love one another as God has commanded.  May the Lord God be with you as you seek to do His will. Stephen Smith

Yaakov Yaari's Reply to Stephen Smith

------------ הודעה שהועברה ---------- מאת: Yaakov Yaari תאריך: יום רביעי, 12 בנובמבר 2014 נושא: Mt. Hittin Monument אל: Stephen Smith <ssmith@thechurchofgod.org> Dear Mr. Stephan Smith, I understand your motives. They are just with good intentions. Of course, once it is approved by our government it is also a legitimate project. I am this kind of person who likes to walk the paths of my small country. I am 67 and I have been traveling around in Israel since the age of 12, almost every month, year by year.  There are many here like me who knows the country by foot - this is a very common recreation activity in Israel. So when we see a monument erected by a foreign organization on your land your first reaction is "who gave permission to do that?"  It is like you walk in the Appalachian and you see something built by a foreign country, with well intended motives as they maybe. I hope you understand my viewpoint. Thank you, Yaakov Yaari [divider]  

View from Karnei Hittin to Sea of Galilee

[caption id="attachment_9118" align="aligncenter" width="800"]View to Arbel and Sea of Galilee View to Arbel and Sea of Galilee[/caption]

Karaite Community of Ramle

A tour of the The Universal Karaite Judaism Center in Ramle is like "travel in time" or digging up a time capsule from the Middle Ages. At one point in history, during the 8th Century C.E., the Karaites were 40% of the Jew in the world. Now, due to ostracism, excommunication and reciprocal intra-faith nastiness between the Karaites and mainstream Judaism, the Karaites have dwindled down to approximately 50,000 world-wide. Of the Karaites living in Israel, about 40,000 came from Egypt. A minority of Israeli Karaites made Aliyah from Iraq, Turkey and Russia. The largest Karaite community in Israel is in Ramle. Other Karaite communities exist in Ofakim, Ashdod, Beer Sheva, Bat Yam, Jerusalem, Arad, Kiryat Gat, Rishon Lezion and three moshavim: Renen, Beit Ezra and Matzliach. The Karaite Community has its own synagogues, butcher, cemetery, culture hall and social center as well as the Universal Karaite Judaism Center in Ramle next to the largest Karaite synagogue. Take note that the synagogue has no chairs or benches. The Karaite mezuzah is a model of the Ten Commandments.   [caption id="attachment_8845" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Karaite Synagogue, Ramla Karaite Synagogue, Ramla[/caption] [caption id="attachment_8846" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Karaite Synagogue, Ramla Karaite Synagogue, Ramla[/caption] [caption id="attachment_8847" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Karaite Synagogue, Ramla Karaite Synagogue, Ramla[/caption] [caption id="attachment_8848" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Karaite Synagogue, Ramla Karaite Synagogue, Ramla[/caption] [caption id="attachment_8849" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Karaite Synagogue, Ramla Karaite Synagogue, Ramla[/caption] [caption id="attachment_8850" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Karaite Synagogue, Ramla Karaite Synagogue, Ramla[/caption]

  • 16 Yosef Klausner Street, Ramle
  • Tel: 08-9249104
  • E-mail: jkaraite@gmail.com
  • Wheel Chair Accessible
  • Entrance Fee: NIS 20 per person for groups up to 5 persons, NIS 10 for group up to 50 persons, NIS 8 for groups 5o persons or more.
  • All visits must be coordinated by phone: 08-9249104
[caption id="attachment_8864" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Karaite Prayer Book Karaite Prayer Book[/caption] [caption id="attachment_8865" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Karaite Prayer Book Karaite Prayer Book[/caption]  

A Taste of Karaite Judaism In 30 Minutes or Less (Part 1)

http://youtu.be/iRb7DhWS6Z8

A Taste of Karaite Judaism In 30 Minutes or Less (Part 2)

http://youtu.be/ToV8WNq5RY4 The Karaites of Crimea, the Ukraine, and Russia are an ethnic group derived from Turkic-speaking adherents of Karaism in Eastern Europe. Assimilation and emigration greatly reduced the ranks of the Karaite community. There is evidence that the overwhelming majority of this region’s Karaites continue to follow the Turkic-Khazar rather than Jewish orientation.  

History Of The Crimean Karaites

http://youtu.be/hqcFeVTM7GA  

Cave town Chufut-Kale and Karaites Cemetery

Just 3 km (1.9 mi) east of Bakhchisaray is a medieval city-fortress in the Crimean Mountains that now lays in ruins. Chufut-Kale is a national monument of Crimean Karaite culture.  After  the Crimean Khan Menglis-Girei moved his capital to Bakhchisarai, only Karaites and several Krymchak families remained to live there due to anti-Jewish restrictions for stay in other towns of the Crimean Khanate. Tatars considered Karaites to be Jews, hence the town gradually acquired the name of Chufut-Kale, which in Turkic meant “Jewish fortress” with negative and scornful meaning. http://youtu.be/91VWP4jYvt4

Kakao Rothschild Blvd Tel Aviv

The Kakao on Rothschild Street in Tel Aviv was a wonderful surprise. Last week my wife and I stayed over night in Tel Aviv at an Israeli hotel with no Kosher breakfast. The hotel management recommended the neighboring bistro cafe Kakao on Rothschild with which they have an arrangement for a Kosher breakfast. The polite Kakao waitress suggested what to order and was fair enough to say that each portion was enough for two.  She should have said for four! When the fantastic breakfast arrived we were very pleased. No diet on that day! Service was fine. There is a fine view of Rothschild Boulevard. It is a great location. You can sit over coffee and pastry for hours to watch the pedestrians, bike riders, scooter riders, runners and dogs on leashes (!). IsraelandYou Recommendation: If you are in Tel Aviv on business or pleasure choose Kakao on Rothschild. It is your Kosher alternative. The Kakao is a network of dairy cafes, started in 2004. The branch on Rothschild is Kosher - and Kosher restaurants are not easy to find in Tel Aviv. Enjoy a delicious breakfast or a full lunch or dinner meal. [gallery ids="7400,7399,7402"] Open Sunday through Thursday 8:00am till 2:00am.. Fridays 8:00am till one hour before Shabbat. Motzai Shabbat: One hour after Shabbat till 2:00am. Closed Shabbat Kashrut: Rabbanut Tel Aviv Kakao Bistro Cafe 37 Rothschild Blvd Tel Aviv Tel: 1-599-5555-35, 03-560-6175 Fax: 03-560-6185

Kafr Kama

[caption id="attachment_542" align="aligncenter" width="300"]israelandyou.com In Memory of the Circassian Genocide of 1864[/caption]

Circassians in Israel

The Circassians in Israel refers to the Adyghe community who live in Israel. They are Sunni Muslims, they tend to put an emphasis on the separation between their religion and their nationality. Israel has about 4,000 Circassians, who are mainly centered in two villages of Kfar Kama and Rehaniya. Circassians, who arrived in this country in the 19th century, originated in the northern Caucasus Mountains, the region where Europe and Asia meet. Their neighbors called them Circassians which means mountain dwellers, but their original name is Adigai, meaning noble. The Circassians converted to Islam from Christianity in the mid-17th century, when they encountered the Tatars and the Turks along the silk route through their region. Following defeat in a long war against the Russian Empire, the Circassians were exiled to Ottoman Turkish areas, including the Mediterranean, where they practiced their famed martial skills in the service of the Ottoman Empire.  

Kafr Kama

http://youtu.be/4-5c8-Awt1E The village of Kfar Kama is a proud showcase of Circassian culture. The highlight of a visit here is the Circassian Museum, located in a traditional old basalt house. The exhibits bring alive the agricultural roots, language and customs of this community, which is working to meet the challenge of preserving its traditions despite its small numbers, while taking pride in its contribution to the state of Israel. A special treat is a village tour, taking in some of the old preserved homes and hearing colorful tales of the first settlers who arrived here in 1878. Tours of the Circassian Museum, Kfar Kama and special Circassian cultural events: http://www.circassianmuseum.com/ Open 09:00-17:00 info@circassianmuseum.com Cell phone: 050-5857640 Telephone/ fax: 077-7800204 http://youtu.be/tlPtLq8X9xU  

Circassian Genocide

Circassians, the indigenous peoples of the Northwest Caucasus were cleansed from their homeland at the end of the Caucasian War by victorious Russia, which, some argue, by its manner of suppression of the Caucasus directed at the Crimean Tartars and Circassians can be credited with "inventing the strategy of modern ethnic cleansing and genocide." The expulsion was launched even before the end of the war in 1864 and it continued into the 1870s, although it was mostly completed by 1867. The peoples involved were mainly the Circassians (Adyghe in their own language), Ubykhs, Abkhaz, and Abaza.

Kadita Restaurant

  In Moshav Timorim, near Malakhi Junction (once better know as Kastina Junction), in the southern coastal plain, you will find Kadita Restaurant, a chef restaurant  serving a variety of meat, fish, breakfasts, pasta and special desserts. Kadita is adjacent to the Sadash gas station. I recently had a superb meal there with my friends who came to Israel with me 51 years ago. You can imagine that we all have a lot of restaurant experience, but for our reunion we always choose a private room at Kadita. Each course, each plate was a piece of art and a joy to the taste buds. Kadita has come of age. It is definitely a "chef restaurant". These are the waitresses: [caption id="attachment_8859" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Kadita Restaurant Kadita Restaurant[/caption] [caption id="attachment_8860" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Kadita Restaurant Kadita Restaurant[/caption]   Look the beautiful grounds. You can be seated indoors or outdoors (smoking), in a private room or at the bar. [caption id="attachment_8785" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Kadita indoors Kadita indoors[/caption] [caption id="attachment_8783" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Kadita chef Kadita chef[/caption] Service:

  • Chef Restaurant
  • Events
  • Fish
  • Meat
  • Pasta
  • Desserts
  • Vegetarian
  • Wine
How to these dishes suit you? [caption id="attachment_8788" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Kadita Timorim Kadita Timorim[/caption] [caption id="attachment_8789" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Kadita Timorim Kadita Timorim[/caption] [caption id="attachment_8790" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Kadita Timorim Kadita Timorim[/caption] [caption id="attachment_8791" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Kadita Timorim Kadita [/caption] This is me and my dessert: [caption id="attachment_8862" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Kadita Restaurant Kadita Restaurant[/caption] Air-conditioning Child Friendly Romantic Free parking Kashrut: Rabbinate, meat Phone: 1700-55-58-56, 08-8582037 Open hours:
  • Sunday - Thursday 09:00 - 24:00
  • Friday 09:00 - an hour before Shabbat
  • Saturday an hour after Shabbat - 24:00

Jobar Synagogue in Damascus

The Jobar Synagogue, a Jewish synagogue in Damascus and one of the oldest synagogues in the world and the holiest Jewish site in Syria, believed to be thousands of years old  has been damaged and looted as clashes have consumed the surrounding neighborhood in the Syrian Civil War. The Jobar Synagogue, in the neighborhood of the same name in northeastern Damascus, is a relic of the area's once sizeable Jewish population. The synagogue fell out of use after the foundation of Israel in 1948 and the departure of most of Syria's Jews during the next few decades. Before Syria's conflict began, it was opened only occasionally for tourists and pilgrims. http://youtu.be/2Wr8Ay91lHY The synagogue has been looted and burned, and its roof blown off.  Torah scrolls and other Judaica plundered from the ancient Damascus synagogue are said to be held by an Islamist group inside Syria, which is demanding the release of prisoners captured by the Assad regime in return for the items. Reports on the destruction and looting of the millennia-old Jobar synagogue in Damascus emerged as early as March, but those responsible for the theft have never been clearly identified, as government and opposition forces traded accusations. Also many Christian churches have been destroyed during the ongoing conflict in Syria, and Christian minorities are being forced to flee their homes. A source involved claiming to be negotiating for the release of the Judaica and their extraction from Syria, said the stolen items include at least three or four Torah scrolls as well as ancient Jewish scrolls and silverware. The source said that Qatar may be involved in the negotiating. Members of the expatriate Syrian-Jewish community are also reportedly involved in the talks. Only a handful of Jews remain in Syria as a remnant of the ancient community which numbered 4,000 as late as 1992. Syrian rebels accused the government in March of looting the synagogue before burning it to the ground, allegations the regime vehemently denied. http://youtu.be/MXfiiNCDtb4

Tradition holds that the biblical prophet Elisha built the first structure on the site over a grotto in which his teacher, the prophet Elijah, had sought refuge and concealed himself from persecution and here Elijah anointed his successor, Elisha, as a prophet. הורד (1)

An inscription in English at the synagogue reads, “Shrine and synagogue of prophet Eliahou Hanabi since 720 B.C.,” although the actual date of founding is disputed. One of the earliest mentions of the synagogue is in the Talmud, which states that Rabbi Rafram bar Pappa prayed there. The synagogue is said to have been repaired during the first century by Eleazar ben Arach. In the past, the sick were brought to the cavern below the synagogue and left there alone at night, in hopes that Elisha's spirit would heal them. At the entrance of the synagogue, toward the middle of the wall to the right, is an irregularly formed stone, on which can be observed the traces of several steps. Tradition asserts that upon this step sat King Hazael when the Prophet Elisha anointed him king". Another inscription, in Arabic, said it was the tomb of Al-Khidhr, held in some Islamic traditions to be a prophet who traveled with Moses. View Larger Map

Jewish Quarter – Audio Walking Tour in the Old City of Jerusalem

A Tour of the in the Jewish quarter of the old city Time of tour: 2 to 4 hours http://youtu.be/I9XxgElHdcA *** During the reign of the kings of Judah in Jerusalem the city grew considerably and its neighborhoods included the western hill - the present-day location of Mt. Zion and the Jewish Quarter. During the Second Temple period the "upper city" of Jerusalem was where the city's dignitaries lived. They built splendid homes and the remains of these structures fill us with wonder, even now, when we observe them two thousand years later. The destruction of the Temple, the exile and the Roman and Byzantine rule brought with them a period of crisis and times when there were no Jews living in Jerusalem. But with the Muslim conquest in the 7th century CE the Jews returned to Jerusalem. The Crusader conquests in 1099 dealt a serious blow to the Jewish community in the city, and it was restored only at the end of the 12th century, with the return of the Muslim rulers to Jerusalem. At first Jews lived on Mt. Zion, but beginning with the 14th century the Jews began to concentrate in the area that constitutes the present Jewish Quarter. For the 400 years of Ottoman rule in Jerusalem there was a Jewish community living inside the walls of the Old City. The community, which we call the "Old Yishuv," was not a single, cohesive unit. Until the middle of the 19th century the community consisted mainly of Sephardic Jews, descendants of the exiles from Spain and others. Beginning with the mid-18th century Ashkenazi Jews begin to settle in the city, but not for extended periods. There were a few individuals who came to Israel gradually, or groups of Hassidim and Talmud scholars. In 1721 Ashkenazi settlement in Jerusalem ceased, and was only renewed 90 years later. In the 19th century Jerusalem's Jewish population grew significantly, and towards the end of the century Jews began an "exodus" from the walled city. This chapter of history ends with the fall of the Jewish Quarter to the Jordanians in the War of Independence. Following the Six Day War, with the reunification of Jerusalem in 1967, archaeological excavations were undertaken in the city. These excavations revealed fascinating discoveries, evidence of Jewish life in various historical periods. Afterwards, the homes of the Jewish Quarter were refurbished and Jews are living here once again. The Jewish Quarter tour begins across Zion's Gate and ends the Western Wall plaza. Highlights include: the four Sephardic synagogues, Batei Mahseh Square, the Hurva Synagogue, the Cardo and the Western Wall. *** The Jerusalem Development Authority presents a Guide for the Independent Tourist. The Old City of Jerusalem Audio Walking Tours takes you through the allies of the Old City of Jerusalem in a fascinating journey through time to a city that is the center of religious and spiritual worship for thousands of years. Walk through the ancient quarters following 15 different tours and explore the churches, synagogues, masques and historical points of interest. Explore the colorful marketplaces and enjoy the smell of exotic local foods. Glimpse the Temple Mount compound where 3 religions meet in a focal point of worship. Visit the Western Wall, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Dome of the Rock, the Garden Tomb and many more religious iconic locations. Walk in the footsteps of Jesus, see the Temple's cycles of birth and destruction, witness the sites of Islam. This video is an introduction to all audio tours in the app.

Jewish Quarter – Audio Walking Tour in the Old City of Jerusalem

A Tour of the in the Jewish quarter of the old city Time of tour: 2 to 4 hours http://youtu.be/I9XxgElHdcA During the reign of the kings of Judah in Jerusalem the city grew considerably and its neighborhoods included the western hill - the present-day location of Mt. Zion and the Jewish Quarter. During the Second Temple period the "upper city" of Jerusalem was where the city's dignitaries lived. They built splendid homes and the remains of these structures fill us with wonder, even now, when we observe them two thousand years later. The destruction of the Temple, the exile and the Roman and Byzantine rule brought with them a period of crisis and times when there were no Jews living in Jerusalem. But with the Muslim conquest in the 7th century CE the Jews returned to Jerusalem. The Crusader conquests in 1099 dealt a serious blow to the Jewish community in the city, and it was restored only at the end of the 12th century, with the return of the Muslim rulers to Jerusalem. At first Jews lived on Mt. Zion, but beginning with the 14th century the Jews began to concentrate in the area that constitutes the present Jewish Quarter. For the 400 years of Ottoman rule in Jerusalem there was a Jewish community living inside the walls of the Old City. The community, which we call the "Old Yishuv," was not a single, cohesive unit. Until the middle of the 19th century the community consisted mainly of Sephardic Jews, descendants of the exiles from Spain and others. Beginning with the mid-18th century Ashkenazi Jews begin to settle in the city, but not for extended periods. There were a few individuals who came to Israel gradually, or groups of Hassidim and Talmud scholars. In 1721 Ashkenazi settlement in Jerusalem ceased, and was only renewed 90 years later. In the 19th century Jerusalem's Jewish population grew significantly, and towards the end of the century Jews began an "exodus" from the walled city. This chapter of history ends with the fall of the Jewish Quarter to the Jordanians in the War of Independence. Following the Six Day War, with the reunification of Jerusalem in 1967, archaeological excavations were undertaken in the city. These excavations revealed fascinating discoveries, evidence of Jewish life in various historical periods. Afterwards, the homes of the Jewish Quarter were refurbished and Jews are living here once again. The Jewish Quarter tour begins across Zion's gate and ends the Western Wall plaza. Highlights include: the four Sephardic synagogues, Batei Mahseh square, the Hurva synagogue, the Cardo and the Western Wall. [divider]

Twenty Shekel Israeli coin showing the Tower of David

Еврейский квартал

http://youtu.be/155idjWRgSA Еврейские достопримечательности Иерусалима на протяжении многих веков сохранили свою важность для народа Израиля и не утратили былого величия. [divider] The videos on this channel are introductions to all audio tours in the app. View Larger Map

Jewish Quarter – Accessible Audio Walking Tour in the Old City of Jerusalem

A Tour of the in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City Time of tour: 2 to 4 hours *** The Jewish Quarter tour begins across Zion's Gate and ends the Western Wall plaza. Highlights include: Batei Mahseh Square, the Hurva Synagogue, the Cardo and the Tiferet Israel Synagogue. http://youtu.be/gkzEIXkdS4Q [divider]

Еврейский квартал - Маршрут для инвалидов

Еврейские достопримечательности Иерусалима на протяжении многих веков сохранили свою важность для народа Израиля и не утратили былого величия. http://youtu.be/sHmVsm7-QRc [divider] The Jerusalem Development Authority presents a Guide for the Independent Tourist. The Old City of Jerusalem Audio Walking Tours takes you through the allies of the Old City of Jerusalem in a fascinating journey through time to a city that is the center of religious and spiritual worship for thousands of years. Walk through the ancient quarters following 15 different tours and explore the churches, synagogues, masques and historical points of interest. Explore the colorful marketplaces and enjoy the smell of exotic local foods. Glimpse the Temple Mount compound where 3 religions meet in a focal point of worship. Visit the Western Wall, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Dome of the Rock, the Garden Tomb and many more religious iconic locations. Walk in the footsteps of Jesus, see the Temple's cycles of birth and destruction, witness the sites of Islam. The videos on this channel are introductions to all audio tours in t