Posted by: crossroads49 | November 6, 2011

Off the Beaten Track in Israel

Israel2Israel067In July of 1993 I had the opportunity of a life time, a 45 day deployment to the Holy-land, Israel. I had fears, hesitations, and reservations, butIsrael066 the adventurous and desire to travel side of me took over, and I was off to an experience of a life time, and it was my first trip of three, and each time things were more awe-inspiring, insightful and inspirational. Thanks to Shaul Abramovich on the left and Joel Malkar on the right I saw much more and indulged more into the country and its people than I anticipated. I will just say as a starting point that one short posting of the Holy land can not do Israel any justice, so this posting is one of several that I will post. Now where do I begin? Lets say that being a quasi christian, a student of the Bible, a historian, and a poor person from the Mississippi Delta I was able to quickly come to terms that I was in for a treat of a life time. After landing in Tel Aviv, I was off to Eilat on the Red sea, next door to Egypt, just feets away was the Egyptian village of Taba. From Eilat I begin to cruise064 work my way north through the Negev Desert to Mitzepen Ramon, Beer Sheva, up to Masada, Arad, and Ein Gedi. From Ein Gedi I had a chance to make Jersalem and Nazareth on up to Akko/Acre and Nahariya to the Lebanon Border. From Nahariya, skirting the Lebanon border, I went across to Metulla to the “Good Fence” on to Birkat Ram on the Syrian Border via Haifa,Tiberias, the Sea of Galilee, Rosh Pina, and the Golan Heights. I will say that I was in very good company. I was escorted for the most part by Joel Malkar, and Shaul Abramovich, both of whom were in the Israeli Military at that time. Joel, knew the best short cuts because his job at one time was building the roads of Israel. Each birthright-israeltime I returned to Israel, Joel and Shaul as well as Amnon, Levi and several others would take me all over the country. I saw things and went places that the average tourist or visitor to the holy land would not see. I must say that on my first trip I had no idea that I was forming life long friendships, because I had no idea that I would ever return, but as I have said many times treat people the way that you Israel_-_Haifa_-_Bahai_Gardens_004would desired to be treated. You should reciprocate hospitality, be respectful and show appreciation use common sense and things would be just fine, and this posting will validate my assertions. Joel, Shaul and myself call each other or exchange letters on a regular basis, we even send birthday and Christmas cards. Shaul has been here several times, primarily on business. Joel was coming, but work and family matters prevented him from doing so, but my doors are Bedoyin-negev-tour still open for him and his family. My first trip to the holy-land almost wrecked my military career because of my southern upbringings, love for humanity and my penchant to be the lone wolf and not follow direct orders, so to speak. Now, If I miss a historical biblical site or city, don’t worry, I just may get around to it as well as some of my adventure with Joel, and my very good friend S. Peine in one of my next posting. Now, here is a brief posting of some of the places that I visited on my first visit to the holy-land.
eilat2Eilat (אילת, aka Elat) is an oddity in Israel, because it has so many tourists and relatively few Israelis. Located at the southern-most tip of the country, within its small “window on the Red Sea”, Eilat is first and foremost a resort town these days, devoted to sun, fun, diving, partying and desert-based Eilat_israelactivities. 320 km (200 miles) away from the tension often felt in Tel Aviv or Jerusalem, Eilat is a convenient escape for Israelis on vacation, but during the mild winter israel_Eilatmonths also attracts thousands of European sun-seekers. Eilat (Hebrew: אֵילַת‎ is Israel’s southernmost city, a busy port as well as a popular res, located at the northern tip of the Red Sea, on the Gulf of Eilat. Home to 65,000 people, the city is part of the Southern Negev Desert, at the southern end of the Arava. The city is adjacent to the Egyptian village of Taba, to the south, and the Jordanian port city of Aqaba, to the east. Eilat’s arid desert climate is moderated by proximity to a warm sea. Temperatures often exceed 40 °C (104 °F) in summer, and 18 °C (64 °F) in winter, while water temperatures range between 20 and 26 °C (68–79 °F). The city’s beaches, nightlife and desert landscapes make it a popular destination for domestic and international tourism
“Negev” in Hebrew means south. Israel’s Negev Desert, where Abraham, Isaac and Jacob tended their flocks, comprises 66%, over 6,700 square miles, of Israel. Triangular in shape, with the resort town of Eilat at its southern apex and Beer Sheva as its northern base, the Negev has an arid and semi-arid climate, defined according to average rainfall (2 – 6 inches), type of soil and natural vegetation.
Five different ecological regions fall within the area of the Negev:
The Northern Negev, with 12 inches of rain annually, is called the “Mediterranean Zone”, with fairly fertile soils.
The Western Negev is characterized by 10 inches of rain per year, with light and partially sandy soils. Sand dunes can reach heights of up to 90 feet.
Avdat,%20Negev%20Desert,%20Israel%20-%201600x1200%20-%20ID%2044861%20-%20PREMIUMThe Central Negev, with the city of Beer Sheva in its midst, has an annual precipitation of 8 inches and is characterized by impervious soil, allowing minimum penetration of water with greater soil erosion and water runoff. The high plateau area of Ramat Hanegev stands 1200 – 1800 feet above sea level with extreme temperatures in summer and winter. The area has only 4 inches of rain per year, with inferior and partially salty soils. The Arava Valley along the Jordanian border stretches 111 miles from Eilat in the south to the tip of the Dead Sea in the north. Defined as very arid with barely 2 inches of rain annually, the Arava has inferior soils in which little can grow without irrigation and special soil additives. Having such poor conditions, the Negev was largely undeveloped and sparsely populated during Israel’s first five decades. In spite of this, Israel has succeeded in becoming a world leader in combating the desert and preventing desertification of fertile lands. Through responsible water and soil conservation 570px-Zin_Valley_in_the_Negev_Desert_of_Israel_2
programs, Israeli techniques have become models in sustainable land management, with 800px-Ruins_in_Negev_desert_Israeworldwide implications. The Negev Foundation, wishing to follow in the footsteps of David Ben-Gurion, has recognized the potential of the Negev and actively promotes desert agricultural innovation in all its spheres, so that not only will the region become economically viable, but also be attractive for settlement.
Beersheva ( Hebrew romanization Be’er Sheva ) is the largest city in the Negev desert of Israel , and is beershevaoften called the “Capital of the Negev”. In 2005 , Beersheba had a population of 185,500 making it the sixth largest city in Israel. 20 years before, the population was just 110,800. It is the administrative center for the southern region and home of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev , Sorokabeersheva2 Hospital, and the Israeli Sinfonietta of Be’er Sheva. The city dates back at least to the time of Abraham . The city has expanded considerably since the founding of the state in 1948 . Today the town is inhabited mainly by Jews who originally immigrated to Israel from Arab countries and the former Soviet Union . Be’er Sheva is surrounded by a number of satellite towns: Omer , Lehavim and Meitar are mainly Jewish towns and there are a number of Bedouin towns around Beersheva; the largest are Rahat , Tel Sheva and Laqye.
Arad (Hebrew: עֲרָד‎ ; Arabic: عراد‎) is a city in the South District of beersheva3 Israel. It is located on the border of the Negev and Judean Deserts, 25 kilometers (15.5 mi) west of the Dead Sea and 45 kilometers (28.0 mi) east of the city Beersheva. The city is home to a diverse population of 23,300,[2] including Ashkenazi and Sephardi Jews, both secular and religious, Bedouins and Black Hebrews, as well as native-born Israelis and new immigrants. The is notable for its clean, dry air and serves as a major attraction to asthmatics worldwide. Although attempts to settle the area have been made as early as 1921, the city was founded only in November 1962 as the last development town to be established and the first pre-planned city in Israel. Arad’s Masada_1population grew significantly with the Aliyah from the Commonwealth of Independent States in the 1990s, and peaked in 2002 at 24,500 residents. The city has seen a decline in population ever since. As the second-largest city in Israel in terms of jurisdiction, Arad contains a number of large public places and facilities, such as the ruins of Tel Arad, the Arad Park, an airfield serving domestic flights, and Israel’s firstMasada legal race circuit. It is also well-known for its annual music festival, which was one of the most popular annual music events in the country until 1995.
tel_aviv_jaffaTel Aviv-Yafo (Hebrew: תֵּל־אָבִיב-יָפוֹ; Arabic: تل أبيب‎, Tēl ʼAbíb), usually called Tel Aviv, is the second largest city in Israel, with an estimated population of 391,300. The city is situated on the Israeli Mediterranean coastline, with a land area of 51.8 squarewomen of israel4 kilometres (20.0 sq mi). It is the largest and most populous city in the metropolitan area of Gush Dan, home to 3.15 million people as of 2008. The city is governed by the Tel Aviv-Yafo municipality, headed by Ron Huldai.
Tel Aviv was founded in 1909 on the outskirts of the ancient port city of Jaffa (Hebrew: יָפוֹ‎, Yafo; Arabic: يافا‎, Yaffa). The growth of Tel Aviv soon outpaced Jaffa, which was largely Arab at the time. Tel Aviv and Jaffa were merged into a single municipality in 1950, two years after the establishment of the State of Israel. Tel Aviv’s White City, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2003, comprises the world’s largest concentration of Modernist-style buildings. Tel Aviv is classified as a beta+ world city, a major economic hub and the richest citytel-aviv_1
in Israel, home to the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange and many corporate offices and research and development centers. Its beaches, bars, cafés, restaurants, upscale shopping, great weather and cosmopolitan lifestyle have led to it being a popular tourist destination for domestic and overseas visitors alike and given way to its reputation as a “Mediterranean metropolis that never sleeps”. It is the country’s financial capital and a major performing arts and business center.Tel Aviv’s urban area is the Middle East’s second biggest city economy, and is ranked 42nd among global cities by Foreign Policy’s 2008 Global Cities Index. It is also the most expensive city in the region, and 17th most expensive city in the world. New York-based writer and editor David Kaufman called it the “Mediterranean’s New Capital of Cool”.
women of israel2Jerusalem (Hebrew: יְרוּשָׁלַיִם‎ Yerushaláyim; Arabic: القُدس is the capital of Israel and its largest city in both population and area, with a population of 747,600 residents over an area of 125.1 square kilometres (48.3 sq mi) if disputed East Jerusalem is included Located in the Judean Mountains, between the Mediterranean Sea and the northern tip of the Dead Sea, modern Jerusalem has grown far beyond the boundaries of the Old City. The city has a history that goes back to the 4th millennium BCE, making it one of the oldest cities in th world Jerusalem is the holiest city in Judaism and the spiritual center of the Jewish people contains a number of significant ancient Christian sites, and is considered the third-holiest city in Islam Despite having an food1area of only 0.9 square kilometer (0.35 square mile the Old City is home to sites of key religious importance, among them the Temple Mount, the Western Wall, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa Mosque. The old walled city, a World Heritage site, has been traditionally divided into four quarters, although the names used today—the Armenian, Christian, Jewish, and Muslim Quarters—were introduced in the early 19thJerusalem century The Old City was nominated for inclusion on the List of World Heritage Sites in danger by Jordan in 1982.] In the course of its history, Jerusalem has been destroyed twice, besieged 23 times, attacked 52 times, and captured and recaptured 44 Women of Israeltimes. Today, the status of Jerusalem remains one of the core issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem has been repeatedly condemned by the United Nations and related bodies and Palestinians foresee East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state. In the wake of United Nation Security Council Resolution 478 (passed in 1980), most foreign embassies moved out of Jerusalem, although some countries, such as the United States, still own land in the city and pledge to return their embassies once political agreements warrant the move.

“…travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.”……St. Augustine



  1. I applaud you for a job well done.I am pleased with your efforts and have every confidence in your continued success.
    Congratulations, my friend.

  2. Hi My Friend,
    As I wrote you earlier, you did an excellent job. I am proud to be associated with such a gracious person.
    Hope to see you in the near future.
    Your friend,

  3. VERY EXCITING!!! What a pleasure it must have been to be in the company of and develope friendships with true Natives of a land so wrought with history. I can hardly wait to read more of your adventures in the Holy – Land. I look forward to comparing notes, as I also have had the opportunity and pleasure of visiting and walking the grounds, seeing the sights and experiencing a culture unlike any other on earth.

  4. […] View original post here: Off the Beaten Track in Israel « Magnolia's Travelogue […]

  5. Eilat is the number one resort in Israel !
    If you visit Eilat , make sure you visit Eilat’s leading website:
    Book yourself a room and get the monkey off your back !

  6. […] Off the Beaten Track in Israel « Magnolia's Travelogue By admin | category: BEN GURION University of The Negev | tags: abraham, back-at-least, […]

  7. Made fora very good and informative read…I look forward to seeing more! I have not visited Israel, but plan to do so to explore my own Jewish roots 🙂

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