Day 10: Eastern Galilee and Golan
Trip Start May 14, 2008
42Trip End Jun 17, 2008
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Capernaum, by the Sea of Galilee, is teeming with busloads of pilgrims
Toward Gamla, the road keeps climbing higher and higher, and when we see a scenic overlook, called Mitzpeh Beit Salida, Harvey quickly turns in and parks the car. We can now safely gauk at this unbelievable view of the Kinneret and the surrounding mountains and valley. We had not seen a tour bus and we expect to be alone, but when we walk to the overlook, there are about 20 people laughing, chatting, drinking coffee and eating a snack. We drink in the view and as we start to leave the area, a man walks up to us and asks if we would mind taking a picture of the group with his camera. We offer to take a picture with our camera and email it to them because I have a wide angle lens that would get the entire group and the view. The group poses and I get the picture; Harvey gets a picture of me getting the picture
We follow them to Gamla. When we arrive, we walk over to them to say goodbye. They invite us to join them for lunch! We hesitate, but look at each other and decide, YES! Thanks! Talking with Atta, who had asked us initially for the photo, we learn that he is the person in charge of these outings. We are offered laffa bread similar to what we had in Jaffa at Abulafia Bakery, which they knew of, and of course, this is so much better! We also have fresh cucumbers and fresh apricots. We get into a discussion with Atta and I get to ask my question, "why can't people be tolerant of one another and why can't we all live in peace". It turns out that Atta has been an advisor to Olmert on Arab Affairs and has dealt with these issues.
We separate from our new friends when they go on a path to see vultures nesting
On our way to the cherry picking, Harvey sees signs for Katzrin and I quickly check the guidebook. We make a spur-of-the-moment decision to check it out and quickly turn into the parking lot. Katzrin is a recreated Talmudic village from the 3rd century. We start out with a movie and you know by now that I love these historical introductory movies! The movie is unusual in that it is done in the Talmudic teaching fashion of story telling. I am puzzled at the end, unsure of the lesson to be learned. I ask Harvey to interpret this for me. He really wants to come up with an answer. After all I defer to him on all Talmudic issues. He thinks about it for a while and finally says "I haven't got a clue". More on this tomorrow, when we will ask our guide in Sfat. It is very interesting to see a typical home during that time period; the restoration in that specific area was especially well done and you can actually walk through the home
Ein Zivan, the cherry picking kibbutz, is a small dot on the map of eastern Golan. We find the cherry trees, we find the UN monitoring vehicles that patrol the border between Syria and Israel, we find the kibbutz, but we don't find people to ask where the you-pick fields are. The hours of the day were moving along, so we do as well.
At Mt. Bental, with the wide ranging views of Syria, we are able to look down and see the kibbutz you-pick fields! They are so close to the border that we had not wanted to drive in that direction! But now from the summit of Mt. Bental, the border looks so close to the fields that we are astonished! We satisfy ourselves with buying fresh picked organic cherries and fresh picked raspberries from someone at the top of Mt. Bental. The flavor, the life just burst out of the cherries! Soooo good! At the top of Mt. Bental, we walk through bunkers that have actually been used. History is definitely coming alive. This land has seen so many armies coming and going. On this trip, we have seen ancient cities and fortifications. And now we are seeing fortifications and locations of fighting in our current era. Standing on this ground and seeing the strategic importance of the Golan gives current news and events a new relevance
The 77th Brigade fought a strategic battle for the Golan in 1971 and it is brought to life in the memorial, not far from Mt. Bental. Tanks, bunkers, views and a memorial present us with a poignant moment. Both Harvey and I become quiet and solemn. We had wanted to see the movie about the 77th Brigade at a nearby Kibbutz. As usual, we get lost. And when we finally do find it, it is closed. Fortunately, there is You Tube. If you look up the 77th Brigade you can see the movie online.
It is time to pause, we are on overload, and we head to Ma'sada, a Druze village, for dinner at Nedal and Sons. We have pitas of falafel and shwarma, with a side of fries. All is delicious. Over coffee, we watch Lebanese television as the new Lebanon president takes office. We do not understand a word of the Arabic so our host occasionally translates. All politicians say the same things. It does not matter what country they are from. They like to stand in front of a microphone for a long time, saying very little and getting a lot of applause. We end the day, with thoughts of hope, that perhaps with leadership, there can be peace.
Click here for today's photos!