Ancient Trees Tell Their Stories

Trip Start May 04, 2012
Trip End May 27, 2012

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Flag of Israel  ,
Sunday, May 6, 2012

You might say this is a tree pilgrimage. There are thousands of old trees in Israel who have witnessed the rise and fall of different empires, the advent of new religions, heard prophets, watched great battles and inspired people.  Both archaeological remains and ancient trees have a special connection to the land, yet trees are living testaments. 

My investigative research began when I read about the Mature Tree Survey Project that identified Israel's ancient and historic trees.  An inter-organizational team of government, Jewish National Fund foresters and botanists, conservationists and volunteers spent 15 years collecting data on about 1,500 special mature trees.  Besides their age, most trees are unique in historic importance, religious significance, appearance and rarity.  I set about trying to obtain a copy of this project’s results and researching trees to visit

Along the way, many people responded to what may have seemed like an unusual request via email for help locating special trees to visit in Israel.  Maybe they were asking "who is this crazy American?"  My path crossed many special individuals who without any expectation of something in return, lent a helping hand to a stranger – from one human being to another:   Shoshana, Ada, Ruty, Nir, Vita, Oz, Yizhar, Gil, many TripAdvisors.   I can’t thank these people enough!

Each of our regional itineraries has a listing of specific trees that are possibilities for a visit, each with a unique story.  From north to the central area and east to west, we’ll take our car and driving directions, our backpack and camera and go for a walk or hike and seek these out.  I am looking forward to hugging a tree!

If I could read Hebrew, there are three excellent sources for information consolidated and organized. 

  • The Mature Tree Project.  If anyone would like a PDF copy, private message me with your email address and I will send it.

  • Book about Trees in Israel – there are several titles available in Hebrew. 

  • On-line magazines and newspapers often publish about trees.  Google translate works great to be able to read them in English.   You’ll need someone who reads Hebrew to do the on-line search for you to get you started though.

If English is your language, then further reading at these websites may be interesting to you:

  • Lots of photos of trees and their general location:

  • Simply google “trees Israel” and you will have many hours of browsing pleasure!
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