Israel on the Lebanon – Syria Border

October 07, 2018


The city of Magdala, home Mary Magdalene fame, no longer exists it is just a archaeological dig and has been replaced nearby by the city of Migdal.  however the there is an Aroma coffee shop there. Aroma is the equivalent to Starbucks except that they make really good food. Israeli breakfasts are enormous.  There was a very strange smell in the restaurant. We won


dered about it but didn’t ask. After we had ordered and they have started bringing food it turned out the water was corrupted because somebody forgot to turn off a certain valve during repairs. So the food was fine but the coffee was not drinkable. Very depressing.

Mount of the BeatitudesBeatitudes

 The first stop of the day was on the mountain of the beatitudes. There is a, of course, Hey beautiful Fanciscan church built on the site and honestly I had trouble focusing on the sermon on the mount in the tourist setting.As usual, there is a Greek orthodox church nearby competing for the site. However, the Greeks appear to not appreciate non-orthodox visitors. On the bright side, there was a coffee shop and we were able to make up for the tragedy of no coffee  at the aroma restaurant. Whew

 Tel Dan

Tel Dan Is an amazing archaeological dig and nature preserve. You hike through beautiful trees and come upon a place of worship that was built by Jeroboam 3000 years ago. There is a massive oak tree on the site it’s probably 500 years old. Right above this alter you can stand in a spot where you can see Lebanon and one mountain that stands Tel Danbetween us and Syria. It wasn’t that long ago that snipers would sneak across the border and shoot israelis.   Another 15 minutes hike brings us to something called the Abraham gate. That was from the time of the Canaanites 3800 years ago. Mind-boggling.

 On the way to our next stop, our guide us had to stop at a little roadside stand that we probably wouldn’t have stopped at otherwise. OK, definitely wouldn’t have stopped at. It was run by a man who is a Druze which is a sect of the Muslims. We had fry bread and hummus  and also a mix of yogurt and hyssop.  Hyssop it  turns out is like a Reagan now. All of it was pretty fabulous.







 Golan Heights

The next stop was definitely a Geo political statement. Guides like to take you to the top of the Golan Heights.  specifically, on mount Bentel.   From here you get a full appreciation of why Israel was so determined to take these mountains back in the war of 1967. It commands a view of all the area of Galilee on one side and on the other side you have Lebanon and Syria what looks like a stones throw away. It’s a little farther than a stones throw but very close. Up until 1967, they could sit up on the top of the Golan Heights and shoot mortars  into Israel.  It’s hard to describe the  powerful impact of standing on this spot and seeing so many things so very close. That’s why the guides just want you to see it.Golan

And as long as we were all the way up there it seemed a shame to not stop at theGolan Heights winery. The wine in Israel is kind of like the wine in Michigan. You can get good wine but you have to pay a lot.

Oh and also on the top is a  Coffee shop with a clever name coffee anan.  Sounds like the name of the  Head of the UN. But in Hebrew it means coffee in the clouds. I bought a T-shirt 


 So the interesting things in Capernaum or a synagogue that had been uncovered and was thought to be around the time of Jesus. Also peters mother-in-law‘s house. Which has a basalt (black rock) modern in church built on stilts over the top.   The house is very large and one guide interpreted it as a common multi generational extended family dwelling. Another guide interpreted it as evidence that there was a house church there which had to be kept secret from the Romans.  
 We have now come full circle and are headed back down the western shore of the sea of Galilee to Tiberius. We had dinner at a surprise surprise middle eastern restaurant. The owner was a real salesman named Avi who seemed very disappointed that we hadn’t found him on trip advisor. Nonetheless the food was great including the traditional Arabic never ending salad Cornucopia.

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