Israel on the Lebanon – Syria Border
Mount of the Beatitudes
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 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 between 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.
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.
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