Friday, June 7, 2013

Israel Day 8: Saturday Morning, Tel Aviv

This is our last day in Israel; later tonight after a full day, we'll decamp to the airport for another blissful overnight business class conveyance home.  We'll have a farewell dinner as a group, so I won't feel any obligation to stay awake even for a little bit of the dinner they'll serve at an ungodly hour.  No, as soon as all the silly announcements are made, I'll be flattening to horizontal and heading off to la-la land.

I awoke yesterday at the hotel at Nof Ginosar Kibbutz on the Sea of Galilee.  Our day was spent primarily in two pursuits--the first was to experience Jesus' ministry (which occurred primarily in this area) through visits to various sites associated with that time (Sermon on the Mount, when he appeared to the Apostles for the last time), and second was a trip up into the Golan Heights to talk about the Syrians.  We'd previously been down south to talk about the border with Gaza and tangentially Egypt (with whom Israel has a peace treaty), and up north at the Lebanese border.  Now we focused on Syria.  This was made somewhat more difficult by the ongoing Syrian civil war and the fact that on Thursday, several rockets had been fired into the Golan. So we did not go where we originally were scheduled--which was to Eastern Golan where we would have a view of Syria, concentrating instead on a scenic overlook from Western Golan looking down into the fertile Israeli plains below.

Israel took the Golan from Syria in the 1967 War, with the intent to make it a security buffer.  Like the Sinai Peninsula, it provided them with strategic depth, and also a bargaining chip for future peace negotiations. Unlike the Sinai--which went back to Egypt as a result of the Camp David accords, the Golan remains very much Israeli territory.  Though I believe they deal this away too for the right peace treaty with Syria.  Syria however, remains a problem, and its current civil war does not make things easier.

We finished our day with a wonderful Shabbat meal at the home of an Israeli couple, something I'd like to tell you about but must save for later as we're leaving early today to get started in order to beat anticipated heat. 

1 comment:

The Milwaukee Guy said...

Great to hear you had a wonderful time in Israel. There is nothing quite like walking the land to fully appreciate the complex situation that the Israeli's have as their reality. I look forward to learning about your visit with the Israeli family.

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