Blogs from Israel, Middle East - page 144


Middle East » Israel » Jerusalem District » Jerusalem February 4th 2006

When we decided to travel down through the Middle East to Egypt we had no intention of visiting Israel or Palestine. This was partly because we wished to travel on to other Islamic countries who would not grant us entry visas if we had been to Occupied Palestine (as they refer to it), and partly because of our own, particularly my own, political views and prejudices in favour of the Palestinian cause, their right to their own state and the end of the Israeli occupation. I had spent several years boycotting Israeli produce for instance, as my own way of not giving any support to what I viewed as the illegal activities of the Israeli state, and was happy to rant to anyone about how unjust the situation was and how I never intended to visit ... read more
Fashion Accessories
Damascus Gate Old City Jerusalem

Middle East » Israel » Jerusalem District » Jerusalem January 27th 2006

So, after my adventures wandering around the OC alone (the Old City, that is... Inside the Wall, if you didn't know) I went back to my Hotel and all... Then the next day I checked out of my hotel and was going to catch a cab to JUC. HOWEVER, I talked to the guy at the Front desk, Joseph, who told me that the cabs only come to Jaffa Gate. Well, in case you weren't aware, my hotel was 'right' inside the New Gate. That's the NW corner of the Old City. Well Jaffa gate is approximately halfway between the New Gate and JUC. Now, being the logical person that I am, I thought this through. 1. I drag my two huge suitcases to the Jaffa Gate and get a cab to take me the rest ... read more

Middle East » Israel » Jerusalem District » Jerusalem January 26th 2006

I arrived in Israel late on the 25th of January. I then crashed for the night, only to be awoken by a little Muslim boy kicking a car parked outside of my window, making the alarm go off. Hehe... I went into the Old City and wandered around for a bit. Well, for about three hours. I saw the Tomb of David, the Church of dormition, and a few other random sites that I bumped into. I spent about a half an hour taking with some old man, but I had convinced him that I spoke no English. Heh heh heh. He knew jsut a tiny bit less Russian than I know, but it was effective. I could string together enough intellegent sentances (or almost intellegent sentances) to get by. Hehe... It was great fun! Then ... read more
Dormition Abbey

Middle East » Israel » South District » Eilat January 26th 2006

DOLPHIN REEF EILAT, on the shores of the Red Sea, is an ecological site unique in Israel and throughout the world. You can enjoy a natural atmosphere, magical views, secluded beach, together with the unusual opportunity of meeting and observing dolphins in their natural habitat. Cindy, Dana, Shy, Nana, Yampa, Luna, Nikita, Sheba and Neo. Hm... i think i've found my new favorit animal!!! ... read more

Middle East » Israel » West Bank January 25th 2006

After my trip to Bethlehem, I spent a few days in Jerusalem before returning to Amman, Jordan. The word "Jerusalem" means "city of peace," a place where people of many faiths can coexist peacefully. Unfortunately, Jerusalem has often been anything but a city of peace throughout the ages, with Jews, Muslims, and Christians each claiming it as their own. The Old City Jerusalem is split into East and West: West Jerusalem is Israeli. East Jerusalem is Palestinian. Between the two is the Old City, a fascinating mix of cultures and religions. The Old City contains four quarters: Christian, Muslim, Jewish, and Armenian. To make broad generalizations, the Christian and Armenian quarters are quiet, relaxed, and filled with churches. The Muslim quarter is the liveliest by far, containing numerous souqs (markets). The Jewish quarter is full of ... read more


Middle East » Israel » South District January 25th 2006

So much has happened since I was last in touch...time has flown by unbelievably quickly! After a bit of a hectic ending, the semester did come to a close, and immediately afterwards I flew out of Israel to Chicago. I had a very short, but nice visit with family and friends. I'm so glad that I had the opportunity to catch up with everyone. I am now back in Israel, but the second semester of school doesn't begin until the middle of February. Until then, our group is learning and volunteering on a Kibbutz in the Southern Arava Desert. The Kibbutz is called Kibbutz Lotan. This is a fantastic place. It's mission statement is to be a source for Reform Zionist Eco-friendly living. The people are friendly, interesting, and they love what they do. The scenary ... read more

Middle East » Israel » South District » Eilat January 20th 2006

Israel, here I come! After 2 hours of scanning and checking the luggage I was finally there. Yifat and here friend Maya were waiting for me. We stuffed all my things into the car and drove directly to the beach. I thought that meant a relaxing afternoon sunbathing or just looking the sunset. But it was a party, a great party though. My first impression of Israel in its real image. Young, old, girls, boys, kids, students, grannies… everyone were singing, dancing, drinking, eating (in Israel you always get small pretzels and olives with your drink), talking, they were all enjoying themselves. Well, we were all enjoying. That’s how Israel is. Full of great positive energy, there is no sign of boredom, no sign of monotony. It’s work (most of them have 2 or 3 jobs), ... read more

Middle East » Israel » Haifa District » Haifa January 9th 2006

Well, EVERYBODY woke up late today. We ate cake and oranges for breakfast, and putzed around for most of the morning. The kids worked on an "always 15" math puzzle for a while, then eventually figured out how to work the TV, and watched Nickelodeon with Hebrew subtitles. Around Noon, we all drove north to Rosh Hanikra, right at the border with Lebanon. There are amazing white cliffs with a great view down the coast--we could see all the way back to Haifa. After taking in the the view, we took the cable car down to the park area. As with most places in Israel, it has a checkered past, but it is currently a national park, with a protected breeding ground for green sea turtles, and a nice tourism area. The sea has worn away ... read more
At the border of Lebanon
The cable car
Jim and Sammi

Middle East » Israel » West Bank January 5th 2006

Going to Bethlehem for Christmas has been one of my goals for some time now. And after having made it to Jerusalem on December 23rd, that goal was now tantalizingly within reach... In search of a procession I had hoped to join an official procession from Jerusalem to Bethlehem (according to my guidebook, one happened every year on December 24th). Due to the Israeli checkpoint and other problems though, the only kind of procession happening this year, according to the helpful and eminently patient Sister at the Christian Information Centre, was leaving at midnight from the Austrian Hospice. In other words, with a bunch of German-speaking people. My German isn't that great, so I wandered over to the Church of the Sepulchre to ponder my next move. The Church of the Sepulchre is the traditional site ... read more

Middle East » Israel » Tel Aviv District » Tel Aviv January 3rd 2006

Oy, are we behind! Tuesday was busy and stunning. We left Nof Ginosar, a hotel/resort at Kibbutz Ginosar on the Kinneret or Sea of Galilee. It was somewhat painful to leave that area, because it was BEAUTIFUL! Lots of flora and fauna, stunning views, etc. The big tourist attraction for the kibbutz is an ancient boat (I think from the time of Jesus) which was uncovered as the water level of the Kinneret decreased. They spent 12 years preserving the wood of this boat, and now it is on display in a tourist center. I did not see it, but Jim went. There is a picture at So, after a huge breakfast spread (I should have taken pictures of the hotel breakfasts here--it is always an ENORMOUS buffet including everything from fresh veggies and cheese ... read more

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