Blogs from Israel, Middle East - page 15

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Middle East » Israel » Jerusalem District » Jerusalem April 26th 2013

The Temple Mount is one of the holiest sites in the Abrahamic religions. This was the site of the First Temple, built by King Solomon around the tenth century BCE. This temple was built on top of the location of the Foundation Stone, believed by Jews and Moslems to be the spiritual junction of heaven and earth. The temple stood for 410 years before being destroyed by King Nebuchadnezzar II. The First Temple contained the Ark of the Covenant, which contained the stone tablets of the Ten Commandments. Today, the Dome of the Rock stands on top of the Foundation Stone. This is also considered to be the place where Abraham offered his son Isaac as a sacrifice before being stopped by an Angel of the Lord. This story is mentioned in the Koran, as well ... read more
wall plaza
From the woman's side
southern end of the wall

Middle East » Israel » Jerusalem District » Jerusalem April 25th 2013

My first day in Jerusalem I walked to the Old City. Jerusalem is divided into the Old City, which has existed for at least 4,000 years, and the New City, which dates to 1860. That was the point at which Sir Moses Montefiore, a wealthy Jewish stockbroker from England, built the first neighborhood outside the walls of the Old City, complete with a windmill for grinding grain. Since living outside the city walls was considered to be risky business at the time, he offered financial incentives – which sounds much nicer than “bribes” – along with employment to anyone who would move to the new neighborhood. I entered the Old City through the Jaffa Gate, which is an actual gate that used to be closed at night. Immediately inside the gate is the Citadel, which dates ... read more
City Wall
Old City Wall
Inscription Jaffa Gate

Middle East » Israel » Jerusalem District » Jerusalem April 24th 2013

I had heard many stories about the added security screening people face when going to Israel. El Al’s pre-flight security checks are legendary, and I had read horror stories about getting though (or not getting through) Israeli Immigration. There is good reason for these precautions, and I certainly understand the Israeli’s caution. I wasn’t particularly concerned. My point of departure was a small regional airport in California, where getting through security took all of three minutes. I wasn’t flying El Al, I am a near-sighted, middle-aged, reasonably pleasant woman with a US passport, and I am registered with the US Global Entry and Trusted Traveler programs. I connected in Newark to my flight to Tel Aviv. Even though I had already gone through security at my departure airport, I had to go through security again in ... read more
morning walk

Middle East » Israel » Jerusalem District April 3rd 2013

Apr3 A " WHAT " state solution in the Holy Land of Israel- Palestine This article is specifically to educate readers on what alternatives there are for a peaceful solution in Israel- Palestine. It is not simply a 2 state solution that is the solution... I want to give the readers more choices!I dedicate this article to those who would support state terrorism and islamic fundamentalism- you dont have to pretend... mohammed abbasi, martin behugiar,neena crinion, john paul wedger, mervyn roberts crown court judge, yvonne gibson, yvonne lewers of the social serv... read more

Middle East » Israel » Jerusalem District February 23rd 2013

During my week vacation in February, I travelled to Israel to visit some friends who live in Jerusalem. I flew into Tel Aviv and spent one evening and day there. Then I headed to Jerusalem and spent two days exploring the city. After that I went on a guided tour of Masada and the Dead Sea. Then my friends and I went to Bethlehem, Haifa and Akko. Hope you enjoy the pictures!... read more
Tel Aviv - Old Jaffa
Tel Aviv - Carmel Market
Tel Aviv - Carmel Market

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Middle East » Israel » North District » Golan February 5th 2013

Country drive to the farthest reaches Our host Ilya, who works from home, has offered to drive us all the way up to Golan Heights today. Though Henry and I do not wish to take advantage of our hosts’ hospitality, it’s hard to turn down such an offer. Plus he happens to be an archeological buff and so his expertise and friendliness are an irresistible combination. The drive takes about two hours (a lengthy excursion in this tiny country!). We only make pitstops and so rely on my guidebook and Ilya’s descriptions of the sights around us, whetting my appetite for further Israeli adventuring at some future point. I would love to go to Tsfat, the ancient home of the Jewish mystical strain called Kabbalah, or prowl around the banks of the large (and important) Sea ... read more
Largest waterfall in Israel!
Hyrax! Gah!
Nimrod Fortress

Middle East » Israel » Jerusalem District » Jerusalem February 4th 2013

The Western Wall We wake early. Or at least, we’re out of the hostel before the street vendors open up. The streets are wider, brighter with the reduced clutter of stuff and clamor of conversation. We’re headed to the Western Wall. As we walk, I make myself put aside my initial emotional reaction to seeing the Wall yesterday. Really, it was the reaction at seeing the undeniably differently sized spaces for men and women to approach the Wall. Yesterday, I saw the clump of bodies on the women’s side, vying for space to touch and pray up close, contrasted sharply with the black shapes on the men’s side, spread out and moving about freely. There were just as many women as men. But they had a third of the space. The softness of the sunset colors ... read more
A random wall with beauty
View from our hostel window
Jerusalem on the hills

Middle East » Israel » Jerusalem District » Jerusalem February 3rd 2013

Welcome to the Old City We bumble our way to one of the main bus stations in Tel Aviv and after asking strangers, ascertain the correct bus to Jerusalem. They leave regularly, multiple times within every hour, so our chances are good. A young man, who looks nearer my age than not, tells us in clear English what we need to know as he’s boarding the same bus. We take a seat in the back and I start re-poring through my Lonely Planet guide, underlining the sights that I think will be feasible. We’re headed to one of two hostels within the Old City. Henry only had a bare couple of hours within the place, mostly at the Western Wall and he’s hankering to go back. Considering this small acreage is the site of so much ... read more
Cave entrance
Street wanderings
Damascus Gate

Middle East » Israel » South District » Masada February 2nd 2013

Changing faces of Israel We leave Henry asleep (mostly) in Aleeza’s bed (she was kind enough to give us her bed while she slept on her pullout couch). Early morning on Shabbat, even in the party-city Tel Aviv, is very quiet. A few streetcleaners and one or two cars, even in this central location. We walk to our pick-up location, a nearby hotel, and easily spot the loosely bunched group of foreigners on the lookout for a leader. A compact fifteen-seater van/bus pulls up and we’re off. This is an English-speaking tour but we have Germans and one Greek man in addition to the handful of Americans. This is my first jaunt out of Tel Aviv and I avidly watch the landscapes outside. Tel Aviv metro area quickly drops off to be replaced by wooded shrubby ... read more
Dead Sea!
Cable car up to Masada
Masada ruins

Middle East » Israel » Tel Aviv District » Tel Aviv February 1st 2013

New foods and sensory overload The alarm wakes us well before our bodies should be wisely moved. But part of being a tourist is being foolishly heady about sightseeing so I drag myself out of bed and turn on the hot water heater. Most of the year, Israelis rely on solar panels to heat their showers but on the few rainy days, there is the timed heater. I blearily repack (we’re moving spaces this night) while the water temp nudges up to warm. After showering, we head off to market. Friday is like our Saturday and like many places in the US on Saturday, markets fill up to bursting with produce and wares for the weekend shoppers. Uri is actually going a’marketing but I’m more than happy to tag along since it’s all a vacation to ... read more
Old and new
Historical railway station
Neve Tzedek




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