Blogs from Israel, Middle East - page 3

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Middle East » Israel » North District » Tiberias April 6th 2019

Stayed in a kibbutz type hotel on the Sea of Galilee. The drive after the border with Jordan was quite a contrast. Clean villages and garden areas were abundant. Being on the Sea of Galilee’s edge was something special to start the tour. The hotel, Ohalo Manor Hotel, lies between the magical landscapes of the Sea of Galilee and the Golan Heights. The flowers around the hotel were stunning, often getting comments from those on tour.... read more
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Middle East » Israel » South District » Mitzpe Ramon January 10th 2019

Di nuovo in Israele, dove ho lasciato per ultime alcune gemme nascoste nel deserto del Negev e poco piu' in la'. MITZPE RAMON: Questo piccolo villaggio sorge sul ciglio di un grande cratere che si e' formato quando, nel corso dei millenni, l'acqua di un antico mare si e' ritirata. Arrivando da Eilat a Sud, l'autobus passa a caricare e scaricare giovani militari di leva che prestano servizio nelle numerosi basi sparse nell' inospitale ed isolato deserto del Negev, lontane da sguardi indiscreti; la strada sale gradualmente fino ad arrivare ad una ampia valle contornata da quello che in termini scientifici viene definito "circo d' erosione" ma che viene piu' semplicemente chiamato il "gran canyon" d'Israele: il Makhtesh Ramon. Qualche tornante e si arriva sul suo bordo dove l'altopiano continua poi indisturbato come niente fosse; qualche ... read more
Mar Morto
Ein Gedi: Wadi David
Mar Mediterraneo

Middle East » Israel » Haifa District December 30th 2018

E' difficile viaggiare per Israele e Palestina senza imbattersi in qualche luogo che non sia venerato da una delle tre grandi religioni monoteiste: qui una citta' santa, la' una montagna sacra, poi i resti di un antico tempio o la vecchia abitazione di un famoso profeta; oserei dire che tutto qui, a parte Tel Aviv, abbia qualcosa a che fare con la religione. Colto da un improvviso attacco di ateismo militante mi dirigo speranzoso verso Nord, ad Haifa, citta' portuale piuttosto moderna e dalla profonda anima operaia (situata comunque alle pendici del sacro Monte Carmelo ed in prossimita' della grotta del biblico profeta Elia...) alla ricerca di una boccata di aria fresca e di qualcosa di diverso in grado di risvegliarmi l'attenzione ormai consumata dall' immane mole di storia calpestata dai miei piedi in questi ultimi ... read more
Haifa: i giardini baha'i
Akko: le mura sul mare
Galilea: la terra di Cristo

Middle East » Israel » West Bank » Hebron December 23rd 2018

Da un po di tempo non esistono fine settimana per il popolo palestinese, eterno perdente nella lotta contro Israele e piu' in generale contro tutta l'opinione pubblica mondiale; troppo complessi i problemi e troppo stratificate le conseguenze per poterne trarre un giudizio saggio ed equilibrato, inutile chiedere ai rispettivi protagonisti un'opinione imparziale e distaccata dai propri interessi, e non saro' di certo io qui ad ipotizzarne una soluzione: troppo superiori gli israeliani e troppo grande il cuore dei palestinesi per affrontare quest' impresa. Inutile anche fare una breve introduzione alla questione perche', come qualcuno mi ha fatto notare in questi giorni (sta a voi capire se israeliano o palestinese...), la storia non puo' essere raccontata a partire da una certa data ma deve sempre essere narrata dall'inizio e quindi, trattandosi nello specifico di una storia particolarmen ... read more
Hebron /Al Khalil
Il muro a Betlemme
Tomba dei patriarchi / Moschea di Ibrahim

Middle East » Israel » Jerusalem District » Jerusalem December 15th 2018

"Non è la prima volta e non sara' l'ultima. Ma ieri e' corso il sangue dentro la Basilica del Santo Sepolcro dopo che l'ennesima disputa tra pope greco -ortodossi e monaci armeni e' degenerata in una rissa da saloon, a calci e pugni, ceri branditi come bastoni, tabernacoli rivoltati, inseguimenti e agguati nella penombra delle navate, i pellegrini in fuga terrorizzati. Con intervento finale della polizia israeliana in tenuta antisommossa e arresto di due tra i piu' focosi contendenti." No, non e' la prima volta e non sara' nemmeno l'ultima che il Mercante vi racconta cazzate ma in questo caso e' tutto vero: il virgolettato e' preso parola per parola da La Repubblica del 10 Novembre 2008 e comunque questo genere di "battibecchi" sono davvero frequenti. Ma come siamo messi quest'anno in vista del Sacro Natale? ... read more
Cupola della Roccia
Muro del Pianto
Tel  Aviv vista da Jaffa

Middle East » Israel » Tel Aviv District » Holon October 24th 2018

. Holon - Third in a series of experiential, off the beaten path tours to encounter and appreciate other important religious communities in Israel led by licenced tour guide Rina Yellin. The city of Holon is located south of Tel Aviv. (See our blogs "Day around the Carmel in Israel - January 2016" and "Day tour of Minorities in the Galil - April 2016" for the two previous tours with Rina.) Our Samaritan (Shomronim) Holon tour began with a visit to the Samaritans during their Sukkot holiday. We started in the house of Benyamim Tsedaka, an elder and head of the Israelite Samaritan Information Institute ( www.israelite-samaritans.com ). As we walked in we were confronted with a beautifully decorated sukkah in the middle of the living room and greeted by Binyamim who said "call me Ben ... read more
Samaritan Institute & Ben Tsedaka’s home
paintings by Miriam Tsedaka
Mezuzah in Ancient Hebrew

Middle East » Israel » Tel Aviv District » Tel Aviv October 22nd 2018

We are looking down from the top floor of a converted Bauhaus cinema, now the cool boutique hotel where we are staying. Around Dizengoff Square, with its drum-shaped fountain, are a number of fine Bauhaus buildings. Characteristic long horizontal lines formed by smooth balconies and ribbons of windows, skinny verticals (including the classic “thermometer” windows of internal stair ways), gentle curves and occasional sinuous forms abound. There is over 1000 of these remarkable buildings remaining from the Modern Movement of the 1920s and early 1930s. They were built by European immigrants schooled in the International style and adapted for a hotter climate. They display an elegant simplicity and functionality of style. The majority are built from smoothly rendered white washed concrete and possibly result of the “poverty of materials” experienced by this city during its early ... read more
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Middle East » Israel » Center District » Ra'anana May 15th 2018

After 15 hours in the air we finally arrived back in Israel very tired but pleased to be home. We had visited San Francisco, flown via Houston to Quito, toured the Galapagos Islands by yacht with flights from Quito and back, flown via Houston to a Cabo San Lucas resort at the southern tip of the Baja peninsula in Mexico, and now we made it home again via San Franciso long haul. Including indirect connections, our total flight distance was over 27,000 miles / 40,000 km - farther than once around the world. The next day we would start to reflect on our experiences of the past 21 days ! There was one positive side-effect of our travel weariness and jetlag after the 9-10 hour timezone shift. A couple of days later we celebrated the ... read more


Coming to Isreal's official memorial to the victim's of the Holocaust was a requirement for my trip and one I do not regret. But first order of business, I needed to get my Rav Kav card! What is it? The transportation card that allows you to use the bus/light rail system. So, off I went to find the central station. I got onto bus 75 and the driver was so helpful. He told me when to get off and where to go. Into Central Station I went up to the 3rd floor and I followed the Rav Kav signs. Got my number and waited in line. Before I knew it, my number was called. Even though the clerk did not speak English, we were able to communicate enough that I was given my card! How cool ... read more
Yad Veshem
View at the end of the tour
Lunch spot

Middle East » Israel » Jerusalem District » Jerusalem April 30th 2018

This was one of my must do activities while I was here. I specifically packed my Nana's rosary to bring to Isreal to carry it with me during this particular pilgrimage. I awoke this day and spent a good hour having coffee with Lori and finding out about her life while telling her a bit about mine. Then, it was time to head out and back to the old city. While there are tours that you can buy, I wanted to go it alone. However, finding the starting point was a bit harder than I had expected. I did stumble onto the first station but I apparently looked very lost. A gentleman asked if I wanted a guide and I totally took him up on it. I hired him and he took me to each station ... read more
Station 1
Station 2 - Jesus takes up the cross
Station 2 - Flagellation Chapel




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