Travel Review: Israel Informative - Thinking of taking a vacation this summer? Israel could be right for you?
Where to start is the problem, it was the trip of a lifetime for me.
I was very apprehensive about the whole thing because of all the crap we see on the news. I always take the news with a grain of salt and call it 50/50 whether it is the truth or not. The thing for me about my fear of being in Israel was not being blown up on a bus or shot in the head but being kidnapped and then have my big head slowly cut from my body. Although, many people who have been to Israel told me it wasn’t like that, I still didn’t really believe it. Boy was I wrong!
From the time we landed until the time we got through customs, I was very leery of everything. But as soon as I walked out of the airport, it was just like anywhere else in the world I’ve been. No massive bunch of guards running around with guns and dogs, checking everybody. No sense of fear and doom that I had thought was going to be there, just another airport. Yeah, there was guards all over once you started looking but they were dressed more like people that were there to help you with information rather than security guards.
The Itzkovitz’s, who we went with got left behind in the good old USA and could not get a plane until the next day. So we were pretty much on our own and had to find our way to the first house we were staying. Now I will say I have been ripped off, or should I say let myself be ripped off at least once in every country I have visited and this would be no exception. I was waiting outside and a cab driver came up to me and asked if I needed a cab: First mistake! Don’t let that happen to you, go to the curb and get a cab from there. These guys took us to our destination but charged us about twice what it was worth. I found out about a week later after many cab rides that you don’t TIP cab drivers in Israel. Most are honest and are just like cab drivers anywhere else they are trying to make a buck or in this case a “sheckle.” I found most to be very helpful and just nice people.
We stayed at a Mary Falkkenstein‘s house where she rents the bigger half of her house out for travelers like a B&B. It’s about 30 miles outside of Tel Aviv a place called Zichron Ya ‘cov. It was a great two days staying there. Our friends took us to a place called Tel Dor, an archeological dig on the Mediterranean Sea.
Note: “Tel Dor is located on the Mediterranean Coast of Israel next to what some call the nicest beach in Israel” Surfers like it there.
Enter our guide Amatzia Dayan who is the cousin of Moshe Dayan, (Moshe Dayan was an Israeli military warrior who became a crusader for peace. He was skilled in both battle and diplomacy. He played a key role in four wars, but also helped negotiate the historic Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty. http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/biography/Dayan.html ) and an ex-military commander who fought in the 6-day war and some others as well
He lives on a Kibbutz called Ein Hashofet that his father and others founded. It is located north of Zichron Yaachov and just South of Haifa. This guy was one of the major highlights of the whole trip because of his knowledge of history and his general outlook on life itself. I tell you everybody in Israel knows him and has nothing but kind things to say about him. I was also afraid of how much this was going to cost me but, if it would have been four times as much as it was, it would have been worth every penny of the time we spent with Amatzia. He goes out of his way to make sure each person has the best time he/she can and gets to see what they want.
For example: He didn’t know I was the only Christian among the rest who are Jewish but as soon as he found out the whole plain changed and we went to and heard about all the things and places where Christian (Jesus) fit into the grand scheme of things. This guy gave me a history lesson that I could have never gotten from any books. Thanks to him I now have a new perspective on the history and the people of modern day Israel that one could never get from any news channel.
Anyway, first stop is The Sea of Galilee and all points in-between. We went everywhere. I could go on and on about what we saw and what we did but I think it is something one has to experience for one’s self.
I went down to the Sea of Galilee by myself, (I did have an escort, a little dog that lived at the hotel) in the mornings just to be there and think. I didn’t walk on the water but I did feel like I could. There were also cats everywhere, I mean everywhere, wild cats but friendly ones. One cat stayed in our room while we were there. I called him Jesus. He would come in at night and eat then sleep with us for a while. At about 2 AM he would wake me up to let him out. There are all kinds of cat. There were a lot of Egyptian cats, you know the ones we see in the pictures, oh well I like cats.
One day as we were riding around by the border of Jordan or on the other side, I don’t know which. We came across an Israeli outpost (military base) and knowing what I thought about getting my head cut off, Amatzia drives towards the fence like it is know big deal. In my head I am thinking, “well, it’s been real”, but I was not afraid for some reason. There were tanks that had just gotten back from a patrol or something and one guy was on top with the machine gun still and ready to shoot. When we got as close as he could with the car Amatzia told me to run up to the fence and take a picture and I did. The guys on the tanks didn’t even flinch and I got some good pictures. Lesson is, don’t always believe everything you are told and there are people you can trust.
The food we ate was excellent everywhere we ate if it was Arab or Israeli .We just did not eat at a bad place. They also had some good beer.
The weather was great, not too cold and not too hot. Most people said it was a little warmer then it usually is and of course I asked for no rain until we left, so it was sunny 99% of the time.
Would I go back again?
In a heart beat but I would like to spend more time at archeological dig sites and more time in the area of the Sea of Galilee.
Was it fun?
Yes, Yes and Yes!
More then I could write here because I would have to write a book. If you like to see cities that are built on cities that were built on cities then you could stay there for the rest of your life and never get tired. The history alone could keep it interesting for a few life times.
That is a loaded question and I think it’s a question one must go and answer for him/her self. But for me yes it was, not magical type, but an inner type and personal.
What impression did you leave with?
This I can answer as to the people, place and what I feel now.
The people are just like us in that most want peace and to have a home that is relatively safe from the outside world. What I found is that most Arabs and Israeli’s are the same in that respect and they really don’t want to fight each other. It is the radicals, special interest groups and the politicians just like here in the good old USA and the ignorant people that don’t know what is really going on and the dictators of the region that just want power that we hear the most about in our new broadcasts.
Here we as a people seem to think that they have been fighting for thousands of years and they are not going to stop. So let them kill each other. I do not exclude myself from this form of thinking either. But now I have been enlightened and can see the difference.
It’s easy to see when your eyes are opened. Take what we know and go from there, we know that here in America we have only been fighting for a few hundred years since this country was founded. Then there was the time before that when we were taking the country over and, of course, now as we still fight each other for so-called rights and a host of others and terrorists that have free rain while we pretend it’s constitutional and yes we have not stopped killing each other yet.
But let’s take it from there and go backwards through the ages. Back through Europe and Asia as they have only been doing it for a thousand years or so.
Don’t forget about South America or Canada either and yes they are all still fighting too.
The only conclusion it seems to be the same story as everywhere freedom has a cost and the cost is subject to inflation. The same people that say that “they have been fighting forever, let them die” are the same reason we as a people must keep fighting. We don’t learn from our mistakes so we must keep fighting. The only reason they have been fighting for thousands of years is because they have been there that long. We have only had a few hundred years. If we are to assume we are any better then the only fools are us.
People all over the world are just that, people just like you and me they are looking for happiness.