ISRAEL


Sunday December 1, 2019


GRAND ADVENTURE
By: ANNA MARIE MATEESCU

A Middle Eastern country on the Mediterranean Sea, is regarded by Jews, Christians and Muslims as the biblical Holy Land. Majority of sacred sites are in Jerusalem. JERUSALEM is the capital of Israel as it happens to be within its Old City, the Temple Mount complex includes the Dome of the Rock shrine, the historic Western Wall, Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. TEL AVIV is Israel’s financial hub, is known for its Bauhaus architecture and beaches.

The Arab Palestinian economy collapsed while 250,000 Palestinian Arabs fled. On May 1948, the day before the expiration of the British Mandate, David Ben-Gurion, the head of the Jewish Agency, declared “the establishment of a Jewish state in Eretz-Israel, to be known as the State of Israel.”

How did Israel become a country in the first place.

Social and political developments in Europe convinced Jews they needed their own country, and their ancestral homeland seemed like the right place to establish it. European Jews 90 percent of all Jews at the time arrived at Zionism partly because of rising anti-Semitic persecution and partly because the Enlightenment introduced Jews to secular nationalism. Between 1896 and 1948, hundreds of thousands of Jews resettled from Europe to what was then British-controlled Palestine, including large numbers forced out of Europe during the Holocaust.

Many Arabs saw the influx of Jews as a European colonial movement, and the two peoples fought bitterly. The British couldn’t control the violence, and in 1947 the United Nations voted to split the land into two countries. Almost all of the roughly 650,000 Jews went to the blue territory in the map to the right, and a majority of the Arab population (roughly twice the size of the Jewish community) went to the orange.

The Jewish residents accepted the deal. The Palestinians, who saw the plan as an extension of a long-running Jewish attempt push them out of the land, fought it. The Arab states of Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, and Syria all later declared war on Israel, as well (albeit not to defend the Palestinians).

Israeli forces defeated the Palestinian militias and Arab armies in a vicious conflict that turned 700,000 Palestinian civilians into refugees. The UN partition promised 56 percent of British Palestine for the Jewish state; by the end of the war, Israel possessed 77 percent — everything except the West Bank and the eastern quarter of Jerusalem (controlled by Jordan), as well as the Gaza Strip (controlled by Egypt). It left Israelis with a state, but not Palestinians. Zionism is Israel’s national ideology. Zionists believe Judaism is a nationality as well as a religion.

WHAT IS GAZA?

It’s a strip of land surrounded by Israel but populated by Palestinians.

Gaza is a densely populated strip of land that is mostly surrounded by Israel and peopled almost exclusively by Palestinians. Israel used to have a military presence, but withdrew unilaterally in 2005. It’s currently under Israeli blockade. The sporadic rocket fire that’s hit Israel from there since its pullback has strengthened Israeli hawks’ political position, as they have long argued that any Palestinian state would end up serving as a launching pad for attacks on Israel.

MASADA

Masada is one of Israel’s most popular tourist attractions (“Fortress”) is an ancient fortificationin the Southern District of Israel situated on top of an isolated rock plateau, akin to amesa. It is located on the eastern edge of the Judaean Desert, overlooking the Dead Sea 20 km (12 mi) east of Arad.Herod the Great built two palaces for himself on the mountain and fortified Masada between 37 and 31 BCE. According to Josephus, the siege of Masada by Roman troops from 73 to 74 CE, at the end of the First Jewish–Roman War, ended in the mass suicide of the 960 Sicarii rebels who were hiding there.

Masada tours are a must for anyone visiting Israel, and an easy trip from Jerusalem – just about an hour’s drive southeast. Masada’s archaeological remains bring alive its 70-70 CE inhabitants’ intriguing tale. A symbol of steadfast strength to preserve national and religious identity and homeland, Masada is so replete with history that Israel invests in it as an official national park, and UNESCO declared it a World Heritage Site in 2001. In addition, Masada is a high hilltop plateau offering unmatched, vast views of the Dead Sea and Judean Desert. For all these reasons, Masada tours are extremely popular.

BET SHEAN NATIONAL PARK

This site is truly mind boggling and a must-see in Israel. The ruins here are an entire city and they are in awesome condition. As you explore the ancient ruins, you listen to an audio presentation at each point while walking on the ancient mosaics, touching the walls and sitting on the roman theater seats. Beside these delightful views of ancient Roman don’t miss out on the site’s ‘city by night’ option “Shean Nights”, a spectacular audiovisual display that guarantees a night to remember.

ISRAEL MUSEUM JERUSALEM

The Israel Museum, Jerusalem is Israel’s largest cultural institution and is ranked among the world’s leading art and archeology museums. Founded in 1965, the Israel Museum, Jerusalem was extensively extended and refurbished reopening in 2010. The focus of the museum is on the art, Judaica and ancient artifacts of the Land of Israel and beyond, featuring the most extensive holdings of Biblical and Holy Land archeology in the world. The museum has a collection of nearly 500,000 objects, representing a full scope of world material culture.

While there is loads to see at the Israel Museum,Jerusalem, there are a number of stand-out highlights. The Shrine of the Book houses the Dead Sea Scrolls which are some of the oldest Biblical scrolls ever found. Adjacent to this is an amazing model of Second Temple Era Jerusalem which reconstructs the topography and architectural character of the city as it was prior to its destruction by the Romans in 66 CE.

CHURCH OF THE HOLY SEPULCHRE

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre is one of the most holy and special sites in Christianity. Located in the Christian Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem, the church is home to two of the holiest sites in Christianity – the site where Jesus was crucified, known as Calvary, and the tomb where Jesus was buried and then resurrected, Today, the tomb is enclosed by a shrine called the Aedicula. The final four Stations of the Cross, or Via Dolorosa,are also located inside the church.

MOUNT BEATITUDES

The Mount of Beatitudes is a hill in Northern Israel on the Korazim Plateau. It is the spot where Jesus is believed to have delivered his Sermon on the Mount. Overlooking the northwestern shore of the Sea of Galilee, the mount offers enchanting views of the northern part of the lake and across to the cliffs of the Golan Heights. There is archaeological evidence of an ancient church near to the current building dating from the late 4th century, which coincides with the pilgrimages that were recorded around the same time. Its rock-cut cistern and the remains of a small monastery can still be seen. Part of an original mosaic floor from Capernaum is also on display. Although the specific site where Jesus stood and delivered his sermon has never been confirmed through physical evidence, the location of the Mount of Beatitudes is entirely reasonable, as Jesus was based in Capernaum, which is located just a few miles away and is clearly visible from the mount.

While religiously significant for obvious reasons, one does not have to be religious to enjoy the beauty of this site. Although a visit to the church will make clear why it is so special in Christianity, non-religious visitors can also admire and appreciate its unique atmosphere and incredible architecture. The Jordan River is a significant religious site mentioned numerous times in both the Old and New Testaments. The actual biblical place where Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist is believed to be in Jordan, on the east bank of the river opposite Jericho, at Wadi Al-Kharrar, identified as Bethany Beyond the Jordan. This is where John lived and was himself baptized, and where Jesus fled to for safety after being threatened with stoning in Jerusalem.

SEA OF GALILEE

also called Lake Tiberias, Arabic Buḥayrat Ṭabarīyā, Hebrew Yam Kinneret, lake in Israel through which the Jordan River flows. It is famous for its biblical associations; its Old Testament name was Sea of Chinnereth, and later it was called the Lake of Gennesaret. The Sea of Galilee is an attraction for Christian pilgrims who visit Israel to see the places where Jesus performed miracles according to the New Testament, such as his walking on water, calming the storm and feeding the multitude. The sea’s location makes it subject to sudden and violent storms as the wind comes over the eastern mountains and drops suddenly onto the sea. Storms are especially likely when an east wind blows cool air over the warm air that covers the sea. The cold air (being heavier) drops as the warm air rises.



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