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Our Magnificent Journey
Chapter 10
Israel, Paris


Carol and David and the ancient wall surrounding Old Jerusalem  
Day 7
Galilee / Tel Aviv

Today is our 13th anniversary!


Slept well, woke and packed for the trip back down to Tel Aviv. We enjoyed a delicious Druze breakfast of olives, omelets, tea, coffee, bread and jam served to us by Amin, Yusef’s brother and the owner of our B&B in Beit Jann.


After breakfast Amin accompanied us to the town’s holiest place where we removed our shoes and entered a white building surrounding a sacred cave. The four of us crawled in and spent a few moments in silence, thought and prayer. Then Amin and a religious man (white cap and moustache) spent an hour educating us in the ways of the Druze secular and religious life,

At the entrance to the sacred Druze religious center in Beit Jann
Amin sharing information with Meira and Carmi
Inside the sacred Druze cave
A moment of silent reflection in the sacred Druze cave in Beit Jann
With Amin (right) and a Druze holy man (left) at the Druze community center in Beit Jann

Then Amin guided us to a mountaintop where we could see the entire width of Israel, from Haifa on the Mediterranean to the west, to the Sea of Galilee and the Golan Heights to the east. It was perhaps the most incredible panorama we’ve ever seen – we felt like we were on top of the world.

Amin on a Galilean hilltop where we could see across the entire width of Israel - Haifa to the west, the Sea of Galilee and the Syrian border to the east.

The morning was very interesting and informative, and we learned quite a bit about these beautiful and very respectful and proud people. We compared our similarities and differences.


Amin and Yusef then took us to the house of fortune-teller - a woman who served us all delicious coffee and then told Meira’s and Carol’s and Yusef's fortunes from the leftover coffee grounds.

Fortune-teller in Beit Jann doing a reading
Meira has just had her fortune read
Yusef has his fortune read

We very much enjoyed our stay in the Druze village of Beit Jann and the hospitality of our gracious hosts Amin and Yusef and their wives and families. We leave with a tremendous respect for these gentle, proud and generous people.

Amin and his wife - our gracious hosts and owners of the B&B "Touching the Sky" in Beit Jann

We left Beit Jann and climbed back down the mountain passing through Peki’in, an ancient village that has been continually inhabited by both Jews and Arabs since the destruction of the First Temple.

On the way down from the high hills of green Galilee
Ancient aquaduct on the way to Rosh-Hanikrah

We headed west towards Haifa, Nahariya and the sea and turned north at Acco. A few kilometers north of Nahariya, along the coast, we came to the border with Lebanon and took photos. We are closer at this spot to Beirut than to Jerusalem.

At Rosh-Hanikra, on the Israel/Lebanon border
The Mediterranean Sea near Acco

We stopped in Acco (Ptolemis), the ancient city of four religions – Judaism, Christianity, Islam and B’hai. This important city was known to kings, sultans, crusaders, Greeks, Romans, and countless others. We toured the Crusaders' Citadel, ambled through the Arab market and then enjoyed a delicious seafood dinner at the Abu Christo restaurant at the edge of the lapping waters of the Mediterranean.

Ancient mosque in Acco
Crusaders' Citadel in Old Acco
Craftsman at work in a market in Old Acco
Courtyard in Acco
Enjoying a quiet seafood dinner at the Abu Christo restaurant in Old Acco

We left Old Acco and headed south along the Mediterranean, passing through the outskirts of Haifa. Drove in the shadows of Mt. Carmel, dotted along the crest with university buildings. Biblical Meggido appeared south of Mt. Carmel. To the east we can once again see the green hills of the upper Galilee.


Travelled through the southern pass, leaving the Israel Valley behind us as we drift towards Tel Aviv, passing many Arab villages. Meira and Carmi related stories to us describing the ages-old tensions between the Jews and the Arabs. We bypassed Hadera and were amazed at the numerous Arab towns we saw as we approached Netanya. We passed “the Wall’ at the West Bank near Jennin/Nablus. We see hundreds of minarets and mosques as we pass the Arab villages. We spent some time discussing the difficulties of Israeli/Arab/Jewish cohabitation.


We arrived back at Meira and Carmi’s house in Tel Aviv at around 7:15 pm. Tonight is the eve of Memorial Day, so just before 8pm we drove up Rehov Einstein to a busy intersection where, at precisely 8pm, sirens went off all over Israel and people stopped whatever they were doing and stood in silence for one minute to honor those whose lives were lost in the struggle for independence. Traffic came to a standstill as drivers got out and stood next to their cars and bowed their heads everywhere in the country, as did we. It was intensely emotional. On Thursday, the state of Israel will celebrate it’s 60 th anniversary of independence.

Another spectacular Mediterranean sunset

After paying our respects with the rest of Israel, we drove back to Meira and Carmi’s and watched the video of their trip on a Harley-Davidson through Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, South Dakota and Wyoming in 2005 with several of their friends from Israel.Carmi and Meira then drove us to our hotel, the Hotel Miguel, at 10:30 pm, and we fell into bed after several adventure-filled days exploring northern Israel.


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