AKUS’s postcard from Israel: Wadi Ara, Nir David, and the Golan

A guest post by AKUS

Leaving Tel Aviv early, I headed up the shore road towards Hadera, turning off towards Afula through Wadi Ara. Magnificent villas line the Wadi in the numerous Arab villages along the way:

I turned off the highway at the road up to Me Ami for a better view, looking south. This, roughly, is the area that has occasionally been proposed to the Palestinians as an area to swap for areas on the West Bank that would remain part of Israel if a peace agreement was ever achieved.  The Israeli Arabs have opposed the idea.

Driving slowly up to the top of the hills, I had a panoramic view of Umm el Fahm, the largest Arab town in Israel. The distant hills on the left are on the northern side of the Jezreel Valley, near Nazareth:

Then I plunged down to the Jezreel Valley and lunch with friends at Nir David. The outlet from the Sachna (Gan Hashlosha) pools flows through the center of the kibbutz as a river. Seeing this massive flow in a semi-desert area provides an idea why, in ancient times, the Jezreel Valley was an excellent invasion route for an army of thirsty soldiers and their animals:

The kibbutz has guest houses set aside for tourists, who can take a break from the heat in the river below the backdrop of the arid Gilboa mountains which David cursed in his lament for Saul and Jonathan: (“Ye mountains of Gilboa, let there be no dew, neither let there be rain, upon you, nor fields of offerings” – Kings 2, 1:21):

After a kibbutz lunch (turkey schnitzel, of course) it was time to head through the tremendous heat past Bet Shean to the Tzemach intersection, and up the steep climb  to the Golan Heights. The ravine acts as an effective border between Israel and Jordan:

Hills like the Gamal and Susita line the shore of the Kinneret. In the picture below, bottom right, there is an example of the recent excavations that are revealing more and more about ancient Jewish settlements along the shore and on the Golan above:

Memories of war are never far on the Golan.

A memorial to a pilot, Otniel Shamir, who was shot down in in the 6 Day War:


A Syrian outpost near Kibbutz Haruv, from which it was possible to view and shoot at the kibbutz below:


Bunkers along the edge of the Golan are replaced by kibbutzim and swimming pools these days:


After a few hours with friends, I headed back to Tel Aviv, taking the long northern route down from the Golan as a fire had closed down the southern route:


But running late gave me the opportunity to stop for a meal of lamb chops at the Zetoun restaurant in Wadi Ara – spotlessly clean, superb friendly service, and prices that are hard to beat!

And then back to Tel Aviv – a trip that took just a day to go from central Israel to the north and back.

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