Excursions

Israel 2017–Day 5

Sunday, May 14th, 2017

30 photos

First stop today is the Hula Valley Nature Preserve, a national park providing a twice-a-year stopover spot for mass avian migrations from Europe to Africa and also attracting birders from all over the world.  Since its not migration time, we get a “fourth dimension” media experience, including 3D glasses, moving seats, air jets and bubbles describing the restoration of this large wetland from reclamation projects that drained it and channeled all its water for agricultural uses.

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Israel 2017–Day 4

Saturday, May 13th, 2017

26 Pictures

After the tour bus heads north without us, we are picked up at the hotel by Yair Caro. Before we left the States, Jan searched the internet for people we might meet in Israel and discovered that he was a second cousin of mine whose brother Gustave we had met in Grenoble in 1969 and whose grandmother, Ida Blum, was the sister of my grandfather Adolf Gruenwald. Ruggedly handsome, deep voiced and fluent in English and authoritative in manner, he drives through the Arab part of the old city, where elegant but dilapidated buildings are now being renovated, gentrified, and repurposed by the municipality. (more…)

Israel 2017–Day 3

Friday, May 12th, 2017

24 Pictures

At 6:00 AM I go down to the big public swim area and join wetsuited surfers and guys with beards and moobs jumping in the water.  In the locker room on my way out, I see their tzitzit and big hats hanging on hooks.

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Israel 2017–Day 2

Thursday, May 11th, 2017

Picture Gallery for this entry

We’re staying at the boutique Melody Hotel across the street from a park that fronts the Mediterranean.

After a sumptuous breakfast, our amiable guide, Gabi, ushers the group of 12 Gate 1 travelers under her care to the bus. Six are Russian speakers from New Jersey.  Our first stop is to be the Ayalon Institute, an “armaments factory” near the Weizmann Institute of Science and a big high tech park.

We enter a treed compound of tin sheds surrounded by old machinery and watch a movie introducing the facility. During the last years of the British Mandate, the Haganah, or Israeli underground army, was preparing for a war of independence against the local Palestinians and their allies, the surrounding Arab states. In order to placate the Arabs and keep the peace, the British were trying to severely limit immigration of postwar Jewish refugees and prevent the purchase or production of arms. (more…)