Report by Bhotam Boliye
Pics by Ivan Belthangady
Israel, 18 May 2010: We, the Mangaloreans working in Israel are fortunate that we got to see all the Holy Places which we used to hear and read in the Bible. Last Sabbath (weekend in Israel) on 15th May 2010, on a very hot day we planned to visit Jericho, Masada and the Dead Sea.
We started our journey at around 5 O’clock in the morning from Qiryat Shamona. Around 8 O’clock in the morning we reached Jericho. The city of Jericho is located near the Jordan River on the West Bank of the Palestinian territories. It is the capital of the Jericho Governorate, and has a population of over 20,000 Palestinians. Situated below sea level on an east-west route 16 kms north of the Dead Sea, Jericho is the lowest permanently inhabited site on earth.
In Jericho we saw Zacchaeus Sycamore Tree (Rumdicho Ruukh). It is esteemed that this tree called the ‘Tree of Zacchaeus’ is two thousand years old. It is also the place where Jesus stopped on the way to Jerusalem on the eve of the Passover and cured the blind man during his stay at Zacchaeus’ house.
Around 11 am we reached Masada which was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2001. Masada was the last bastion of Jewish freedom fighters against the Romans. Its final fall signalled the violent destruction of the kingdom of Judea at the end of the Second Temple period. The tragic events of the last days of the rebels at Masada transformed it into both a Jewish cultural icon and a symbol of humanity’s continuous struggle for freedom and oppression. Built by Herod, king of Judea, Masada is a palatial fortress in the style of the ancient Eastern Roman architecture. The campus, fortifications, and assault ramp at its base constitute the most complete surviving ancient Roman siege system in the world.
After lunch we all had a dip in the Dead Sea. It is called the Dead Sea because nothing lives in it. It is the saltiest water in the world. The water of the Dead Sea contains 21 minerals. 12 of these minerals are found in no other sea or ocean.
This outing was indeed a memorable day for our 15 members Kibbutz Group.
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