Shalom from Israel and welcome to a new In Israel blog.
Israel Inside Out is delighted to report that even in February the streets are filled with tourists. I spent some time in the Old City of Jerusalem today. One of the sites there is the Cardo – the old Roman Market & thoroughfare now restored. It is a real magical mixture of ancient archaeology and interesting shops – today it was as full as on any ancient market day – although there were more fleeces and far fewer togas than in Roman times!
Following on from a series of important archaeological finds – (such as the Jerusalem Tunnel) a new find was announced a few days ago. An impressive mosaic has been found at Hirbat Midras – a major center of population in the Second Temple and during the Bar Kochba Revolt and the site itself includes substantial rebel hideouts. Experts believe that the site is the home and grave of the Prophet Zechariah. The mosaics are due to be covered until the site can be developed. Our guide in residence David Eisenstadt (a fan of mosaics) compared them favorably with some of the mosaics in Tzippori. See our In Israel Special Blog for video and photographs from the site.
In honor of these new findings this week’s featured site are the Bar Kochba Caves near the Ela Valley. The caves make a great activity for children – although for adults a certain amount of physical flexibility, suppleness and a lack of claustrophobia are a must.
Moving swiftly from the past to the future – we were pleased to learn that Israel has scored a European football goal and will be the host nation for the European U21 Championships. Plans include new grounds and the renovation of some existing ones. It should provide a great opportunity to mix two of our favorite hobbies – watching football and touring Israel.
Also in the future – the Jerusalem Light Railway has featured on our In Israel Blog. It is still in the early stages of testing, but, we can report that it has (sadly) passed another milestone – with its first (minor) accident.
One of our regular topics is the rain. After all this is the Middle East, and rain is crucial. The level of the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) is watched in Israel with the intensity of sports results, because it is the country’s major source of water. The last couple of weeks have had some substantial rain-fall and whilst the level of the Kinneret remains dire it has benefited directly from the rain. On Thursday there were some impressive rainstorms and some equally impressive traffic gridlocks as the storms knocked out the traffic lights at some key junctions in Tel Aviv.
Have a good and wet week!