Israel – Heading North

After leaving Tel Aviv we headed north and our first stop is along the Mediterranean Coast. Israel is a small country so we were never on the road for more than two hours. I like that we didn’t have to fly and deal with the hassle of an airport and luggage.  Israel’s infrastructure is great.  The roads are paved throughout and the highways are medium sized.  I would say easy to navigate because we had a driver and the signs are in Hebrew, Arabic & sometimes English alphabet.

Bonnie, Amir, Ja’Vonne

Our first stop at 9:00am is to the Binyamina Winery.  That’s right 9:00am.  Somewhere in the world it was 5pm.  This is a Kosher winery, which means that everything from the vines to the bottle must be handled by a sabbath Jewish person.  The ingredients of wine are not non-kosher so it’s deemed kosher by who handles the wine making process.  Israel wine is quite good and I purchased a couple of bottles for myself.  A blend of Cabernet sauvignon, Shiraz and Merlot.

Israel fascinates me every step of the way.  Our next stop is Nazareth.  Nazareth is the largest Arab town in Israel and the start of the Gospel Trail and Christian Pilgrimage.  I forget that it is Arabic and say thank you to a merchant in Hebrew.  He replies in English and then it hits me….I should have said shukran and when I remember and correct myself he smiles and replies afwan (you’re welcome in Arabic).  We visit the Basilica of the Annunciation.  It’s a Catholic church that is built on top of Byzantine and Crusader churches and it’s the site where Mary was told by Gabriel that she would give birth to Jesus.  There is a shrine to Mary here and the site is beautiful.

We were introduced to another faith and culture in this area. Druze.  In the Carmel National Park we met with and had lunch at a Druze village.  The Druze culture and religion are very interesting.  They are people without a land. Druze theology believes that God was incarnated and as a whole in reincarnation of the human spirit.

Continuing on to Haifa, Israel’s third largest city and as we are told the place where many cultures co-exist.  We’re in the mountains and it’s a bit colder than Tel Aviv and Nazareth.  I can’t complain though because we’re told that the week before was in the low 30’s, rainy and windy.  For our visit it’s in the upper 50’s in this part.  One of the most beautiful & impressive attractions in Haifa is the Bahia Faith World Center.  It’s sits high atop the city and it’s gardens are absolutely breathtaking.  Irregardless of your faith you can come here connect spiritually just with the shear beauty of the surroundings.  Nature has a way of equalizing us all.  The Bahai Faith is among the newest independent world faiths and believe in a peaceful and unified world.

Next stop Akko and Galilee…we’re getting serious folks.

Ja’Vonne Harley, Co-Host – The Traveling Eye
Photos by Howard Little, Video Twist Productions