Israel Observations

On this page, we will give some observations about Israel that don't fit nicely with any particular sites we visited.

It appears that Israel is now getting along nicely with Jordan and Egypt. The same cannot be said of Syria and Lebanon.

Water is scarce so they clean sewage water and use it for irrigation. Unfortunately they are taking so much water from the Sea of Galilee that the level of the Dead Sea is going down. The Dead Sea section has pictures of sink holes that have developed along the sea as a result of the water level in the sea being lower than level in the surrounding hills.

The West Bank area is west of the Jordan River. It is divided into three parts: Palestinians only, Jews only, Palestinians and Jews. Bethlehem is one of the Palestinian only sections. Our Israeli guide and bus driver were unable to enter that city and we had to board a special bus to take us there.

Some reference links: Israel's Official Tourism Website and Infoplease

The Magnify symbol beside some selected pictures indicates a larger image is available by clicking the symbol.

Israel: Desert land near the Jordan river Desert land near the Jordan River. This picture was taken near Jericho. Farther north by the Sea of Galilee, the environment is lusher.
Israel: Camels along the road Magnify
On the way to the Dead Sea, we saw these camels beside the road. Danielle was able to get this picture from the moving bus. You will have to ignore the reflections in the window.
Israel: Bedouin Village Magnify
There are Bedouin villages in Israel. It is not unusual to see cars and satellite antennas in those villages. This village had two tractors and an antenna as shown in the enlargement. Magnify
Israel: The Wall
These are sections of the wall that Israel has built around many Palestinian sections of the West Bank. Barbed wire fences exist in the areas where the wall hasn't been built yet.
Israel: The Wall
Israel: City on a hill Magnify
Israel: City on a hill Magnify
We were surprised about how hilly Israel is. Cities are often built on hill sides. In Jesus day farms were often built on terraced slopes. Today they are trying to reserve flat land for farming. People in Biblical times would have to have been in good physical shape to climb the hills in their cities.

Israel grows lots of food. Like California, it is hot so crops grow nicely. Irrigation is needed but it has to be done with drip lines. While we were there, row crops were normally covered with plastic to keep them safe in the cooler winter.

After spending time in Egypt and Jordan, we were overjoyed to be able to eat uncooked vegetables in Israel which has very strict laws to make sure their food is safe to eat. Unfortunately, that is not the case in Palestinian areas. Hence one can buy vegetables very cheaply in their areas but one does not want to eat them.

Below: What are the blue plastic bags in the trees? They are there to protect bananas.

Below: The posts in the picture hold up black netting.
Israel: A farm Magnify
Israel: A farm
Israel: Banana trees Magnify Israel: Banan trees Magnify
Israel: Palistinian plastic mess Israelis are for the most part quite environmentally careful believing that the land is holy ground. Farmers must clean up the plastic they put over their crops. The same is not true for the Palestinians. Scrap plastic is hard to photograph from a moving bus but this example is easy to see.
These palm trees were grown close to the Sea of Galilee Israel: Palm trees
Israel: Flowers Magnify Israel: Flowers
Gardens and flowers are not as common in Israel as in our area but there are still many of them. This is a small sampling.
Israel: Garden with drip line
Water is scarce. You never will see watering with a hose. They must use drip lines to conserve water. If you look carefully you can see those lines in these pictures
IsraelI garden with drip line Magnify

Israel We were puzzled by these things on the door posts of all hotel rooms. We learned that they are Mezuzahs. "A mezuzah is a piece of parchment (often contained in a decorative case) inscribed with specified Hebrew verses from the Torah (Deuteronomy 6:4-9 and 11:13-21). These verses comprise the Jewish prayer 'Shema Yisrael', beginning with the phrase: 'Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is One.'" The menuzah is attached to doorframes in Jewish homes in order to satisfy the commands in those scriptures. Wikipedia: Nezuzah

In Israel, solar heating is required. One sees solar water heaters on the roofs of newer homes.

Our understanding is the silver cylinders on the roof tops are solar heaters and the black ones are pressure tanks. The silver cylinders are more common than the black ones in many areas.

Israel: Solar heaters Magnify

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