I had a great opportunity to make my holiday vacation with my close friend (Rahul) in Israel's capital Tel Aviv, located on Mediterranean coast. Here’s a quick summary of our journey which kicked off from Hyderabad (Rajiv Gandhi International Airport) via Dubai to Tel Aviv (Ben Gurion International Airport). It was chilling climate on Saturday morning, when we step out of the Tel Aviv Airport.
We reached Jerusalem at 15:00 hours. Jerusalem is known as a holy city in the world. It is the birthplace of three different religions (Judaism, Islam, Christianity) in the world. Jerusalem has been sacred to Judaism for roughly 3000 years, to Christianity for around 2000 years, and to Islam for approximately 1400 years. The 2000 Statistical Yearbook of Jerusalem lists 1204 synagogues, 158 churches, and 73 mosques within the city. Israel is ancient yet among the most developed country in the world.
From there we went to Tabgha, the place where the miracle the multiplication of the loaves and fishes took place. You can still see an early mosaic of the fishes and four loaves of bread (below). The fifth loaf was the one offered on the altar. Then we visited the place along the Sea where Peter was given primacy of the Church: the one who is prime was to be the servant of all. He would be the one to hold his Church together in unity. The catch of fish described in the Gospel just before Peter comes ashore totalled 153, the number of species of fish in the Sea and the number of nations in the world. Again, the message that all belong to Church. There are Twelve Thrones placed along the shore to commemorate the Twelve Apostles.
Finally we visited Capharnaum, a former trading centre where the taxes were collected from the caravans. Here in this busy place Jesus spoke in the Synagogue and amazed the crowds who began to spread His fame as a preacher and healer all along the trade route. The former bustling city is now just a ruin with remnants of the Synagogue still standing, as well as some structures from the house of Peter's mother-in-law where Christ healed her. The Bible truly comes alive outside of Capharnaum on the shore of the Sea of Galilee as we saw the place where Jesus established His church. To see and touch the rock at that location certainly was a moving experience for all of us.
We had our bookings for stay in Netanya, which is around 30 kms to the North of Tel Aviv. Netanya - Gift of God is a very popular tourist destination. Situated on the coast of Mediterranean Sea, Netanya offers all the buzz you need. The evenings get super refreshing at Inter Active Atzmaut Square. People walking, skateboarding, music - it has everything what you need to revitalize your soul.
Aside from a dip in the Dead Sea, the main attraction in this area is Masada, site of a mass suicide by the Zealots in AD73 to avoid capture by the Romans and, today, a symbol of national pride. Diligent research revealed that the best time to see Masada was an early morning climb to the summit to watch the sunrise. The next morning I prepared for my climb up the "Snake Path" trail. We made it to the top in about 45 minutes and were rewarded with a spectacular sunrise. The Judean Desert spread out below and the Dead Sea sparkling turquoise in the distance. Truly, utterly amazing. Biblical, some might say. After exploring the ruins at the top for about an hour, I started the climb back down which was much easier going now that the sun was up.
Yotvata Kibbutz | Dead Sea | JerusalemKibbutz is a traditional collective community in Israel which are primarily based on agriculture. Kibbutz culture is well preserved in Israel and it amazed me to see how they live and manage everything in Kibbutz.Yotvata kibbutz is in one of the most driest places in Israel where there is very less rainfall. We saw collective farming of Dates and Mangoes. Yotvata kibbutz has one of the most advanced dairy farm in the country.