Most people in the United States, when they think about Israel, produce mental images of bombings, terrorism, and conflict. This is what the media brings to the American viewer. However, Israel is a beautiful country and can be admired for its landscape, natural beauty, and rich history. Here are a few pictures to provide you with images of Israel you won't get on CNN or the nightly news.
The Old City of Jerusalem. In the foreground is the Western Wall, the also known as the Wailing Wall or the Kotel, the holiest site in Judaism. Behind it, located on the Temple Mount, is the Dome of the Rock, which is located next to the Al-Aqsa mosque, the third holiest site in Islam. Also located in the Old City is the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, which is the holiest site in Christianity. As you can see, these place are located VERY close together. It is no wonder that people have been fighting for control of this city for thousands of years.
Bar-Ilan University campus
Sunset on the Mediterranean Sea at Bat Yam
Tel Aviv beach
Tel Aviv. Despite some perceptions of the Middle East, Israel is not an underdeveloped nation of primitive agriculture. Israel today is a modern country with a modern economy. In fact, Israel was just this year officially added to the list of industrialized nations, along with South Korea and Taiwan. Tel Aviv, in particular, is the epitome of the Western aspect of Israel's culture.
Mediterranean waves on the Tel Aviv beach
A park in Tel Aviv
A flowering tree in the Galilee
Sunset at the beach
The Kinneret (The Sea of Gallilee)
The Banyas, the headwaters of the Jordan river.
Date palm trees. I used to work here three years ago as a volunteer on Kibbutz Maale Gilboa.
This is me floating in the Dead Sea, the place with the lowest elevation on the surface of the Earth. The Dead Sea is VERY salty, so salty that you float like a water buoy. Really. In this picture, I am simply floating, as I lie back and read a newspaper.
A waterfall at Ein Gedi
Nachal Sorek. This is a region in the hills to the west of Jerusalem. This forest was planted by Jews in the 1930s.
The ruins of a Crusader fortress destroyed by Saladin about 800 years ago. Although these ruins may seem old and important in the historical sense, in fact, no effort is being made to preserve or protect this site from nature or other disturbance. I walked all over this site, and I even camped out here on top of the fortress with some frineds. When travelling Israel, I discovers that 'old' is a word with relative meaning. 800 years simply isn't old enough to demand the attention of historians. Israel is a place where items and structures achieve historical and archaelogical importance only if they can be dated at 1500 or 2000 years or older. To give you a point of reference, Jerusalem was celebrating its 3000 years of existence while I was there.
This is a photo of Kibutz Ketura, which is located in the Negev desert near the Jordanian border. A kibbutz is a collective agricultural community in which all members work together and sahre equally the fruits of their labors. In the photo, take note of the environmental surrounding this particular kibbutz. Surrounded by desert, the kibbutz and the fields and crops of the kibbutz are an artificial oasis of agriculture and land cultivation. Israelis have succeeded in making the desert bloom by developing specialized irrigation techonlogy. Without water, every tree and plant and living thing shown in this picture would die within three or four days. Also, note the swimming pool in the center of the kibbutz.
A desert camel
In the picture above, you can see that the desert is barren: the desert supports virtually no plant or animal life. But, just a few feet into the water, the Gulf of Eilat, you can see a large and active coral reef, with thousands of animal and plant species living among clusters of ecologically rich coral reef. Below, you can see underwater pictures of the reef itself. The Israelis have built an underwater observatory for viewing the fantastic underwater coral reefs.
Yitzhak Rabin, The Elections of May 1996,
and the Peace Process
Gerald's adventures in Jordan
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