OK, some of you have been waiting oh so patiently for this special day. Well, it is here! Israel, here we come—we are now on our way to from Istanbul to Tel Aviv.
After flying into Tel Aviv, we drove up the coast to Mt. Carmel (Mt. Carmel is where Elijah and Elisha were tested by the priests of Baal), and as we got to the top viewpoint, what a panoramic view of the city of Haifa and the Mediterranean Sea.
Here are some wikipedia fun facts about Beautiful Haifa: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haifa
Haifa is the largest city in northern Israel, and the third largest city in the country, with a population of over 272,181. Built on the slopes of Mount Carmel, the history of settlement at the site spans more than 3,000 years. The earliest known settlement in the vicinity was Tell Abu Hawam, a small port city established in the Late Bronze Age (14th century BCE). In the 3rd century CE, Haifa was known as a dye-making center. Over the centuries, the city has changed hands: It has been conquered and ruled by the Phoenicians, Persians, Hasmoneans, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Crusaders, Ottomans, British, and the Israelis. Since the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, the city has been governed by the Haifa Municipality. Today, the city is a major seaport located on Israel’s Mediterranean coastline in the Bay of Haifa covering 63.7 square kilometres (24.6 sq mi). It is located about 90 kilometres (56 mi) north of Tel Aviv and is the major regional center of northern Israel.
From there we drove north on Highway 6, which goes the full length of Israel to Tiberias. Our hotel, the Leonardo, was right on the coastline of the Sea of Galilee in the town of Tiberias. We drove past Ceasara, where Paul was in jail two years, also known as Herod’s palace. (We returned here later in trip and toured it.) The Philistines lived in this area on the Gaza Strip. This is where the Philitines took the ark in Eli’s day.
Now passing the town of Sharon, we saw beautiful big bushes with lovely purple flowers. Carob trees and lots of olive trees are used for table olives, not for olive oil, due to irrigation. The Romans came to Israel in 63 BC and called it Philistia, which is the province of Palestine. The separation wall between Philistia and Israel was there. We drove through the region of Mt. Carmel, east to west, which is about 16 miles. The region itself is a triangular shape that separates the coastal plane from the Israel valley. It was a beautiful drive and very meaningful as we contemplated the lives of those who have walked before us.
Have a great weekend! By the way, stay tuned for the Israel video we will run for your viewing pleasure on Saturday and Sunday. Don’t miss this blog on Monday, OK? We will stop in Jesus’ hometown of Nazareth, at Mary’s well, and visit the synagogue where Jesus quoted Isaiah to begin his ministry and Mary’s home—the Church of the Annunciation!