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The Day of Visions and Actions: Hula Valley to Jerusalem

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Nichole Troe

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

We left the Hagoshrim Kibbutz Hotel early in the morning with much sadness, confronted with the realization that we were venturing out of the stunning Upper Galilee and leaving the cradle of the Golan Heights. Sadness was quickly swept away as we realized we were merely leaving one beautiful place and arriving at another, the Hula Valley.  When you are spending a morning at the Agamon Ha-hula Park nestled in the Hula Valley, who can complain? Agamon Abercrombie And Fitch Outlet Ha-Hula Park is known as one of the most important centers for bird migration in the world.  A beautiful park with a rehabilitated ecosystem nestled next to the Hula Lake and the beauty of the comforting craggy mountains of the Golan Heights formed the skyline around us.  Above all, we got to experience this beautiful natural world by mode of bicycle and golf cart, allowing for an active way to explore and interact with this beautiful natural landscape.

As we begun our tour, in the Abercrombie Outlet distance you could hear a pleasant melody of birds, that made us pedal faster with excitement.  As we rounded the corner, we found the source of these sounds. In a field, there were 30,000 wintering European Cranes! The sounds mimicked a packed stadium of Red Sox Fans at Fenway Park.  However, I would prefer to hear the Cranes over 30,000 screaming fans! This sight brought to life the true importance of Israel for migratory birds. Israel is situated in the heart of a meeting point between 3 major continents: Africa, Europe and Asia. In This unique geographical location we saw 3 species of Kingfisher skimming the lake for food, wild boars foraging on the banks, mallards leisurely floating on the surface, Common Kestrel using ultraviolet sight to sense rodent urine, pygmy cormorants, and European Bee-Eaters rapidly flapping their wings. During every migrating season, many birds like the Cranes can be found in this valley. We feel much gratitude that we were able to experience this beautiful landing spot for birds nestled in the Hula Valley.

The next part of our day, we had an educational afternoon touring Kibbutz Sde Eliyhau. This unique kibbutz is situated in the fertile Beit Shean valley close to the Sea of Galilee.  It is home to over 300 members and combines an Orthodox Religious Jewish way of life herewith the principles of kibbutz life.  This particular kibbutz focuses on the enterprise and values of organic farming.  They have a Spice production company, Fish Hatcheries, Dates, Grapes, Pomegranates, Dairy Herd, Chicken Coops, and a Bee Pollination Company. What is unique about his particular Kibbutz is that it focuses on organic farming.  In1974, Kibbutz Sde Eliyhau abandoned the use of environmentally harmful chemicals for fertilizing and weed and pest control.  They adopted natural practices that were in harmony with the natural ecosystem, which is in alignment with the belief that Jews must relate to Nature as a whole. This experience gave us a true understanding of kibbutz culture and brought to life their main values of kibbutz life: sharing and equality.

After leaving the scents of chicken coops and dairy cows, we started our journey to the symbolic and long awaited destination to Jerusalem. The drive to Jerusalem was a destination in itself.  We passed through the rest of the Galilee and Hula Valley.  These lands in the valley are more lush and fertile than I would have ever imagined. Fields of Date Palms, Pomegranates, Oranges, and Olive trees are intentionally sprinkled throughout the valley. As we traveled out of the Beit Shean Valley and into the Jordan Valley, our landscape changed from lush green valleys to arid dessert lands. Just as beautiful, but offering a full taste of Israel landscape. As we passed the Lake of Galilee, we spoke of the scarcity of water and the politics http://www.acgillespie.co.uk/ surrounding it. We drove through Tiberius, which gave us a taste of old structures mix with new. We passed over the Jordan River and through the Syrian/African Rift Valley. Just looking out of the bus as we traveled to Jerusalem, you can feel that every mountain had a story and every valley hillside teaches us a little bit more of Israel. And this was the perfect lead to our arrival in Jerusalem.

Arriving in Jerusalem was like arriving home and felt like the destination we had been waiting for all along.  We started our introduction to Jerusalem on Mount Scopus as the sun was setting over the ancient city.

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