Waking up to the sounds of the birds chirping, the sight of the beautiful Israeli sun rising, and the smells of the flowers surrounding our Kibbutz was the perfect way to begin the morning. Today was the first day we set out to explore this exotic country, starting our morning hiking the Zavitan trail.
This hike was like nothing we had ever seen before. There’s so much more green in the North of Israel than we could have imagined from this commonly thought of, “desert” nation! We climbed up hills and over rocks like it was no big deal. We saw and even stepped in the lake midway through the hike to cool down. We learned a new way to make drinking a lot of water fun; playing an Israeli game called Mickey! And don’t worry, we got a lot of cool pictures.
Following the Zavitan hike we stopped for our first lunch out in Israel, where we almost all got either falafel or shwarma. Tasting something so fresh and delicious was one of the most refreshing feelings after our three hour hike!
We followed lunch with a trip up a mountain in the Golan Heights, Har (Mount) Bental. We drove the bus about 95% of the way and once we got to the peak, we could see for miles and miles in every direction. We soon learned the strategic significance of the “beautiful” view and the complications that accompany what seems like every inch of Israel today. The Golan Heights used to belong to Syria until 1967 and the conclusion of the 6-Day War. Israel captured the Golan Heights as a strategic high ground where Syrian Snipers used to wreck havoc and terror on Israeli farmers below. As we looked out across the Syrian border, we learned about the chaos and humanitarian crisis that dominates the nation. It wasn’t until we were actually faced with the question, “what actions would you take if you were Israel?” that we really appreciated the paralyzing complexity of the conflict.
Our final activity outside of the Kibbutz was our river rafting experience. We all paired up with five of our new best friends and cruised along the Jordan River – laughing, splashing, and even jumping from raft to raft. There were rapids that took us for a thrill, quickly gliding over rocks and out into the end of our journey.
We ended the day back on the Kibbutz, enjoying a delicious dinner with one another and playing some more get to know you games. We can say that we definitely know each other’s names by the end of these activities! Looking forward to our magical day in Tzvat and fun in the sun in Tel Aviv.Danielle McKinstry & Andrew Max