I get by with a little help from my friends...

Trip Start Dec 29, 2007
Trip End Jan 10, 2008

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Thursday, January 3, 2008

Today was all over the place... literally.

We started off with our second nature hike!! We went through Tel Dan Nature Reserve, which was really awesome. It's the largest of the three tributaries to the Galilee and thus the most important source of water for Israel. Anndddd it's also a really pretty and fun place to hike! We saw a "cultic site" on the trail too where we stopped and Rishona read a little bit from the bible....and then explained that this is the site that was discovered by archaelogists that corresponded to that part of the bible. And that King David had been there, essentially. Which is all I care about, whoohoo King David!

After that, we went up to Har Bental, which is a mountain in the Golan Heights. We looked toward but not into Syria, because there was more fog than Rishona said she had ever seen up there. Regardless, it was only a very few kilometers away, and we discussed the history of Israel's presence in the Golan Heights, why they are there, etc. Then we had a jeep ride across an area of the Golan Heights, and they explained to us more of the history of Israel's presence in the Golan Heights, and we saw a lot of the wreckage still sitting around (burnt out trucks and shells and such). The jeep driver pulled us all aside to explain more with the view that we had, and then he also said that in summer 2006 when birthright was right on this spot....they saw rockets exploding across the valley. Because that was when Hizbullah started shooting rockets at the Northern Galilee. That's pretty crazy.

Then it was off to Katzrin, where we met up with our mifgash soldiers!!! Mifgash means "encounter," and the mifgash was our "encounter" with real Israelis. We had ... six (yes?) soldiers travel with us for 5 days, living with us and hanging out with us 24/7. I got to room with Yuvi! The mifgash was definitely one of the most important and best parts about all of taglit/birthright. It in and of itself was awesome, and having real Israelis with us who weren't afraid to answer all our questions and express their views improved every aspect of the trip.

Unfortunately, they came right before Galilee to Reality....the biggest f@%^$@#^ing joke EVER. Honestly...wtf. I don't even know how to explain .... the depths of uselessness...that was this "Amazing Race" style "competition"...that most comically of all, bus 690 WON. It was upsettingly ridiculously disappointingly a waste of time. In the middle of it though was a performance by Yossi Vassa, who was really interesting and told a comic but also serious rendition of the story of his family coming to Israel from Ethiopia. Sadly, I was one of the few who managed to stay awake...taglit's fault! Bad planning. Oy vey!
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