The Golan Heights
Between 1948 and 1967, Syria used its vantage point in the Golan Heights to fire at Israeli communities living in the valley below.
As a part of the regional ‘Six Day War’ in 1967, Israel conquered part of the Golan Heights in order to protect these communities and later annexed the area, offering Israeli citizenship to the Druze population it had inherited from Syria. The Israeli annexation of the Golan Heights has not been recognised by the international community. The current day Syrian civil war and its humanitarian crisis adds another twist to this situation, both for the inhabitants of the Golan Heights and for Israel’s strained relationship with Syria.
A guided tour into the Golan Heights provides an opportunity to really understand its strategic importance, as well as to admire the beauty of the region. You will also understand more about the wider Middle East – how the borders between Israel, Syria and Lebanon were formed by the Western powers’ Sykes-Picot agreement which carved up the Middle East after the First World War.
We highly recommend taking an off-road jeep ride in the Golan Heights which takes you into demilitarised areas, security permitting. Here you will see – and can enter – Syrian and Israeli underground bunkers, an old Syrian officers’ club, and can really understand how geography and international relations interact. In addition, you will be able to meet and talk to UN and Israeli soldiers operating in the region, who are usually happy to discuss their postings. You can also see or visit Israeli field hospitals which tend to injured Syrian soldiers, and it is possible to eat lunch with a local Druze family split between the Israel-Syria border and hear first-hand stories about what family in Syria is experiencing.
Wow it was raw, intense, and informative all at the same time. I am so glad I did it. Amazing guide and very unique. Thank you.
Robert E, New York
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