Tel Dan is a wonderful site, combining nature and the great outdoors with biblical remains from the times of King Jeroboam. Together with your expert guide you will follow a family friendly trail which runs over water and through lush greenery, and is wonderfully refreshing on hot days. You will explore biblical remains and learn about the stone table found here, dating to the second half of the 9th century BCE. Carved onto it is an inscription of Hazael, King of Damascus, in which he boasted of his victory over the King of Israel and the House of David. This is of huge significance as it is the first time that the name “House of David” was discovered outside of the Bible.
High up in the Golan, on the ridge of Mount Hermon, lies Nimrod Castle, an abandoned Crusader period castle. Here you will be presented with a fantasy landscape. The castle is huge, and beckons to be explored. As your guide will explain, although Crusader in period and style, the castle was built by by Al-Maliq al-‘Aziz ‘Othman in 1228 in order to block the passage of Friedrich II who threatened to march from Acre to Damascus flying the Crusader banner. It was extended and aggrandised by the Mamluk Sultan Beibars, whose insignia remains on a huge stone tablet. This is a massively exciting site which sparks the imagination of all who visit it.
The Golan Heights
Digging deeper into the story of the Golan, you will visit El Rom kibbutz which is interesting for two reasons. Firstly, you will see how kibbutzim have had to modernise, turning away from exclusively agricultural industry, and secondly you will see a real example of such modernisation – in this case, the kibbutz’s film dubbing industry. You will view one of their films which focuses on the experiences of a group of Israeli soldiers in the 1973 war (also referred to as the Yom Kippur war), which took place very close to the kibbutz. Through the use of original film and audio, the movie portrays this fierce tank battle from the viewpoint of Avigdor Kahalani, the Israeli commander at the battle of Emek HaBacha (the Valley of Tears). Time allowing, the next step is the close by ‘Valley of Tears’ – the spot where the four day long battle depicted in the movie actually took place. Please note that film viewings at El Rom are always subject to last minute re-confirmation as the kibbutz cannot always guarantee in advance that the cinema will be staffed.
Expert led tour
This two hour jeep ride is a fascinating and intense ‘off the beaten track’ experience. Your expert guide will drive you through a working agricultural kibbutz, explaining about the pace and style of life in this region of Israel. You will also explore the history and current day reality of kibbutz life from the historic ‘childrens’ house’ system to today’s need to diversity and modernise. You will then drive off road into the demilitarised zone and along the Syrian border (security conditions allowing), viewing hidden Israeli army bunkers and positions. Your expert guide will provide background on Israel’s historical and current relations with her northern neighbours, together with an in-depth analysis of today’s complex situation in Syria and what it means for Israel.