Places to Visit in Israel. Jerusalem.

Today we will ascend to Jerusalem

Coat of Arms of Israel
Coat of Arms of Israel
Flag of Israel
Flag of Israel

מְדִינַת יִשְׂרָאֵל‎‎ - Medīnat Yisrā'el - State of Israel

Many people have very little idea about how beautiful and developed the country of Israel is. After this land was under Turkish and later British mandate, it was drained and emptied, woods were rooted out for coal, and it was nothing but swamps and bogs, sands and rocks and was rather scarcely populated.

Many people mistakenly consider that Jews occupied this land by grabbing it from other nations. It's a common misconception, delusion no much different from an insinuation that Jews killed Jesus. Jews lived in that land through all the centuries, but they really started concentrating there in the beginning of the 20th century, especially close to the time when Hitler strengthened his influence in Europe. Jews were buying lands from Arabs (mostly from absentee landlords, living elsewhere) and paying high prices for those uncultivated lands..

Jews started to cultivate the lands, draining swamps and fighting with malaria. In 1948 League of Nations (predecessor of UN) made lawful distribution of the land, giving part of it to the first country of Jews (Israel), and lining borders of Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Egypt. Before this there was no country at that region, it was just under-mandated land. Now after 60 years Israel is a blooming land with Hi-Tech society which preserved all ancient holy places for all people. I remember visiting the Dome on the Rock, my friend used to visit Bethlehem and Cave of the Patriarchs when Israel had control over those sites. As of now regular tourists don't have access to those sites, Arabs being in control over there.

a picture from www.nzdf.mil.nz
a picture from www.nzdf.mil.nz

Israel's Borders

In the West - the Mediterranean Sea and the Gaza Strip; in the North - Lebanon and Syria; in the East - Jordan and the Palestinian Authority's autonomous territories; and in the South - Egypt and the Red Sea.

Israel is a very small country and on many maps there's even no place for printing its name. You have to check the number in references to read the word "Israel". Despite its small size, Israel is home to a variety of geographic features. You can ski on Mount Hermon and at the next day swim with dolphins in Red Sea.

When my friends Olga and Fyodor got married, they bought a book about places to visit in Israel by a car. They were traveling according to the book almost every (or every other) weekend. They are married for 10 years already, and they didn't cover the entire book yet.

What to visit in Israel

No doubt that Jerusalem is number one, a must to visit place. While in Jerusalem you have many many sites worth visiting.

We will ascend to Jerusalem. Remember, I told you that in Hebrew they say "ascend to Jerusalem" when you go to Jerusalem, and "descend" when you go out of the city.

 

Jerusalem of Gold

picture from www.receivedtext.org
picture from www.receivedtext.org

Arab kids in the Old City

the picture was taken by Reuven in August 2005
the picture was taken by Reuven in August 2005

Old City, Jerusalem

Today modern Jerusalem is a large sprawling city but ancient Jerusalem, or the Old City, is a relatively small area on the eastern side.

As in old days the city is surrounded by a stone wall and has several well known gates including: Jaffa Gate, Herod's (Flower) Gate, Damascus Gate, New Gate, Zion Gate, Dung Gate, Lions' Gate, Triple Gate, Double Gate, Single Gate and the Golden Gate. However this last one is sealed.

The city is divided into four sections: Jewish Quarter, Christian Quarter, Armenian Quarter and Muslim Quarter.


The Golden Gate. Jewish tradition has it that the Messiah would enter Jerusalem via this gate when he comes, so Muslims during the reign of Ottoman Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent (1520-1566) sealed the Golden Gate to keep him out.
The Golden Gate. Jewish tradition has it that the Messiah would enter Jerusalem via this gate when he comes, so Muslims during the reign of Ottoman Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent (1520-1566) sealed the Golden Gate to keep him out.
Old City, Jerusalem. Igor the Guide.
Old City, Jerusalem. Igor the Guide.

Pictures from a visit to the Old City in 1998

In Jewish Quarter
In Jewish Quarter
The Tower of David near the Jaffa Gate
The Tower of David near the Jaffa Gate
In Armenian Quarter
In Armenian Quarter
Ship of the desert resting in the Old City
Ship of the desert resting in the Old City
Israeli alley cats are amaizing,this one was a resident of a Jewish Quarter
Israeli alley cats are amaizing,this one was a resident of a Jewish Quarter

Western Wall

The Western Wall is in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City Jerusalem.

It is actually part of the exposed retaining wall for the Temple Mount. You can find men and women praying at the Wall all hours of the day and night.

Men and women pray at different sections of the Wall. Men's section of the Wall is from the left and women's is from the right, if you are facing the Wall.

Also when you walk away you don't turn your back to the wall. You face the wall and walk away backwards for a while.

Today the Western Wall is considered by Jewish people to be the most sacred place that they have without the Temple. The Western Wall is the closest you can get to the Holy of Holies.

Tourists can rent a cross and carry it through Via Dolorosa street
Tourists can rent a cross and carry it through Via Dolorosa street
Olive tree in Garden of Gethsemane. Trees there are centuries old.
Olive tree in Garden of Gethsemane. Trees there are centuries old.
Holy Sepulcher, the Stone of Unction
Holy Sepulcher, the Stone of Unction

Via Dolorosa and Garden of Gethsemane

The Via Dolorosa (Latin for Way of Greif) winds through the Muslim Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem commemorating the last hours of Jesus from when He was condemned to His execution. Due to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 CE the exact path is uncertain. The Via Dolorosa was begun by the Franciscan Monks in the 14th century.


>>

Garden of Gethsemane- As recorded in scripture (Matt. 26:36; Mark 14:23) here is where Jesus withdrew to pray, and was then arrested. A short distance away is the wall of the Old City of Jerusalem with the Golden Gate.


The Holy Sepulcher or the Sacred Tomb is no doubt the most important shrine in the Christian world. On the grounds of the Holy Sepulcher it is believed that Jesus Christ (pbuh) was crucified, buried and rose from the dead.


The death vagon - Holocaust monument at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem
The death vagon - Holocaust monument at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem
Children's Memorial, entrance
Children's Memorial, entrance

Yad VaShem

Yad Vashem is Israel's Holocaust memorial. In the spring of 2005 Yad Vashem opened its doors to the newly renovated museum. On the grounds you see the trees planted for the many Righteous Gentiles. In other buildings you find the Eternal Flame in remembrance of the 6 million that died, and the Children's Memorial to 1.5 million Jewish children who perished in the Holocaust. The Children's Memorial was designed by architect Moshe Safdie and built with the generous donation of Abe and Edita Spiegel, whose son Uziel was murdered in Auschwitz at the age of two and a half.

The memorial room is not big, it is hollowed out from an underground cavern and it takes just several minutes for guests to go through it. Those several minutes seem like an eternity where time is lost. The room is dark and people go around it by the wall, holding a rail. There are several memorial candles multiplied infinitely by a special system of mirrors which gives an impression of thousands of stars in a Universe and you feel a small piece in the middle of Cosmos. Recorded voices recite children's names, ages and country of origin. It's a special type of Memorial that you will not see anywhere else. People come out of the Memorial to a sunny day and their eyes are wet with tears. Yad Vashem has the world's largest repository of information for history and education on the Holocaust.


Janusz Korczak (real name: Henryk Goldszmit) was a Polish Jewish doctor and author, who chose to die in the Holocaust rather than let the Jewish orphans he cared for go to their deaths on their own.
Janusz Korczak (real name: Henryk Goldszmit) was a Polish Jewish doctor and author, who chose to die in the Holocaust rather than let the Jewish orphans he cared for go to their deaths on their own.
Shrine of the Book and view on Knesset
Shrine of the Book and view on Knesset

Israel Museum

The Israel Museum is a fabulous sprawling museum located near the Knesset in Jerusalem. Here you actually find several museums in one, including the Shrine of the book that is dedicated to the Dead Sea Scrolls, and the Second Temple Model. Though only begun in 1965 you will find it a superb museum with many exhibits and programs to captivate you for hours!

Knesset

The Knesset is Israel's Parliament House which first convened February 14, 1949.

Here the Knesset enacts laws and supervises the work of the government.

Today the Knesset is located in Jerusalem and just across the street is the giant Menorah that was donated to the State of Israel in 1956 by the members of the British Parliament

Market Mehane Yehuda

If you are in Jerusalem you have to go to Shook Mehane Yehuda- the authentic Middle East Market (Shook means Market in Hebrew).

Yerushalmies (Jerusalemites) shop there for Shabbat meals, tourists are coming there for exotic experience. The market is noisy, colorful, full of special smells and aromas.

Spices and nuts in canvas bags, mountains of fruits and vegetables laying on counters, alive fish in pools, racks with colorful clothes. You can also find here baked goods, meat, prepared food, shoes, housewares, textiles and even Judaica.

The market is always crowded, especially on Friday noon. It is crowded also any day of a week even in spite that it has been targeted by suicide bombings.


 

I hope I gave some insights about how great and beautiful the land of Israel is. I am going to tell about other places to visit there as well.

More by this Author


Comments 25 comments

LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 7 years ago from London

I love Jerusalem. I think the city planning rules are fantastic, in that you have to build new buildings out of Jerusalem stone (or at least clad new buildings in it) and that really helps preserve the unique nature of the city.

Your mention of "holy of the holies" reminds me - kodesh ha kodeshim?


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 7 years ago

Nice hub. Very little Hamas rocket damage, apparently. I'm surprised you'd be recommending visits to Israel in view of the rockets raining down on the country!


jkfrancis 7 years ago

Wonderful article and pictures.


ReuVera profile image

ReuVera 7 years ago from USA Author

You are right, LondonGirl, Kadosh Ha’Kodeshim means Holy of Holies. Thank you also for mentioning that in Jerusalem it is a rule to build all buildings from Jerusalem stone, or at least from its replica. This is what makes the city look really Gold in the rays of sun.


ReuVera profile image

ReuVera 7 years ago from USA Author

Ralph,

Hamas or any other terroristic organization will never shell rockets on Jerusalem. Hamas is clever after all, they know what they are doing. Yes, there were terroristic suicide bombings in Jerusalem, in buses and in the market. A Palestinian terrorist opened shooting in  rabbinical seminary (Merkaz Harav Yeshiva) on March 2008 (and there was a jubilation in Gaza for this reason)- http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Terrorism-+Obstacle+to+P...

But Hamas are opportunists pretty much, the will do things to draw the world attention not to what they did, but to how Israel answered them. Anyway, Israeli securities are doing their best to prevent inside suicide actions and there were hundreds and hundreds of prevented cases. I am going to write about Israeli security in my next hub. 

To your words of concern I can answer only one thing- Israel is no more unsecure for tourists than, let’s say, any mall, or McDonald’s place, or student campus or school in America where deadly shooting can kill people. In my hubs I want to show that Israel is a country where people live and prosper, where life goes the same way as in your town. I want to show how beautiful and welcoming it is. By the way, I read statistics that in 2008 there was a great rise in tourism in Israel.

And thank you for reading. I will consider it an honor if you visit my next hubs about Israel, I am going to write several of them about tourism in Israel.


ReuVera profile image

ReuVera 7 years ago from USA Author

jkfrancis, thank you.


foxility profile image

foxility 7 years ago

That's great... I don't know if I would feel completely safe visiting right now but maybe someday. Great pics!


aviva profile image

aviva 7 years ago from Chicago, Il

Nice to meet you too! Great hub! I miss Israel so much.


My Inner Jew profile image

My Inner Jew 7 years ago

Great hub! So perfect...and i have to agree jews definitely didn't kill jesus and definitely did not take the land from the arabs...it is propaganda they are spreading. I love all these places you mentioned in your hub :)


ReuVera profile image

ReuVera 7 years ago from USA Author

foxility, thank you and I'm sorry it took me so long to reply... You will be surprised how safe you'll feel when you step on the land of Israel. In one of my hubs I told about my son's friend who went with us to visit there and told that in Israel he felt more secure that anywhere else.


ReuVera profile image

ReuVera 7 years ago from USA Author

Aviva, thanks for reading. I miss Israel too. Some day I will live there again.


ReuVera profile image

ReuVera 7 years ago from USA Author

MIJ, I appreciate your comment very much, thank you. You sure know Israel very good. I love your hubs about Israel, they are great. Please, read my other hubs about this land, if you have time.


My Inner Jew profile image

My Inner Jew 7 years ago

I definitely will it really is great reading hubs from someone who knows the holy land as well...I love israel...it is a special place like no other!


ReuVera profile image

ReuVera 7 years ago from USA Author

Thank you.


prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 7 years ago from malang-indonesia

nice place to visit. great picture also. thanks for share about this place.


ReuVera profile image

ReuVera 7 years ago from USA Author

Thank you, prasetio for reading and commenting.


icciev profile image

icciev 4 years ago from Kuwait

ReuVera, thanks for this nice article. although I don't totally agree with you for the following reason,

1- You said that Jewish are living their from long time and they didn't force anyone to get out. Well I am from Palestine and we have proof of being living their from long time ago my origin goes back to a christian family how transferred to Islam since 585. and eventually we had to leave our lands at 1948 and I am not allowed to go back since that time...

2- Ottoman Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent (1520-1566) didn't sealed the Golden Gate to keep Messiah out. if they wonted to do that, why they kept Church of the Resurrection which is laying beside Al-Aqsa Mosque for ages now.

PS: Not only Muslim Palestinians had to leave their lands I know a lot of my Christine Palestinians that had to leave to.

there is many things too, don't want to go under deep discussion. with love and respect.


icciev profile image

icciev 4 years ago from Kuwait

Again to support my words I like to go always to well known sources of information.

((According to Alexander Scholch, the population of Palestine in 1850 had about 350,000 inhabitants, 30% of whom lived in 13 towns; roughly 85% were Muslims, 11% were Christians and 4% Jew))

{according to Ottoman statistics studied by Justin McCarthy,[46] the population of Palestine in the early 19th century was 350,000, in 1860 it was 411,000 and in 1900 about 600,000 of which 94% were Arabs. In 1914 Palestine had a population of 657,000 Muslim Arabs, 81,000 Christian Arabs, and 59,000 Jews.[47] McCarthy estimates the non-Jewish population of Palestine at 452,789 in 1882, 737,389 in 1914, 725,507 in 1922, 880,746 in 1931 and 1,339,763 in 1946))

By 1948, the population had risen to 1,900,000, of whom 68% were Arabs, and 32% were Jews

Source of information

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palestine

with love and respect.


ReuVera profile image

ReuVera 4 years ago from USA Author

Hello, icciev and thank you for visiting and commenting on my hub. Actually, as my rule, I do not start controversial discussions on my hubs (there are forums for this purpose), but I will answer some of your remarks.

All sources give references that the purpose of Golden gate being sealed during the reign of Ottoman Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent (1520-1566) was exactly to prevent the fulfillment of Zachariah's prophecy and keep the Jewish (Jewish!)Messiah from entering the Temple Mount. There is no connection with the Church of the Resurrection. However, the gate has a great significance for Christians as well, since it is believed that Jesus rode his donkey through the Golden Gate on Palm Sunday and they also expect him to return to Jerusalem for his final act and enter the city through the Golden Gate. However, the original purpose of sealing the gate was to prevent fulfillment of Zachariah's prophecy.

What facts exactly do you have to prove that Palestinians lived there from long ago? Arabs appeared in that land three thousands years after Jews started living there and there’s lots and lots of historical, cultural and archeological proves to this. There was no Arabs state or nation called Palestine in 1948, or ever. The Ottoman Turks ruled the entire area from 1517 to 1917. During that time there was no nations or independent states within the Empire, just provinces. The locations of the future states of Israel, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and others were created by the European powers at the end of the First World War out of the ruins of the Turkish Empire. A homeland for Israel was one of the first created by the League of Nations. Jews have lived continuously in Palestine for 3,700 years, though they were dispersed throughout the world by being taken into captivity, slavery or just driven away. Since the 19th century the Jews were the majority of population in Jerusalem. At San Remo conference in 1922 the League of Nations gave the Britain the mandate to create a home for the Jews. A substantial portion of the land encompassing modern Jordan and Israel was designated as Palestine Mandate. It was to be a homeland for the Jewish people. But the Arabs benefited most from the Mandate as it turned out. In 1922 as British Colonial Secretary Winston Churchill gave Transjordan to the Hashemites. Jewish leader Chaim Weizmann agreed to give 80% of the Jewish Palestine Mandate land to the Hashemites. This was an exchange where the Jews received a written agreement that Transjordan would be made a home for those displaced Arabs that lived in the Palestine Mandate territory. The agreement was signed my Emir Faisal. In this document Emir promised, that there would be no more demands upon the Jews by the Arabs if they were given this land. Hashemites took over that land and rule it. There was never a national entity of people known as “Palestinians”. In response to continuous Arabs threats and terror in 1947 the United Nations divided the remaining 20% of the original Mandate into to what is called today the Gaza Strip and the West Bank to the Muslims. It allowed the Jews to keep the indefensible sliver of land as their home. It represented only 1/6th of 1% of the Middle East, it seemed unacceptable for the Muslims. On May 15th 1948, days after Israel announced Statehood, five (FIVE!) surrounding Arab nations simultaneously attacked the infant nation. The attacking Arab governments urged the Arabs in the new nation of Israel to flee their homes; they promised to butcher the Jews in a few weeks, then the refugees can return to their homes and claim the booty that was left. But against all odds the Jews held the attackers off. After Israel was proclaims, 850 thousands of Jews were forced to flee Muslim countries; many of the Jews were from the communities that existed for thousands of years, but you never hear about the Jews refugee problem, because the Israelis resettled them in Israel. In contrast, the Muslims put their displaced fellow Arabs into concentration camps and to this day have never accepted them, assimilated them or offered them citizenship. Yet, Israel extended full citizenship to the Arabs who stayed. From 1948 till 1967 Egypt possessed Gaza and Jordan possessed the West Bank. Why they did not offer that land to their fellow Arabs as a state? It’s the same land they now want Israel to give them.

The Middle East crisis is really about the annihilation of Israel and the Jews.

Actually, Israelis gave Gaza and south Lebanon to Arabs by withdrawing their troops from there. But Arabs gave the authority over that lands to terrorist groups of Hamas and Hezbollah. All what they want is just to wipe the Israel off the map and Earth.

And about giving land to Palestinians, please, read here: http://www.jewishexponent.com/article/24339/Opinio...


Vladimir Uhri profile image

Vladimir Uhri 4 years ago from HubPages, FB

icciev. Actually I was in Jerusalem and seen the Golden Gate. Church of Resurrection is not point at all. It is mix issue. It was Muslims who cemented, sealed gate since they believed the Messiah will not go that way. Besides they put there a cemetery for the same reason. They thought it will be enough.

I study Bible (I am the Christian) and knowing that before Yeshuah (Jesus) will come will be earthquake and the door will be broken. Then many will be risen from the death. Cemetery is not problem. At the war in Armagedon all armies will be death not by sword but by Word of confusion and will kill each others... God has future for Israel, many prophecies are the witnesses. Bible never failed. The Book is written in digital and is never changing. Then we may read Dead Sea scrolls. There is Book of Isaiah the same as we have in Bible and Gospel of Luke written by Historian and Physician. What more history I can give? I think that Arabs has Arabia and Israel has promised land. You speak Arabic language, have Arabic culture, what else you want? You partners Turks attacked even my Slovak country, killed many. Keep your religion and do not bother ours.

You will witness that it is going happen what I predicted from scriptures. Many Muslims are now become Christians.

It is not going to be pretty for those who are not saved.


icciev profile image

icciev 4 years ago from Kuwait

Well thanksl for both Ruevera, Vladimir for taking time replying to me. In order not to keep discussing her where is the forum that we can discuss this issue, last thing I have here:

1- I do apologize for being confused against the golden gate.

2- my discussion was never related to religion I don't know why you wanted to be that way, my discussion was regarding palestinies and Isreal.

3- I think when ever we are discussing person shouldn't use his resources about the same topic he should us other open resources like I used wikipedia to proof that we live in that land before you 5000 years.

4- lands being ruled by others doesn't mean it's empty when US was establish they killed native people.

I am ready for a discussion, just give me the link to the forum,

With love and respect


ReuVera profile image

ReuVera 4 years ago from USA Author

icciev, thank you for your input. I disagree with you about sources of information. The better source is our own research, when we read different reliable historical books, check real historical, cultural AND archaeological reports. Wikipedia is a very very weak source, as it can be written by anyone, anyone can put information there and in many cases it is just apologetic or in a best case just amateur. Wikipedia has absolutely no authority for serious researches.

Then, again, whom do you mean under "we", who, as you put it lived in that land before "you" 5000 years ago? I told you already, that Arabs appeared in that land like 3700 years after Hebrews settled there. There are lots and lots of historical AND archaeological proves to this fact. There never ever was a national entity of people called "Palestinians", this name came into usage in 1967. As even one of the Jordanian Arabs said in the internet: “Why is it that on June 4th 1967 I was a Jordanian and overnight I became a Palestinian?”. There's no language called "Palestinian", and language is the first identity of a separate nation. Did you read at all what I wrote in my previous comment?

You may identify yourself with many nations who used to live in Palestine of old ages, but it does not mean that it is historically correct.


Vera 4 years ago

Also, icciev, I really do not see what is your demand here. It looks that you live in Kuwait, and you have a great profession. Aren't you happy with what you have? Why would you go along with brainwahings about the land where your ancerstors might have lived? I was told that my ancerstors came out from Egypt. However, we Jews do not demand the land of Egypt given back to us. Have you ever visited Israel, have you ever visited Gaza? Why don't you go travel there? You'll see with your own eyes how the land of Israel (once blooming, but then drained into a desert by Turks) was developed into a most progressive democratic state from 1948 till now. And you'll Gaza, that gets billions $$ of humanitarian aid, but fails to aid its cetizents.

As for the forum, you can go to forums and start a thread there, if you like. There are different topics you can chose from.


ComfortB profile image

ComfortB 3 years ago from Bonaire, GA, USA

My husband and I took a 'Tour of Israel', in the footstep of our Savior last December. I must say, I felt very safe walking those streets than I thought I would. I wrote a hub about my experience. It was memorable indeed, and we definitely will be going back, God willing.

Shalom.


tirelesstraveler profile image

tirelesstraveler 2 years ago from California

Thanks for a lovely tour. I look forward to being in Jerusalem myself.

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