Gosh it seems all my posts lately concern some jewish holiday or another... maybe it's a sign (naaaah).
Well, I took the time this weekend to get away a little and do something I've been needing to do for too long, which is visit the north. Seems that there was a lot of symbolic aspects of this trip, and I kept figuring out new stuff the whole time. It was paying attention to the bruised and beaten views that were a war zone until a very short while ago, it was visiting the once-again-up-for-debate Golan heights that are on the agenda now, taking a peek at my neighbour to the north that I became so curious about since July and since I made new friends over there, it was doing all this on Yom Kippur which is not just a day of holy introspection but also a memorial day of a war that took place, among elsewhere, at those very spots.. and of course, the day we left Tel Aviv, Saturday, marked the anniversary of the October 2000 riots among the Arab Israelis of the north when 13 Arabs and 1 Jew died. It was also some personal things - commemorating one year since I moved out of my parents' house and into my own independant life (I moved in October 1st 2005), and taking a long needed break in nature which I haven't experienced much of (certainly not enough) lately.
So me and my flatmate kicked off the trip driving up the old coastal highway, through Haifa, and onto the Golan. We accidentaly drove all over the Golan, passing one military base or another about every 5 meters, until settling at the Yehudia camping site where we spent the night, with some super sonic booms from what was probably IAF F-16s as a soundtrack. Next morning we hiked in the Jilabon trail, which goes through some abandoned and destroyed Syrian houses and an old destroyed Syrian village, not to mention a fire zone and fenced mine fields but also some amazing waterfalls. We then drove through the upper Western Galilee, through Zafed and Maalot and Naharia, to reach the Achziv beach reserve where we found a secluded spot halfway up to Rosh Hanikra, almost beneath the hill where the border with Lebanon starts, and there we camped the eve of Yom Kippur and spent the next day (can't go anywhere on Yom Kippur, certainly not drive, and everything shuts down). I think the beach at Achziv is the most beautiful beach in Israel. An ISF war ship was patrolling in the background, right along where the Lebanese territorial waters seem to begin. You just couldn't help but see how much the military and war is a background to everything that is life in Israel.
As we left Achziv at the end of Yom Kippur, I finally started tuning in to the world again after 3 days of CDs and turned on the radio - the news said the Lebanese army had finally taken its positions in South Lebanon for the first time in 40 years, that very day. Funny to think how all this was taking place about 20 minutes away from where I was sitting.
At an abandoned Syrian structure at the start of the Jilabon trail
(more pictures coming soon)