Saturday, February 25, 2017

DAY FIVE in ISRAEL: 2/11/17 Leaving the Dead Sea and Heading Towards Jerusalem

I don't remember anything about breakfast, but I recall clearly the problem with my luggage this morning.  We deposited our packed bags outside of our room and it was picked up and taken outside.  The plan was (just like other mornings when we left hotels) for us to go down and identify our luggage before it was put into the bottom of the bus.  However, my large suitcase was nowhere to be seen.  I suspected that it had been already been loaded, but I had no way of knowing for sure.  So, our leaving was delayed while luggage was moved and/or taken out so that I could identify my suitcase. 

We headed towards MASADA!!!!!   David had recently read a novel about Masada, so he was very excited about going there (he talked about it a lot).    I hope to read the same book soon.

Masada (fortress) is an ancient fortification in the Southern District of Israel situated on top of an isolated rock plateau, mesa. It is located on the eastern edge of the Judaean Desert, overlooking the Dead Sea 20 km (12 mi) east of Arad.  I got this aerial view of Masada off of Wikipedia.
Herod the Great built palaces for himself on the mountain and fortified Masada between 37 and 31 BCE. According to Josephus, the siege of Masada by troops of the Roman Empire at the end of the First Jewish–Roman War ended in the mass suicide of 960 people, the Sicarii rebels and their families hiding there.
It is easy to understand why Masada is one of Israel's most popular tourist attractions.
We took a cable car up to the top: 
Hanna told the (true) story of the mass suicide. 

The year of the siege of Masada may have been 73 or 74 CE.  According to Josephus, when Roman troops entered the fortress, they discovered that its defendants had set all the buildings but the food storerooms ablaze and committed mass suicide or killed each other, 960 men, women, and children in total. Josephus wrote of two stirring speeches that the Sicari leader had made to convince his men to kill themselves. Only two women and five children were found alive. (I wonder what happened to them?)Josephus presumably based his narration upon the field commentaries of the Roman commanders that were accessible to him.  Josephus gave the figure of 960 people dying by suicide, but only the remains of 28 bodies have been found. 
Here are some of my pictures 
 the Roman Ramp

After Masada, our next stop was Ein Gedi.  Ein Gedi mens "young goat".  It  is an oasis and a nature reserve in Israel, located west of the Dead Sea, near Masada and the Qumran Caves. The streams run year round and the area is very popular with hikers and photographers. 

In Joshuua 15:62 Ein Gedi is enumerated among the cities of the Tribe of Judah in the desert Betharaba, but Ezekiel 47:10 shows that it was also a fisherman's town. Later, King David hid in the desert of Ein Gedi (1 Samuel 24:1-2) and King Saul searched for him "even upon the most craggy rocks, which are accessible only to wild goats" (1 Samuel 24:2).   

The Song of Songs (Song of Solomon 1:14speaks of the "vineyards of En Gedi." The words of Ecclesiasticus 24:18, "I was exalted like a palm tree in Cades" , may perhaps be understood as the palm trees of Ein Gedi.      These little animals were running around

The lower falls.
There are several waterfalls and a uphill hiking trail to see them.  Most of our group took the hike, but David, myself, Mike Wing and others only went as far as the first falls.  I was standing on a small bridge when I looked down and saw Mike sitting on a rock up high, along the creek.
  I yelled down to him and asked him how he got there and he told me, so I went down, too.   Several of us explored down there for a bit, and then went back down the trail to wait for the others.  When the hikers came back they reported gorgeous waterfalls but some slippery rocks to traverse over in order to get there. 

There was some interesting things to see on the way to the next attraction. 

 and also this one.
                                             I believe this is one of the Palestinian Settlements. 
I think this is a Beduoin Settlement, it is against their religious beliefs to build permanent homes. 
Then we headed towards Jerusalem. 

Peg's notes say that we went through a checkpoint because we left the west bank (disputed territory?)and returned to Israel, but it looks like I did not take a picture at this checkpoint.  Here are some pictures I as we approached and drove into Jerusalem. 

 I think these are pictures of the wall separating the old city from the new.

 We stopped at Abrahams Ridge to overlook Jerusalem. 

We arrived at our hotel fairly early and once again there was a reception and we got our room assignments.  There was time before supper, so some of our group went to BEN YEHUDA STREET.  Its a place for shopping, and we were told the Jews would be there celebrating the end of their Shabbat.  I was too tired to go, so I rested a bit in the room before supper. 
It was a great day and we were happy to settle into the place we would be staying for five nights. 

No comments:

Post a Comment