This Week on Aardvark Israel
Since the week started with two days of Shavuot holiday, it was a short one but still amazing!
On Monday night, we were informed by Masa that we were lucky to receive an extra night for our trip up north with all three communities from Rothschild, Florentin, and Jerusalem. The students and staff were really happy to look forward to three whole days together in the Golan Heights, filled with fun, excitement, and relaxation.
On Tuesday morning, we all headed up north. Each group was a mix of students from Rothschild, Florentin, and Jerusalem. We went on different hikes and enjoyed a few hours of hiking, swimming in the Golan streams and hanging out in nature.
One of the trails was the Majrase – Betiha Nature Reserve, near the Sea of Galilee. The students walked the whole hike in the water until they arrived at a big pool they could swim in.
Another hike was The Snir Stream (Hatsbani) which is the longest of the Jordan River tributaries. The stream flows all year round, through trees and travertine walls.
The third trail for that day was Ein Tina, a hidden spring which runs between the kibbutzim Gadot and Gonen. Along the easy hike towards the spring, the students enjoyed a refreshing walk in the stream before reaching the Ein Tina source, where a beautiful waterfall bursts through fig trees.
After the hikes, we went to some historical lookouts and learned a little bit about the history of the area. The first lookout was Tel Faher (or Golani Lookout) which is a former Syrian outpost in the Golan Heights that has been occupied by Israel since the Six Day War in 1967. Tel Faher was the site of an intense battle between the Israel Defense Forces and the Syrians, which ended in the conquest of the outpost by the Golani Brigade.
The second lookout we visited was Gadot Lookout, on the Western edge of the Golan Heights overlooking the Hula Valley. This site served as a fortified Syrian military outpost complete with communication trenches and concrete bunkers and surrounded by barbed wire and minefields. From this base, the Syrians were able to fire down at the Israeli Kibbutz Gadot and to command the Bnot Yaakov Bridge. At the end of the Six Day War, the Syrians fled from the onslaught of the IDF’s Golani Brigade, and the site now serves as a memorial for the soldiers who fell conquering the Golan Heights.
After a great day of hiking and learning about the Golan Heights area, we had dinner and continued our evening with Karaoke, Israeli games, and dancing.
On Wednesday night, we visited the Canada Center in Metulla and enjoyed the opportunity to jump, ice skate, and bowl together.
Afterwards, all three groups reunited at the Kineret for an afternoon of water play at Aquakef (a floating water park) in Tiberius where we played for a few hours before the long trip back to Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.
Morning three started early again. We were given three options for activities in the morning and as a keen hiker, I went for the more intense hiking option. We hiked on Mount Arbel, overlooking the Sea of Galilee, which I’m sure you can imagine was beautiful. During the hike we saw the Arbel caves made by Herod’s army as well as the site where a synagogue once stood in the 2nd Century. This was followed by another favoured moment of the trip – swimming in the Sea of Galilee and playing at Aqua Kef, which was an inflatable water park.
As a write this on the bus going back to Tel Aviv, I realise how much we managed to fit into the three days. Such a great experience with lots of brilliant memories”
Our Madricha on call for the Rothschild Community this weekend is Oz.
Natali, Gili, and Etai