TL-47-363 Update 1

March 22nd: Quest Bus 363 hit the ground running. We ate breakfast at beautiful Nof Kinneret Hotel. We left at 8am sharp to tour and hike The Banias Nature Reserve. Moran, our Israeli tour guide extraordinaire, taught us about the origin of the land. Originally it was called “Panias” but the Greeks changed the pronunciation to “Banias.” Pan was a mythological creature that was half man, half goat. He was the god of nature and he played the “pan flute.” He scared people walking down dark alley ways. It’s where the word “panic” came from. Water flows all over this beautiful place. It holds one of the biggest rivers in Israel. Water flows all year round. Thousands of years ago people saw this place as a miracle when water started coming from the caves. A lot of the water comes from the Sea of Galilee and melted snow water from Mount Hermon.  

Towards the end of the hike, we circled up for a meditation that involved connecting to the elements of the earth, and the hike was finished in silence. This allowed us to meditate on the scenery and drop into the transition of being in Israel.

We then continued our beautiful journey to Tel Facher. This was very eye opening for the participants, for many of us, seeing a tank and land mines for the first time. This gave participants a deeper understanding of the life for people in Israel. 

The highlight of the day was the jeep tour and seeing the Syrian boarder. The participants were overwhelmed with the beauty of the lush green hills and the snowy Hermon. Staring off into the beauty of the countryside we were reminded of the life of Israeli people with seeing the border of Syria- seeing a live armed based, and hearing training rounds in the distance. We learned the history of the religious and political differences in the Middle East and how it effects the everyday life. The fun loving guides shared their own stories with living on the border and what life is like living on the kibbutz.

As we stood close to the border of Syria, we learned that the UN does not recognize the same borders that Israel claims as their land, which some other countries recognize but not at all- this was very eye opening to us. The reality of the world that Israelis grow up in sank in on a greater level. 

Written by Jackson and Lily. With Moran as our tour guide.