We began our 3-week trip to Israel in Tel Aviv on October 29, 2016. During the first week, my husband, Jeffrey, attended the IEEE COMCAS technical conference and gave a talk on Software Defined Radio (SDR) at Tel Aviv University. In between he joined me for sightseeing.
As I walked along the shore, I spotted a couple with a small brown dog and a ball. You never saw such an excited dog in your life! As the man threw the ball into the sea, the dog immediately chased after it even before the ball left his hand. The dog could see where the ball would go by the position of the man’s hand (so I surmised). He swam out over the waves grabbed the ball, paddled back to his master, and started barking and jumping until the next throw. As soon as the man raised his hand, the dog turned and ran into the sea in the direction of the throw. Over and over again. Such innocent joy.
One day we took a taxi to the Sarona Food Market. This is a very new market and was quite crowded, but lots of fun. The best nuts you can get anywhere are in Israel, and this market had vendors with a very wide selection of the the freshest and tastiest nuts. We also found a Druze woman making big pots of hot food and cooking large circular flat pita breads for sale.
See also See Tel Aviv Food Market Pictures.
Land of Israel
We familiarized ourselves with the history of Israel by visiting Independence Hall and the Yitzhak Rabin Center. These are two important destinations for understanding how Israel came to be, and the issues that surrounded it then and that surround it today.
Friday, May 14, 1948: At 4 pm, eight hours before the British Mandate in Palestine (Eretz Israel) was to expire, members of the Provisional State Council and the Provisional Government, and leaders of the Jewish Community in Eretz, Israel, gathered in the hall. Some 350 exhilarated people listened as David Ben Gurion, chairman of the Provisional Government, the Jewish Agency, and the World Zionist Organization, declared the establishment of the State of Israel.
Excerpt from the Independence Hall brochure.
Unfortunately, the very next day on May 15, 1948, the ongoing civil war transformed into an interstate conflict between Israel and the Arab states (more).
On November 3, a sandstorm blew into Israel from Saudi Arabia. The bad air lasted several days. We stayed indoors as much as possible, but going outside was unavoidable (we needed to at least eat) and uncomfortable, but injected some Lawrence-of-Arabia-style authenticity into our trip to the Middle East.
According to the Israeli Meteorological Service, strong eastern winds are blowing from the north of Saudi Arabia and are raising huge brown clouds of dust toward Israel.
The Times of Israel.
Speaking of eating, Israel and especially Tel Aviv have excellent vegetarian and vegan food. The vegetables are fresh and clean, beautifully prepared, and so tasty! Tel Aviv has many vegan and vegetarian restaurants, but you can also get vegetarian food at many regular restaurants. The wide availability of vegetables is due to Kosher laws. Restaurants that serve dairy include vegetables because dairy cannot be served with meat.
Beit Hatfutsot Museum
Tel Aviv University has the wonderful Beit Hatfutsot museum that is open to the public for a small fee. It covers the history and culture of the Jewish people throughout the world, and has an excellent Jewish music archive. We spent some time listening to selections from the music archive. They weren’t for sale, but the museum’s gift shop had some CDs with traditional Jewish music.
The university is home to several feral cats who enter and exit the museum as visitors open and close the doors. The cats wander the museum lobby and cafe areas, and make themselves at home on the chairs and couches provided for museum guests with tired feet.
I suppose the cats see themselves as guests . . . .
While based in Tel Aviv, our guide, Amikam Yechezkely, took us on the following day trips to the north.
Caesarea National Park
An historic town in Israel located mid-way between Tel Aviv and Haifa, on the Israeli coastal plain near the city of Hadera (more).
The museum featured holographic exhibits using actors and dialog to portray historic figures such as King Herod, Rabbi Akiva, the Apostle Paul, and Saladin. The holograms provide a sense of what each might have been like, and delve into the history of their times. You can also ask the holograms questions, and they explain the history from their point of view.
Haifa and the Bahá’í Gardens
Haifa with its amazing views of the Mediterranean Sea, fresh air, and the beautiful Bahá’í Gardens, is an invigorating stop.
We strolled The terraced gardens and meticulously manicured gardens, and then drove up the hill for a panoramic view of the city, the sea, and the sunshine (more).
Old City of Acre
A city in the northern coastal plain region of northern Israel at the northern extremity of Haifa Bay. Acre preserves the remains of its medieval Crusader buildings beneath the existing Muslim fortified town dating from the 18th and 19th centuries (more).
There is a clothing and sundries market on one side of the fortress with cafes. Makes for a good place to browse, relax, and enjoy some baklava.
Meeting an Old Friend and his Wife
My husband had worked an Israeli man named Ehud on ham radio about 23 years ago, and sent him a QSL (confirming our two-way radio contact) card and wrote on it that “I promise that we will visit some day.”
After all of these years, he had moved, but Jeffrey got his email address from an online source for ham radio operators. So, we met up in Tel Aviv and spent the day with him and his wife, Yam, whose name in Hebrew means sea.