Our long and amazing day started with a quick tour of the Kibbutz Lavi (that runs our hotel. Kibbutzim have changed dramatically over the years. The original farming concept is too much of a financial gamble to sustain the community. Now, they run hotels, have factories (this one manufactures synagogue furniture), and have members work outside, bringing their salaries in to the communal pot. We’re told only 20% of Kibbutz kids come back after college.
A little further on is the Church of the Primacy of Peter where Jesus is said to have appeared to the Apostles after the resurrection. It’s here, on these rocks that Jesus named Peter as the first leader of the new Church, and gave the sermon on the mount (at least nearby).
Then a ride through the lush Jordan River Valley to Beth Shean, the best preserved Roman town in Israel. It was discovered when a Kibbutz was being established, just ten fee under the ground. It is enormous, and only about 10% is uncovered. It was unfortunately destroyed by a major earthquake.
From there our drive south takes us through a checkpoint into the West Bank. It’s amazing to see the miles and miles of lush farmland owned and worked by the Palestinians. Without Israel’s help and expertise they would still be living in what is otherwise a dry and barren land. We contine on Rt. 90 past Jericho and Israeli settlements toward Jerusalem. On through the last check point up Mount Olive to Mount Scopius for…
Tomorrow a full day exploring Jerusalem.