Israel is more than just its major cities. I hope you’ll have the chance to really explore the length and breadth of our beautiful country. In order to do that, we must journey to the north. Northern Israel is full of beautiful landscapes, historic sights, national parks and nature reserves. But if we dwell on nature reserves for a moment, it’s the Tel Dan Nature Reserve that’s my personal favorite.
Why Tel Dan? It’s there, over the course of a two-hour hike, that we’ll experience or touch upon three very different topics – a lush water-filled nature hike, biblical archaeology and the geo-political reality of Israel’s place in the Middle East.
We’ll learn why a hike in the Land of Israel is more than just good exercise or a physical adventure.
What’s your expectation of the natural landscape of a tiny country in the Middle East? Arid expanses of desert? Tel Dan Nature Reserve will surprise you. In a country the size of the U.S. state of New Jersey, you’ll be hard pressed to find such a tremendous diversity in nature in such a tiny space. At Tel Dan we’ll hike along a seemingly sub-tropical water-rich environment, carefully treading from stone to stone over the largest tributary of the Jordan River.
Water. We’ll learn what part water played in Israel’s military struggles of the past and how water continues to be a challenge in the present.
Though it is a nature reserve, Tel Dan takes us beyond the natural world and into the ancient past. Along our journey we’ll learn how the Hebrew Bible comes to life in the Land of Israel in a very tangible way. Not one, but three different biblical archaeological sites dating to various periods of the Old Testament await us.
“From Dan to Beer-Sheva.” That’s a term the Bible uses to express the borders of biblical Israel. But in Tel Dan, we’ll experience not only the biblical borders of the Land, but also the modern northern border as well. We’ll see the remains of IDF trenches from the period before the 1967 Six-Day War and gaze out upon Lebanon, our neighbor to the north.
By the end of the hike, I think you might be just as enthusiastic about Tel Dan as I am. ;-)