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Israel's Historical Significance: Past, Present & Future

Israel's Historical Significance: Past, Present & Future

Immersing oneself in the cradle of civilization is both an enlightening and grounding personal experience. Delve in first-hand into how Israel’s landscape and culture have been shaped by the millennia of human activity on its remarkable soil. Just a sampling of examples: Descending into the Western Wall tunnels is essentially a convergence with the bedrock of humanity. Qumran, the one-time home to the Dead Sea Scrolls and ancient Essenes sect, is an archeological treasure trove.

In northern Israel, a walk through Beit She’an is like wading through the tide of history; its tel (the Hebrew name for abandoned ruins that often appear as hills in the countryside) is a historical layered cake that reveals the fascinating story of a rich period full of power and cultural shifts. Down south, Avdat (also known as Oboda or Ovdat) dates back to the Nabateans in the 3rd century BCE, when it was an important stop on the spice route in the Negev highlands. On the coast, the ancient city of Caesarea was built by Herod the Great in the first century BCE, and is best known for its highly sophisticated ancient aqueducts.

On the shores of the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee), the ruins of the talmudic city of Zippori were once home to the luminous Sanhedrin - the great Jewish rabbinic court. In the desert, Masada’s ancient fortress rises high above the otherwise flat landscape, the defiant legacy of the great Roman-era tragedy of a hilltop Jewish community.

As they say: “There is nothing new under the sun,” (Ecclesiastes 1:9) and that couldn’t be truer in Israel.