Israel is the mecca for us. Its history is long, deep, and full of a turmoil that continues today. There's no wonder that the land is fought over so viciously: it is precious and, to many, worth the greatest price. We feel honored to have walked on the streets, gazed at the hills, and even stood in the places where the events took place that literally give our life its meaning.
Unfortunately, the land of Abraham is full of us measly men and women and the imperfections reflect that. But these faults don’t diminish Israel’s value. In fact, they create a desperate desire in all hearts to preserve the land and the history that it holds. We’ll try to relay the depth and breadth of our awe as we walk you through our remarkable stay in the Land of All Lands.
Before we get into our Israeli itinerary, we should discuss the border. After Africa, Egypt, and Jordan, we were very relieved to be in a more westernized country. Ryan almost kissed every person at the border crossing, and he kept saying “We are really happy to be here,” like a crazy person.
The first thing we noticed was that soldiers abound. The second thing we noticed was the women soldiers, which after Egypt and Jordan, was a stark though welcome contrast. All of the border soldiers were impeccably uniformed and frankly good-looking, and they hold their weapons at the ready. The sight of soldiers is one that will carry through all of Israel and they carry their automatic weapons visibly.
Lastly, we went to Israel in a time when tension between Israel’s Palestinian population and Jewish population was escalating. While this was worrisome, we had no issue avoiding the protests or violence. Israel’s citizens heavily depend on tourism and no one, on either side, wants a tourist harmed because the repercussions would severely damage their economy. We never felt threatened. Instead, we were troubled that such a magnificent country is torn apart with complicated and seemingly unsolvable issues.
Since our time in Israel was jam packed, we’ve divided the posts by region and that, to some degree, will separate what religion each post focuses on (the exception, obviously, being Jerusalem where Christianity, Islam, and Judaism all rein). We were overwhelmed with wonderment for all of the different religious sites in Jerusalem. And, with all my heart, I wish what we share wouldn’t drive us apart, but instead would bring us together.
More to come. Until then, here are some of our favorite pictures.