Visiting the Holy Land: East from Haifa

July 7, 2011

Haifa is the third largest city inIsrael, with a population of around 400,000.  It also hasIsrael’s only natural harbor on the Mediterranean.  From our vantage point up on the side of Mount Carmel, we had a wonderful view of that beautiful harbor, where there were a number of vessels, including a couple of cruise ships.

From up that high we could also see quite a ways up the coast, all the way across the border withLebanon.  After I asked our guide the question about where the Lebanese border was, he proceeded to tell us that Haifa, the northern-most major city inIsrael, had missiles fired into it from southernLebanonby Hezbollah in what Israelis call the Second Lebanon War in 2006.  One of the largest synagogues in Haifa located near the harbor was destroyed by such a missile, but it has since been completely rebuilt.

Up on the top of Mount Carmel, but quite a ways down the long ridge, we came to the traditional location of where the prophet Elijah took on the 450 prophets of the false god, Baal, in 1 Kings 18.  The site is today memorialized by a Carmelite monastery.

That afternoon, we made stops atMegiddo,Nazarethand Cana, before arriving at the kibbutz (collective farm) on theSea of Galilee, where we spent the next two nights.  Each was interesting in its own way, but I only have the space to talk about Megiddo in this article.

Megiddo is a huge manmade mound (called a “tell”) which resulted from civilization after civilization destroying the last city, then building upon its rubble.  Archaeologists believe there were as many as 20 civilizations there over the millennia, including extensive fortifications built by King Solomon (1 Kings 9:15).

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