Visiting the Holy Land: The Lebanese and Syrian Borders

July 7, 2011

 In my last article in this series, I described my trip toIsrael to the point of staying in a kibbutz (an Israeli collective farm) on theSea of Galilee at the end of our first full day in the country.  The scenery there, viewing that beautiful lake where Jesus sailed from time to time, was very peaceful and seemed as far away from military strife as you could get.

That’s why what we saw the second day was such a jolt.  We went almost as far north as you can go inIsrael—the snow skiing area and military observation tower onMt.Hermonjut a few miles further northward—to the Lebanese border.  From a point overlooking the border fence, we could see miles into southernLebanon, as well as watch the United Nations and Israeli forces patrolling a road along the border.

What we saw inLebanon did not look dangerous: a peacefulvillage of Druze (a hybrid Middle Eastern religion) farmers.  However, it is well known that Hammas terrorists have tunneled beneath that village to prepare for eventual attacks or an attempted invasion ofIsrael—the last significant attack from this general area was in 2006 and was repulsed at the loss of a number of Israeli soldiers.  Hammas knows thatIsraelwill not fire on the Druze, so they remain safe as they plotIsrael’s destruction.

What a sobering sight!  Even moreso was our next stop: the battlefield where 1,200 Syrian tanks tried to overrun a force of 182 Israeli tanks at the beginning of the 1973 conflict.  Only three of the Israeli tanks and crews survived, but they prevailed.  Our guide was among those few who survived that amazing battle on the Israeli side.

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