Wabash Blogs Immersion 2008: Israel

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Israel Immersion Trip: Journal 1

Jarryd Morton '10 - The Middle Eastern politics class met in front of Sparks Center on March 29 to embark on a much anticipated journey to Israel. (click here to see photos from our first day - Israel Photo Album #1) From start to finish we ended up in Tel Aviv twenty-one hours later.  The time difference between Eastern Standard Time and Israeli time is seven hours. The first night we met our tour guide Mike, who is an immigrate to Israel originally born in Canada. He and his wife, originally from New York, made an aliyah to Israel in 1998. Aliyah in Israel is a term commonly used to describe the waves of Jewish immigration back to the homeland. After getting on our bus we became accustom to the spice of Israel in a quick visit to old Jaffa. Tel Aviv, our first night’s stay, is probably the most modern city in Israel, characteristically similar to Europe. At night we went to out as a group to explore the city, however we found most places closed due to religious “Blue Laws.” Blue Laws are instituted by the Israeli government, restricting the opening of business on the Jewish Sabbath, or Saturday. Nevertheless, a Jewish owner may keep his business open for a minimal fine. On the other hand, non-Jewish Arabs continue to keep their businesses open without fear of a fine.

After a night in Tel Aviv we all met for breakfast in the morning and started out for our first complete day in the country. From Tel Aviv, we traveled first to the city of Caesarea. Like Tel Aviv, Caesarea is a port city located on the Mediterranean. The city port contains large historical significance — it was occupied by four different groups dating back to the early Roman Empire. The biblical King Herod was the first to occupy the port under a strict Roman rule. While there, he built the city, creating the greatest port in the Mediterranean. After dying, his sons let the city fall to the Byzantines. From the Byzantines came the Christian Crusaders and finally the Arab Muslims. After visiting the small city of Caesarea, presently about six-thousand in population, we traveled up the coast line to Haifa, where one can see the strongest German influence in all of Israel. Here we made a stop to examine the Bahá’í religion. The Bahá’í have a particular stronghold in the city of Haifa where its influence can be recognized distinctly by the looming structure of the Báb, a shrine in the heart of the city, complete with eighteen leveled monumental gardens, nine above and nine below of which expanded the entire length of city’s mountain side. After driving through the “German town,” we headed over to the Sea of Galilee where Jesus delivered the Sermon on the Mount, which is known as Mount Beatitudes.

photo: Jacob Surface '10 at the Shrine of the Báb


Thank you for all the information and history lesson with it. I must say after watching the news about the happenings in the Gaza Strip that I was somewhat worried for everyone's safety. With that said, I'm sure that everyone is having a great time....I wish I was there. I really do....if a staff member could take an immersion trip I'd be the first to sign up. The learning experience would be something I would cherish as I'm sure you will in the years to come.
Take care and be safe.