Israel! Dan, Golan Heights, Cesarea-Phillipi, Syrian Border

As we traveled north, we went through Hazar, an ancient city where Joshua fought, and City of 8, where every house has bomb shelters due to the frequent bombing from Lebanon. It seems like it is so natural to the residents, they accept these bombings as residents of California accept earthquakes, Florida accepts hurricanes, and the midwest accepts tornadoes!

We traveled through Golan Heights, Israel’s military defense line.

Dan was our first stop of the day. This city is the northernmost city of Israel in the Old Testament. (II Chron. 11)
After walking along a slippery, narrow pathway,

and letting the teenage member of our group go “ape”,

we came to the main spring that feeds the Jordan River.

At the top, we came to the temple where King Jeroboam set up a golden calf.

From here we could see the Lebanon and Syria borders.

The circle to the bottom left of the first picture was where they would have cleansed the animals to be sacrificed.

There were also rusted remnants of the six day war in 1967, including tanks and bunkers.

On our return trip, we saw the remains of the Canaanite gate,

Banyas Falls was our next stop…. the site where it is believed Psalm 42 was written. It is a strong, flowing waterfall that goes into the Jordan River.

I even saw a good jeep restoration project for Paul.

The Temple of Pan, otherwise known as the gates of hell, was an interesting site. It was a Roman pagen worship area. It is all about worship…..of other gods….
Including Pan,


Nemesis (goddess of vengance and justice)

and the sacred goats.

Pan was half goat, half human. It is said to have scared people at night, causing them to PANic, and then takes them to hades.
Other than the erie reminder of satanic worship, the place had a calming Herman River Springs

with a trail that led us through an ancient 1st century Roman bridge,

past an old flour mill and water fall.

And the first century palace of Agrippa II.

The pillars mark where the temple was located.

Paul couldn’t help trying to fix it!

This is as far north in Israel that Jesus came, noted in Matt. 16:13.
This was called Caesarea Philippi, and later the Arabic mispronounciation of the name, Banias, caught on, then gradually became Panias, a small farming village. It was one of the sites captured by the Israel Defense Force in 1967.

Nimrod Fortress was built nearby by the crusaders in the first century. It was well fortified!
They were zealots who murdered priests and Moslems. It is said that they smoked hashish prior to going into battle, thus were known as “hashasins”, which became our present day word, “assassins”. They were the AlQuada of the year 1200.

This is a memorial to those killed in the 1973 Yom Kippur war.

The Syrians had 1400 tanks to Israel’s 178. The war was started by a surprise attack on one of the Jewish most holy days. This is now one of the quietest borders since. Along the Golan Heights 85 mile border, Israel occupied and has since kept the buffer zone. Syrians want it back, and does not even acknowledge Israel being there. With all of the countries against Israel, the whole border of the country becomes a front line in war.
This site is located at the top of the Valley of Tears, now known as the Valley of Blessings
An abandoned Israeli tank overlooking the valley

Bunkers built at the base of the hill.

Russian-made Syrian tank sits at the top of the hill, where it was stopped by Israelis.

Throughout our travels, we saw Mt. Herman from different angles, always from the bus. This was the best view, and I could take the picture from outside the bus! It is the traditional place of the transfiguration of Jesus.

We had four more days after this day, so there will be four more blogs on Israel. From Dan to Beersheva was the name of our tour. This was the farthest point to the north that we went. I Hope you aren’t bored! While writing about and reviewing places we went, I am even more in awe of how much we had the opportunity to see!!

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