Inner Faith Travel – Uncategorized

Uncategorized

SAFETY

The Middle East is a high profile place. Whether it’s nations who are interested because of the oil, religions that are interested because of historical or future events, humanitarians who are interested because of the many struggling people, television agencies who are interested in hyping “dire news”… everyone is interested in what happens here. Amazingly, with the millions of people looking at Israel, the reality of the situation here often does not come to light!

Whether or not you come to Israel we’d like you to know a few things about the Holy Land.

  1. Israel is multi-cultural. There are two official languages in Israel: Hebrew and Arabic.
  2. Israel is democratic . There are Jews and Arabs who serve in the Israeli Parliament, Supreme Court, and even the national soccer teams!
  3. Millions of Arabs and Jews peacefully interact every day in thousands of locations with mutual respect and friendship. You will almost certainly interact with both Jews and Arabs in hotels you sleep, buses you ride on, shops you purchase from, and in sites you visit.
  4. Israel may be considered to be relatively safe in a Middle East that at times can be tumultuous but even if Israel’s neighbors were sophisticated European countries, Israel would be one of the safest countries compared to neighbors like England, Germany, Finland, and France!

Conflict
It is important to note that the rhetoric from the leaders of countries (Israel included) is often just that – rhetoric. Oftentimes, the words are spoken for a specific desired effect not necessarily because the statement itself is as serious as it appears. For example, Israel Prime Minister Netanyahu has spoken of Iran in the most dire and forceful of terms but other than a couple computer viruses, Israel has taken no military action in this heated battle of rhetoric. If we were to respond to every intense statement the Prime Minister says then tens of thousands of people who have enjoyed Israel this past year in utter calm would have missed the spiritual fulfillment they received. Similarly, America would have bowed to the Russians if they had believed the rhetoric coming from Moscow back in the Cold War. We all know how much reality was behind that talk!

If a conflict does develop, then of course we do not want any of our tour members even close to danger.

 

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Safety in Israel – Part 2

Last week I wrote in my article Safety in Israel (part 1) about how media bias and obsession with Israel distorts perception of danger levels in Israel. I quoted a former AP reporter’s testimony which stated that mainstream media has a political agenda in their reporting (http://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-news-and-politics/183033/israel-insider-guide).

In continuing the conversation with the typical inquirer asking, “Is Israel safe?” we must go beyond showing how media distorts. We need to make them FEEL the injustice and FEEL the extent to which Israel in reality… IS VERY SAFE. To do so, we must back up our initial claim with facts.

 

Fact

Fact: In the November 2012 conflict with Hamas in which rockets were fired into Israel and the Iron Dome was not operating like it does today, only 6 people were killed. To put the six deaths in perspective, over 20 people were killed in Dallas alone in the SAME MONTH!

Fact: Jerusalem has less violent deaths per capita than Portland, Oregon (one of America’s safer cities) according to the AP reporter mentioned above.

Fact: Israel has less cases of rapes than Norway. http://www.nationmaster.com/country-info/stats/Crime/Violent-crime/Rapes-per-million-people

Statistics

Fact: Israel has less murders than Luxembourg

Fact: Israel has an intentional homicide rate lower than Honduras,Venezuela, Brazil, Saint Lucia, Ecuador, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Russia, Barbados, Estonia, Phillipines, Peru, Ukraine (even before their war), Thailand, Chile, Argentina, Georgia, Northern Ireland and more than 65 other countries. One of those 65 other more dangerous countries is… the United States of America. In fact the rate in the USA is over twice as high as Israel. That means you are more than twice as likely to suffer intentional harm in America than in Israel. ()

I could go on but I don’t think there is a need. The facts are clear. Israel is safe.

 

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Safety in Israel – Part 1

Israel is in the public eye more than any other nation or topic… in the universe. Some people fanatically hate Israel. Some people fanatically love Israel. Personally, I have lived in Israel so I am probably identify a little with both.

Inevitably people thinking about visiting Israel ask, “But is it safe?” The answer is yes and so I tell them, “Yes, Israel is safe.” But they rightfully distrust my response since I work for Sar-El Tours & Conferences, a Jerusalem-based tour agency specializing in Christian and Jewish Roots tours to Israel. So how do I overcome the natural skepticism of an American, Asian, or European thinking of a trip to Israel? I have to destroy the foundations of their mistrust by going to the root of their misconception – Media.

 

ReporterProwlinIsrael

Reporters on the prowl

Media plays a huge role in shaping opinion in today’s world. They say late President Franklin Roosevelt could never have been elected today because he was confined to a wheelchair and he would have failed on television with his “weak appearance.” Also think of how world opinion shunned Howard Dean after his rant was caught on video. Every social network exploded with his terrifying scream. Today one misstep can lead to your downfall. Imagine if every action you took was scrutinized by another and broadcast to the whole world. Why didn’t you give money to that homeless person? Why didn’t you yield to traffic at that on-ramp to the highway? Why did you talk to your spouse that way when the cameras barged in on your argument last night?

Now imagine the media isn’t after you as an individual but as a nation. For whatever reason they’ve decided to report every flaw you make and every weakness your nation has. There would be enough material to fill 10 T.V. channels 24/7 – Crime in the cities, poor education for some segment of society, crushed dreams for some poor soul with a compelling story, etc. No nation can withstand that level of scrutiny and yet, the mainstream media has for some reason decided that Israel, 2 percent of the Middle East, deserves just that.

Associate Press had 40 full-time staffers in Israel when the “Arab Spring” erupted. That is more staffers than they had in all of China. That is more staffers than they had in all of Russia or India. That is more than the had in all of the 50-sub Saharan African countries… combined! It was even higher than the total news-gathering employees in ALL the countries of the “Arab Spring.” (source: http://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-news-and-politics/183033/israel-insider-guide)

So when you ask me if Israel is safe, I have to know… did you hear something in the news? Was something… “violent” reported? The next step in answer there question is to hit them with cold hard facts and statistics. That is the subject for my next blog… stay tuned.

 

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The Rampart Walk

This is such an exciting moment to walk the ramparts of the Old City.  “consider well her ramparts, view her citadels, that you may tell of them to the next generation.”   Psalm 48:13 tells it all as Jerusalem welcomes you through her gates to see the beauty surrounding the Old City.

The entrance is from Jaffa Gate to the Dung Gate or to the Lions Gate.   Make sure you wear good sturdy walking shoes on this walk as you view the landscapes of the present and the past of Jerusalem!

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The Bible Lands Museum: 10,000 Years of History Under One Roof

When visiting Israel, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the sheer number of

museums and exhibitions. However, for the history lover and amateur archaeologist alike, there is no place quite like the Bible Lands Museum, situated adjacent to the Israel Museum and Shrine of the Book in Jerusalem.

The Bible Lands Museum features a permanent exhibition of original art and artifacts, which span more than 10,000-years of history, including many first and second temple-era antiquities, discovered throughout Israel.

From the moment visitors enter the museum, they are transported back in time to the Middle East of the Stone Age. Pre-historic tools, vessels, and weapons provide a fascinating glimpse into the developing cultures of the region.

Gallery after gallery, centuries of history are unrolled with stunning and compelling displays of artwork, pottery, weaponry, and literature . From the Cannanite peoples, to the age of Father Abraham and the patriarchs; our time of sojourning in Egypt, to the rise and fall of the Kingdoms of Judah and Israel; from the Babylonian captivity, to the Greek and Roman occupations – each exhibit brings you face to face with the tangible remains of our rich and fascinating past.

In addition to the permanent galleries, the Bible Lands Museum offers a rotation of special exhibits.

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Hezekiah’s Tunnel in the City of David

Hezekiah’s tunnel is also known as Siloam Tunnel located in the City of David National Park right outside of the Dung Gate of the Old City.  It is an amazing place to visit and you will never forget wading through water through 1,750 feet of pure excitement.  As you walk through, you will reflect on the Bible story of King Hezekiah who had his people dig this tunnel from opposite ends and they met in the middle.  That alone is a miracle of itself.  He wanted to save the water supply for the people to survive and brought forth this wonderful plan of protected the water supply during the assault of the Assyrians.

It is best to purchase those aqua shoes or wear old tennis shoe that you do not care if you throw away after the walk.  You can purchase the aqua shoes in a tourist store down by the Dead Sea.  I must admit there were times that the tunnel got quite narrow but that made it even more exciting!

Enjoy,
Will & Christine

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Yummy Israeli Recipes

Israeli Falafel
There is nothing like an Israeli Falafel while visiting Israel, but now you can make it at home when you return from your tour. Enjoy!
Ingredients:

  • can of chickpeas, drained
  • ½ small onion (optional)
  • 1tablespoon. minced garlic or finely shopped
  • 1teaspoon cumin, ground
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste
  • oil for your frying time

Directions:
Combine in a medium bowl chickpeas, onion, garlic, cumin, coriander, parsley, flour, salt and pepper. Mix well. Be sure that you mash the chickpeas well or use your food processor.

Make small balls of 2 inches and fry in 2 inches of oil at 350 degrees about 2 to 5 minutes.

falafel

Israeli Hummus
Ingredients:

  • 1 16 oz. can of garbanzo beans or chickpeas
  • ¼ cup liquid from can of garbanzo beans or chickpeas
  • 1 ½ to 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 3 small cloves garlic, crushed
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Directions:
Before starting drain the garbanzo beans or chickpeas and save the liquid. Combine all the remaining ingredients in food processor. Add the ¼ cup or more of liquid from garbanzo beans or chickpeas to the ingredients. You will decide the consistency for your taste. Blend for 3-5 minutes on low until thoroughly mixed and smooth to your liking.

It is best to serve to your guest after making the delicious hummus to enjoy right away. The best way to enjoy your hummus is with Israeli pita bread.

As you become experienced in the making of hummus, you will enjoy garnishing it with some wonderful spices. Make sure that you put the hummus in a beautiful bowl, make a center and add wonderful oil olive.

Zatar is a wonderful spice to have along side the hummus.

hummus

Eggplant Dip
Ingredients:

  • 1 large eggplant, (firm and shiny is the best)
  • 4 tablespoons tahini
  • ¾ teaspoons garlic, crushed
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons lemon juice to taste, fresh is best
  • ½ teaspoons salt or more to taste
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons cold water
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Directions:
Make holes with a toothpick all through the eggplant. Wrap in aluminum foil and place over a gas grill until you see that it has changed shape and steam is coming out.

While still hot, place in cold water and peel immediately. Make sure that you squeeze the pulp to remove all the bitter juice from the eggplant. Puree eggplant.

Place in blender tahini, garlic and lemon juice. Thin the mixture with water. Keep the blender running and add eggplant, salt, pepper and good olive oil.

Place on a beautiful dish and garnish with parsley, tomatoes. Be imaginative with your garnishes. Enjoy!

Israeli Salad Recipe
Make sure you pick the freshest vegetables for this wonderful salad!
Ingredients:

  • 3 tomatoes, chopped to the size you like. (Israeli’s like their vegetables chopped small.)
  • 2 cucumbers, peeled and chopped
  • 1 green pepper, seeded and chopped
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 small to medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 whole lemon squeezed
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
In a serving bowl, combine all chopped vegetables. Add lemon juice, olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle over vegetables and toss. It is best to serve immediately.

Be creative the next time you make this wonderful salad. Add olives, zucchini, or any other vegetable that you like.

pitta bread

Israeli Pita Bread
Ingredients:

  • 1 package of yeast, or quick rising yeast
  • ½ cup warm water
  • 3 cups all purpose flour (experiment with 1/2 wheat flour)
  • 1 ¼ teaspoon salt (or 1 ½ teaspoon to your taste)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar or more to your taste
  • 1 cup lukewarm water

Directions:
Dissolve yeast in ½ cup of warm water. Add sugar and stir until totally dissolved. Let sit for 10-15 minutes until water is foamy. Combine flour and salt in large bowl. Make a small depression in the middle of flour and pour yeast water into depression. Add 1 cup of warm water slowly, and stir with wooden spoon until elastic. Place dough on well floured surface and knead for 10-15 minutes. When the dough is not sticky to the touch and is smooth and elastic, it has been kneaded properly. As you become better with each time you make it, you will be able to just feel and know it is ready. Next, spread bowl with vegetable oil and place dough in bowl and turn upside to make sure that all dough is coated. Allow to sit in a warm place for about 3 hours, or until it has double in size. Once the dough has doubled in size, roll out in a rope and pinch off 10-12 small pieces. Place balls on floured surface. Let sit covered for 10 minutes. Preheat oven to 500 degrees F. and make sure rack is at the very bottom of oven. It is good to preheat your baking sheet. Roll out each ball of dough with a rolling pin into circles. Each should be about 5-6 inches across and ¼ inch thick. Bake each circle for 4 minutes until the bread puffs up. Turn over and bake for 2 minutes longer. Take wooden spatula and gently push down each pita. You can then store in a storage bag for future use. Enjoy!

falafel

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