Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Off the Beaten Path...Exploring the Shomron

קום התהלך בארץ

A few weeks ago, my wife forwarded me an email she received: "Unique Tiyulim in the Shomron" Every other Friday, from 7:00 AM to 11:00 AM -- different walking tiyulim in the places slightly off the radar of your regular hike.

The idea appealed to me immediately -- and we thought it would also be great quality time for our second son and myself to spend together. Of course, without my wife's blessing this tiyul would never happen, since Friday is our only real day to get things done.

In what I hope is a series of blog posts, I plan to document these trips around the Shomron to give you a sense of "being here"...and that I offer you a glimpse into the hills of the Shomron and our history. These posts are not for quickly browsing in 2 minutes. Give yourself five minutes or them, click on the pictures to see the detail of the on the maps...reacquaint yourselves with Israel...and maybe share them as well with your family and friends.

Start humming Yoram Gaon's, "קום התהלך בארץ"...or any song from Israel. (There's a great selection of downloadable MP3 collections over here...)

Bring your hiking gear; a cap, a bottle of water, and a Tanach.

I'll provide the security and the camera.

And away we go!

Shomron Tiyul #1...The Kedumim Area; Nachal Te'einim, Kever Elisha.

We started our tiyul by meeting at the fun hour of 7:00 AM, at the gas station just outside Kedumim. To give you a better perspective, here's a "Google Earth" snapshot of can find Kedumim in the middle of the map.

You can follow our tiyul by the dark blue path on the maps...the arrow below is the Gas Station. When our guide showed up, we drove into Kedumim...(follow the blue line. Click the picture to see it in much better resolution)

After driving North for about 4 minutes, we parked our cars. The rest of our 4 hour tiyul would be on foot.

Walking along the road,

...we reached the edge of the homes of Kedumim...the sign says, straight ahead to Kadum (an Arab village) and a right to Mitzpeh Kedumim, a different neighborhood in Kedumim.

To our left we can see a new neighborhood, "Kerem" of Kedumim, and alongside there's an old road that goes from Shechem down to the sea. Our guide tells us that it's older than Roman times...and is probably at least from the First Temple era, if not earlier. It's one of those roads called, "Derech Avot"...the road of our forefathers...

Here's a view of the road looking North..."upwards"

And here's the view looking down...towards the Kerem neighborhood.

As we go around the curve of the road to Kadum, we see an "electrical" building...donated to the Palestinian Authority by the Kingdom of Belgium. However, Israel's Electric Company has built all the infrastructure, and maintains we don't really understand the point of the building.

Instead of walking into Kadum...

...we turn right and stated walking up the mountain.

Trudging up the hill a bit, we arrive at the "plaster pits".

These pits were used to melt chalk/limestone rock in them, and the liquid plaster was then used for plastering walls...and insides of wells.

You can't just walk around without checking out the scenery...

Or this lone "kalanit" all by its lonesome.

Looking off to the distance, we can see the remains of Chomesh. Chomesh was one of the 4 Northern Shomron settlements destroyed by the Disengagement. My kids and I stayed there till the actual forced evacuation started...seems like eons ago.
Climbing...breathing a bit heavily, we encounter a totally new type of landscape. Not your regular Shomron yellowish rock with brown dirt.

This was sand.

We're told that it's from limestone and chalk...something out of the ordinary in this area.
With my M16 rifle slung over my back, we continue walking through the sandy landscape to the other side of the hill facing the main part of the Kadum village. There are burial caves all over the place dating back to the first and second Temple Mount period. It's the city of the dead...those that used to dwell in Sebastia...the Shomron of biblical times.

No reason to enter the caves...though I must admit, its very tempting to explore.

We see a square indentation in the large rocks underfoot, and notice that about 6 feet away is another pit. This is where grapes or olives would be squashed, and then the oil/wine would run down into the pit and pool there for collection.

OK...executive blog decision time. I have other non-blog related things to do now, so instead of waiting another day to finish the posting, I'll put it up now and continue later...(we have lots more ground and material to cover!) Instead of editing this, and making it "perfect" or more "exciting" -- it's probably better to post it as is...and finish it later.'s SNOWING here in Jerusalem now!

OK, it's not sticking...yet...



Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael


Anonymous said...

Im coming to eretz Yisroel next week. Can u post some of the details about how to go on one of these hikes? The land where Hashem's eyes always are. Brad

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Brad: The next trip is scheduled for Jan 5th; "In Search of the Hashmonaim and the Samaritans"...we meet at the yishuv of Har Bracha at 7:00 AM...

Cost is 15 NIS, call here for details and registration. 09-8841623, 052-3285262

Or drop me an email.

This is going to be VERY cool, since we'll be visitng Har Greizim - the mountain of the Shomronim.

Anonymous said...

Why wasent I invited ?!?! after the cancelation of our last midnight trip I figured youd invite me to the next one!

I'm in on that tour but geting to har bracha at 7am is - shall we say imposible ? its at least 1 hour from giva tzarfatit and geting a tremp at 6am is very hard.

If I get the 468 from tachana merkazit at 6:10 to ofra.. count in a arrival at ofra at 6:30.. leavs me 30 min to get to har bracha which is at least 45 min away :(

Unless I can meet you at tzomat tapuach?

yaak said...

Nice pics and tiyul. Looking forward to the rest.

Anonymous said...

thanks! very much appreciated

Jack Steiner said...

A little Vitamin C should help clean up the yellowish look on your faces. ;)

YMedad said...

Just take care. When we did our tiyulim back in 1989, led by Yoel Elitzur, since it was during the Intifada, and since we were ideological fanatics, we had to go through two Arab villages, at least. And so in June, instead of celebrating my 19th wedding anniversary, I think about 7 of us ended up in jail for 5 days and 2 got stuck for another few days. The charge was murder. But that's another story. Anyway, enjoy the countryside. And let me know when you approach Shiloh (seems the Begin Center is getting farther away)

Sarah Likes Green said...

amazing. thanks for sharing. the shomron was one of my favourite places (the flowers were beautiful... like the ones in your photos) in israel and i didn't really get a chance to do any tiyulim there (cos i was there for the chagim) although my cousin did point out the various landmarks around the area (you can see them from their yishuv). so until i get there again, your photos are it!

Lion of Zion said...

i love that song.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful view, I haven't been in that particular place but I got to say that to the layman (me) it all looks the same.

Anonymous said...

amazing post. Maybe I will get some info from you and join some future tiyulim...

Anonymous said...

Incredible! And you look so happy in all the pictures...

... Is the Window to Our Soul said...

I love your photographs, but just curious, is that smog or just haze hanging over those mountains?

JJ said...

What a neat travelogue- I enjoyed that, looking forward to more!

Anonymous said...

Is there gonna be a waffle breakfast b4 we go??I leave in a couple of hours and when i get there will try to drop u an email so we can coordinate. Thanx so much, Brad

Jack Steiner said...

More waffles than you can imagine.

Anonymous said...

Hey Jameel,
i just wanted to apologize for not dropping u a line or making it to a tiyul. It turned out that each erev shabbos I was in Israel had been booked for something or other.(also as has been pointed out the logistics would have been insane, but when there's a will there's a sherut)Pics r great, imy"H a different time ill try to come.Brad

Kief said...

Now that's what I call taking the road less traveled. It almost reminds me of something out of, except that it's on the ground.

Search the Muqata


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