Sunday, November 11, 2007

Susiyah 1: Getting There

The lowest-rated American administration in memory will this month meet with the lowest-rated Israeli administration in history to negotiate the re-dismemberment of the holy land. This, of course, for the benefit of the only Palestinian government to run for election in history, an election which they actually lost over a year ago, it seems like a great time to pay a visit and see what's really happening on the ground out there in Injun Country.

Our intrepid Machon Meir fact-finding team gathered outside the front entrance to the yeshivah.

The bus, like the Yeshivas, Ambulances, concert halls, and, well, just about any public property worth over $50,000 in this country, comes with a plaque telling us which charitable souls paid the bill.

And off we trek, through lands where even the Wells Fargo stagecoach would fear to tread... the dreaded WEST BANK!!! (cue scary music)

Our route today will take us near Beit Lechem (Bethlehem,) the birth city of King David, down to Chevron (Hebron,) where the Jewish patriarcs are buried, and then veer west out into the Judean Desert.

As we wind through the stony hills, some of the kids get a bit antsy.

Quit messing with the air conditioning!

Rolling along, we pass through sudden patches of green, forrests islands in the desert sea, the Jewish settlements of Maon and Karmiel, a few of the small number of places Jews have been permitted by the government to live in this contested wasteland. One can only imagine what could be done with this soil if the energy of the settlers were to be truly unleashed, without the endless decrees and restrictions from above.

Maon, through the bulletproof glass.
The same photo, after enhancement in Paint Shop Pro.

We pass through Kiryat Arba, which one might call a Jewish suburb of Hebron, or at least it will be again some day once they can tear down the fence surrounding the neighborhood and open commerce with the city again.

Vineyards and a gas station outside Kiryat Arba.

The end of our ride brings us to Sussiyah, an archaeological ruin of an ancient Jewish village which existed after the destruction of the Second Holy Temple.

Sussiyah, at bottom of map.

Standing on a hill near Sussiyah, looking west towards the Arab town of Yatta, built on the remains of the ancient Jewish village of Yuttah.

Yehoshua, our madrich. He looks tough now, but get him near Kryptonite.

Yonatan wanders around.

Next stop... the archaeological ruins of Sussiyah.

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