Sunday, March 23, 2008

Cruisin' the Jordan Valley

A. and I recently had the opportunity to escape Jerusalem for the Galil, having been invited by a family in Yavniel. We went by way of the stunning Jordan Valley. During the summer, which is already in the air, the valley becomes violently hot and almost unbearable without air conditioning. But this time of year, it's still green and alive with flowers.

Looking over some of the smaller agricultural Jewish settlements in the mid-Valley area.
Looking west, towards Elon Moreh.
Whenever driving route 90, the road which takes you from the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) to Yam Hamelach (The Dead Sea,) I always pass this massive monument and am curious to get out and take a look. My understanding, based on a tour I took of the Jordan valley a while ago, is that this is a monument to seven fallen soldiers. During the late 60's/early 70's, the PLO under Arafat was based in Jordan, over the river. Instead of being able to launch their ghastly attacks from their headquarters in Ramallah or from United Nations facilities, as they do today, they were forced to set up bases and launch less successful cross-border raids. During one of the raids, the Israel Defence Forces discovered and pursued them, and they holed up in a cave. In the cave was a Bedouin family, and when the soldiers came to kill the terrorists, the terrorists held the Bedouin women and children in front of them at the entrance of the cave. This threw off the soldiers for just a split second, as they didn't know whether to fire and inevitably kill the civilians. In the confusion, the terrorists managed to fire from behind the women and kill seven of the soldiers. The Israeli army determined that they did the right thing and erected a settlement nearby which is an acronym of the slain soldiers. This lauding of surrendering their own lives (and the lives of the innocents the terrorists might have killed) is, I believe, an immoral action, and indicative of some of the problems faced by a country surrounded by enemies who have no concept of the rules of war, one of the basic building blocks of true civilization.

Yours truly, ascending the monument.

The view from the top.

I believe this is the cave where the incident occurred. Not sure about that though.

A., at the top.

Looking southeast, over the date orchards, and the Jordan River, with the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan on the other side.

Laying out that plastic stuff that they put out when they grow vegetables (sorry I can't be more scientific.)

And we continued on to the Galilee. More photos soon...


Batya said...

Fantastic pics

Ephraim said...

Thanks! I put a lot of work into the blog and the photos. Love ya Eretz Yisrael!