Today we explored the northernmost part of Israel, the Golan Heights. We began our morning with a drive through the mountains to Bania. There we embarked on a long hike, where we walked alongside a small creek, dipping our feet in the water and taking in the beautiful landscape surrounding us. As the day became increasingly hot, we were glad to finally reach our destination, the Bania Waterfall. After a lot of walking, suddenly a roaring waterfall was before us. The Bania Waterfall feeds into a bright blue pool, which is teeming with fish. In the end, all of our hiking and sweating was absolutely worthwhile!
We then drove to the banks of the Jordan River, where we prepared to raft on Israel’s largest river. Once we split into groups of six, we all piled into our rafts and entered the water. We rafted along the calm river for a little over an hour, intermittently swimming, splashing other groups, and running into more than a few trees along the way. After descending a very short waterfall, we made it to our stopping point, and our fun rafting experience came to an end.
Our last stop of the day was to another location in the Golan Heights. We drove through the mountains to the far North of the country, where we could see the ceasefire line with Syria only a few miles away. There we heard about the history of conflict surrounding the Golan Heights, and the controversy that still exists in the area. We even had the unique opportunity to speak with one of the United Nations officers who watches over the area. After walking through a former military bunker, which was incredibly dark and full of narrow twists and turns, we drove back down the mountain and returned to our hotel.
After a day full of adventures, we were all glad to begin a relaxing Shabbat!