This is my fifth trip to Israel, and they get better and better. We are perfectly safe, the weather is gorgeous, the food incredible, and the historical sites are other-worldly.
Two days ago, Jonathan and I went to Masada, the ancient summer residence of Herod, on the Dead Sea. Of course, it is more famous as the scene of a ghastly last-stand by Jews who refused to bow to Rome. One thousand men, women, and children died on the summit, killing themselves rather than face a life of slavery.
It is redundant to say that it’s hot down there, the lowest spot on Earth. But, it was hot. A dry heat, yes, but an extremely hot dry heat!
When you travel south to Masada, you will drive the length of the Dead Sea. I was surprised to see that opposite the fortress, the seabed was dry. This was the region where Sodom and Gomorrah once existed, as well. Brother, this is a forbidding climate, and not for the faint of heart.
And, for the Weird File: I took a slight wrong turn on the way to Masada, and ended up asking directions at a Palestinian-run gas station…done-up in an Elvis motif. The incongruity left us laughing most of the day.
Despite the unrest in this region, we are encountering people who are lively, seemingly content, and resourceful. What an amazing country. You should simply decide to make the trip.
Long live Israel.