After a three hour delay in Newark, we spent the next almost ten hours flying the friendly skies and arrived today in Tel Aviv just before noon, local time. The weather was picture perfect and our first stop was a picnic lunch in a nearby park. We were surrounded by almond trees, olive trees, mustard bushes...and yes, the seeds are super small and they taste like mustard!
After lunch we set out for Tel Gezer, which is an archaeological site midway between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. We were in the foothills of the Judaean mountains in the Shephelah region. Because it is situated up high, Tel Gezer was of great significance because of its vantage point as a lookout and because it is strategically situated at the juncture of the Via Maris, the international coastal highway connecting it with Jerusalem through the Valley of Ajalon. This is the valley where Joshua asked God to make the sun stand still!
While at Tel Gezer, we hiked and saw the remains of a watch tower, City gates, a water cistern, as well as a row of ten tall monolithic stones, oriented north to south (the tallest of which is approximately 10 feet high!), including a large square stone basin in the middle of this majestic looking row of stones. After much sightseeing and hiking, this tired group headed to our hotel in Jerusalem, checked in and enjoyed a fabulous meal and fellowship. We will all sleep well tonight and look forward to more excitement tomorrow, which will include visiting the Dead Sea and Bet Shamesh, and word has it that we maybe even riding camels!
Situated near the International Coastal Highway and guarding the primary route into the Israelite hill country, Gezer was one of the most strategic cities in the Canaanite and Israelite periods. Gezer is a prominent 33-acre site that overlooked the Aijalon Valley and the road leading through it to Jerusalem. The tel was identified as biblical Gezer in 1871 by C. Clermont-Ganneau who two years later found the first of many boundary stones inscribed with the city’s name.
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