Thursday, January 08, 2009

Still in Haifa

So we've ended up staying for the remainder of our time in Israel here in Haifa. We did another day trip out to Tiberias on the Sea of Galilee. "Sea" is a bit of a strong word. It's at best a decent sized lake. From Tiberias, which is at the halfway point on the western shore, you can easily see each corner of the lake. Not too big, but for Christians, full of New Testament history. Tiberias itself wasn't the most important place, but it is the largest town now and the easiest to get to. It was really quiet and in places starting to look pretty run down. As the largest source of Israel's drinking water, the water level is beginning to rapidly sink and the piers were standing out well above the water line. Historically the most interesting thing about Tiberias itself is probably that it was the site where in the 5th century, Jewish scholars finally compiled what was to later become the Talmud, a massive collection of Jewish philosophy, interpretations and laws (as well as history and legend) that is still one of their central theological books when combined with the Torah.
The north of Israel is supposed to be greener and prettier in a lot of ways compared to the south, but honestly, I can think of about 100 countries more beautiful than this one. It is a little greener but still quite stony where the land hasn't been put to agricultural use. But then that really isn't the main attraction out here anyway.
The following day we rested and ended up deciding to spend another day (today) here. This morning we woke up to learn that some rockets fired out of Lebanon hit a town not very far from here. From our view we can actually see the town further up the coast. For the first time since we've arrived there have been air force jets patrolling overhead. Hmmmm..... Nothing more has happened though so it's ok.
We managed to get to the Baha'i gardens for their little tour today as well. It's an interesting religion, only 160 years old, and very pro-humanity I suppose you'd say. Quite tolerant and oddly enough no Baha'i is actually allowed to live in Israel permanently or have Israeli citizenship although their headquarters is here in Haifa. Strange. Anyway, I left with a good overall impression.
Tonight we take an overnight bus back to Egypt to get back to Cairo in preparation for our flight out in a few days to the Philippines.


At 1:36 PM , Blogger AdibM said...

Hi there, nice post. :)

Just thought I'd clear up that the whole "can't teach or live in Israel thing" goes back to an agreement that the Baha'i community has had with the Israeli government since the state was formed in the late 40s. I'd imagine that the Israeli government doesn't want any Baha'is proselytizing in the only primarily Jewish country left in the world, and they likely want their country's majority to stay as it is. This is essentially conjecture, but I'm pretty sure of it. ;)

Using that logic, "why are we even there to begin with," huh? :P The rationale behind that is because the founder of our religion, Baha'u'llah, as well as his son (`Abdu'l-Baha) and another important religious figure to us, The Bab, all passed away in the area when it was still Palestine.

Hope this clears things up a bit!

-Adib, a random Baha'i

At 1:38 PM , Blogger AdibM said...

Sorry I should correct myself: The Bab was actually executed in Persia in 1850, but his remains were later moved to Palestine in 1909. He wasn't killed in Palestine.

At 8:13 AM , Blogger The Bear said...

Interesting that the founders of new religions often pay for the priveledge with there life.


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