Sometimes it is great travelling (on business) to another country that operates in another time zone and a different work week schedule to take a little time off and explore some new sites, sounds, food and experiences!
This week, I had an opportunity to connect with a number of Cybersecurity leaders on a visit to Tel Aviv, Israel. Got to hang out with our old neighbor in Caesarea, and I must admit I am still struggling seeing him with a brown tie…has anyone ever seen him with a brown tie before?
It was a little chilly this morning when we drove south towards Jerusalem. So it was a good excuse to get a cappuccino and warm up in the morning sun rays across the historical landscape of this famous capital…it is great when you start early and do not have to fuss with waves of tourists clogging up the roads.
Now, I wanted to do something different and visit a place that has history that I have never had the opportunity to explore before. But, like everything in life, no risk, no rewards! Some places have some challenges when you want to get in…
Took an opportunity to explore Hebron which is south of Jerusalem and full of history over the past 2000 years. As you may guess, it is a mixed Arab-Israeli city.
If interested, here was an IDF posting on Twitter the day I visited:
There numerous checkpoints, barriers, gates to entry and even all the local buses have bullet proof glass to prevent problems/injuries to riders that may get caught in conflicts.
Now, it was a little challenging to get around since there was a 5K/10K race throughout the city…it was so tempting to join and not wait around for the roads to be opened up!
Now, the most interesting/important landmark/site is the Cave and Temple of the Patriarchs which we got access to.
The temple was full of soldiers to protect visitors. We had an interesting conversation from a French immigrant to Israel which shared her experiences and stories after being assigned duty in Hebron as part of a paratrooper brigade.
It was a fun visit and met some great people that made it a rewarding. Afterwards, we were starved so we visited the BEST falafel place I have ever ate at before. WOW! OK, filled up and now on to the next site as we headed back north and out of the West Bank…
Since I am a military history buff, I wanted to go visit the Tank Museum, but since it was Friday, it was closed and not open for tours. 😦
You can see some of the Israeli tanks in the distance, but not up close.
All I got to see was an old British tank that was in the parking lot.
OK – so I needed to find something else to satisfy my military history craving…so I went to see the recently opened Ayalon Institute Museum which is found at Kibbutz Hill. Now, what is interesting is the fact this is a hidden underground site from the 1940s.
It was built during Israel’s war of independence as a secret bullet factory which was prohibited when under British rule.
Everything was underground – even a bullet/gun testing range.
Now here is the real secret that most people do not know…it was the secret meeting location for 4 years in the 1950s for the Israeli Atomic Energy Committee that planned their strategy and operations for nuclear power and weapon development that would be implemented in later years in Dimona…
As the afternoon started to close, did a little 4-wheel driving around the Neve Shalom to check out some of the historical battlefield sites, etc. in that area.
and made it back to Jaffa just in time to pick up a couple of bottles of wine to bring home before everything shut down for Shabbat for the week. Good way to end the week!
You can also check out my other entries from Israel:
- Caesarea running club
- 4×4 in Negev desert
- Masada and Dead Sea
- Syria Border