[Mom – September 26, 2019 – We had another wonderful special day with a trip by bus to the West Bank and then a tour by taxi of Palestine to see the sites. Battir was our first stop. It became a World Heritage Site in 2014 because of the uniqueness of the terraces and the growing of the grape vines. Eight families share this land and the water source. Each family diverts the water to their farm for one day by blocking the other seven sources with rocks, t-shirts or whatever they find available. We stopped at a unique gift shop where we bought a nativity. The man who owned the shop had carved a map of the USA with an icon to represent each state. He asked us if we knew why he made it since he was Palestinian and it was a map of the USA? He said he would give us a prize if we guessed. We gave several guesses, peace, unity between the two countries, to honor our country. He then laughed and said, “I made it to sell. You want to buy?”
Our next stop was the city of Hebron where we saw the cave of the patriarchs. It was very interesting that the mosque and temple were in the same building but divided so you could not walk between the buildings. The mosque side was much prettier than the temple side. Both sides share Abraham and Sarah’s graves.
We had a delicious Palestinian lunch of Middle East salads, chicken and camel.
Our third visit was to King Herod the Great’s palace/fort in Herodium Park.
Our taxi driver took us to his home where we met his 16 month-old daughter and two-month old son. His beautiful wife served us tea and refreshments in their lovely home where they have a great view of the Palace from their rooftop.
Our final stop was in Bethlehem at the church that is built over the cave where Jesus was born. That was pretty special as we stood near the spot where our Lord came to earth as a baby.
Our taxi driver then dropped us off at the bus stop and we rode the bus back to Jeresulem.
We ended our day with a light supper at an outdoor cafe and are now back at the apartment packing up for a day in Tel Aviv before boarding the plane for NYC early Saturday morning.
Our day was full of history and quite inspiring but that can be said about each of the days we were in Jordan and Israel.]
Mom gave a great account of everything I planned to show them during our day in Palestine, also known as the West Bank. I had never seen Battir before so was excited to check it out. Mom’s description of how they use the water was quite accurate. The official description from the UN says:
This site is located a few kilometres south-west of Jerusalem, in the Central Highlands between Nablus and Hebron. The Battir hill landscape comprises a series of farmed valleys, known as widians, with characteristic stone terraces, some of which are irrigated for market garden production, while others are dry and planted with grapevines and olive trees. The development of terrace farming in such a mountainous region is supported by a network of irrigation channels fed by underground sources. A traditional system of distribution is then used to share the water collected through this network between families from the nearby village of Battir.
While I have seen better terrace farming in other parts of the world, none have been in the desert or have been so laid back, quiet and relaxing.