A group of 22 pilgrims from Norway visited the Holy Land for 10 days during February. The group spent time touring Israel including visiting the UNESCO World Heritage site of Beit Guvrin with its myriad of caves many of which date back 2,200 years and mostly situated around the archaeological site of the ancient city of Maresha, also known as Eleutheropolis, during the Roman-Byzantine era. The ruins of the city with its Roman Amphitheater and a number of medieval Arab and Crusader structures are also found in the Area.
While in the Tel Aviv area the group visited the ancient Port City of Jaffa, one of the oldest ports in the world and famous for its biblical connection to the stories of Jonah as well as Saint Peter. In Tel Aviv they visited Independence Hall which was the place where all the members of the National Council, who were the representatives of the Jewish people, gathered together on the 14th May 1948 to sign the Declaration of Independence and from where David Ben Gurion proclaimed the establishment of the Jewish State of Israel.
In the north of the country they visited Haifa, Acre and Kibbutz Mizra before continuing on to Safed, Banias/Caesarea Philippi in the Galilee. A very enjoyable time was had by the group in the snow on Mount Herman.
Traveling south, the group visited one of Israel’s most spectacular natural wonders, the beautiful Soreq Caves also known as Avshalom’s Cave which was discovered by accident when a local quarry crew blasted away some rocks, to reveal this spectacular underground cavern containing magnificent stalactites, stalagmites and wonderfully shaped rock pillars. They also visited a kibbutz specializing in milk production and Kibbutz Yad Mordehai where they learned about the War of Independence.
While in Jerusalem the group visited Shaare Zedek Hospital –to hear about the treatment of victims of terror attacks, as well as other aspects of the hospital. Sharee Zedek hospital has always received great support from Norwegian friends of Israel. Besides for touring the sights of Jerusalem they also went to Bethlehem to The Church of Nativity, Rachel’s Tomb and Shepherds Fields.