© 2019 Drew T. Noll

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Keep on Truckin

I almost kept going this morning… I was on my way to work, walking down the road next to the 1870 farmer's town of Zichron Yaakov, where I live, and thought, "What if I kept going, all the way to Fureidis, the Arab town at the bottom of the hill. Fureidis was named by the Crusaders when they passed through, looking around at the beautiful hills and calling it Paradise – the Arabs mispronounced it, since they can't pronounce 'P.' I almost kept going, even beyond Fureidis. I thought, "I should just keep going, all the way to Dor Beach, where Napoleonic ships still sit under the waves. The last time I was down at Dor Beach in the middle of winter, it was right after a huge storm and up the coast at Kibbutz Nahsholim, the hillside covered with ancient ruins from the Romans and Philistines had collapsed into the Mediterranean Sea. I wondered what it looks like now – with exposed artifacts and ancient stonework, maybe…

I almost kept going this morning… I thought, "What if I walked north up the beach from Dor and went to the HaBonim Nature Reserve?" I rode my bike once on one of the trails that meander around and got stuck in the sand, trying to get as far as I could until I fell over – wheels spinning. I could just keep on going, walking all the way down the white sand beaches to Atilt, where, in 1218, the Knights Templar on the Fifth Crusade began to build a fortress. In 1265, the Mamluks, under Sultan Baybars destroyed it and the ruins sit today, right next to the high security Israeli Navy Seals base and a brilliant little surf break that I need to sneak in and try some time. I could just keep on going…

I could just keep going north, along the beaches, all the way to Bat Galim (Daughter of Waves), where I surfed once when I was about 25 years old and where, in 2006, after the 2nd Lebanon War, I helped my sister-in-law assess the damage from falling rockets and flying ball-bearings that shattered windows, buildings, and civilian lives. The Merionite Christian community, which heavily dots the landscape in that neighborhood, took a large hit… I could just keep on going, all the way past the Haifa Port where our half-container that we shipped from the US sat for over a month during the war. We tried to get it through customs one day, but got lost just in time to miss a Hezbollah missile hit the Port, exactly when our appointment was scheduled for. I could just keep on going…

I could just keep going all the way to Akko, where the genius Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto, the Ramchal, died at the age of 33 with his family from the plague in 1740…something. Everything I know about Judaism, I attribute to him and his students, students, students… I could keep going, all the way across Akko's Old City, to the Bahai Gardens at Bahjí, which form a wide circle surrounding the historic mansion where Bahaullah, the founder of the Bahai faith, resided during the final years of his life and the burial chamber where his remains were laid to rest. The Bahai's were persecuted in Iran, their former holy land, and now Haifa, Israel is their holiest city. I could just keep on going…

I could just walk all the way to the white cliffs and pirate sea caves of Rosh HaNikra on the border of Lebanon, where I took my niece, 25 years ago, to ride the cable car and visit the now closed train tunnel. The coastal train was built in 1918 during the First World War by the British, who conquered the Palestinian Territories from the Turks and their allies, the Germans, in order to ensure the connection between themselves and the French, who had conquered Lebanon and Syria. The tunnel is closed now, for obvious reasons. I can't, therefore, keep going.

Maybe next time I will continue south on my trek along the beach. I could ride the wooden skate park and visit the internationally acclaimed fish ponds of Kibbutz Ma'agan Michael and continue down the beach to Jizer A-Zarqa, the Africanized, mosquito resistant, drug infested, Muslim worker's town that even the police are afraid to go into (and which, by the way, has an amazing left breaking point to surf). I could then continue down the beach, about 50 feet, to the other side of a wall, to a town that has the most expensive houses in Israel, Caesarea. The Israeli Prime Minister even lives there, right on the other side of the wall... I could continue south, past the fancy beach-front houses and international golf course, to the massive Roman ruins along the coast.

I could just keep on going… all the way down the beach towards Tel Aviv, to Kfar Vitkin, where the Altalena, a ship that in 1948 was loaded with weapons and explosives to help the fledgling state of Israel form, was destroyed and sunk by infighting amongst early Israeli political and independence groups. Not much has changed… I could just keep on going…

But, I stopped at the German, Christian, Amish-like, factory in order to build websites and brochures about nuclear, biological, and chemical air filtration and protection systems instead. I needed the shekels, so I went to work…

Shabbat Shalom!

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