|We snapped this from our picnic table at Mitzpe Ofir on Tuesday.|
You can see, if you look very closely, some of the tens of thousands
of picnickers and campers below on the shores of Lake Kinneret,
aka the Sea of Galilee.
We set out from Jerusalem in the south of Israel before seven one morning this week, and managed to get all the way up to the northern end of the Jordan Valley and into the Beit She'an Valley for a delightful breakfast beside a pool fed by the natural spring at Ein Moda before 8. We lunched at the stunning Mitzpe Ofir and then spent the rest of the afternoon and evening with friends a lovely spot on the Golan Heights as well as traveling the circumference of the Sea of Galilee. We were back home in Jerusalem around midnight.
The distances are much shorter than people unfamiliar with this land often comprehend. It's a tiny and vibrant land with a minor length and virtually no breadth.
We were reminded yesterday of what the close proximity of extremely hostile neighbours can mean in an environment like this. Thankfully this was just a reminder because no serious harm was done... though it could easily have ended in a far, far worse outcome.
Alert Border Police manning one of the security checkpoints through which we drove without interruption at Bekaot in the northern Jordan Valley yesterday stopped a Palestinian Arab of 19. Something about the young man, a resident of the Nablus area as it turns out, aroused their suspicions; there have been previous incidents at the same crossing point in the last ninety days so you can expect a degree of alertness. Ynet ("Palestinian nabbed on way to Passover terror attack") says a metal detector alarm was activated indicating the presence of "suspicious objects". These turned out to be multiple (a Jerusalem Post report says seven) explosive devices that were promptly neutralized by police sappers brought to the scene, plus several knives and dozens of bullets. The assumption behind the investigation now underway is that he was planning to celebrate Passover in a manner favored by his terrorist colleagues. We wrote about that depravity a week ago - see "5-Apr-12: The terrorists send us their Passover greetings".
There are active civil rights organizations in this country that are furious at Israel's resort to security barriers and checkpoints, arguing that these cause, rather than prevent, acts of terror directed at ordinary Israelis and our visitors. We have not noted any response from them today; perhaps it will still come. Needless to say, we absolutely disagree with the logic of such political activism.
We're grateful for the vigilance of the service personnel who man those barriers and crossings 24 x 7, and for the benign policies that by and large allow peaceable folk to go about their lives while separating out the malevolent barbarians with dead children and mayhem on their minds.
A happy Passover holiday to all.