Tuesday, July 3, 2012
And the Sabra Laughed
Every time we travel in Eretz Yisrael - whether north or south - we are always given a lesson in the eternity of the Jewish people and emunah (faith).
By chance we found ourselves at Dor, which is famed for its magnificent beach. We had planned to visit one of our favorite cities, Zichron Yaakov, but couldn't find reservations anywhere.
Our default was Dor, and B"H, we spent two days there. Wow, of course, it is a gorgeous part of Israel. Everyone from the area says Dor has the nicest beach in the country. Of course, we know that Gush Katif had the nicest beach in the country with the softest most elegant sandy shore. But now, perhaps it is Dor.
In addition to the beach, it has a great little museum that once was home to a glass making factory, built by Baron De Rothschild in 1891. (More on the very fascinating museum in a future blog, IY"H.) BTW, the museum has an entire exhibit on Techelet (the blue dye made from a snail which divers seek right there on the coast).
While visiting the museum, we met the past curator (now a retiree) who told us about the very detailed archaeological dig on the edge of Dor's beach. Tel Dor was the home of many civilizations. Just about every summer students from universities all over the come come to Dor to either engage in an archaeological dig or to study the findings of previous digs. (This summer is a study-the-findings summer.) The museum at Dor, called The Mizgaga Museum, is their home base.
After viewing relics from the past thousands of years inside the museum, we decided to take the curator's advice and hike out to the sandstone ridge by the beach that is called Tel Dor.
We climbed the hill and found a town laid out around us - streets, buildings - and to the north, a very well-preserved port. Yisrael, the former curator, told us that the entire coast of Israel in this area had been natural ports.
From the time that Yehoshua conquered all of Israel, throughout every age, Jews have made their lives here at Dor. And since those earliest days sea merchants have tried to make their fortunes here, while empires have tried to spread their powers on these shores.
The Canaanites, the Sikil tribe of the "Sea Peoples", the Phoenicians, the Greeks, the Romans, the French under Napoleon. Their presence can be seen all over the hill and, certainly in the museum.
There's actually a fascinating exhibit in the museum on the legendary military leader Napoleon Bonaparte.
Napoleon's forces had suffered tremendous defeat here in the Holy Land. His wounded and downtrodden army camped out on the Dor Beach in 1799, trying to make their way back to Yaffo in order to get back to Egypt. Napoleon had only a few carts for transport, and in credit to his great humanity, instead of using the carts to bring their cannons and weapons along his journey south, he chose to transport his wounded and sick in those carriages.
But, General Bonaparte didn't want to leave the weapons behind for the enemy, so he ordered his men to thrown two howitzer canons and other weapons into the sea. Many of Napoleon's weapons have been found in marine archaeological digs and are on display in the museum.
Yes, even Napoleon failed to hold on to Dor, or the Land of Israel.
Civilization after civilization tried and are buried right there on Tel Dor. They leave us stones and pillars, anchors and rusty weapons to remember them by.
And there on top of Tel Dor are two giant cactus bushes. The adventurers and would-be conquerors of Dor are all dust. And the Sabras on the cactus bushes seem to laugh knowingly, as they look out upon Israel's living coastline.
Nations have come and gone like the shifting sands, and Am Yisrael remains - B"H, growing, prospering and blossoming. Its cacti are filled with sabras, as are the beaches of Dor, the homes of nearby Nachsholim and the streets of nearby Zichron Yaakov.
Join us at Tel Dor: http://www.voices-magazine.com/videoClip/249