This morning we traveled from Haifa across Galilee to the Jordan Valley. We entered the West Bank traveling southward along the Jordan river valley. The students were surprised at how imperceptible it was to cross the checkpoint – since we were in a tour bus with Israeli plates, we were simply waved through. Across the valley was the country of Jordan.
Our first stop was the city of Jericho, where we visited the Tel or occupation mound where evidence of habitation going back some 10,000 years had been brought to light through excavation. The city is under the control of the Palestinian authority.
From there we traveled southward, getting to see the Dead Sea, which we will actually float in tomorrow. We visited Qumran, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered. We also had lunch there.
After that, we headed for Jerusalem. We stopped on the Mount of Olives, visiting some churches and the Garden of Gethsemane.
From the Mount of Olives there is a phenomenal view of the old city of Jerusalem, which we will actually go to tomorrow.
Tomorrow we will visit Masada, float in the Dead Sea, some of us will take a jeep adventure into the Judaean Desert, and we will visit the Old City of Jerusalem.