JNF KKL Germany Mission walks in the German States Forest in the Negev.
(photo credit: YOAV DEVIR KKL-JNF)
The Israel Trail, which crosses the country from north to south, attracts many local hikers, nature enthusiasts and challenge-seekers. While most visitors from abroad tend to stick to familiar tourist sites, this determined 25-strong group from Germany have come to embark on a ten-day hike along segments of the Israel Trail from one end of the country to the other.
This remarkable delegation was initiated by Katja Tsafrir, manager of the KKL-JNF office in Munich. “A delegation like this one allows us to reach out to younger people and new sectors of the population,” she explained. “We wanted to enlist nature and the countryside to help us tell Israel’s story and give the visitors an opportunity to see aspects of the state that are not reflected in media reports.”
The group set out from Tel Dan in the north and continued all the way to the Little Crater in the south. En route they enjoyed the scenery, met up with interesting local people and got to know Israel from a new angle. The hike consisted entirely of segments of the Israel Trail, and - who knows? - perhaps one day in the future they will come back to complete those parts of the trail that they didn’t get the chance to walk along this time.
Among the walkers was Christian Seebauer, who covered the entire 940 kilometers of the Israel Trail on foot in 2014 and wrote a book about his journey. “It was a very profound experience, and I always knew that I’d come back here,” he said. “Last time I walked alone, and now this time I have the opportunity to share my experiences with my companions.”
His previous walk along the trail attracted a lot of attention, partly because he undertook the expedition without a penny in his pocket, relying solely on his survival skills and the generosity of people he met along the way. “I got to know the real Israel – people who open up their hearts and are prepared to lend a helping hand to a stranger. I never imagined that I would get tears in my eyes just because someone had invited me to eat pita bread,” he said.
KKL-JNF helped Seebauer at the time, he became acquainted with the organization, and thus it was only natural that he should join the present JNF KKL Germany delegation, which was inspired by his book.
Read more about the German delegation’s Israel Trail journey