Ask ten different people touring Mini Israel what they like best
about this unique and exciting site, and you will get ten different
answers. The artistic-minded will rave at the detailed perfection on
thousands of true to life models and figures. Veteran Israelis talk
about the thrill of recognizing streets they have walked, highways they
have driven, soccer stadiums they still frequent and army ceremonies in
which they have taken part. Tiny tots not yet able to verbalize can be
seen jumping up and down with joy as they view "ships" sailing into
port and "airplanes" taxiing on the tarmac.
no matter how different their reactions, on one point everyone is in
complete agreement: a journey through Mini Israel is the easiest,
fastest, and most pleasurable way to visit every historic and important
site in this country at a single blow. Or, as the say at Mini Israel:
See it All � Small!
Incredibly, no matter how many times
you travel through this unique miniature Holy Land, there is always
something you didn't notice before – or a new feature to explore. And
because the entire site is spread out along flat, even paths, you can
"walk" the Land of Israel – from the Hermon Mountains to Eilat - in a
wheelchair, with strollers, by electric cart and, of course, by foot!
for a site that encompasses all of Israel, the park is located in the
Ayalon Valley, smack in the center of the country and in one of the
most biblical regions in the world. For thousands of years pilgrims,
armies, and merchants traveled through the valley on their way to and
Biblical battles were fought
here — and modern ones as well. Here in the valley the sun stood still
for Joshua and gave him a victory over 5 Canaanite armies. Here Judah
the Maccabee lured the Greeks into a trap. And here, heavy fighting
took place between Israeli forces and the Arab Legion during the War
Every geographical region in Israel
is represented at Mini Israel, north to south and east to west.
Israel’s northernmost point is the Mount Hermon which, at 2814 meters
above sea level, is almost double the height of Israel?s other hills.
No wonder sport lovers fill the miniature ski lift, and glide along its
Wow, the wind must really be blowing up north,
for red propellers can be seen twirling madly in the air. These
whirling dervishes are exact replicas of turbines on Tel Gassaniya
in the Golan Heights, and are busy harnessing wind to provide us with
The Golan Heights are bursting with history. Indeed, the region,
settled for thousands of years, held nearly three dozen flourishing
Jewish villages during the Talmudic (Byzantine) era. Some decades ago,
the village of Katzrin, with its splendid synagogue, was discovered and
partially reconstructed for visitors to the Golan. And, magically,
it appears in miniature, in the center of the country, at Mini Israel!
Bells ring around the Sea of Galilee, heard most clearly at the
magnificent Church of the Beatitudes above the lake. An unusually
lovely ancient synagogue stands next to St. Peter’s house at Capernaum,
near the Church of Loaves and Fishes — site of a famous New Testament
Tombs of rabbinical sages and miracle workers are scattered in and
around Tiberias — both the actual northern city and in its miniature
counterpart at Mini Israel. It’s hard to miss the tomb of the
Maimonides’, with its black-coated pilgrims and very strange red metal
pinnacle. Nearby, a grandiose complex is spread out atop the tomb
of Rabbi Meir, who lived exactly a thousand years before the medieval
sage. Here visitors include a number of women in a variety of colorful
head coverings and apparel.
Children often wander through Mini Israel calling out "Trees!
Trees!‘ And no wonder: actually, every one of the
park’s 70,000 plants — including 17,000 dwarf trees — are real!
Visitors often have to rub their eyes, as they view ’people‘ eating
at tiny picnic tables in Jewish National Fund Forests near the
ubiquitous green and blue penguin that is the JNF symbol. And, believe
it or not, even the miniature gardens leading up to Haifa’s Bahai
Temple, are real.
Haifa, at Mini Israel, is a wonderful mix of water (Haifa Port),
religion (the Al Jireena and the Ahmadi Mosques) historic sights (the
Turkish Train Station), modern settlement (the tomb and memorial site
of Baron Edmond de Rothschild, the funny ball-shaped cable cars on the
mountain, and the all-important Oil Refineries, steam rising from its
towers into the air.
Nearby, and strange as it might seem to some, even Israelis have
been heard to wonder allowed why Acco holds such a prominent place
at Mini Israel. They are familiar, of course, with the city’s prison
and its Great Escape. But this may be the first time they view the
impressive Crusader complex recently uncovered beneath the modern city
Modern Jewish settlement all over the country is represented in plenty at Mini Israel.
were trained to farm on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, at Kinneret
Courtyard, established in 1908. Soon afterwards, they founded the first
communal settlement. Nahalal, in the lower Galilee, was not only the
first cooperative farm in Israel, but it was built in concentric
circles! Scaled smaller than the other models in the park, Mini
Israel’s Nahalal features dozens of tiny, highly diverse animals and
figures — and includes nearly 1,000 different buildings. Above the very
first neighborhood outside the walls of Jerusalem’s Old City,
youngsters are fascinated by the realistic windmill.
In case you are wondering if Israel is a land without culture, think
again! Mini Israel boasts dozens of this country’s world-famous
museums, theaters, its Opera House and dancers doing the ’hora‘ at the
annual Carmiel folk-dancing festival! A leading musician even holds
a master class at the Music Center in Jerusalem, shouting with passion.
As for sports, all kinds of athletic events take place simultaneously
at the Hadar Yoseph stadium, ecstatic fans cheer wildly at a soccer
game at Teddy stadium and players are shooting hoops at Yad Eliahu!
One favorite stop in the park is an enormous construction site,
an all-too familiar scene in Israel. Cranes carry heavy blocks from
building to building, while tiny people check out model apartments and
landscape developers beautify completed projects. Trucks move back and
forth, even giving off that annoying beep that tells you to move out
of the way as they back up!
Tel Aviv is celebrating its 100th birthday this year! The city built
on sand is, today, a busy metropolis with the most eclectic
architecture in the country. Parking in Tel Aviv (and just driving
on its streets) is a nightmare. But who needs the headache, when lining
the paths of Mini Israel are structures from the 19th-century along
with the famous Bauhaus architecture that won Tel Aviv the honor
of being named a World Heritage Center. Dizengoff House, once the home
of Tel Aviv’s first mayor, stands on one side of lovely Rothschild
Boulevard. That noise coming from one of the buildings is the voice
of David Ben Gurion, declaring the independence of the State of Israel!
Massada has gone down in Jewish history as the desperate struggle
of a people who refused to surrender. At Massada National Park, across
from the Dead Sea, visitors watch a wonderful presentation that
includes a portion of the movie ’Massada‘ with Peter O’Toole as the
Roman Commander who smashed through the walls and found that 900 Jews
had committed suicide rather than become Roman slaves. Mini
Israel’s perfectly scaled model of that historic site brings the story
to life as well, with Herod’s palace, zealots, an actual earthen
embankment, Roman soldiers, and battering ram.
The vast diversity of cultures and ways of life in Israel are hard
to define and even harder to describe. Yet Mini Israel does it for you,
with its painstakingly accurate houses of worship, religious
insitutions, and figures of people at prayer. Perhaps the most
spiritual site at Mini Israel is Jerusalem’s Western Wall, just below
the Temple Mount. Teeny tiny men, women and children bow and sway
to the clatter of dozens of mixed ethnic groups praying out loud. The
shofar blows, and the noise level increases. At the same time, and
on the Temple Mount, men bow low in unison to the call of ’Allah
Hu Akbar‘ (Allah is Great), this assortment of religious sounds
intermingling with one another.
Only a few meters away, the sounds of Judaism blendswith
Christianity, as well. From the famous amphitheater at the Mount Scopus
branch of the first Hebrew University in the world, famous singer
Yehoram Gaon sings ’Jerusalem, Jerusalem‘ while ’next door‘ on the
Mount of Olives tiny people visit the many stunning churches scattering
on the slopes. And across the Kidron Valley, site of massive, ancient
Jewish tombs, bells ring from Dormition Abbey atop Mount Zion — where,
according to tradition, King David was buried and where, according
to a far different tradition, Jesus held a Passover Seder (the Last
Other cultures and ethnic groups are also represented at Mini
Israel. Nebi Shueb, the shrine of the most famous Druze prophet,
is filled with ’men" wearing religious headdress and long, flowing
robes. Unknown to many, the Ethiopians in Israel pray in an unusual
round church, with the Lion of Judah proudly displayed on its gate.
Many and varied are the ways for
visiting this unique and wonderful site. You can simply saunter along,
passing the different models, appreciating their unique beauty and
learning a bit about the country. You can focus on places that you may
never visit. You may drink in the details at sites with which you are
familiar, or you may want to concentrate on one theme, one area, or one
You can take an audio guide with you on your
journey through the park, so that you can delve more deeply into the
history of each site, learning spicy and fascinating details. The audio
guide is filled with humor, suggesting you stop and listen to the
sounds of the Israeli national pastime (paddle balls on the beach next
to the Tel Aviv Promenade).
You can also run from
attraction to attraction, pressing the buttons and thrilled at the
sight of the soccer players actually passing the ball, fascinated as
the pile of oranges at the frozen citrus juice plant gets smaller,
swelling with pride as an athlete gets a medal at Hadar Yoseph, and
excited to watch the Changing of the Guards at the Knesset. But take
care - the safari's elephant likes to squirt water out of its trunk!
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