(photo credit: Joe Yudin)
Joe Yudin owns Touring Israel, a company that specializes in “Lifestyle” tours of Israel.
up at the beautiful Scots Hotel in Tiberias is such a treat. This
converted 19th century Scottish hospital on the shores of Lake Kinneret
(Sea of Galilee) offers spectacular views from its antique style black
stone edifice and exquisite balconies. The non-kosher breakfast offers
everything from bacon and eggs to boutique cheeses, salads and fish. The
problem is when you walk out the door on a hot summer day as my
tourists and I had done just this past week during a brutal heat wave.
“Oh its hot!” said my tourist as we get slapped with close to record heat and humidity.
that’s your punishment for visiting Israel in the summer.” I said. “You
really need to come in late winter or throughout spring. It’s a whole
Our agenda called for Beth Shean, Beit Alpha and
Belvior Castle but being that it was close to 33 degrees at 9a.m. in
the morning I thought that the itinerary was in need of a drastic
“I suggest you take your family back to your room, change
into bathing suits and shoes for walking in water, it’s just too hot
for your typical touring today,” I warned.
“Sounds good to me” said the father, “but keep in mind we have a five and seven year old so keep it easy.”
Tiberias we took Route 90 north along Lake Kinneret. At Kfar Nahum
Junction we turned right onto Route 87 and we began to pass some of the
most inspiring sites for the Christian traveler, which also have much to
offer any tourist.
To our right,we had the Church of the
Miracle of Loaves and Fish, which boasts a beautiful byzantine mosaic
inside the now modern church depicting symbols of Jesus feeding of the
5,000. To our left was the Mount of Beatitudes, high above the nearby
kibbutz banana fields, where Jesus gave his Sermon on the Mount, his
Next, the Primacy of Peter Church was on our
right, the site where Jesus revealed himself to Peter after the
resurrection, one of the most spiritual and serene spots for the
Not far down the road we passed Kfar Nahum, or
Capernaum, which was a Jewish fishing village in the first century.
This site visited mostly by Christians is actually one of the best
preserved Jewish villages in Israel from the time of the Second Temple
period through the Talmudic period. Its 4th century, the white limestone
CE synagogue stood out among all the black, basalt houses and is built
over an earlier synagogue.
A modern church is built over several
layers of earlier churches built over the purported house of St. Peter.
The new church is built on stilts so you can see the layers of ruins
below. We passed over the Jordan River and were soon on land captured
from Syria in 1967 and we entered the Golan Heights. We soon made a
right at Yehudiya Junction onto Route 92 and after about seven
kilometers we came to MaaleGamla Junction. We made a right heading
towards the lake and the paved road eventually ended and turned into a
blue trail marked dirt road. We followed the signs to the Majrasse
Stream and eventually we parked in a lot by a shaded picnic area with
bathrooms, a kiosk and park rangers. We applied our all-important
sunscreen, blew up the floaties for the five year old and filled up our
water bottles before setting out in search of the trail.
this short, but wet trail is inside the water and most adults will be
able to walk the entire distance inside the water. Younger children will
need to swim, float or ride their parents backs.
streams of the Golan Heights that haven’t been dammed flow into Lake
Kinneret here and this why it is a nature reserve. The ecosystem here is
very delicate and many of the species of fish that once thrived here
died out before the park became a protected reserve.
the beginning of the trail will explain (in Hebrew) what kinds of
animals once lived here and which ones still do. The flora and fauna are
exquisite year round and the beginning of the trail will remind you of a
the end of your adventure inside the stream there are signs warning of
an estuary, a breeding ground for fish, ahead of you. Please do not
enter this area but enjoy the rather large pool and go for a swim before
exiting the stream and walking back to your car through the giant
eucalyptus wooded area.Joe Yudin
became a licensed tour guide in 1999. He completed his Master’s degree
at the University of Haifa in the Land of Israel Studies and is
currently studying toward a PhD.