KKL France Seniors Club Delegation at Kibbutz Lochamei Hagetaot.
(photo credit: YOAV DEVIR KKL-JNF)
“It’s important to us that the members of the group get to know different aspects of Israel, rather than just visiting family and tourist sites,” emphasized Lynda Bigielman, a representative of KKL France’s Endowments and Estates Department. “During this trip they are visiting places they’ve never seen before, getting to know different sides of the country and observing at first hand KKL-JNF’s extensive activities for the benefit of Israel.”
Follow the intrepid KKL France Seniors Club on their journey in Israel
Every month the Seniors Club, which has been in operation for three years now, holds meetings and activities in France, and once a year the group members pay a visit to Israel.
The itinerary of their Israel visit included a variety of fascinating sites that present different facets of the country, such as the Atlit detainee camp, where pre-state immigrants were held; the Caesarea ruins; the Gadot Lookout on the Golan Heights; the Katzrin Talmudic Village; the ancient Beit Alfa synagogue; the Harod Stream; the Beit Shean archeological site; Masada; Ein Gedi and the Qumran caves.
KKL-JNF Endowments and Estates Department advisor Yitzhak Mopsik told us: “It’s very important for us to help the participants to strengthen their relationship with Israel and KKL-JNF activities, and they can best do this by coming here for a visit and seeing things for themselves.”
We joined the group members for a day of excursions in northern Israel four days after their arrival in the country. Our starting point was the Druze village of Isfiya on Mount Carmel, where we met Haeyl Azzam who guided us through the Druze Nations and Flavors visitors’ center.
At the center, which provides a view of the magnificent landscapes of Mount Carmel, Azzam told his guests about the Druze religion and Druze life in Israel. “Isfiya was founded about four hundred years ago, and we’ve discovered the secret of co-existence here,” he explained. “The Druze religion advocates modesty and simplicity and it does not emphasize its difference from other beliefs. That’s how we’ve ensured our continued existence throughout history. Our most important message is that every guest who visits us must feel at home.” And, of course, there was no way to talk about the Druze heritage without tasting some of the community’s traditional dishes, which these visitors greatly enjoyed.
From there the group moved on to tour the Jewish Resistance Fighters’ Museum in Acco, which commemorates members of the Jewish underground movements active in the Land of Israel in the time of the British Mandate, many of whom were held captive in Acco Prison. The museum is located in the Acco Fortress, which was built in Ottoman times and had served as a military base before being used as a jail.