Abu Afif Olive oil Hurfesh.
(photo credit: ITSIK MAROM)
The Druze community in Israel are partners in our struggles and help us in protecting our small country as they fight shoulder to shoulder with us in the Israel Defense Forces. The Druze disconnected from Islam 1001 years ago in order to create their unique religion. After a short window of time the religion was essentially closed to outsiders. One is only considered Druze if both the mother and father is from the Druze community.
They live in villages like Bait Jan and Hurfesh in the upper Galilee as well as in other regions in northern Israel. These 2 lovely communities are near the Meron nature reserve, high on the Upper Galilee Mountains. The villages offer beautiful scenery all around with much to see and explore between their streets and narrow alleys.
In Beit Jan visit Dr. Dabour visitor center where you can hear the story of this unique lab that creates and develops all kinds of creams, ointments, soaps and other natural cosmetic products that are all based on the local botanic treasures of the upper galilee mountains. Bait Jan has a long history where sites like an old house with a small cave within, holds a glimpse at their heritage. Explore the past in Ajial cave which is a large cavity in the ground that served as a secret church of the first Christians in the area and later as a water source and hiding place for the early villagers.
Not too far away is the village of Hurfesh. Now is a perfect time to visit Abu Afif olive oil factory and visitor center. There is much to see and do with activities around the olive oil festival. Most of the delicious Druze dishes are based in olive oil which makes olives a very important ingredient for the community. Try out Ibtisam's where Ibtisam herself will cook you a homemade traditional meal of dishes handed down through the generations. But come hungry as it will be difficult to stop eating and the experience will be unforgettable.
In Hurfesh village some of the women gathered in a special group that opened a local embroidery workshop. Here you can learn about women's status and roles in the past and present. They offer embroidery workshops. It is always interesting to walk to the center of the Druze villages for the full experience. Every home is built differently and the village is full with lovely corners to explore.
Your visit will be met with smiles and great hospitality wherever you go.
More info : http://olivefestival.org.il
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