Israel's national parks gear up for weekend tours

The Tomb of the Prophet Samuel is just one of the Israeli wonders that will see crowds this weekend.

The Tomb of Samuel of the northern edge of Jerusalem (photo credit: YUVAL DAX)
The Tomb of Samuel of the northern edge of Jerusalem
(photo credit: YUVAL DAX)
A memorial for a Biblical prophet, stargazing and a hike up Masada are part of the weekend special events being promoted by the Israel Nature and National Parks Protection Authority.
 
Sunrise tour of Masada
Watching sunrise atop Mount Masada is a breathtaking experience. The tour will begin with a hike up to the desert fortress of Masada. At the top, the archaeological discoveries dating back to the time of King Herod the Great will be displayed. These include the ancient synagogue, water cistern and dwellings of the Jewish zealots who held off against the Roman invaders. 
The Romans had their hands full attempting to break the spirit of the Jewish rebels. The holdouts committed suicide rather than be enslaved by the invaders. Today, Masada is a symbol of resistance and Israel Defense Force ceremonies take place on its peak. 
For those who prefer to sleep late, a later tour will start at 9:00.
Where: Masada National Park
When: June 1, 2019
No extra charge for on-site accommodation.

Einot Tzukim experience
Now that spring has arrived, the swimming pools at Einot Tzukim are open for weekends and holidays. Visitors can tour the historic area and see the unique flora located near the Dead Sea.

Where: Einot Tzukim Nature Reserve
When: Friday and Saturday at 10:00 a.m., 12:00 and 2:00 pm.
On Fridays there will be tours in English and Arabic at 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. English tours will be repeated on Sundays.
No extra charge for site entry fees, free for subscribers.
Stargazing over the Jordan valley
People have always looked up at the sky over the Jordan valley and wondered. An expert astronomy guide will lead groups to Belvoir Fortress, considered a unique spot for stargazing. The Crusader era fortress located in northern Israel is called Cochav HaYarden, or Star of the Jordan in Hebrew and Kawkab al-Hawa, or Star of the Wind in Arabic.
Where: Cohav HaYarden National Park
When: Friday May 31, - 7:30pm - midnight
No extra charge on site entry fees, free for members.
 

Yahrzeit at the Tomb of the Prophet Samuel
Tens of thousands make the pilgrimage every year to Nabi Samuel National Park, traditional location of the Tomb of the Prophet Samuel, called Kever Shmuel in Hebrew. The yarhzeit, or anniversary of the prophet's passing is marked every year by a hilula, or commemoration ceremony that attracts large crowds. The large Crusader era structure was built over the underground tomb. During the Mameluke era, a mosque was built on top. 
In 1895, 13 Yemenite Jewish families created a Jewish agricultural village at the site.
Samuel, the Biblical prophet who led the Jewish people and crowned King Saul, was buried in Ramah, according to 1 Samuel 25:1. Today, the structure is located on the outskirts of the Jerusalem neighborhood of Ramot on the capital's northern edge.
This year the event will be marked on Saturday June 1 and continue through Monday June 3, coinciding with Jerusalem Day. traffic will be restricted to public transportation only. 
  
Where: Nabi Samuel National Park
When: Saturday - Monday June 1 - 3, all day
The event is free pf charge.