Back to Binyamin

Exciting tours bring the biblical region to life.

By LISA SAMIN
July 16, 2014 12:32
3 minute read.
Har Kochav

Har Kochav Lookout. (photo credit: SHACHAR COHEN)

 
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The Binyamin region, from the Samarian Mountains in the North to the Jerusalem Hills in the South, was the heart of Jewish life during biblical times.

Named the “Land of Bible Heroes,” it was here that Saul and Jonathan fought the Philistines, that Joshua set up the Tabernacle, and the first capital of the Jewish nation was established, lasting 369 years.

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Today, Binyamin is a thriving region that features beautiful forested views overlooking the Coastal Plain, desert landscapes, flowing streams and valleys and hidden springs. It boasts picturesque vineyards, award-winning boutique wineries, art galleries, bed-and-breakfasts, nature trails and historical sites that transport visitors through time from ancient Israel until today.

This summer, the Binyamin Regional Council offers guided day and nighttime tours designed for people of all ages – from easy family walks to challenging trails for the more adventurous. Historical sites where Jewish kings and prophets made their mark come alive as do the region’s breathtaking landscapes and indigenous flora and fauna.

Every Thursday night, a tour of ancient Shiloh takes visitors on a spectacular multimedia journey, followed by a magical walking tour of Tel Shiloh, which is recognized as a National Heritage Site by the government. According to the Bible, when the Israelites, led by Joshua, entered the Land of Israel, the city of Shiloh became the resting place of the Tabernacle, which held the Ark of the Covenant. It is also the site of the burial place of Eli the High Priest,and where Samuel the Prophet’s mother, Hannah, prayed for a child. An archeological tour features remains from the Tabernacle.

People can sign up for the Mountain Star excursion and see how in ancient times the Jewish people lit torches to let it be known that it was rosh hodesh – the beginning of a new month. At the same time, star gazers can explore the clear night sky.

A flashlight trip explores hilltop wineries, underground wineries from the Book of Kings, the secret caves of Bar-Kochba and a cool natural spring. The trip is guided by an actor who recreates the biblical stories.



A tent coffee house and pub is open every Thursday night at Neveh Erez, featuring jam sessions from sunset to sunrise, and there is a musical Kabbalat Shabbat on Fridays from 3 to 6 p.m. On Saturday night, the dancing and music continue until the wee hours.

Biblical Friday features theme tours throughout the day, from the historical stone monuments at Michmash, a British fort and ancient aqueducts and vineyards to a reenactment of the battle between Jonathan and Saul and the Philistines. There is cheese and wine tasting and encounters with the area’s artisans and olive oil and wine makers.

The Bible Wine and Water tour takes wine lovers to see a one-of-a-kind facility that produces sweet wine from the Roman period. Visitors look out over the Wine Valley and the Jordan Valley, visit a wine research center and take a dip in one of the hidden springs. At the end of the tour, participants can sample fine wine from Binyamin’s award-winning wineries and regional cheeses.

During the outings, visitors meet a traditional Yemenite jewelry maker, a bamboo flute maker, a family of pastry makers and dairy makers who produce some of Israel’s best yogurts.

For visitors who would like to combine several days of activities and explore Binyamin more in depth, there are dozens of bed-and-breakfasts tucked away in scenic places that offer warm hospitality and serene accommodations. 

For further information and to sign up for tours: 1-800-34-54-54 or www.gobinyamin.org.il

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