The flower of the Carmel

Inside Mount Carmel

Salah Elkara's paintings displayed in a gallery (photo credit: ITSIK MAROM)
Salah Elkara's paintings displayed in a gallery
(photo credit: ITSIK MAROM)
Mount Carmel, which rises from the Mediterranean Sea, has provided its inhabitants with many advantages over the years. These included proximity to the sea, an ample supply of wood and a natural defense capability.
The Druse, who select high places on which to build their towns and villages, chose the south of the Carmel to make their home. The two settlements of Usfiya and Daliat al-Carmel are home to the Druse in this area.
Today, Daliat al-Carmel is a large town with an eye towards continued improvement under the leadership of the relatively new mayor Rafik Halabi, formerly a popular television personality. Daliat al-Carmel has a few treasures hidden between its streets that are well worth discovering.
The first one is the skill of the local artists who proudly display their artwork in their own galleries. These galleries, located off the main street, are usually bypassed by the average traveler, who stays on the main road that continues north into Haifa – Route 672.
One of the galleries exhibits the paintings of Salah Elkara, while in another you can see the paintings of Sam Halaby. The work of both artists is for sale, and you can meet the painters themselves.
From there, continue to the old village. Along the street you will find several interesting sites. The first is the house of Sir Lawrence Oliphant, an Englishman who helped the Jewish people during the First Aliya immigration period. Today, the house is part of a memorial to the Druse soldiers who gave their lives serving in the IDF. The soldiers’ names and their stories are documented in this complex, which serves as a Yad Lebanim.
Also in this section of town are some interesting stores, such as one that sells herbs that have many medicinal properties and were used by the Druse in the past. They believe that God gave these plants to the people for food, clothes and medicine, and the salespeo - ple are well versed about traditional remedies.
If you are getting hungry, Lev Hakfar Restaurant, owned by the Zidane family, offers wonderfully tasty and fresh homemade dishes. Also nearby is a holy site where the local residents go to pray and ask for spiritual guidance. Nabi Abu Ibraim’s tomb is a beau - tiful structure that should not be missed.
Returning to the main thoroughfare, you will see crowds of people walking past dozens of stores on both sides of the street. Take home some of the local baklava to make your visit to the village of Daliat al-Carmel even sweeter.
If you plan to continue exploring the Carmel, you can stay overnight in the new accommodations of Gan Eden in Blue and experience authentic Druse hospitality.