Israel Mystery Photo #20

Statue of a man on a horse

Who is this gentleman, and why is he here?

Time for another of my Israel Mystery Photo posts — a series of photos in which you as tourists try to recognize where in Israel each photo was taken, and I as tour guide explain and give more information on the previous mystery photo! I knew the last one would be a bit tough, since it is fairly new and not in a big tourist destination. But I wanted to use the photo to create an opportunity for me to tell you about a cool project.

But before I tell you about it, leave a guess about the current picture that you see to the left. It should be a fairly easy one for many of you, as it is in a well-trafficked area. But even for those who recognize it, I might still be able to give you a bit more info about it in my next such post!

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ONLY in Israel – Top 5

View Across the Dead Sea. Fun Joel Haber. Israel Tour Guide.

A View Over the Dead Sea from Mount Sodom

Frequently, you hear people comment “Only in Israel,” in response to various things they overhear or see here. Often, it is meant to try to capture some of the unique aspects of the character of the Israeli people. But as we all know, these things don’t only happen in Israel, even if they are somewhat demonstrative and capture the spirit of the country.

For that reason, however, I wanted to write a post about the things that you truly can only see in Israel. Nowhere else in the world. Tour guides typically speak in hyperbolic extremes. I know that I am certainly “guilty” of this at times. We’ll tell you how a spot is the highest, largest, newest or furthest south of its kind. But while those extremes may be interesting, and can be mildly significant, they rarely are very important. They are typically little more than gimmicks to maintain interest.

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This is Not a Political Post

Mughrabi Bridge, Jerusalem, Old City. Israel tour guide. Fun Joel Haber.

The Temporary Mughrabi Bridge in the Plaza of the Western Wall (photo courtesy of Flickr user Ariela R.)

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I hate politics.

But living in Israel and working in the field of tourism, it is fairly difficult to completely avoid dealing with political issues. Nearly every visitor has heard things about the political situation and/or sees things that relate to the issue. So they will inevitably ask some questions.

And it would not be right for me to ignore these questions. So the way I handle them is to respond in as objective a manner as possible, all the while recognizing and admitting that it is actually impossible for anyone to be truly objective. I try to relate the facts as I see them, and try to keep my opinions out of things. When Israel does or has done something wrong, I admit them. But when I see lies or misrepresentations that damage Israel’s image, I will speak out against them as well.

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Top 10 Things to Do in Jerusalem – Part 3

Shrine of the Book, Israel Museum, Jerusalem.

The Shrine of the Book at Jerusalem's Israel Museum

Back to Jerusalem Top 10 – Part 2

And now the final entries:

8. Go to a Museum

(Sorry, I couldn’t come up with a clever title for this one!)

I’m not sure who keeps statistics on such things, but I’ve heard that Israel has more museums per capita than does any other country in the world. (Okay, when adding links I found that these guys apparently keep such statistics, or at least report them.) And whether or not that is true, Jerusalem definitely has some of the most significant museums in this country that is full of them.

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Israel Mystery Photo #8

Mystery Photo. Israel. Fun Joel. Tour guide. Tourguide.

Another Mystery Photo from Fun Joel's Photo Archives!

I guess I knew that last week’s photo would be a bit more challenging, but I really liked the guesses people made in the comments. All were very logical, and show that we can tell a lot about this country by making informed guesses.

By the way, it also raises another point. Yes, I post these pictures as a fun little game for you all to see if you can recognize the pictures’ subjects. But in my interactions with you all I’ve heard a bit of hesitance to guess if you don’t know the correct answer. That’s not really my point with these. Rather, the real point of these posts is the blog post I write each week in which I talk about the correct answer. The picture is not the important thing; the explanation of it is. These photos are a brief way for me to launch discussion of the various sites (and sights) around this awesome country of Israel. So please do leave your guesses in the comments about this week’s mystery photo, above.

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A Short History of the Land of Israel

A piece of Edomite glass (C 2100 years old) that I found on a dig in Beit Guvrin.

Last week’s and this week’s classes have both dealt with general overviews to the land of Israel, dealing with such things as roads, borders, broad history, and the like. I’ll break down some of the other information in a future post, but I thought it might be helpful for me to give you a brief history of the different periods of history that we encounter here. This way, if I later refer to something as taking place in a certain period, I can refer you back to this brief overview!

Some of these are broad eras that apply to all of civilization, and others are specific to this location. The latter is the case the more modern we get. Also, in some cases, the period may start at different times in different parts of the world. (For example, Muslim period begins at different times in different parts of this area, depending on when the Muslims conquered various lands.)

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