Equal Partners
by Roland Ezri

Equal Partners by Roland Ezri

Equal Partners

By Roland Ezri

"Women are the backbone of all societies. They do a substantial part of the work, and play a major role in raising the future generation yet they are largely powerless. The decisions that count are made by men and foisted upon women."

Writings by Roland Ezri

The Second Exodus – Israel – CCXCV. A Return Visit (10 of 19)

After breakfast, we visited the actual kibbutz.  We saw the homes of the haverim, the dining room, gymnasium, day care, school, and the inevitable bomb shelter.  They are very security conscious in this kibbutz (and the other kibbutzim in this region); the whole kibbutz is surrounded by an electric fence.


No visit to Israel would be complete without seeing the Golan Heights.  It has so many useful features; it is difficult to know where to start.

In an arid land such as Israel, the Golan’s fertile soil has to be its greatest asset; and what better place to start than to talk about its vineyards and the Golan Heights Winery.  The first vines were planted in 1976, and the first wine became available to the public in 1983.  There are today about a dozen wineries.

Fruits:  26,000 tons of apples, 2,000 tons of kiwi and peaches, 7,000 tons of grapes, and 1,000 tons of cherries fill supermarkets and stores across Israel.  Europe is not left out; thousands of tons of nectarines, peaches, cherries, and kiwis are exported.

The Golan produces top quality peonies, and 90% are exported to Europe, specifically to Holland.

Dairy products?  It is known that the yield of Israel’s cows is the highest in the world, and the lion’s share of this milk comes from the Golan.

In the early ‘90s, The Israel National Oil Company (INOC) was granted a permit to drill for oil.  Finding oil and natural gas in the Golan had its ups and downs, not geologically (the potential existed), but rather politically.  Over the years, political events put a halt to explorations.  In 2012, exploratory drilling was approved for half of the area of the Golan to a local subsidiary of New Jersey-based Genie Energy Ltd.  (INOC permit had in the meantime reverted back to the State).

The Golan has so much to offer to tourists (including local tourism):  nature reserves, museums, religious and historic sites, and remarkable skiing and hiking (because of its heights and splendid vistas).

Many Kibbutzim in the area are happy to cater to tourists while still tilling the land and tending to their flocks.

The Golan Heights has existed since prehistoric times.  Settlements going back to the Stone Age have been discovered.

In the 900s BCE King Solomon expanded the minor Israelis settlements in the area.  After his death, his kingdom was divided into two states:  In the North, Israel and in the South, Judas.  Israel existed for over 200 years, but was eventually overrun by the Assyrians who in time assimilated its inhabitants.

In 333 BCE, it was the turn of Alexander the Great to conquer Judea and put a Hellenistic stamp on the land; this is reflected in the synagogues found here from that time.  Under this new conqueror, the Golan became the administrative district of Gaulantinus.  With the successful rebellion of the Maccabees, in 164 BCE, Judea was once again free.  A century later the Roman legions marched in; its brief flirtation with self-determination was over for Judea.  On the positive side, the Golan wasn`t fully developed with roads and a water system until the Roman and Byzantine periods.

From 640 – 1517 both the Galilee and the Golan witnessed fierce fighting between Muslims and Christians.  The Arabs won the first round; they were followed by the Crusaders; the Mamelukes; and finally the Ottomans.

WWI and Turkey`s defeat in that war put the last nail in the Ottoman Empire’s coffin.  After the war, the Golan was annexed to Syria, and it stayed that way until the 1967 Six Day War when it became part of Israel.

From 1967 until recently, the Golan card was played by Israel; it was willing to return it to Syria in exchange for peace and recognition of the State of Israel (same kind of agreement made with Egypt and Jordan).  On and off, over the years, this proposal was tossed back and forth, but alas, peace never materialized, and the Golan stayed in Israeli hands.  Today (2013), with Syria in total disarray, an agreement between the parties is in the realm of fantasy.  It is worth mentioning that many Israelis were dead set against giving the Golan up.  After you’ve read the above account, you can understand why.

Most of our excursion was dedicated to stops that allowed us to take in the magnificent vistas of this district.  What I remember after all those years follows.

We saw the position from which the Syrians used to shell Israel for 19 years (1948 to 1967).

We stopped at Kiryat Shmone, the name means “Town of Eight” for here Yosef Trumpeldor and seven others were killed in 1920 at Tel Hai.

We paid a visit to Beit Ussiskhin Natural History Museum; there we were provided with data on the region’s history, geology, flora, and fauna.  The part that I found fascinating is the geological and archeological information; it showed the different ages of the Golan.

Dubrovin Farm is a reconstructed farm showing Jewish settlement life at the turn of the 20th century.  We also saw an audiovisual presentation showing the history of the Golan Heights from Biblical times to the present.

Our journey ended in Netanya where we visited the Diamond Center.  The different phases that take a raw diamond and make it into a valuable stone were shown to us.  Inevitably, the joke about taking a free sample was trotted out; to no one’s surprise, we were apprised that free samples were not given out!

Comments are closed.