We had a wonderful day on the Golan Heights with the Teperbergs. We were said to say goodbye to them, but most of us will see them in Jerusalem. We must admit, however, that were not too unhappy to say goodbye to Hispin and the youth hostel. Hispin is wonderful because of the Teperbergs, but it is not a "beautiful" place. Dusty, dirty. No real view. Not much to do right there; there are much prettier places in the Golan.
We let the kids sleep a bit later. Breakfast was not as good. We really must have been the only family there and they forgot we were there. It seems that families get a better breakfast (fried eggs, cheese, etc.) as well as place mats instead of plastic table cloths. So, the staff quickly made us room at a bigger table and promised us fried eggs. By the time we got them, however, we were mostly done. Guess what some of us had for lunch? Fried egg sandwiches. We went to the Teperbergs, and after waiting the typical amount of time for Camp Teperberg, we headed off on a drive up the eastern most road of the Golan. We learned about some of the preparations the Israeli army is taking in case of another tank war. Our first stop was Tel Saki, an Israeli army position that was overrun at the beginning of the Yom Kippur war. We saw an old jeep, an old tank and some artillery. We explored the trenches and saw the bunker and could even take up position with the fixed machine guns (no firing pins, but Uria says they are operational). Uria told us the story of how the few soldiers there took the first fire of the war, received reinforcements, were overrun and how one injured solider convinced the Syrians that all of the others were killed, saving the 27 others who were hiding in the bunker. At the end of the war, that soldier returned to Israel as part of a prisoner exchange. We even had our own casualty at Tel Saki. Eitan was bravely exploring the trenches when he fell backward (about 6 feet). Visions of broken bones or worse were quickly replaced with some bad scrapes on his side and leg. He was a real trooper and kept going.
Our next stop was about 4/5 up Mt. Peres, which has a military base at the top (like many mountains in the Golan). This point presented us with a view all the way to Haifa. We also saw a cool spider that many of us believed to be poisonous. The drive to had us path through a lot of rock strewn fields, but also some beautiful vineyards and orchards. And, many "unofficial" memorials, including one to a unit that included the name Yoel Shalit, Gilad Shalit's uncle. Then on to Mt. Hozek - almost in the middle of the eastern border of the Golan, with a great view of Syria. We were about 1 mile from a Syrian town and could see Syrian traffic. We also saw Israeli troops keeping on an eye on Syria and clearing some brush from no-man's land. Next stop will not be on any maps. Even the Teperbergs had to pull to the side of the road and call a friend to make sure that we were in the right place. We parked the cars and walked about 100 meters down a dirt road that had barbed wire fences on both sides warning of mine fields. At the end of the "road" we found 3 soldiers putting up a shade covering and some tables and flags for a ceremony later in the day. We took advantage of the shade. Also at the end of the road was a Syrian made "pool" - it was circular, about 5-7 meters in diameter (none of us figured out how deep), and the source of the water was the matter of some debate. Vardit thinks it is spring fed and Uria things it is like a cistern and catches rain water. Regardless, Noah was the first to jump in. It was quite cold, but we all jumped and swam, except for Sima and Vardit and Noa. We even coaxed Ori and Shlomo into the water. The soldiers looked on jealously. Vardit was in charge of the pita/bread sandwiches with hummus, hatzilim and agvanyot (tomato). The kids had a great time, even the ones who freaked out about trying to find some privacy in which to change clothes. Then, off to De Karena chocolate factory in Ein Zivan. The tour was a bit of a disappointment in that it was all in Hebrew, the tour guide spoke really fast and she wouldn't even pause to let the Teperbergs translate. But, we did get to taste some chocolate on the way out. After our sad parting, we headed to Rosh Pina because Uria told us it was beautfiul. Not sure what we were supposed to see, but we parked near the "historical sight" sign, left the kids in the car (better than fighting with them) and we went exploring and found cobblestone streets that looked like the streets from the early days of the settlement. We were following a group of 20 to 30 middle-aged to older Israeli men on an outing. They came across a bride and groom taking pictures and broke into song and encircled the newleds and danced for them - only in Israel would you see that. Back to the car and off to Tiberias for dinner at Deck's. We have heard so much about this place that even the great meal could not live up to the hype. But, the view was tremendous (and the steak not bad). Home in Netanya and the kids all collapsed.