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Ami's Diary

Shalom friends, my name is Ami Dotan, I led the Walk in 2016, and I’ll be your guide again this year.
Let me share with you some information and pictures of the trail we are going to hike.

The exact trails and final path will be determined only after closing the final list of the hikers, their level and physical shape. Then we will offer different levels of professional walking to the groups. Please keep in mind that the first two days are more challenging, but the last two days are much easier.


Here is the first option for a tough walk (for those who choose it) - Zruia Ascent, Essene Descent in Wadi Arugot. 

We started climbing – and we were impressed by the mountain and the path where we are going to climb.
Look who was waiting for us in the middle of way, a lovely Rock Hyrax.

Yes - a difficult walk, but listen - my 10 year old son, Yonatan, did it with me. Neither of us is Superman, but we love the challenge and the desert.

ROUTE B - Shvil Israel - Zuk Tamrur to Ein Bokek

Today, we have a slightly easier walk. There is no huge uphill, only a tremendous downhill. 
We were left on our own in the middle of nowhere. 

But the landscape is so beautiful, that one doesn't mind being alone in this desert. Actually, it is quite exciting

At the picture you see what we call in Israel a "knife" - a ridge so narrow, that it is only as wide as your foot.

The flower is deceiving – such a big flower in the desert? How come? The answer is that it is a wicked parasite - it sits on the roots of its host, and takes away all of its nutrients. 

On this next picture you'll see the waterfall of Wadi Bokek, a 50 meters drop. 

In the middle you will see the White Broom, in full bloom. Incredible smell. 

The view from the top of the waterfall is stunning. From a distance we could see our hotel on the shores of the Dead Sea. 

So close and yet so far. We still have about 2 hours of challenging descent of about 500 meters, in less than 1.5 km walk,

The heat and the sweat of the day in the desert is forgotten, because at the bottom awaits us the fresh water of Ein Bokek - the Spring of Bokek. Great fun for kids and adults alike.

ROUTE C - Shvil israel - Masada to Wadi Rahaf

We are set to walk during another beautiful day in Judea desert. I am sure all of you have been to Masada. we are going to climb it to see the spectacular sunrise, so get ready to wake up at 4am, but we are going to see Masada from an angle you have never seen before.

The angle of the Roman Soldier. The poor man had to build a wall and camps around Masada. The pile of stones that my son is standing on are the result of Roman construction. At the bottom you can see a square which is a Roman camp. Imagine Silva, the Roman General trying to find a way to conquer these stubborn Jews.

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You can see the ramp the Romans had built. We are going to hike it down. We will then continue walking across the desert, till we reach our descent to Wadi Rahaf. You can see in the added clip, my son struggling down this ancient descent.

However, hen you make it to the bottom, the beauty is just unparalleled and breathtaking. One stands in awe in front of this great creation! even the black Tristram bird thinks so.

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ROUTE D - The Lowland of Judea (cave land)

Hi Friends. The third day of our tour is very different from the desert days we have already enjoyed. This area is called the lowland of Judea. Hilly - but not cliffs, warm - yet not desert. This is a very historical place - actually some of the most dramatic and well known biblical events took place here.

We will commence the day passing under the main road of the "Valley of Ella" . Does it ring a bell? David and Goliath perhaps ?! That historical moment took place just here. We shall be walking from the location of the Israeli army of King Saul, to the location of the Philistine army. On the way we will pass the old ruin that gives the best evidence for the existence of King David. As if we needed one ! Enjoy the videos & all the history. A short kitchen recess: left to right: almond trees, Zaatar (Hyssop), sage for the stomach, and the yellow flowers of wild mustard.


Finally David defeated Goliath, and i could safely arrive to the philistine army camp in Mount"Azeka". Is it David with his sheep at the right side of the picture? No, David was the red head. On the right of the three pictures above, another tragic hero - Bar Kochva - the leader of the disastrous rebellion against the Romans celebrated on Lag Baomer. This is the opening to one of the caves his warriors hid in. We will crawl into a cave similar to this.

My 5 years old daughter Yali, has a game of matching words to pictures. I will give you a list of names and you can match against the photographs taken in the Beit Guvrin National park and world heritage site. I am sure that the majority of you have visited Israel many times, yet have not come to this spectacular place. We shall rectify this on our trek. 
Here goes our game: "bell shape caves, columbarium caves (go ahead and google the word), burial caves, the 3 head dog watching the gates of the land of the dead, hunting lions and Leopards 2300 years ago, oil press cave, love letter with translation... 


ROUTE E - Going up to Jerusalem – "Aliyah laregel" 


My friends, today, we are making our pilgrimage to Jerusalem, joining the 3,000 year-old chain of Jews from all over the world.     


We will start the day at the Castel - the site of a critical battle during the War of Independence.  From this strategic hilltop overlooking the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv highway, Arabs would ambush Israeli convoys bringing supplies to the besieged city of Jerusalem. After a bloody struggle during which 49 Jewish soldiers lost their lives, the Palmach seized control of the village.  

We will then proceed to the village of Sataf, with the spectacular views of the Jerusalem Mountains in the background.  The site is famous for its tunnel springs, and the community gvegetable gardens grown by Jerusalem residents.

We shall continue to Jerusalem.  Our first view of the capital will be the picturesque neighborhood of Ein Kerem.  From there we will climb up to Mount Herzl, passing the graves of Israel's prime ministers and the Grove of Nations, where many heads of state have planted trees as a sign of solidarity with Israel.  

The day will end at the War of Independence section of the Mount Herzl military cemetery. We will put stones on the graves of some of the soldiers who fell in the battle for the Castel, where we started our hike today.

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