Samaria, Samaritans, Sights and Scriptures
Updated: Apr 22
Today, I am going to present to you a guided bus tour offered by the ‘Samaria Regional Council’. I’d like to thank the Ministry of Tourism for inviting me to write about it.
Trip Itinerary Options
8:00 Leave Tel-Aviv
8:30 Peduel – Israel’s Lookout
9:30 Havot Yair and the Frank Rudel Promenade – Breakfast and a Walk
11:00 The Samaritan Neighborhood Kiryat Luza
11:30 The Samaritan ‘Har Bracha’ Tahini Factory
12:00 ‘Mitzpe Yosef’ – The Lookout on Joseph’s Tomb
12:30 A Walk and Visit to Kabir Winery in Elon Moreh
15:00 Lunch at ‘Reches HaGidonim’
16:00 A Ceramic Studio ‘Botz BaGiva’
17:00 Return to Tel-Aviv
Peduel Israel’s Lookout
Start with a panoramic view of Samaria. The viewpoint is in a direct aeriel line over Rosh Ha’ayin to Tel-Aviv. On a good day you can see from Ashkelon in the south all along the coastline to Hadera in the north. The guide will explain a bit about the geography and geology and how they led to battles around the Afek Pass both in biblical times with the Philistines (I Samuel D:1 and I Samuel 29:1) and in WWI between the British and the Turks.
Havot Yair and the Frank Rudel Promenade
The promenade is built near the local synagogue. It’s a nice congregational meeting place and breakfast was more than adequate with salads, casseroles etc.
The Samaritan Neighborhood Kiryat Luza
The Samaritans are a vestige of the early Israelites who claim to have survived the destruction of the Northern Kingdom of Israel by Assyria in 722 BCE leading to the loss of the ten tribes. They are descendants of the Efraim and Menashe tribes whose lands were in Samaria. The characters of the Samaritan language are a form of ancient Hebrew.
Due to the physical separation caused by the exile, their religion evolved differently. Most notably is their belief in the sanctity of the Grizim Mountain as the Holy Place of worship rather than Jerusalem, where they continue to conduct religious sacrifices of lambs, three times a year during the three pilgrimage holidays: Passover, Shavuot (Pentecost) and Sukkot (Tabernacles).
The holiness of Mt Grizim derives from the story in the books of Deuteronomy and Joshua where Moses ordered Joshua to conduct a ceremony of commitment to G-d by placing half the tribes on Mt. Grizim, the ‘Mount of the Blessing’ and half on Mt. Ebal, the ‘Mount of the Curse’ (Deut. 11:29, 27:12, Josh. 8:33). The tour guide will tell you more about their beliefs and customs.
The Samaritan ‘Har Bracha’ Tahini Factory
A visit to the Tahini factory includes a short film, a view of the factory from above, tasting and purchasing. They’re known as an excellent brand and I bought some too.
‘Mitzpe Yosef’ – The Lookout on Joseph’s Tomb
According to the bible, Joseph made his brothers swear that they would return his bones to Israel for burial and accounts that he was embalmed and placed in a coffin in Egypt (Genesis 50:25-26). Moses later returned with the bones for burial in Canaan (Exodus 13:19) and Joshua brought them to Shechem (Joshua 24:32). The lookout on Joseph’s Tomb also gives you a wonderful sight of the area, Mt. Grizim, Mt. Ebal, Shechem and Tell Balata. The tour guide will walk you through the sights.
Kabir Winery in Elon Moreh
The Kabir winery is a boutique winery producing its wines from the locally grown grapes whose high quality may be attributed to the climatic conditions at the height of 800m above sea level. Some of the wines were awarded prizes and medals in international competitions. The tour includes an explanation about the winery and wine tasting at the visitors center.
Lunch at Reches HaGidonim
The log cabin at Reches HaGidomin serves both as a restaurant and a local gathering place. The two ladies that run it, Yifat Meshulami and Amalia Hoshen allow other locals to run workshops in their place such as a bread baking workshop, movement workshops, a variety of alternative therapy treatments, couseling of sorts etc. On the occasion of our visit, Yael Tene presented her formulas for essential oils.
Most importantly, lunch was surprisingly excellent. Upon further questioning, the ladies use locally grown meat and vegetables, which accounted for their respective tenderness and succulence.
The Ceramic Studio ‘Botz BaGiva’
The American grown Batia Erdstein opened her studio about a decade ago. Thanks to the internet, she is able to sell her lovely ceramics throughout the world. If you visit her, you’ll be able to join a workshop and make your own design or just purchase a souvenir. The stoneware is baked at 1200°C making the ceramics durable to home stoves and dish washers.
This post is all inclusive.
The bus tour takes you back to Tel-Aviv.
This trip took a day. I provided the breakdown in the agenda above. I only put the places that were recognized in English on the map.
This is what it looks like on the map:
If you’re interested in such a bus tour, please contact the Samaria Regional Council:
Phone: 1-700-700-106 Ext. 4
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