Tour Is­rael

The Jerusalem Post - The Jerusalem Post Magazine - - CONTENTS - • Text and pho­tos by MEITAL SHARABI Tarshiha open-air mar­ket Nof Havradim Trans­lated by Han­nah Hochner.

In the West­ern Galilee, not far from Na­hariya, lies a city called Ma’alot-Tarshiha, an idyl­lic place where Jews and Arabs live side by side, nat­u­rally in­ter­weav­ing the old with the new. There are many in­ter­est­ing his­tor­i­cal sur­prises to be found in the re­gion, but what has been draw­ing Is­raeli and for­eign tourists alike in re­cent years is the fresh culi­nary scene.

This change is par­tic­u­larly strik­ing in the Tarshiha sec­tion of the city. In re­cent years, many restau­rants have been opened there, prov­ing that the Galilee has more to of­fer than just Druse pitot and hum­mus. The new eater­ies blend in well with the an­cient ar­chi­tec­ture and nar­row al­ley­ways, churches and mosques, as well as with the open-air mar­kets.

Del­i­cate

One par­tic­u­larly lovely place in Tarshiha is Del­i­cate, which was an all­day break­fast type of restau­rant un­til re­cently, when it changed own­ers. Un­der the new con­cept, Del­i­cate of­fers a va­ri­ety of styles of break­fast, lunch and din­ner op­tions as­sem­bled from around the world.

The new owner, Gil Dror, who was born in Na­hariya, de­cided to re­turn to north­ern Is­rael af­ter work­ing for years in top Tel Aviv restau­rants such as Uno, Her­bert Sa­muel, Zepra and Café Italia.

He makes an ef­fort to use lo­cal in­gre­di­ents, but the end prod­uct is not typ­i­cal Galilee cui­sine by any stan­dard. Del­i­cate serves smoked spareribs, smoked salmon, cheese plat­ters, pasta, sal­ads, soups and sand­wiches. Ve­g­ans will also find plenty to eat, and there’s also a take-away stand called Hook De Luxe, from which vis­i­tors can pur­chase food items for pic­nics or to bring home.

Lo­ca­tion: 1 Hashuk, Saria Build­ing, Ma’alot-Tarshiha

De­tails: 077-996-4673

Mount Me’ona

An­other great place to start the morn­ing is Mount Me’ona, which stands at 600 me­ters above sea level at the edge of the town. From the top, you can look down over the crowded homes of the vil­lage just be­low, or out at the gor­geous beaches along the Mediter­ranean Sea.

Af­ter you’ve fin­ished your visit at the moun­tain­top, visit in Tarshiha the Hushi Court­yard and the Ortho­dox Church. If you happen to be there on Satur­day, I highly rec­om­mend walk­ing through the lively open-air mar­ket, which is full of ac­tiv­ity. The Hushi Court­yard is in essence the gar­den of a pri­vate home that has mor­phed into a pil­grim­age site for those pro­mot­ing op­ti­mism and peace. In the mid­dle of the court­yard, Hushi erected a me­mo­rial to the late prime min­is­ter Yitzhak Rabin, which has his coun­te­nance en­graved upon it. The court­yard is lo­cated in the heart of the Be­duin sec­tion of the vil­lage.

Some peo­ple think that if you’ve seen one church, you’ve seen them all, but in this case I must say that this Ortho­dox church is truly unique. Rec­og­niz­able by its tall red roof, the church was built in 1903 on the ru­ins of an 800-year-old

Cru­sader church, which is now lo­cated right in the mid­dle of a res­i­den­tial neigh­bor­hood. Right from your first step in­side you’ll be im­pressed by the nu­mer­ous gilded dec­o­ra­tions and art­work. Dur­ing the tour, the head priest re­gales vis­i­tors with anec­dotes that de­scribe the lives of res­i­dents who lived there many years ago, in­clud­ing a Jewish com­mu­nity that ex­isted on site un­til the 1950s.

Vis­its by ap­point­ment only. De­tails: (04) 997-4087, 052-660-9851

One of the most en­joy­able at­trac­tions in Tarshiha is the open-air mar­ket, also known as the Shab­bat Mar­ket. It’s open from the early hours on Satur­day morn­ings and closes around 4 p.m. It’s re­ally in­ter­est­ing to watch farm­ers early in the morn­ing un­pack their fruits and veg­eta­bles, sweets and juices, freshly ground spices and even cloth­ing, shoes and toys – pretty much ev­ery­thing you can think of. It’s usu­ally an eclec­tic mix of tourists and lo­cals, and it’s fun to hear the mix of lan­guages, watch the in­ter­ac­tions be­tween sell­ers and buy­ers, pur­chase some lo­cal pro­duce and sa­vor the pow­er­ful en­ergy that is unique to open-air mar­kets.

A very pop­u­lar ac­tiv­ity for Is­raelis on va­ca­tion is rid­ing on ATVs, and there are many places to rent th­ese in north­ern Is­rael. Some rental agen­cies are re­li­able, and some less so, so I rec­om­mend that you do a lit­tle re­search be­fore pick­ing a com­pany. One ATV rental agency that I find is most trust­wor­thy is Nof Havradim Ra­zors, lo­cated at the en­trance of Kfar Havradim.

Na’im Rabah, the vice prin­ci­pal of the high school in Kafr Sumeia, who is a for­mer bor­der po­lice­man, is the owner of Nof Havradim Ra­zors. Rabah built a me­mo­rial in the for­est for a fam­ily mem­ber who fell while in the line of duty, and he leads ATV tours that pass by hid­den pools that are known only to lo­cals, and caves, some of which de­scend 40 me­ters un­der­ground (ropes are re­quired to reach the bot­tom). Rabah also leads tours to pop­u­lar sites such as Lake Mont­fort and Beit Ha’emek, dur­ing which he loves to tell his own per­sonal story. Tours last 1-2 hours.

Price: NIS 300-500 for a two-per­son ATV. De­tails: 077-996-4454 , www.ozrotha­galil.org.il

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