In the North of Israel from the Holy mystical city of Safed (Tfat) looking down on the Sea of Galilee (Lake Kinneret) and headed West to the Mediterranean lie several mostly Christian towns and villages of enormous historical importance.
Apart from Taybeh (population 2,000) in the West Bank of Israel near Ramallah this is all there is left in Israel of ancient traditional Christian communities. They are under Israel's watchful eye and remain safe. In one way or another they have held on since the 1st century C.E. in the upper Galil (Galilee).
In this Northern region lie the towns of Mi'ilya (population 3,000), Maalot, Tarshiha, and Jish, the town of the Christian Arameans (speakers of Aramaic), also referred to by the name of the nearby spring Gush Halav. These are historical communities tracing their history to the 1st century C.E.. These small towns are situated in very picturesque locations running along Israel Route 89 from ancient Safed overlooking the Sea of Galilee (Lake Kinneret) and Mount Meron to the coastal beaches of the Mediterranean just above Haifa closer to Rosh Hanikra.
Here CRASL is working to collaborate with a private Land Trust to form a tourist heritage trail. Our plan is to make available a historic Judeo-Christian Heritage Trail in support of increased US/Israel cooperation and to assist in developing personal relationships focused on these communities to help foster better agriculture, advances in science and technology, and help restore the ancient sites and keep them viable for visitors and for the surrounding population.
At present most of the Christians in this region are Melkite (Greek Catholics) who trace their history to the first century Jews of Antioch who fled to Antioch following the crucifixion.
The Melkites, with a total of 76,000 members in the Galilee alone (not including Jerusalem), have maintained their position as the largest Christian denomination in the region.
The Latin Catholics have about 10,000 in their groups throughout Israel and most cannot as easily trace their ancestry back into the 1st century C.E.
Here is a small library of YouTube videos which explains the region to those who have never visited Israel or who have come as tourists in the past but did not travel this route as part of their visit.
Click for YouTube
North of Israel Drone Footage |
Hiking the Shvil Trail
Sea of Galilee |
Mount Meron |
Gush Halav |
if you are interested in participating!