I went camping with our young adults group at church, on the coast at Rishon LeZion which is south of Tel Aviv.
Sunflower Man! Camping on the beach, my friend here thinks he is a Middle East superhero from this big orange towel.
Nearby there were some outside showers which are there to wash sand and salt off you, these were being used by some divers in frogman outfits to wash off their prize catches.
The only thing is they proceeded to gut the fish also here, not so pleasant for other people at the beach to have to walk in fishy guts, yuck.
Crabs, along with lobsters are not kosher, therefore very few Jewish people even completely non-religious eat any type of shellfish. I am wondering if there are Arab owned fish restaurants that cater for tourists that want all type of sea food.
I slept on the beach without a tent, this was great as the temperature was just right once in a sleeping bag borrowed from another Bridges for Peace staff member, it was super comfy so I slept really well, and there was time for worship, football and card games before it started to get dark.
The next day after a bit of a lay in and getting some lunch – off to a place called Midras back towards Jerusalem for caving! This was kind of scary, I have done this before, but this seems extra difficult, these rabbit hole sized gaps are small meaning pushing yourself on your stomach had to be done, as well as alternating between feet first or head first and sometimes going around tight right-angles, with people behind you. My fear was people stopping in front of you meaning you cannot head any direction. Every so many metres of distance was a small cave that maybe 6 people could gather in.
Here this cave was interesting, it reminded me of the Sarlacc, the creature embedded in the ground with teeth from Star Wars Return of the Jedi, however after climbing down, its actually a Columbarium Cave which means dovecote in Greek. Doves were raised for food or for ritual purposes and was popular during the Hellenistic and Roman periods.
Our friend Stephenson who is originally from the Caribbean was quite nifty at climbing these little alcoves to get on a platform at the top.
This pyramid shamed structure made of dressed stone is the only one of its kind in Israel, the top three rows are missing. Its likely it was erected as a shrine to those buried in the caves nearby. This is known in Hebrew as a Nefesh. (soul)
This tomb has a sliding stone to close it shut, just like the tomb of Jesus and other ancient tombs built for wealthy people I have seen in Jerusalem.
It was in use at the end of the first century until the Bar Kokhba Revolt (132-135 CE) Sadly it was vandalised 15 years ago.
There is a lot of tombs and holes around the place, some not so obvious as hidden by bushes.
This was a really good weekend with some exploring and fellowship with folks I know well and new people too.