The Golan heights, or “up north” to Israelis, is one of the areas of contention between Israel and Syria, with many different types of pros and cons around the issue of “giving back land for peace,” which we went over at some length during our morning study session. Getting out and seeing the land, though, was wonderful:
The first picture is through the mountain passes heading north. The second is from the “heights” looking down across the fields where the Syrians fired pot shots at Israeli farmers working the land. Finally there’s the war memorial to those killed in the 1973 war (the Yom Kippur war.) There were a lot of memorials like that all over the country, though it seemed like we passed more of them in the north.
By midday we headed to a planned city called Katzerin, where we had an amazing lunch and a fascinating discussion with one of its founders. Her take on the Golan, specifically about whether or not it should be returned to Syria, was that whoever made best use of the land had the strongest claim to it. Before the Israelis came, she told us, it wasn’t really used for much; just some disorganized grazing. But under their current stewardship, the industries of farming and tourism were booming. So was this industry, though to be honest, it was the only brewery we saw in the whole country:
I realized she was essentially articulating the terms of the Organian peace treaty from Star Trek TOS, most famously applied to Sherman’s planet, where the Klingons plan to cheat was foiled by none other than…tribbles. I found it amusing to contemplate.