Day 5 A Trip through the Golan Heights

Day 5 was a little different. Start time was 7:30am so we could get to Capernaum before the tourists. The weather turned cold, with even a little drizzle. And Ilene took my advice to spend the day in the spa and I was assigned Oded, an Israeli fighter pilot as my Navigator. Finally, it was an unusual sight in the parking lot.......all the Jaguars in the rally were unable to start for one reason or other...weird, but not unexpected given the Jaguar's record for faulty electrical systems.

First, ancient village on the Sea of Galilee (the Kinneret, in Hebrew). The village has much significance for Christians. Peter (before he was St. Peter) lived here. And this is the place where Jesus preached and performed miracles during his Ministry in the Galilee. There is a well-preserved 1st Century Synagogue here that dates to before the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, so the timing is correct for Jesus lifetime. Many biblical scholars and historians believe that both Jesus and Peter would have preached in the Synagogue. Some of the Mantle pieces that have fallen down from the Synagogue depict scenes of the Temple in Jerusalem and even depict the front of the Holy of Holies which was on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem before its destruction by the Romans.

Following this visit we made a short drive up the Golan Heights which tower over the eastern side of Sea of Galilee. Skip ahead almost two thousand years and we are on one of the most heavily fought over pieces of real estate in the world. Both in 1967 and 1973, the Israelis and the Syrians fought over this high ground as it controls the waters of the Jordan River and the Sea of Galilee. The Heights are still filled with military pillboxes and trenches from these battles. In 1967 the Israelis captured this ground. In 1973 the Syrians re-captured it at the beginning of the war and advanced to the shores of the Galilee until they were pushed back by the Israelis. In fact, the Israeli Army re-conquered the Golan Heights and pushed on to the outskirts of Damascus, which is only 60km north of the Golan, before being recalled by the Defense Ministry.

......and I haven't even mentioned the legendary battles between the Christian Crusaders from Europe and Arab Armies led by Saladin in the 11-12th Centuries.

Because of the weather today, it was difficult to see too far into Syria, but we could see the abandoned town of Quintiles. Some of our Israeli participants say that on clear days you can see and hear the bombing going on in Syria where ISIS, Syrian Government Forces (with their Russian Advisors), Iranians and Rebels are fighting for every town and village, even those very close to the Israeli border.....we did not see or hear anything today.

Ilene spent the day in the Spa so I got to drive today with Oded, who was a pilot in the Israeli Air Force flying F-4 Phantoms and F-35s. He was especially knowledgeable about this area in the North (having flown many missions in the area) and it was very interesting to see the area through his eyes. Like many Israelis, he has spent time abroad living both in Taiwan and Nigeria. He is now operating his own start-up which has created a small electrical device to help manage and alleviate back pain.

The Jaguars......what can I say. There were several XK 120s, 140s and 150s and several E-Types on the rally. They were constantly on the side of the road or up on a flat-bed. Today, every single one of them failed to start. While today's casualty count was extreme, I have consistently noticed in vintage/classic car events that these very beautiful cars always have mechanical problems, especially electronic problems. For those of you familiar with vintage/classic car events this will come as no surprise.

Which observation gets me to my little Porsche. It continues to perform well although on some of the steep hill climbs we lack a little horsepower. Climbing mountains she is a 2nd and 3rd gear, although the cooler weather today agreed with the car; much better than the heat of the desert.

The day ended with a very late lunch (3pm) at the Chateau Golan, a very nice winery on the Golan Heights. Ilene joined me for this event and it was an opportunity for all of the participants to thank our hosts for a very remarkable rally.....and partake in the local grapes.

Tomorrow will be the last day of the rally. We will go further north to the Lebanese border, then west to the Mediterranean Sea and then south to the old Roman port of Caesarea for a seaside lunch. From there it will be a short drive to Tel Aviv and the warehouse lot where we will turn over our cars to the shipping company. My Porsche 356 will be going to the U.K. before coming home. In May, Ilene and I will attend the 356 International Meet in the English countryside. Ilene and I will get to spend a day in Cambridge where we lived for a year.....50 years ago; where has the time gone.