Unexpected Israel with guest speaker Judy Lash Balint

Unexpected Israel was the topic of Beer Sheva Hadassah’s recent meeting in Seward Park. Judy Lash Balint, an author and journalist from Jerusalem (and former Seattle resident), shared slides and stories of a dozen interesting places to see that even frequent visitors may have never seen.

Among them, Timna, an amazing National Park just off the highway north of Eilat, where King Solomon had copper mines. There’s a beautiful little lake with camping, a visitor center, archeological sites and trails. (And it can top 115 degrees in the spring and summer!)

Judy Balint

Shiloh, an ancient city in Samaria mentioned in the bible, where the tribe of Israel assembled and set up the tabernacle — mishkan. Today it’s a small town and amazing archeological excavation about an hour north of Jerusalem where you can spend a whole day wandering. Don’t miss the nearby tastings in the olive groves and wineries, and visit the craft boutiques¬† in this growing “settlement” town.Zichron, an artists town south of Haifa that was one of the first major agricultural, and was funded by the Rothschild family. Today it is a tranquil, beautiful spot with artists studios, shops, trails and the Beit Aronson NILI Museum which tells the historic story of the early pioneers who built the farms and orchards, and held back invading Arab armies to protect the settlers.

AbuGosh, a friendly Israeli-Arab town on the road from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv said to be the hummus capital of Israel. The residents there in 1948 chose to stay and become Israeli settlers, rather than flee as they were urged by Arab leaders.

Beer Sheva Hadassah co-president Meryl Alcabes treated attendees to a delightful spread of Israeli foods including hummus, babaganoush, salads and baklava.