MotoDreamer is preparing to head to Israel. The Holy Land is a unique motorbike adventure touring destination. Is this a bold statement to make by MotoDreamer or fact? Time for you to investigate why they are confident to make such a claim.
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Great news for all Motorcycle Adventure Riders the world over, MotoDreamer is preparing to head to Israel.
Israel as a motorbike adventure touring destination is finally out of the planning stage.
If you have spent a lifetime honing your skills as an Adventure Motorcycle Touring Rider, and if you have traveled extensively around the world on two wheels. Then you must be intrigued to know what Israel has on offer.
At the same time, if any of you Adventure Riders pride yourselves on your considerable knowledge of history that you’ve managed to gather and store away in your long-term memory boxes. Then make room for more historical data to come your way.
If you have accumulated a knowledge base on nearly every significant event in history but know very little of Israel’s history and never had the opportunity to visit such an iconic country. Then open your calendar and start reserving your days for this incredible opportunity to learn all that is Israel.
Now, it’s your chance with one of the world´s prominent independent Adventure Motorcycle Touring Operator – MotoDreamer.
Mike Thomsen, Rider in Chief, and Co-Founder at MotoDreamer, are heading back to the Holy Land. The routes, local guides, accommodation, and bikes are all in place.
Now MotoDreamer and Israel need ten adventure motorcycle riders to come forward for a thrilling ride and stacks of history lessons to boot.
It’s easy to forget Israel is a small country compared to many. For example, it only measures 470 km (290 miles) from North to South.
When you look at its width, if you measure at its widest, it is only 135 km (85 miles.)
But, Israel is so much more, for a start, it houses four geographical regions:
- The Mediterranean Sea Coastal Plain is a narrow strip of land that measures 185 km (115 miles) long and widens to nearly 40 km (25 miles) at its southern point.
- Hilly regions, situated in both Central and Northern Israel, such as Galilee, with its highest peak standing proudly at just over 1200 meters (3,963 feet)
- An impressive rift valley with its linear-shaped lowland that passes from north to south of the entire length of Israel.
- The large arrow-headed shaped desert that sits at the base of Israel is known as the Negev Desert. This region is sparsely populated, giving way to sandstone hills, canyons, wadis, and cliffs.
I wanted to see how the government of Israel would describe its country, and this is what they wrote:
“Israel is a small, narrow, semi-arid country on the southeastern coastline of the Mediterranean Sea. It entered history some 35 Centuries ago when the Jewish people forsook their nomadic way of life, settled in the land, and became a nation.”
Was the above enough to attract you seasoned history buffs who just happen to enjoy learning while riding thousands of miles with your adventure-purpose motorbikes? I suspect not.
They forgot to mention the rest of what makes Israel, a unique motorbike adventure touring destination:
Israel has since its conception been the landing bridge between three continents. Asia, Africa, and Europe. Renowned historical past civilizations from all three continents had clashed for hundreds of years over this region.
Israel is awash with historical events. It is where you can walk and read what actually took place from the Ancient & Biblical Eras. Many such events were fought over by differing religious beliefs as well as political power.
Furthermore, Israel is full of World Heritage sites marking Israel’s past. Visit the ancient cultures who ruled this unique country. Walk and follow in the footsteps of many who have trod before you. One particular person of note, is named Jesus.
MotoDreamer is heading to Israel. Ride and visit the places he knew and reflect on how close you feel to him and your own beliefs.
Now, let’s start your journey to Israel, with this unique motorbike adventure touring destination, with this article as your stepping stone.
I asked Mike for the ideal itinerary and here are the 15 best Israel destinations:
- Netanya with its Diamond cutting and polishing workshops.
- The Western Galilee Region.
- The Lower Galilee Region and Nazareth.
- The holy city of Tiberias.
- The Upper Galilee Region and Mount Meron.
- Jordan Valley and the Sea of Galilee.
- The Golan Heights.
- The Dead Sea and its surrounding area.
- Masada National Park.
- The Arava Region.
- The city of Eilat.
- Mitzpe Ramon town, Crater, and Visitor Center.
- A kibbutz called Sde Boker (“Field of the Cowboy.”)
- Jaffa, and Tel Aviv.
MotoDreamer is preparing to head to Israel
1. Netanya with its diamond cutting and polishing workshops.
Netanya (Hebrew for God has given) is a coastal city facing the Mediterranean Sea roughly 30 km (19 Miles) north of Tel Aviv. The town began life nearly a century ago, in 1928.
It was named after the German-born Jewish-American philanthropist and merchant Nathan-Straus, the renowned owner of Macy & Company (the largest Department Store in New York City.)
It was initially established as a Moshav or a non-collective agricultural settlement to cultivate all that is citrus.
After the Second World War, many survivors of the Holocaust began to emigrate here, and slowly but surely, the town began to grow and become more urbanized.
With a continuously growing population of 200,000 or more, Netanya has expanded its commercial interests into such areas as rubber, pharmaceuticals, plastics, and Diamonds.
If you want an uncut diamond cut and polished, then Netanya and its many workshops are the places to visit.
Author´s Note: By now, you should be well equipped with your motorbike, a tank full of gas, well-fed, and raring to commence your “MotoDreamer is heading to Israel (the unique motorbike adventure touring destination.”)
2 – The Western Galilee Region.
This small Tuscan-like in appearance region is located in the northwestern corner of Israel. Apart from Haifa, the region comprises a hilly landscape with flat fertile plains, ideal for rural farming. You will explore the tranquil coastline and often deserted bays.
The Galilee, comprising all three regions known as the Western, Upper, and Lower Galilee, attracts vast numbers of Christian Pilgrims each year to remember Jesus’s miracles recorded in the New Testament. They come to see where he preached the Gospel and healed the sick and diseased local people for approximately three years.
(More on this later, when we arrive at the shores of the Sea of Galilee.)
On no other expedition worldwide can you follow Jesus’s story on a mixture of foot and motorbike. It is written that motorbike adventure touring experiences are often life-changing.
Here in Israel, it may well be the ultimate experience for every one of you.
Also, Israel is the perfect destination that allows those with the relevant experience when negotiating on and off-road riding with tons of sunshine above you. Why not park your regular habits for all that Israel and its biblical history can give you openhandedly.
While you move about, remember over 2000 years ago, Jesus’s life from Annunciation to Resurrection of this man happened here in Israel. Recall the times after that when you pick up and open your bible and read each chapter. Picture the place, the people, the event, and how you felt when you were there.
Food for thought for each Adventure Motorcycle Touring Rider, reading your bible after visiting Israel will never be the same again.
3 – The Lower Galilee Region and Nazareth.
The Lower Galilee Region
This region is only one hour away from most of Israel’s cities, yet you could easily believe you have traveled worlds away. The contrast between urban to rural life is complete. The Lower Galilee stretches from the Sea of Galilee to the Jezreel Valley. In between, you will see Mount Carmel.
Nazareth, the long-believed childhood home of Jesus, with its Christian (30%) and Muslim (70%) 78,000 inhabitants, is regarded as the largest city in the northern part of Israel. Also, this city is referred to as “The Arab capital of Israel.” You can visit places here in the city that can take you back to what Nazareth was like in the time of Jesus.
4 – The holy city of Tiberias
Tiberias is a relatively young Galilean town with 45,000 locals, and hot springs are a must-see. The holy city sits on the western shoreline of the famous Sea of Galilee. Within the ancient parts of the city, you will discover both the most important Jewish and Christian Pilgrimage sites such as:
The Tomb of Maimonides
When you are riding towards the southern end of Tiberias, keep a lookout for steam rising above you at the side of the road. The origin of this steam is easily explained:
“King Solomon once sent a group of Devils deep down into the earth to ensure all the fires of the city hot springs were well stoked up. It turned out these devils were deaf and never found out that Solomon had passed away and are unknowingly still fanning the flames today.”
MotoDreamer is preparing to head to Israel
5 – The Upper Galilee Region and Mount Meron.
Author’s Note: Whenever I write a new article, I try to find something totally unknown to me that may also be a total surprise for you, Adventure Riders. Again I have not failed you by discovering there is an inhabitant of the Upper Region of Israel known as the Upper Galilee Mountain mole Rat. Also known scientifically as Nannospalax Galili.
I can hear your next question loud and clear. What has a Mountain Mole Rat got to do with Israel, a unique motorbike adventure touring destination?
Well, apart from possibly seeing one of them, none apparently can see you.
They are blind, and you will recognize them by their big top and bottom-buck teeth. You don’t believe me – here’s a pic of one:
See, I did not imagine it. Such a creature does live. To be fair to them, they do live mainly underground. Like most other mole species, they spend much of their time burrowing.
The light grey furry Nannospalax Galili weighs only 100 to 200 gms, and also, they apparently have no earlobes on display. But, you will find them further inside their heads, and this phenomenon helps them avoid dust particles.
Apart from burrowing when needed, the females of this industrious species are also a dab hand at building a home with an organized pantry, children’s playroom, and the much-needed bathroom. All these skills come in handy when they are pregnant.
Back to the serious side of Israel. Mount Meron
Mount Meron is Israel’s highest point standing at an impressive 1200 m (3,963 Feet.) Due to its height, it does at times display snow, especially during winter, but not enough to ski on.
Each year a million or more Pilgrims visit Mount Meron to celebrate their largest annual religious festival.
Author’s Note: Due to the overwhelming numbers of Pilgrims during December each year, we at MotoDreamer advise you not to join the pilgrimage for safety reasons. Recently, 45 people died when 20,000 decided to leave the festival simultaneously, causing a stampede that no one could control.
6 – Jordan Valley and the Sea of Galilee.
The Jordan Valley constitutes nearly 30% of the area known as the West Bank. It is here that nearly 11,000 settlers and approximately 65,000 Palestinians call home.
You will find the 10,000-year-old Jordan valley is part of the Great Rift Valley. It was created when a massive crack of some 4,000 miles long appeared in the earth’s crust. Colossal tectonic plate movements under the Asian and African continents were the root cause of the crack.
The gap has stretched from East Africa to the Northern parts of Syria.
The result for you is an awe-inspiring scenic paradise while motorbiking along the long and winding roads. You will witness large hills, canyons, and ridges on either side.
The Sea of Galilee.
Earlier in this article titled: MotoDreamer is preparing to head to Israel, I mentioned the importance of the 166-kilometer square Sea of Galilee to the Christian pilgrim’s annual visit.
They come to this lowest freshwater lake on earth to witness where Jesus walked on water, calmed the storm, and fed the 5000 people with fish. The Sea of Galilee still, to this day, has an abundance of fish, with many surrounding restaurants serving them with locally grown bananas and dates to their customers.
Traditionally, called a Sea, but, in truth, it’s a large lake that is sourced primarily by the River Jordan.
Thousands of pilgrims every year from all around the world come to be baptized in this source of fresh water.
The area surrounding the Great Rift Valley is prone to earthquakes and volcanic activity, and due to the sea’s low-lying location within the surrounding hills, the sea often has violent storms.
Hence, the story whereby Jesus at one time calmed the storm. Jesus gave his famous Sermon on the Mount on a small hill overlooking the lake’s northwestern shoreline.
7 – The Golan Heights.
One area you will be riding to will be the Golan Heights. This Israel frontier has been a bone of contention since The Six-Day War in 1967 when Israel took the territory from Lebanon.
Lebanon consistently demanded the landmass be handed back. And Israel stated it is impossible to do so.
Over time the Golan Heights has become home to over 23,000 Druze Arabs and a further 45,000 inhabitants. The majority of the Druze still consider themselves Syrians and not Israeli. Often, refusing to take up Israeli citizenship, preferring permanent residency status instead.
Furthermore, the Druze do not hold an Israeli passport. And instead, they have a “Laissez-Passer” document issued by Israel to allow them to travel abroad and work in other areas of Israel. The citizenship field is blank if you ever see such a document.
Should the situation of the Golan Heights ever change in the future, and Israel gives back the territory to the Syrians. Those minority of Druze who regards themselves as Israeli would most likely face severe punishment and be regarded as traitors.
Also, significantly with the Druze community’s tribal nature and leadership, anyone deviating from the accepted social norms would be at extreme risk of ex-communication.
MotoDreamer is preparing to head to Israel
8 – Jerusalem.
Now It’s time for your life-changing moment when you enter Jerusalem on this fantastic tour with MotoDreamer.
You have always wondered what it would be like to enter Jerusalem since you were a child. Now you are doing it on a powerful motorbike.
It does not matter who you are or where you were born. The city of Jerusalem has always been and will always be a magnet of interest to you and everyone globally.
First, let me give you a brief description of the Holiest place on our planet.
Jerusalem is the most essential site for billions of souls following Christianity, Judaism, or Islam, and this situation will never change.
To help you understand a little about Jerusalem, here are my 20 most interesting facts regarding Jerusalem:
- An easy one, Jerusalem is over 5,000 years old.
- Jerusalem is Israel’s largest city, with a population of close to a million.
- The city of Jerusalem is mentioned roughly 800 times in the Bible.
- The 4 quarters that makeup Jerusalem are Jewish, Muslim, Christian, and Armenian.
- Jerusalem has over 300 synagogues, 33 Islamic mosques, and 50 Christian churches.
- Jerusalem is a city of religion, traditions, history, modern culture, and unique heritage.
When meeting anyone, expect them to greet you in Hebrew with the word “Shalom.” To say goodbye, say “Lehita.”
- The most important Jewish cemetery in the world is Mount of Olives, and it is home to over 150,000 Jewish graves.
- Talking about olives, Jerusalem is home to the oldest Olive trees globally. Many of which are over 800 years old.
- The Olive Tree, is mentioned many times throughout the Bible. One such entry tells the time when Jesus knelt and prayed under an olive tree in the Garden of Gethsemane, before his crucifixion.
- Jerusalem is proud to showcase its oldest Olive Trees, 1,500 public gardens, and parks. No mean feat considering the city´s desert location.
Jesus ascended to heaven and God from Mount Olives.
- Romans, Persians, Ottoman Turks, and the English conquered Jerusalem at one time or another.
- Jerusalem has suffered 16 wars, 23 sieges, 52 attacks, and 44 recaptured moments in its history.
- The 2.5-mile radius of the city is punctuated with 40-foot walls; each is 8 feet thick, 7 Gates, and 34 Watchtowers.
- Jerusalem is home to over 60 museums, covering its history, science, and arts. In the Israel Museum, you will find the original The Dead Sea Scrolls.
- In the Yad Vashem and the Holocaust Museum, expect to be overwhelmed by the 199,000,000 document pages accompanied by over 450,000 unsensitized photographic images.
For those fortified wine connoisseurs, amongst you will love Jerusalem and its community of 26 wineries.
- Near the chaotic Mahane Yehuda outdoor market, you will discover a multimillion-dollar sports complex – home to American Football. It is nearly five years old, and you can watch both amateur and international matches.
- Because of the city’s abundance of old and narrowly built congested streets and often steep hills, the medical authorities were the first globally to come up with a superb solution of having all their emergency personnel and responders on electric bicycles.
- Now, wherever you may need medical assistance, you can be assured you will receive it fast via an e-bike medical response team.
- Jerusalem, is considered a safe haven to live in. Everyday life is regarded as safe and normal.
- Expect temperatures to range anywhere between 41 to 85 degrees F; the skies will be clear and blue.
- You could easily spend a lifetime here in Jerusalem and still never see everything.
MotoDreamer is preparing to head to Israel.
9 – The Dead Sea and its surrounding area.
Each valley wall helps shield the valley from wind and keeps the terrain arid at the valley’s lowest point.
Discover the Dead Sea, the lowest point on our earth’s surface at 427 meters below sea level.
Why is it called the Dead Sea? Firstly, do NOT sample its hypersalinity water content. Notice that there is no life around the water’s edge surviving the high salt levels. Only bacteria.
Is it a Sea then? No, it is a lake with a below sea level water surface of around 13,000 feet. Suppose you compare that with Death Valley in the USA. The valley’s lowest point is 282 feet.
Going back to the lake and now consider the lake’s depth, now below 2,300 feet! No wonder nothing lives here.
How was the Dead Sea formed? You have to go back 3 million years to when the Arabian and African Tectonic Plates pulled away from each other. After a time, both The Mediterranean and the Jordan River flowed freely, and the lake was considered a sea. But alas, the seal was closed at the Mediterranean end, now making the Dead Sea an inland lake.
Can I swim in the Dead Sea? Truthfully, no, you can not. You can float and struggle all day to get into a position where you are reading a book or newspaper.
Is it true the water tastes awful? Yep, it does. Blame it on the 34% of pure high-level salt. Oh, Yes, don’t shave, and make sure you have no open cuts. The Whole of Israel will hear your displeasure for sure.
What about the mud? Is that good for my tough “rawhide from texas” skin? Well, it might be best to book a year of bathing in this mud and having fun.
10 – Masada National Park
Masada has been a popular tourist attraction and a UNESCO world heritage site of great importance for the past twenty years. It is a symbol of the ancient kingdom of Israel. Furthermore, this unique site is famous for the fortifications and palaces built by Herod the Great, who reigned in the ancient years 37-4 BCE.
As you can see from the pic above, the site has a cable car service to reach the ancient fortress, palace ruins, and museum. You can reach the massive plateau overlooking the Dead Sea via an extremely long and winding path. But, only a great option who is fit.
You will reach many well-preserved ancient structures and mosaic floors. There should be time for you to see the fantastic and captivating light and sound show projected daily on the side of the mountain.
Another fun feature is the Echo balcony. This attraction is where you can shout out as loud as you can into the desert and marvel when the desert yells back like an army of thousands of people towards you.
You may well witness newly recruited Israel soldiers swearing their oath of allegiance at the ancient fortress. The pledge covers their commitment never to let Masada or the state of Israel ever fall to its enemies again.
11 – Arava Region.
The Arava Region is the desert valley that extends from the Dead Sea to the city of Eilat. If you look on a map of Israel, head to the southern frontier of Israel that meets with Jordan, its neighbor.
On route 90, you will pass farming communities that make up the eight settlements. These amazing farmers produce over sixty percent of all of Israel’s exports of fresh vegetables with only around 5 inches of annual rainfall!
12 – The City of Eilat.
Once a tiny kibbutz, Eilat is now the southernmost city in Israel. It is also a popular coastal resort for many sunseekers from Europe and a busy port. You will find it nestled in the Negev Desert. The population of just over 52,000 enjoys cool winters and warm summers due to the desert climate and proximity to the warm sea.
Eilat boasts of having pristine beaches, calm waters, snorkeling, and diving with dolphins opportunities. The local reefs and corals have an abundance of fish life.
Check out the nearby Coral World Underwater Observatory Marine Park. It has a fantastic glass-enclosed observation center that is actually submerged offshore.
13 – Mitzpe Ramon Town, Crater, and Visitor Center.
For many years Mitzpe Ramon town was a dusty and sleepy backwater location, and not now. Mitzpe Ramon is a thriving town of some 3000 inhabitants who mainly work in the tourist industry. It sits on the northern cliffs of an incredible Crater.
For lovers of nature reserves and wildlife, whether on a bike or on foot, Mitzpe Ramon is a perfect location. The 220-year-old crater, originally an ocean, is now the world’s largest Makhtesh (Erosion Crater.) Measuring in length and width (40 km x 10 km.) It is shaped like a heart.
The Gateway to the Makhtesh is the Visitor’s Center showcases a floor-to-ceiling spectacular window view. Here, you will learn about the crater’s origins, the area’s science, and geology.
14 – A kibbutz called Sde Boker (“Field of the Cowboy.”)
You will locate this kibbutz in the center of the Negev Desert. Created in 1952 by a community of released soldiers who fought together during Israel’s War of Independence.
The kibbutz now is home to museums, workshops, shops, restaurants, and nightlife.
The kibbutz became famous when Israel’s Elder Statesman and first Prime Minister, David Ben Gurion, decided to make it his preferred place to retire.
The last destination for MotoDreamer Israel Tour.
15 – Jaffa, and Tel Aviv-Yafo.
The straight distance in miles between the ancient port of Jaffa and the modern city of Tel Aviv-Yafo is 2.9 miles or if you prefer, metric 4.6 km. The two became one over 70 years ago, in 1950.
Here are 18 interesting facts regarding both Ancient Jaffa and Modern Tel Aviv-Yafo
- Tel Aviv started life as a Jewish garden shrub in 1909 before joining Jaffa, its close neighbor whose ruins date back 4000 years and more.
- Ancient Tel Aviv-Yaro history goes back further than Jaffa by 3,500 years to the Canaanites civilization.
- Some famous past civilizations have conquered Jaffa and the surrounding area many times. Ottomans, Crusaders, Egyptians, Persians, Greeks, and Assyrians.
- Both King David and his son King Solomon both in their times conquered Jaffa from the Canaanites.
- St Peter was a famous visitor to Jaffa, and there is a St Peter Church overlooking the ancient port in memory of him.
The old port of Jaffa serves as the gateway to mainland Israel, Jerusalem, and the surrounding rural hinterland.
- In the 1930s, a St Peter Church overlooking Tel Aviv-Yafo reached the landmark of being larger than Jerusalem.
- Tel Aviv-Yafo is home to nearly all of the foreign embassies and headquarters to a large number of government ministries such as Israel’s Ministry of Defence.
- China, the UK, and the USA are Israel’s three primary trading partners, and many work and live here in Tel Aviv-Yoro.
- Tel Aviv-Yaro has a designated UNESCO World Heritage site called the White City, which houses over 4000 buildings from the 1930s.
- Israeli coffee culture here is enormous. As you walk around the busy touristic streets, you will encounter many who have served the black stuff since 1948.
- Jerusalem has over 800,000 inhabitants, whereas Tel Aviv-Yaro has only half that number.
- It rarely snows in Tel Aviv-Yaro or Jaffa as both can only expect an average annual 20 inches of rainfall.
You can reach Jerusalem from Tel Aviv-Yaro via your motorbike in nearly an hour.
- Tel Aviv has over 25 miles of bicycle lanes, so keep an eye out and check both in front and behind you.
- Like many cities worldwide, each has a rich and poor side. Here in Tel Aviv-Yaro, the rich are in the north, and the poor are in the south.
- 40% of Israelis reside in the Tel Aviv-Yaro metropolitan area.
- You will not be disappointed if you like beaches as there are ten beaches along its nine-mile shoreline.
- Beware when visiting the Nordau beach as it has a strict schedule of “men and women only days” for sunbathing.
- The locals of all ages love water sports, and when you look out at the Mediterranean Sea you will see an abundance of kites, waves, paddles, and windsurfers.
In conclusion to this article titled: MotoDreamer is preparing to head to Israel.
Writing about a country with over 35 centuries of existence was never going to be a walk in the park. Initially, I spent two weeks contemplating what to cover. MotoDreamer’s itinerary, of course, was a great start.
Hence, it gave me the building blocks for where you and your fellow Motorcycle Adventure Touring Riders would be riding to and experiencing.
Not only that, MotoDreamer and its Founder Mike normally route out a tour look primarily to keep you away from traffic jams and lengthy tourist queues. In Israel, that is not so easy to do.
In landmass, yes, Israel is small, but it’s a giant in history.
MotoDreamer is heading to Israel and that is a fact.
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