New Developments

Statue of Hercules discovered in Jezreel Valley

Archaeologists have discovered a 20 inch tall, white marble statue of the mythological hero Hercules, son of Zeus, dating to the second century CE. The site of the find is a pool at a former Roman bath house near where a new railroad line transversing the Jezreel Valley is to be laid. The beautifully preserved relic is naked, except for a lion skin draped over his shoulder, and depicts Hercules’ bulging muscles while leaning on a club. Though in his time, Hercules was to have been the strongest man in the world, the statue was found headless.

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Welcome to my Israel travel blog


Ethan Bensinger
Ethan at an archaeological dig in Israel, excavating the "beaten track"

I am writing this blog to share with you my passion for Israel and to help you explore historical, biblical and cultural sights that are "off the beaten track" in this beautiful country. As you complete your visits to the main tourist attractions in Jerusalem, Tel-Aviv or Haifa, put down that Israel travel guide and join me for exciting excursions in Israel to historic and religious sites, national parks and numerous places of interest for children.

Continue by clicking here, or scroll down to see my posts...

The Latrun Junction, where you’ll find tanks, great wine and a venerated shrine

By Ethan Bensinger | April 2, 2008

Latrun Junction IsraelThe Latrun junction at Route 1, just 30 minutes from Tel-Aviv or Jerusalem, offers the visitor a number of interesting sights to explore. So today, we’ll visit a military museum and war memorial, a monastery and an important archaeological site.

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Zebras, hippos and gnus, and plants of the Bible too

By Ethan Bensinger | March 11, 2008

National Park IsraelThe Safari Park, which is part of the Zoological Center of Tel-Aviv Ramat Gan, is a unique African safari adventure in an open plains setting in which a variety of animals can roam freely. From Tel-Aviv follow Yitzhak Sadeh Rd. until it merges with Hashalom, which soon thereafter changes

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A visit to the city of firsts: Rishon Le-Zion

By Ethan Bensinger | February 19, 2008

Rishon Le-ZionOur travels today will take us to the city of Rishon Le-Zion, a modern city 30 minutes from Tel-Aviv and approximately 60 minutes from Jerusalem. It’s name “First to Zion” derives from the biblical verse in Isaiah, 41:27, and is appropriately so named as it was one of the first settlements

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Aqueducts and tunnels: wonders of Roman technology that brought water to the people

By Ethan Bensinger | January 30, 2008

Aqueducts IsraelIn antiquity, as today, providing drinking water to a growing population in the land of Israel proved to be a challenge, but not an insurmountable one. Several types of well-preserved Roman era aqueducts that had brought water from springs on the Carmel Mountains

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The route to Bet Guvrin: David and Goliath, custom made shoes and an underground pigeon coop

By Ethan Bensinger | January 8, 2008

Our destination today is Bet Guvrin, but the drive there, with stops along the way, can be half the fun! We will take the day to travel in Israel by following Routes 44 and 38 through vineyards, rolling hills and lush valleys, with kibbutzim and moshavim on both sides of the road.
From Tel-Aviv or Jerusalem, exit [...]

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A Crusader era church, great Middle Eastern food, and the battle for the road to Jerusalem

By Ethan Bensinger | December 18, 2007

Abu Ghosh is a favorite gathering spot for Israelis in search of traditional Arab/Israeli and Lebanese cuisine, as it is ideally located on Route 1, connecting Jerusalem and Tel- Aviv. After a 30 minute drive from either city, exit Route 1 at the Abu Ghosh/En Hemed sign, and follow the main road into town passing [...]

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Ashkelon National Park: home to the world’s oldest arch and Nike the winged goddess of victory

By Ethan Bensinger | November 27, 2007

We start today’s tour in Israel to Ashkelon via Route 4 from Tel Aviv, or Route 3 from Jerusalem, with travel time up to 60 minutes. On Route 4, midway between Ashdod and Ashkelon, you may want to stretch your legs on one of Israel’s most beautiful beaches, Nitzanim. Turn right at the Eshkolot junction and follow an asphalt road for several kilometers, past a military base, toward the dunes in the foreground. As you arrive at this pristine beach you can continue for a short drive north on the sandy road, passing scrub bush and small trees covering the dunes. If time permits, you can also walk along the beach toward either Ashdod or Ashkelon, or paddle a boat during the summer in the nearby pond. Either way, you can enjoy a snack at the straw hut restaurant that attempts to blend in with the otherwise virgin surroundings. If you arrive on a weekday, you may find the dunes and beach deserted, except for an isolated camper or bather under the old umbrellas.

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