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...

In the shadows of the Gilboa Mountains: a basilica, ancient synagogue, Crusader castle and kangaroos too!

By Ethan Bensinger | May 21, 2011

Today’s travels will take us to the northern section of the Jezreel Valley, with a drive over the Gilboa mountain range, into the Jordan River valley. The area, though relatively compact, is replete with historical and biblical significance,  and is often referenced in the Old and New Testament. Our journey will first take us to […]

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A tour of the lower Galillee with a visit to an Ottoman-era train station, a Templer agricultural settlement and an ancient Jewish cemetery

By Ethan Bensinger | May 6, 2010

Today’s “off the beaten path” travels will take us to the north-western section of Israel’s breadbasket, the Jezreel Valley, to observe the impact that Muslims, Christians and Jews had on the development of Palestine at the beginning of the 20th century. We will explore the renovated Ottoman-era train station at Kfar Yehoshua, through which Muslim […]

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Exploring the Northern Negev: battle sites, Bedouin, and ancient desert cities

By Ethan Bensinger | June 9, 2009

Our “off the beaten path” journey will take us for the next two days to the northern Negev, first with a visit to Kibbutz Yad Mordechai and then to other nearby sites commemorating heroic battles during Israel’s War of Independence.  We’ll then learn about the Bedouins, nomads who had previously roamed the desert but who […]

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The orchids of Utopia Park, turtles of the Alexander River and a Bauhaus restaurant

By Ethan Bensinger | March 24, 2009

Today’s off the beaten path adventure will take us slightly inland, away from the coast, into Emek Hefer. This valley of kibbutzim and moshavim, just to the east and north of Netanya, will give us the opportunity to stroll through eucalyptus groves on the banks of the Alexander River while watching large turtles sun themselves […]

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The Sorek Stalactite Cave and the Emperor’s Road

By Ethan Bensinger | February 3, 2009

Alexander river bridge IsraelOur destination today is one of the most unusual natural sites that Israel has to offer, the Sorek cave in the Judean Mountains near Bet Shemesh. We’ll have lunch nearby and then explore the remains of an ancient khan with it’s well-preserved mosaic floors, and hike down the Emperor’s Road…

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From the charm of Zichron Yaakov to the galleries of Ein Hod

By Ethan Bensinger | July 15, 2008

Alexander river bridge IsraelA visit to the charming village of Zichron Yaakov, with its pedestrian-only cobblestone main street lit by old fashioned street lamps, and bounded on both sides with beautifully restored homes, courtyards, galleries, boutiques, and places of historical interest, will provide the visitor with

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Ancient farming methods in the Jerusalem mountains

By Ethan Bensinger | June 24, 2008

Farming in JerusalemAt the present time in Israel you can find evidence of ancient techniques of cultivating fruits and vegetables using a system of hillside terraces bordered with stone. Viewing these terraces is easy around the mountains of Jerusalem, where a system of springs, channels and terraces

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From the megaliths at Gezer, to Lod’s medieval bridge, with a stop in Ramla for falafel

By Ethan Bensinger | June 3, 2008

Megaliths at Gezer IsraelIf you have an interest in the mysteries of biblical archaeology, a stop at Tel Gezer to visit the 3500-year-old Canaanite temple of standing stones is a fascinating and moving experience. The size and number of steles, makes viewing them as awesome as a trip to Stonehenge, but in fact, they are right

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Herzliyah Pituach: A great beach, wonderful seaside cuisine and a bit of Crusader history

By Ethan Bensinger | May 13, 2008

Herzilyah PituachIf you want to escape to one of Israel’s best beaches and combine it with excellent cuisine and a bit of Crusader history, then the place to go to is Herzliyah Pituach.
This seaside community, which is also one of Israel’s largest high tech centers, is just a ten minute drive north of Tel-Aviv.

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Life with Neanderthal Man and Napoleon too at the Mt. Carmel caves and the beach at Tel Dor

By Ethan Bensinger | April 22, 2008

Mt. Carmel Caves IsraelAlong the coast of Israel, a mere 15 minutes south of Haifa and 45 minutes north of Tel-Aviv, the caves of Nachal Me’arot, and the tel at Dor beach, provide the visitor with a time capsule of human existence from prehistoric, to ancient and modern times. From Tel-Aviv follow Route 2 and exit at Route

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