We left the hotel today about 7am. Saying goodbye to Jerusalem, we headed along highway 1 towards Tel Aviv. The climate was balmy and warm. The theme for the day was tracing the amazing stories and history of the people who ushered Israel to victory in the 48 War of Independance. Our first stop was at the Ayalon Institute. This was the place that functioned in the forties as a real life kibbutz but in reality it was used as an underground bullet making factory. We went down spiral steps into the bunker that was the size of a tennis court and heard the story how these kids for two years alluded the British and made thousands of bullets for the soon to be War of Independance. we were all amazed at their story and their discipline how this clandestine operation worked successfully. just imagine a kibbutz right under the british noses hiding these teens who risked life and limb to perform this vital function to make ammunition for Israel.
then we headed over to Yafo and briefly toured the area. beautiful stores and history of arabs and jews living together and world powers like napoleon who visited YAFO on his way to Eygpt.
our next stop was Independance Hall where David ben gurion declared the state of Israel. the movies we saw and the presentation we heard were stirring and inspirational.
we stopped to have lunch and then headed off to the Palmach museum which was the museum that honored the work of this elite group of the Hagana that led many missions and gave their all to usher israel into a modern army. there we witnessed an exhibiton following the lives of one troop of palmach soldiers from their training to the battle for independance.
my sense is that our group really could grasp the modern history of the birth of israel and the miracle of how few resources they actually had to defend the state against the armies of the arabs. it truly was a miracle. finally we had dinner at a time honored middle eastern favorite restaurant in yaffo called dr. schackshukah. awesome and delicious.
tomorrow we are off to haifa and caesarea.