Someone made a list of the 10 Greatest Mysteries in Israel and it's a truly fun and fascinating read. I only have one major qualm about the list: We know exactly where the Ark of the Covenant is. It's in a box hidden away in a secret US facility since 1981.
As a tour guide of Israel, Here are my 10 mysteries in this country:
1) How someone who only speaks English managed to get anywhere in this country pre-Waze. Within 10 minutes on the highway you could end up going from Tzfat to Safed to Zefat, from Akko to Acre and from Caesarea to Qasariyya to Qesarya. And think about this... And how is it that the Sea of Galilee is a fresh water lake, the Dead Sea isn't dead (there is one micro-organism) nor a sea (it's also a lake) and the Red Sea isn't red (it's blue of course) - it was the Reed Sea (and lost an e somewhere). Think papyrus, Moses in the reed basket, etc. How does one find anything?!!
2) Just what exactly is in amba, the mango sauce at the falafel/shwarma stands, that makes it come out in your sweat 48 hours later?
3) How we have almost as many political parties as we have seats in the Parliament. And how it is the only "Knesset" (synagogue in Hebrew is Bet Knesset) that doesn't have signs everywhere saying "donated by" yet we all know who, if not what, has been bought and sold anyway.
4) How every year before Yom Kippur they discuss if we should move up Daylight Savings Time so that it is easier to fast in the heat, though we seem to have no problem with this just 2 months earlier during the other 25-hour fast of Tisha B'Av.
5) How it can be that the Jewish buses in Jerusalem are green (the color of Islam) and the Arab buses are blue and white (the color of Israel). Note: This dates back to when we had a divided city so there were 2 different bus companies which have just continued on...
6) Why we call Lake Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) full when it reaches the upper red line. That just means we reached the first danger mark people! Speaking of lines, how can two men drawing in crayons on a map on the floor have made the be all and end all of negotiations (the green line).
7) The fact that despite their side-by-side tombs, David Ben Gurion is not actually buried next to his wife Paula. And speaking of Davids in tombs, if the tomb of King David is not really the tomb of King David, who exactly is buried in David's tomb?
8) What is so great about cottage cheese? The straw that broke the camel's back in this country, which led to the largest protest in the history of the State of Israel, I kid you not, was a one shekel rise in the cost of cottage cheese. Not our issues with the Palestinians, immigration, reparations from Germany post-Holocaust, nope, cottage cheese. Ok, it was a symbol of the squeezing of the middle class here. And bonus - how can Israeli products be sold abroad for twice as cheap as they are sold here. Ahh... and now you understand how over half of us are in minus in our bank accounts (and that was pre-Corona).
9) How in all **** did we manage to fit 4 tons of hummus onto a single dish to break the Guinness Book of World Records record - only to watch it get broken by Lebanon a few months alter with a 11.4 ton dish of hummus. Who exactly is making these dishes?
10) How our enemies have not changed their battle cry for years. "We will throw the Jews into the sea," they claim. Seriously? What happened when there was a giant flood and everyone drowned? Noah built an ark. The Israelites got to the Red Sea?
Moses split it. Jonah got thrown off the boat? He hitched a ride in a whale (big fish). Jesus? He just walked on the water. Seriously, WE DON'T DROWN. You think they would have learned from history by now.
Bonus: How we've not only survived here for 72 years despite everyone around us wanting to throw us into the sea - and not only have we survived, but we have thrived in the face of it. That's maybe the biggest mystery (or rather miracle) of all.
But okay, if you want all the strange but true things that exist in Israel - lost cities, Stonehenge's grandma, etc., click the link below :)
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