Wednesday, May 30, 2018

10 Unforgettable Bedouin Tourism Experiences In Israel

  Enjoy Your Self-Talk When Doing What You Must

Sometimes you can find ways to actually enjoy doing something dull or boring. But when you can't come up with a creative way to enjoy what you are doing, you can still talk to yourself in interesting and fun ways. Your hands will be engaged in an activity that you need to do, but your mind will be engaged in a running dialogue that is interesting and even entertaining.

How you feel at any given moment will depend greatly on your self-talk at that moment. Even if you start out with negative self-talk that creates distress, realize that your thoughts are the key factor in whether you will feel good or bad.

People who have learned how to talk to themselves in ways they find enjoyable find enjoyment when others find distress. They don't procrastinate as much. They get more done. If you can't think creatively when you're doing something you don't enjoy, you can always think thoughts of gratitude. Thinking gratefully lifts your spirit and is the basis of happiness.
Love Yehuda Lave

Awaiting Israel's Demise

Awaiting Israel's Demise What would happen if Israel were to disappear and be replaced by a Palestinian state.

Since 1948, we Arabs have been taught that all we need to do is get rid of the Jewish state, and ‎everything else will go well after that. Our dictators took full advantage of this idea. Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser locked up and executed his opposition members ‎using his famous excuse: "No voices are to be allowed except for those for the war with ‎Israel." Iraqi President Saddam Hussein adopted the Palestinian flag and had it ‎printed, distributed and flown alongside his own flag, and even said, "Palestine and Iraq share the same ‎identical cause." In short, we Arabs have put 70 years of our existence on hold while awaiting that ‎‎"glorious day" when we defeat Israel and "feed the Jews to the fish."

But that day did not come, nor does ‎it seem to be coming, as Jordanian opposition figure Emad Tarifi once told me: "It seems the fish in ‎the sea are not betting on us feeding them Jews." ‎

In addition, we Arabs have given our dictators carte blanche to impoverish, terrorize, oppress and ‎destroy us all in the name of "the great Arab struggle to end the Zionist entity." The outcome of this has ‎been clear: While Israel made 10 new breakthroughs in cancer and cardiac treatments in the last two years ‎alone, we Arabs developed new execution methods. The latest is death by drowning in a cage, as ‎shown in an Islamic State group video two weeks ago.‎

We Arabs have wasted seven decades of our existence awaiting Israel's demise. It is time to think of the future, and whether Israel's "disappearance" should be our ‎ultimate wish.‎

Being the son of two Palestinian-Jordanian refugees, I find myself inclined to fear for the future. Regardless of my stance toward Israel, I have to think: What would happen if, one day, Israel were to disappear? While it does not seem feasible, it is the day around which entire Arab political, social and economic systems revolve. ‎

It is not only Arabs who want Israel gone. There are others who seek the same, for ‎example anti-Semites in the West. Just last week, neo-Nazis marched in London with swastikas and the Palestinian flag. The organizer of the march claimed it was a protest "by all of those ‎who have suffered because of Israel." There are groups calling for a boycott of Israel "for ‎the sake of the Palestinian people." There are countries whose entire foreign policy seems to revolve around opposition to Israel. We ‎Palestinians might have believed that these groups and countries actually care about us, but they take no interest in the fate of the ‎‎150,000 Palestinians being starved to death in Syria's Yarmouk refugee camp, nor in an estimated ‎‎5.8 million Palestinians in Jordan (as indicated by a U.S. Embassy cable) who live as second-‎class citizens and are banned from government jobs and any form of state benefits while paying full taxes.‎

If these Israel-haters got their wish to see Israel disappear, what would ‎happen?‎

First, Israel is the only reason Iran does not yet have nuclear weapons. Iran could buy the ‎technology to produce them, or could learn it quickly the way Pakistan did. Why has Iran been slow in ‎doing so? Because it learned a lesson from the experience of Saddam's Osirak reactor, which Israeli jets reduced to rubble in 1981.‎

Then, almost everyone, including George H. W. Bush who was vice president of the United States at that time, was furious ‎with Israel's move. But 10 years later, when the U.S. fought to liberate Kuwait, ‎the situation would have been totally different if Saddam had kept his nuclear program – and the only reason ‎he did not was Israel.‎

Further, Iran already controls at least a third of Iraq and its resources through a pro-Iranian ‎regime. If Israel were to disappear, Iran would extend its influence into Jordan, Kuwait and Bahrain ‎the next day, as it would not have to fear an Israeli reaction. Iran could then bring the world to its knees by reducing oil ‎production.

Iran is not the only evil power in the Middle East: We also have Islamic State, which has now spread across ‎Iraq, Syria, Sinai and Libya, with clear ambitions to enter Jordan. Islamic State has not entered Jordan yet, and this is not ‎because of any fear of the Jordanian army. After all, the Global Firepower website ranks Jordan's army at ‎the same level as the Iraqi army, which Islamic State has defeated many times. Islamic State does not dare enter Jordan for one reason only – its fear that Israeli jets would catch up with it 15 minutes later.‎

If Israel were to disappear and be replaced by a Palestinian state, the Palestinians would most likely end up ‎with another Arab dictatorship that oppresses them and reduces them to poverty. We have partially ‎seen that with the Palestinian Authority and the "liberated" areas it rules. I regularly visit the West ‎Bank and have interviewed scores of Palestinians there. I can confirm that, as much as they hate ‎Israel, they still openly yearn for the days when it administered the West Bank. As one Palestinian told me, ‎‎"We prayed to God to give us mercy and rid us of Israel; later, we found out that God had ‎given us mercy when Israel was here."‎

To those Arabs, Muslims, Westerners and others insisting that Israel must be erased from face of the ‎planet, I say: Don't bet on it, as Israel is becoming stronger every day through its democracy and ‎innovation, while Arab countries are getting weaker through dictatorship and chaos. And be careful ‎what you wish for, because if you were to get it, you too would most likely disappear, unless you ‎yearn to be ruled by Iran or Islamic State.‎

In short, if the day were to come when Israel falls, Jordan, Egypt and many others would fall, too, and ‎Westerners would be begging Iran for oil.‎

We can hate Israel as much as we like, but we must realize that without it, we too would be ‎gone.‎

One who withholds grain will be cursed by the nation (Proverbs 11:26).

This verse refers to people who have knowledge and refuse to share it with others. Our Sages strongly criticize these people. The Talmud states that prophets who did not convey their prophecies to the people committed a grave sin. The Sages extend this principle to one who has gained insights into the Torah and does not make them available to others.

This principle applies to skills and talents. In the Sanctuary, those Kohanim (priests) who possessed certain talents were soundly condemned if they guarded them as family secrets.

Exclusive economic rights such as patents and copyrights pose no problem; inventors and authors should enjoy the profits of their labor. However, when the question is not one of income, but merely one of pride in being the sole person to possess information that others could use and enjoy, the Talmud spares no words in its condemnation.

We pray to God to grant us wisdom, and if we possess a particular skill, we should recognize it as a Divine gift. We should be grateful for having been chosen as the recipient of this gift, and so we should never be selfish and claim this gift as our exclusive property. Rather, we should make our talents and knowledge available to everyone.

To the degree that people can teach, they are obligated to do so, regardless of their status in life. If others fail to take advantage of what a teacher has to offer, that is their misfortune.

Today I shall ...

refrain from keeping to myself any knowledge or information that can be helpful to others.

Most memorable quotes

September 23, 2015 | 4:30am


Yogi Berra


Yogi Berra, considered one of the best catchers in major league history, died of natural causes at the age of 90, on  September 22, 2015. The Yankees legend and Hall of Famer may be better known for the way he creatively butchered the English language, with what became known as Yogi-isms.

Here are 35:

1. "It ain't over till it's over."

2. "It's deja vu all over again."

3. "I usually take a two-hour nap from 1 to 4."

4. "Never answer an anonymous letter."

5. "We made too many wrong mistakes."

6. "You can observe a lot by watching."

7. "The future ain't what it used to be."

8. "If you don't know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else."

9. "It gets late early out here."

10. "If the people don't want to come out to the ballpark, nobody's going to stop them."

11. "Baseball is 90 percent mental. The other half is physical."

12. "Pair up in threes."

13. "Why buy good luggage, you only use it when you travel."

14. "Nobody goes there anymore. It's too crowded."

15. "All pitchers are liars or crybabies."

16. "A nickel ain't worth a dime anymore."

17. "Bill Dickey is learning me his experience."

18. "He hits from both sides of the plate. He's amphibious."

19. "I always thought that record would stand until it was broken."

20. "I can see how he (Sandy Koufax) won 25 games. What I don't understand is how he lost five."

Joe DiMaggio and Yogi Berra in 1955.

21. "I don't know (if they were men or women fans running naked across the field). They had bags over their heads."

22. "I'm a lucky guy and I'm happy to be with the Yankees. And I want to thank everyone for making this night necessary."

23. "I'm not going to buy my kids an encyclopedia. Let them walk to school like I did."

24. "In baseball, you don't know nothing."

25. "I never blame myself when I'm not hitting. I just blame the bat and if it keeps up, I change bats. After all, if I know it isn't my fault that I'm not hitting, how can I get mad at myself?"

26. "I never said most of the things I said."

27. "It ain't the heat, it's the humility."

28. "I think Little League is wonderful. It keeps the kids out of the house."

29. "I wish everybody had the drive he (Joe DiMaggio) had. He never did anything wrong on the field. I'd never seen him dive for a ball, everything was a chest-high catch, and he never walked off the field."

30. "So I'm ugly. I never saw anyone hit with his face."

31. "Take it with a grin of salt."

32. (On the 1973 Mets) "We were overwhelming underdogs."

33. "The towels were so thick there I could hardly close my suitcase."

34. "You should always go to other people's funerals, otherwise, they won't come to yours."

35. "When you come to a fork in the road, take it."

Sources: Los Angeles Times, Baseball Almanac, Baseball Digest, Catcher in the Wry (Bob Uecker), Sports Illustrated

10 Unforgettable Bedouin Tourism Experiences In Israel


If experience-based travel is your thing, you may want to book some time with real people of the settled nomadic tribes of Israel's North and South. The Bedouin claim to fame is extraordinary hospitality, so whatever adventure you choose is sure to be a cultural highlight of your Israeli journey, especially when set against the backdrop of the gorgeous desert or unimpeded starry night sky.

  1. Kfar Hanokdim

View from Kfar Hanokdim. Photo by Joni Gritzner

Located just outside  Arad, Kfar HaNokdim is a unique Bedouin-inspired site on a beautiful desert mountain overlook.

Set up as a fully equipped modern camp with private cabins or wooden-floored sukkahs, hot showers and cold filtered drinking water, the site offers educational demonstrations on Bedouin hospitality, evening bonfires, camel rides, desert hiking treks and sunset jeep rides.

The site even has its own  app to make journeying into the desert an interactive learning experience. Meals are feasts, served in a khan (traditional Bedouin tent) amid tranquil scenic surroundings.

A Bedouin feast served at Kfar Hanokdim. Photo by Joni Gritzner

Don't want to go it alone? The Abraham Hostel's Like a  Bedouin Hiking Tour, which starts at the hostel in Tel Aviv, takes you to Kfar HaNokdim for an organized experience that includes an overnight stay followed by a challenging day-trek to the Dead Sea.

  1. Negev Highland Trail 

Here's where traveling on a shoestring budget can lead to the adventure of a lifetime. The Negev Highland Trail is a marked hiking path stretching from Sde Boker south of Beersheva, all the way down to the Ramon Crater, and is comprised of six installments of four- to eight-hour hikes, each of which conveniently ends at a Bedouin encampment or hostel providing dinner and breakfast.

Thanks to a partnership with the  Wild Trails adventure hiking and travel company, accommodations along the trail can now be fully booked in advance, an option well worth considering for non-Hebrew speakers.

  1. Wild Trails Unfiltered Bedouin Experiences

Visitors watch a Bedouin coffee ceremony on a Wild Trails tour. Photo by Gilad Sade

Those interested in sustainable tourism will appreciate the authentic Bedouin cultural experiences offered by this adventure company based out of Arad. Take a behind-the-scenes guided tour of unrecognized (off the grid) Bedouin villages and meet locals, spend the day with Bedouin shepherds in the Judean hills over Hebron, take a coffee ceremony, weaving, or pita workshop, or stay overnight in a Bedouin family's home and have a feast.

Additionally, "Life in the Desert" jeep tours give travelers an up-close look at the beauty of the untouched desert, while stopping off for Bedouin hospitality in a secluded village before returning to the city of Arad.

  1. Desert Daughter

Mariam Abu Rkeek at Desert Daughter cosmetics and hospitality center in Tel Sheva. Photo: courtesy

The creator of the world's first Bedouin cosmetics line, Mariam Abu Rkeek has her studio and visitors' center in the Bedouin town of Tel Sheva, just outside Beersheva.

Aside from selling healing soaps, creams, balms and serums made with traditional Bedouin herbs, spices and camel's milk, she also hosts guests along with her husband, Naje, out of their home in the unrecognized village of Bir Alhamam. There you will learn all about life in a Bedouin village, as well as the history of the area.

  1. The Joe Alon Center-The Museum of Bedouin Culture

In Lahav Forest in the middle of the northern Negev, among the planted trees of the Jewish National Fund you will find ancient Jewish and Christian ruins, lookouts, bike and hiking paths — and the Joe Alon Center.

This museum of Bedouin heritage and culture is the only one of its kind in the world, and displays the traditional way of nomadic Bedouin life in the past 100 years, including cultural and spiritual-based exhibits and a petting zoo with baby camels and donkeys.

A large Bedouin tent outside the museum provides both hospitality and lodging. For a more low-key experience, guests can sample Bedouin cuisine at the museum's cafeteria.

  1. Finjan Travel's Judean Hills Bedouin Trip 

Bonding with Bedouins in the Judean Hills. Photo by Gabi Berger for Finjan Travel

Showcasing a part of Israeli culture rarely seen by those not traveling in an organized tour, Israeli adventure travel company Finjan provides day trips, treks and off-the-beaten-path experiences for solo travelers. Bedouin guides lead you to places unseen by many Israelis, including Negev Bedouin encampments and paths hidden deep within the Judean Desert.

A chance to bond with the professional team and get to know their way of life is a highlight, second only to the serene views and absolute quiet of the desert, which can be experienced for a couple of hours up to a few days.

  1. Sfinat HaMidbar (Desert Ship)

A Bedouin khan in Ramat HaNegev with several different options for private overnight accommodations and in a communal tent, Sfinat HaMidbar offers a bountiful Bedouin dinner and breakfast, desert jeep rides, camel treks along scenic paths, and guided night hikes in nearby Nahal Havarim. Desert Ship also can be booked as a unique event destination for a party.

  1. Bedouin Experience in the Galilee

Providing a rare glimpse into the life of Bedouins residing in the northern region of the Galilee, Bedouin Experience in the Galilee provides Bedouin feasts, coffee hospitality, educational workshops on Bedouin foods and local indigenous plants, as well as cultural symbolism and storytelling. Stop off here for a meal, overnight lodging in between area hiking, or for a group event with friends and family.

  1. Han Shayarot Desert Activities and Lodging 

An all-around experience, Han Shayarot in Midreshet Ben Gurion just outside of Sde Boker provides Bedouin meals and/or refreshments to travelers, as well as air-conditioned cabins for desert glampers, Bedouin tent sleeping, and a campground.

The site also has camel rides on offer, as well as desert rappelling with trained professionals, jeep rides and rentals, along with the requisite demonstrations of the Bedouin coffee ceremony and hospitality.

  1. Galilee Bedouin Camplodge

Inside a room in the Galilee Bedouin Camplodge. Photo: courtesy

Take part in seasonal activities of the northern Tabash tribe at this lodging and Bedouin experience in the Lower Galilee. Stay in a 15-bed Bedouin tent, a renovated old British train wagon, or a tipi tent, and take part in village activities such as olive picking, sheep herding, or even a wedding celebration. Or just enjoy the village's quiet setting and surrounding hiking, biking and jeep trails.

Bonding with Bedouins in the Judean Hills. Photo by Gabi Berger for Finjan Travel 

See you tomorrow
Love Yehuda Lave
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