Our first tour was to Jaffa. Now a suburb of Tel Aviv, this area predates modern Tel Aviv and archaeologically dates back through some of the world's greatest empires, including the Egyptian, Roman, and Ottoman. As a port city, Jaffa was highly valued for its strategic location. The first settlers of the modern Tel Aviv braved leaving the safety of the walls of Jaffa to create a new modern neighborhood which would become Tel Aviv. Jaffa is made of narrow sandstone passageways with small rooms which today house various artistic shops, exemplified by this 'floating tree' along the pathway.
Historically, the port at Jaffa was the arrival location for many Jewish immigrants making the difficult journey to this land via ships. The shops that fill the city today would have instead been neighborhoods full of Arab and Jewish families.
When viewing the ancient history of Jaffa, it is easy to see the skyline of Tel Aviv not far away.
On Friday, we were able to have a meeting with two foreign service offers from the American Embassy who gave us great information on the issues in Israel currently of top priority to the U.S. Government and also answered our many questions regarding a diverse range of topics such as immigration in Israel, water rights, settlements, and possible Israeli/Palestinian state solutions.
Having seen the city of Tel Aviv, I am very excited to travel to Jerusalem and Northern Israel to really compare these different parts of the country and issues that are present.
Last, but certainly not least....Delicious food!!