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Geo-Politics along the Border with Lebanon

helicopters tragedy monumnetWe start the day with a visit to the Helicopter Memorial . In the aftermath of the 1982 First Lebanon War, Israel Defense Forces (IDF) occupied a narrow strip of Southern Lebanon known as the Security Zone.  Thousands of IDF combat soldiers rotated in and out of the zone for four month periods at a time.  Flare ups were common, and there were many casualties on both sides of the border.   As the use of IED’s intensified during fighting in the 1990s, the IDF increased the use of CH53 Sikorsky transport helicopters to fly in soldiers and supplies to its two dozen or so forts in the security zone.   On February 4, 1997 two of these helicopters crashed into each other, killing all 73 soldiers and flight crew abroad.  Three years later the IDF withdrew from southern Lebanon.

Next we reach the Dado lookout in Metulla. Metulla is one of the oldest towns in the modern period. Founded over 100 years ago by immigrants from Europe, the town has remained its old charm and is known as the “Switzerland of Israel”.  As you will see from the lookout, Metulla is surrounded on three sides by Lebanon. A discerning eye can see Hezbollah flags in the not so far distance. Nearby we will visit the “Shomer Museum”. This Museum tells the story of the beginnings of Jewish self defense, including the founding of Bar Giora (1907) and HaShomer (1909).  These organizations were the precursors of the Jewish underground movements such as the Hagannah and the Etzel, which served as the foundation for the IDF (Israel Defense Forces).

After a lunch break we will drive along the The Northern Road of Israel, constructed some 80 years ago. During the 1936-1939 Arab Revolt much weaponry was smuggled into Mandatory Palestine from Lebanon and Syria.  In an attempt to seal the border and stop the smuggling, the British Government built a series of forts and a frontier road, known as the frontier road.  Over sixty Tegart forts, named after Sir Charles Tegart, the British colonial police officer who designed  them, were built all over Palestine, with many still servicing Israeli and Palestinian police forces to this day.

We will end the day at Mount Adir, one of the tallest mountains in all of Israel and is the perfect spot to peek into southern Lebanon.  From its too you will be able to see firsthand how Hezbollah is preparing for the next round of fighting.  On the mountain is also a beautiful memorial to the 121 IDF soldiers killed fighting Hezbollah during the 2006 Second Lebanon War.