We took the local 'Afikim' bus number 81 from Karnei Shomron to Kafar Sabah for 5.30 nis (New Israeli Shekels). We then took the next bus to the Tel Aviv bus 'Tachanat Mercazit' (Central Station), costing 10.90 nis. I am enjoying seeing the countryside. It's an amazing contrast going from the more sparsely populated Shomron mountains to the much more established low country of the far more populace, modern and Jewish, coastal region. Before leaving the hill country I take note of the large Arab town of Qalqilya on the Shomron border. Especially impressive are the two minarets standing like missiles poised for launch from the Qalqilya Mosque's golden domed 'control room'.
As our bus hurtled down the highway through Tel Aviv I marveled at the new skyscrapers that are beginning to pepper the skyline. Eventually our bus made its way to the Tel Aviv Central Station. It was still the same drab run down building I remember from my previous two visits. Looking a bit like a parking lot converted into a bus station and mall it shows signs of heavy use and a lot of neglect. It is a terrible introduction to the city. Still, the food there is good value and the shops are really convenient. That said, it should have the interior redone or rebuilt entirely. It looks like something from the 1970's. I wonder if it will look the same in ten years time?
Keen to look around I talked Johan into walking down the streets towards Jaffa (Joppa). Tel Aviv grew from a tiny outpost and eventually joined up to nearby Jaffa. They are now one and the same city 'Tel Aviv-Jaffa'. Joppa was an ancient port city. This was where Peter had his vision...
8 And when he had declared all these things unto them, he sent them to Joppa. 9 On the morrow, as they went on their journey, and drew nigh unto the city, Peter went up upon the housetop to pray about the sixth hour: 10 And he became very hungry, and would have eaten: but while they made ready, he fell into a trance, 11 And saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending unto him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth: 12 Wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air. 13 And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat. 14 But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean. 15 And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common. 16 This was done thrice: and the vessel was received up again into heaven. 17 Now while Peter doubted in himself what this vision which he had seen should mean, behold, the men which were sent from Cornelius had made enquiry for Simon's house, and stood before the gate, 18 And called, and asked whether Simon, which was surnamed Peter, were lodged there...
This was not a message to tell Peter to forget the Biblical Jewish dietary laws as is commonly thought by many Christians. Rather it was a message from the Lord that the Gentiles were coming into the New Covenant and they were no longer unclean and we're able to receive the gifts of the Spirit just like the Jewish believers.
Ok, so after leaving the central bus station we made our way towards Jaffa and dropped in at the tourist information office and got a map and list of hostels and then made our way to the top of Old Jaffa. It was good for me to see the city from this vantage point. I was here at the end of 1993 and again in the first half of 2004. I took some pictures and video and strolled along the beach front for a while. I just wanted to see it all again. Then we had to get some accommodation near Jaffa so Johan suggested the Florentine hostel. When we eventually found it it was booked out. I didn't bother booking in advance because tourism was way down, and we phoned another nearby hostel named 'Overstay TLV' and thankfully we got a room with air conditioning. We dropped our packs and strolled back down to Jaffa and the beach followed by a meal at a restaurant. As dusk settled in we finished our meal and began our stroll back up 'Olie Tsiyon and Derek Ben Tsvi' roads soaking up the ambience and street musicians. Back at the hostel I finished my previous two blogs and uploaded my videos using the free hostel wifi. There is free wifi in most built up and suburban areas here in Israel.
Here is how the 2012 edition of the "Lonely Planet" guide to "Israel & the Palestinian Territories" describes Tel Aviv...
'While the state of Israel hits the headlines, the state of Tel Aviv (TLV) is a city of outdoor cafes, leafy boulevards and long sandy beaches. A favorite with Europeans looking for some some year-round sun, Tel Aviv is fast becoming a bubble of boutiques, bistros and brasseries. All over the city old Bauhaus buildings are getting a well-needed facelift and skyscrapers aspire to build a kind of Manhattan in the Middle East. Yet the real Tel Aviv is found in humble hummus joints, wine bars hidden down alleyways, fresh-fruit-shake stalls, quiet memorial gardens and chaotic marketplaces.
With its plethora of pick-up bars, nightclubs and all night parties. Tel Aviv has been labeled 'Sin City'. But appearances can be deceptive. The diversity of its people, music, meseums, art galleries and graffiti all testify that Tel Aviv has soul.'
Tel Aviv - what's in a name?
The above description of Tel Aviv from a tourist guidebook is reasonable, as far as it goes, but what does Tel Aviv represent spiritually? In the 'Old Testament' there was a place called 'Tel Aviv' that was a place by the river 'Chebar' in the land of Israel's captivity after they were deported. The King James bible spells it 'Telabib', but in Hebrew it's the same spelling as the modern city Tel Aviv, תֵּל אָבִיב. Lets look at the verse...
וָאָבֹוא אֶל־הַגֹּולָה תֵּל אָבִיב הַיֹּשְׁבִים אֶֽל־נְהַר־כְּבָר וָאֲשֶׁר הֵמָּה יֹושְׁבִים שָׁם וָאֵשֵׁב שָׁם שִׁבְעַת יָמִים מַשְׁמִים בְּתֹוכָֽם׃
Ezekiel 3:15 Then I came to them of the captivity at Telabib, that dwelt by the river of Chebar, and I sat where they sat, and remained there astonished among them seven days.
'Tel', תֵּל means 'heap'. When cities were invaded and the stone walls and buildings were pulled down, the city was often rebuilt over the remains. The process of wars, destruction and rebuilding would create an increasingly large mound of stones which were called a 'tel'. The word 'Aviv', אָבִיב is related to the barley harvest in the first month, 'Nissan' when the first heads of spring barley are green or 'aviv' in Hebrew. So maybe the idea is that from the ruins ('tel'), Israel would spring up fresh and new ('aviv'). Something new ('aviv') was springing from something old ('tel')
So far so good, but why is the principle city built by the early political Zionists named after a place of captivity? Certainly modern Israel's foundation was secular, not religious. The Jews have a secular state in their ancient homeland in the middle east. But they are not fully independent, the nations apply pressure on them and Israel all too often yeilds. Perhaps the name 'Tel Aviv' like its biblical counterpart also belies the modern secular state's captive nature, held hostage to rulers outside the state. Israel often bows to external pressure, especially from its friend, the USA. On the one hand Israel is a sovereign Jewish state, but on the other hand, like her name sake in Ezekiel chapter 3 she is still a captive in exile. Interestingly most nations do not accept Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, including the United States who's embassy is in Tel Aviv. So Tel Aviv is the capital as far as Israel's closest friend is concerned. That's a peculiar kind of friend I must say. The USA has a consulate in Jerusalem but no embassy there and they will not recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital. It sounds like jealousy and spite to me, the hidden hatred of Esau towards Jacob. That said, the USA is also home to many Jews and the 10 lost tribes, and they are also held captive in Esau's 'fortress of imagination' in the candy land of the 'free' west.
In any case, Tel Aviv represents something new from something old, and it also represents the current captivity of Israel in their own land. They are dominated externally by their friends until they collectively put their trust in the Lord and not in man.
Israel needs to change from a secular state into a Torah based nation. At some stage after that it will be ready for the raising up of the Levitcal Cohannim, Davidic Manarchy. According to the prophets this will coincide with the regathering of the 10 lost tribes of the 'House of Israel'.
Another interesting fact is that modern Tel Aviv is founded on sand. Here is what the Bible has to say about that...
24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: 25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. 26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: 27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it. 28 And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine: 29 For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.
Just as modern Israel began by building in the sand, so they were in a low place spiritually. It would be foolish to remain there. As Israel looks to the hills the wise amongst them will say, 'from where does my help come from?' As they take hold of the hills they will know that their help comes from the Lord, Psalm 121.
The low sandy coastal areas including Tel Aviv and other connected coastal cities have been the early focus of Jewish settlement and urbanization. Now Israel is beginning to take a furtive hold of the mountains of Judea and Samaria (really the 'east bank' of Israel not the 'west bank' of Jordan). Israel is thus going up spiritually as they go up physically. At the same time as a tentative foothold in the mountains is taking place, a much more massive push to urbanize the low lying Negev desert to the south is taking place. Even a Forrest is being planted around Beersheba and hi tech industry and large military bases are being established there. So Israel is changing for the better physically. Hopefully when the water flows like a river in the desert, love will flow in the peoples hearts for the Lord and one another, and for the stranger also. When love abounds the temple will be built. For the temple is established in righteousness.
Day two in Tel Aviv.
The next morning Johan and I decided to travel back to the guest house in Karnei Shomron. But I wanted to travel into the Centre of Tel Aviv and compare it to what I had seen 10 years ago. So we took a bus to Arlosorov street bus terminal and I took some videos and pictures. It is amazing to see all the modern buildings shooting up every where along with cranes dotting the skyline. What is more amazing is the contrast between old tumbled down buildings and their new rivals. There are nice old buildings and shabby ones but the general impression is a city on the up and up and on the mend. Tel Aviv is a hive of small industry. It has the feeling of being alive and kicking.
Once we got to the bus terminal I was going to go for a walk but we decided to just take some pics of the area. Unfortunately I had left my Samsung Galaxy tablet on the bus. I am so absent minded sometimes. Johan prayed and I quickly asked the Fathers help and then went into panic mode!!! We had left the bus about 5 to 10 minutes ago. I said to Johan, "what's the chances of getting it back?" In a frantic dash I tried to get help. I went to a nearby bus timetable info kiosk and the lady directed me to call the Dan bus service lost property department. I did so and found myself lost in Hebrew voicemail land and was getting nowhere fast. The clock was ticking. I then knocked on the doors of some parked busses but the drivers didn't want to talk. Eventually one opened the door and pointed me in the direction of an egged bus service ticket kiosk. I was not on an Egged bus but I took his advice. Sadly there was no one there. I went back a second time and then finally a third time with Johan, and then a side door opened and out came a bus driver. I hurriedly spoke to the folks inside. It just so happened that the guy I was speaking to was the bus driver but I didn't recognize him. Thank goodness he wasn't on another bus circuit immediately. Someone would have sat in the seat and it would be unlikely I would get it back even if someone did hand it in to the bus driver. But I was in for another suprise. The chap in the room next to us handed me my tablet device. Wow!!!! This was another sign of the Lord's favour. I was so amazingly relieved and thankful. You can see me on Youtube excitedly relating the event. Thank you Father. I told the lady in the ticket office of the 'Nes Gadol' (big miracle) and she was encouraged. She was reading a Jewish prayerbook, another sign that many in Tel Aviv are quietly changing and beginning to look to the heavens for help.
We took a bus to the very shabby Tel Aviv Central Station ('Tachanat Mercazit'). On our way I was able to see a lot of Tel Aviv and took some videos in high definition from my tablet. It was delightful to see the neat gardens and tree lined avenues as well as the many cafes. The city was teaming with life.
After arriving there I purchased an Israeli a grey-green cap with "Israeli police, border guard" writen in yellow Hebrew stitching and Johan bought an airforce beret. Then we got ourselves a really good 'shwarma' meal with a side salad and chips for 16 nis. We sat down and before we finished our meal a chap came up selling green tickets for something. I told him I had already given some money for a charity donation. He asked where I was from and after I replied he told me many of those people that are not Jewish among Christians and messianics who support Israel were from 10 lost tribes and Ephraim. His name is Daniel Levine. He also knew Ovadiah and asked me to pass on to him a message regarding the regathering of the lost tribes. He said that there are both religious Jews and Messianic Jews and others that see the vision. What an amazing divine appointment and completely out of the blue. It was a brief encounter but certainly an encouraging one.
We piled onto the bus and I headed back to Karnei Shomron. I have been there a couple of days and have put together this report. I now intend to go back to Amos and Leas place on Sunday. I am hoping to be able to visit the Shomron but I need to find a guide to some places maybe. Otherwise I will just have to do some day trips to Arial and from there take some busses and do my own tour Lord willing.
1. Divine appointments in Tel Aviv, Daniel Levine (not sure of spelling).
2. Lost Samsung Galaxy tablet returned.
3. Many good pictures and videos taken.
4. Johan's good humoured christian company.
1. To find some means to tour the Shomron before I run out of money. This is the reason I came and I need some favour from the Lord to do this as the Shomron is not set up for tourism like the rest of Israel.
2. For more fellowship. Unlike previous visits to Israel I am not meeting many believers because of the Gaza war and because I am not in the touristy parts of Israel, but in the more remote Shomron hills of the wild west bank.
3. For the next week I will be without fellow believers or connection to the Internet. I cannot organize a tour of the Shomron. The free Internet that we have at the guest house in Karnei Shomron is not working due some technical fault. I am only able to upload this update through a free connection I found in town. Please pray for the Lord's guidance and favour despite this difficulty. I want to help Amos and Lea for another week. But I need to tour the Shomron somehow.
4. Please pray that I hear from the Lord and that in my weakness something will open up by a divine appointment and that I am able to visit Ariel and other settlements with someone. I need to meet people. I don't want to just hang around and not achieve anything. Nevertheless I want to help out Amos and Lea for a week or so because I want to encourage them in their work on their 'wild bolder' hilltop.
Here are the YouTube playlist Links...
2014 Trip to Israel - Tel Aviv: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLVXH1_3_2UO8HmIWJ3zQdjsEL0rzMieIU
2014 Trip to Israel - Jaffa: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLVXH1_3_2UO9rHX41V9Iab7uj_rxXLh0h