Golan Heights. Do the two words mean much to you? Perhaps you have caught them on a news bulletin now and then.
Kristine and I learned about this part of Israel first hand. It was the first two weeks of April, 2019. She and I were on tour in Israel.
Our leader, who I will call Tom for the sake of this piece, was an author and a Sephardic, Messianic Jew. Messianic Jews believe Christ is our savior. Sephardim are essentially Middle-Eastern, non-Ashkenazi Jews. Ashkenazi Jews are, in essence, European Jews. They have moved in great numbers to Israel.
Tom led our Israel Bible Tours group of about 30 through the Golan Heights. Not long before our visit the Golan Heights was impassable for tourists due to explosive violence.
In the Golan Heights we saw beautiful rolling green hills. We viewed the Biblically-addressed Mount Hermon. The grand mountain was crowned with snow.
In contrast, further on, we saw a stark, Israeli, military outpost. What we were able to see consisted of off-white buildings and little greenery.
Our tour leader was a former member of the Israeli Defense Forces. Soon, as the group sat in an outdoor amphitheater, Tom spoke to us about this striking place. As we cast our eyes on miles of scenic, green hills, he said that at the end of the northern horizon were the Syrian and Lebanese borders. He added that at those borders were electrified fences unapparent to our naked eyes. We also saw two, preserved, non-Israeli tanks to our left about 100 yards away. Yes, there were contrasts.
“Peter R. Mansoor (born February 28, 1960) is a former United States Army officer and a military historian. He is known primarily as the executive officer to General David Petraeus during the Iraq War…” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Mansoor)
Per Colonel Mansoor as to the Six Day War in June of 1967:
Jordan and Syria entered the conflict only to suffer territorial losses for their troubles when Israeli forces decisively defeated their militaries. Israeli forces seized the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, as well as the Golan Heights—strategically located high ground along the Israeli-Syrian border. Arab forces suffered 20,000 killed as opposed to only 800 Israeli dead.
Praying at the Western Wall and visiting the Golan Heights were the high points of our trip. I won’t again hear those two words, Golan Heights, without remembering this picturesque and dangerous portion of God’s green earth.