Early in the morning, we went back to Yigdal Museum to finish our tour. We were happy to find some Hebraic artifacts tucked away in the far corners of the building.
the next attraction was the Arbel Nature Reserve just outside of Tiberias with it sheer cliffs filled with man-made caves. Even though we couldn't locate the peak's entrance, and we didn't climb up or down the extremely steep mountain paths, we had astounding views of Arbel's extensive cubbyholes from the roadside.
That afternoon, we traveled to Mt. Betel, the scene of decisive battles the Israelis won against the Syrians. We saw lots of barbed wire and discarded Syrian tanks plus expansive views of the Golan Heights.
Have Uzi, Will Travel
At Mt. Betel, I saw a contingent of young IDF (Israeli Defense Force) recruits eating at the site’s restaurant and kibitzing with one another. I wasn’t surprised that they were dressed in combat attire and had Uzis slung around their shoulders. But I was a little taken aback when I noticed that two of the soldiers were women who looked very comfortable not only with their comrades but also with their submachine guns. Before long, I saw a fellow in a T-shirt and shorts; he may have been out of uniform, but he too had an Uzi strapped to him.
Mayhem, No; Mitzvah, Yes
As my wife and I drove away from Mt. Betel, one of the Golan Heights’ scenic outpost outlooks, a young man in ultra-orthodox garb—his payis (ear locks) flapping in the wind--frantically waved at us to stop. He seemed genuinely alarmed, so we accommodated him. Immediately, he rushed behind us and slammed shut our wide-open trunk that we had evidently forgotten to close. Without asking for our abundant gratitude, he quickly continued to walk up the mountain path.
We didn’t reflect on this incident until after arriving near dark at our apartment a few hours later. My wife’s new hi-tech pal, the iPad 2, which she had left in the trunk and which she had not used that day, was missing. No matter how painstakingly my wife and I ransacked the trunk (and the rest of the car) that evening and the next morning, we couldn’t locate the iPad. Throughout our frustrating searches, we began to suspect that the piously dressed young man was a fraud—he himself (or one of his conniving cohorts) might have stolen the device just before he closed the trunk.
Even though we were getting resigned to being scammed, I made one last attempt to find the iPad. While my wife was entering an ancient church, I began to dismantle the carpet in the trunk. As I did so, I felt something like a plastic latch embedded in the middle of the rounded trunk panel. I yanked on it; the handle and then the rest of the miraculously undamaged iPad emerged. Somehow, in all of our scouring within the trunk, we must have pushed the iPad into its securely hidden pocket.
I was elated. I jumped about, tracked down my wife, deliriously displayed the iPad to her, and watched her beam at my heroic catch.
After we calmed down, we realized that we had made some obviously careless mistakes during the past two days. We failed to shut the trunk; and we didn’t have the foresight to get a flashlight. As we have learned in prior excavations for our lost treasures, the flashlight is your friend. But our greatest error was to assume that someone had hijacked our iPad. It’s so tempting to play the victim; it’s much harder to look within ourselves.