Old Jaffa, Israel - Stories of Jonah and Peter #travel #VisitIsrael

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My trip to Israel was of an evangelical nature, so most of the sites I visited were of biblical significance. I was amazed to be standing in places that I've only read about in the Bible! It certainly makes the stories in the Bible more real. Most of you have probably heard the biblical story of Jonah who was swallowed by a big fish, which Jesus later spoke about.

Matthew 12:40 "For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth."

Old Jaffa Port, near the southern end of Tel Aviv, Israel, is the place where Jonah hopped onto a boat thousands of years ago to escape from God because he didn't want to do what God told him to do.
Jonah 1: 1 The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: 2 “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.” 3 But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa (Jaffa), where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the Lord.
The biblical town of Joppa is now called Jaffa. It was the first main port of the coast of Israel. Tel Aviv was originally constructed on the outskirts of Jaffa, but now surrounds the ancient city. Old Jaffa Harbor is one of the world's oldest harbors and still functions today for small fishing boats.
Gazing out over the beautiful Mediterranean Sea on that warm February morning, I imagined the fear and desperation in Jonah's heart as he tried to run away from God many years ago. I am glad that I know that God is always with us.

Jeremiah 23:24 Who can hide in secret places so that I cannot see them?” declares the Lord. “Do not I fill heaven and earth?” declares the Lord.
The water break at the harbor of Old Jaffa Port is very narrow and includes a natural chain of jagged rocks, both above water and just below the water line, where many boats were damaged as they tried to navigate into the harbor. Jaffa faces west and has welcomed visitors and pilgrims for many years.
Overlooking Old Jaffa is the Church of St. Peter, also facing west towards the sea. For over 1000 years, the site has been a place where Christians gather. It is the place where Peter, an apostle of Jesus, came to raise Tabitha (Dorcas in Greek) from the dead.

Acts 9:40 Peter sent them all out of the room; then he got down on his knees and prayed. Turning toward the dead woman, he said, “Tabitha, get up.” She opened her eyes, and seeing Peter she sat up.
Peter stayed at the house of Simon the Tanner while he was in Joppa (Jaffa). Keep in mind that a tanner is a person who turns animal hides into leather, which is a nasty, smelly occupation that deals with dead and unclean animals.
Old Jaffa is also the site where Peter had his vision.

Acts 10:9 About noon the following day as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the roof to pray. 10 He became hungry and wanted something to eat, and while the meal was being prepared, he fell into a trance. 11 He saw heaven opened and something like a large sheet being let down to earth by its four corners. 12 It contained all kinds of four-footed animals, as well as reptiles and birds. 13 Then a voice told him, “Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.” 14 “Surely not, Lord!” Peter replied. “I have never eaten anything impure or unclean.” 15 The voice spoke to him a second time, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.” 16 This happened three times, and immediately the sheet was taken back to heaven.
Peter realized his vision was God's way of telling him to spread Christianity not only among the Jews, but also to the pagans. The site is the historical birthplace of Christianity as a religion that is open to anyone and that Jesus welcomes everyone to eternal life through Him.
I am indebted to Ms. Michal Neumann, our tour guide. Her knowledge of both history and the Bible, as well as her ability to tell the stories, made my trip to Israel much more meaningful. It's nice, of course, to visit a place you've never been, but without a knowledgeable guide, you may just end up staring at the sea, an old rock, or a building and never realize its true significance.

Visit Israel
Israel Ministry of Tourism

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Carlton Hotel, Tel Aviv, Israel #travel #VisitIsrael

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After a three hour flight from Austin to New York, a five hour layover, and a ten hour flight from New York to Israel, I was exhausted and a bit sore. The time change was interesting, since time in Israel is an eight hour difference from home. As a guest of the Israel Ministry of Tourism, I was quite happy to have an assigned driver to navigate the roads in Tel Aviv at night.
Never having traveled to Israel, I was a tiny bit apprehensive since American media only reports on the tragic events in the country, and stepping into a luxurious hotel room at the Carlton Hotel, Tel Aviv, was absolutely wonderful. The room was large, comfortable, and impeccably clean.
The welcoming room included a king size bed with lots of pillows, sofa and table, desk and chair, large wardrobe, and plenty of lighting. Most important for a blogger, the Carlton had super-fast wifi that was free. I could see the city lights out the window sheers as I closed the drapes to go to bed.
Even the bathroom was beautiful. I woke early, long before the sun rose, since I'd already slept on the flight. I took my time getting ready for the day, delighting in the fact that I was actually in Israel. Visiting the biblical country of Jesus has long been on my bucket list!
As the light outside the hotel, I opened the drapes. To my utter surprise and delight, the room had a balcony that overlooked the Mediterranean Sea! I hadn't even noticed when I checked in the night before. The balcony faced south, with a breathtaking view of the beach.
I walked out onto the balcony to a warm, springlike morning to smell the lightly salted air and watch the gentle waves roll onto the beach. Below me was a boardwalk and off to the right was a marina filled with dozens of boats.
Directly south, I could see lots of high-rise buildings, many of them with construction cranes, since Tel Aviv is a busy economic and entertainment city in Israel. Since it isn't far from the Ben Gurion International Airport, it's the second most visited city in Israel, after Jerusalem, the capital city.
The sun rose to my left and spilled slowly over the city, but my eyes were drawn back to the beauty of the Mediterranean Sea. I could hear a few cars heading into work and the early morning songs of the birds, but mostly I could hear the splash of the gentle waves breaking onto the beach.
There were a few people below, taking a morning run on the boardwalk, swimming laps in the pools, and walking barefoot along the beach. It was incredibly serene for a busy city. The skies displayed brilliant pinks and blues as the sun broke over the city. What a wonderful place to wake up in Israel!
I pulled myself away from the stunning view and went looking for breakfast. The Carlton Hotel boasts an amazing Israeli buffet across multiple tables, with lots of new foods to try. I helped myself to a plateful of both healthy and sweet items, all of which were delicious. I met up with the other two journalists on the trip and we ate by a window that overlooked the glorious beach.
If you're visiting Israel, I highly recommend the Carlton Hotel in Tel Aviv. The staff is ready and willing to serve, the rooms are lovely, and the view is magnificent. After a hearty breakfast, we checked out and met with our driver and tour guide to begin our week exploring Israel.

Stay tuned for many stories to come!

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Thanks for stopping by today!
I spent the last week in Israel
and can't wait to share my photos
and stories with you!
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