Follow in the footsteps of the patriarchs in Beit El

October 2nd 2014

Beit ElOne of the most important biblical sites, Beit El was the first home of Abraham in the Holy Land and the first place he built an altar to a monotheistic God. The modern community of Beit El welcomes tourists to Israel who want to follow in the footsteps of the patriarchs.

Abraham built an altar and called in the name of the Lord in Beit El. His grandson Jacob dreamed of angels ascending and descending a ladder and heard God’s word at the same location. The land of Israel was promised to the Jews at Beit El, and it was here that Judah the Maccabee built an army to rebel against the Greeks.

Start your tour with a climb to the top of the observation tower on Jacob’s peak. From here you can see most of Israel, including the coastal plain, hills of Jerusalem and the Hermon Mountain. Under the tower is Jacob’s Rock, traditionally believed to be the site of Jacob’s dream. Next to the rock is a huge wormwood oak tree, the oldest of its kind in Israel, dated at around 1,000 years.

You can also see archaeological ruins from the First Temple period, attributed to the reign of King Jerobaam, who placed a golden calf at Beit El to prevent his subjects from traveling to the rival kingdom of Judah to pray at the Temple. There are also dozens of Jewish burial caves from the Hasmonean period and an olive press from the Second Temple Period. Walk down the Wine Press Trail to see two ancient wine presses from the First and Second Temple periods.

Watch a film called Beit-El-Through-the-Ages which surveys the history of Beit El from Abraham’s time until twenty-first century Israel. You can then visit the archaeological remains of an ancient Jewish town or visit the Beit El Tefillin Factory to learn about the process of manufacturing phylacteries.