A fascinating trip to a village that until September 2022 was closed to Israeli travelers - Ghajar
The history of the village is crazy: the village is in Golan Heights. The vast majority of its residents (about 2700 residents in the village) are Alawite-Arabs (a sect of Islam). Most Alawites in the world live in Syria, and this is also the group that controls Syria. , and theillage was part of Syria. The IDF arrived there as part of the battles of 1967. Due to confusion on the maps, they thought it was a Lebanese village. Because in 1967, Lebanon did not fight against us, and Israel did not occupy the village. The Lebanese refused to accept them because they did not want to conflict with Syria. Only after a few months Israel returned and took responsibility for the village (connection tThis village was also annexed whenter, electricity, etc.). When the Golan Heights this Thellage was also annexed.
he problems arose again with Israel's withdrawal from Lebanon in 2000. The UN representatives determined that the border passes through the center of the village, and Israeli military and police forces can only enter the south of the village. The other part passed under the control of Hezbollah, which spread out there. The residents of this part were defined as "Israeli citizens on hostile territory." The entry to the village (beyond Ajjar residents and IDF soldiers) was only subject to approval from the Ministry of Defense and accompanied by a local guide. In September 2022, the restrictions were lifted. Every evening at 20:00, it closes until 6:00 in the morning.
So here is the complete guide to Ghajar:
What to do in Ghajar?
Park in the center or at the entrance to the village (that's where the cars are turned when it's full) and walk along the boardwalk, the small streets, and the park.
Ghajarhas several characteristics: Well-kept fields. In the central square, you will see te figure of Elijah,, the prophet who symbolizes peace and in the more northern square, the symbol of the A.
The space is very well maintained - trees, flowers and a new park established in 2017 - Peace Park - with beautiful little corners and a playground.
Viewpoints of Lebanon - it's unbelievable how close it is. There are views along the entire boardwalk of the Lebanese villages opposite. Towards the northern part of the village, the promenade turns into an arWhatith a fence.
what to eat?
In the village, there are personal initiatives of residents who open restaurants In their houses and in the central square, there is an atmosphere of celebration with mini food trucks and music.
We had lunch at Pada's - in front of the entrance to Peace Park - it was the first day she opened the house's courtyardurtyard of the house with breakfasts and grilled fish. The smell of the fish attracted us, and the meal centered on the pink trout was excellent (especially the pink trout - NIS 90). Breakfast includes Syrian dishes prepared by her mother-in-law. She gave me a taste of kishik from breakfast - a kind of hot yogurt stew with anise seeds and bulgur - strange and delicious. Fada's husband is a chef who prepares chef meals to order.
For dessert - El Khatib Sweets - a few minutes walk from Fada - the knapa was excellent - not flooded with sugar water but just the right amount of sweet.
How do you travel?
Some come on an organized trip with a guide. My partner and I arrived alone. When we were traveling, I heard a guide explaining and accompanying a group a,nd I took a phone call from him - if you are interested write to me, and I will send it to you.
We were traveling independently,, and then we saw a golf car transporting tourists in the village - this is Hussein, a cute 17-year-old boy who gives those interested a fifteen-minute tour in a club car through the streets of the village. It sounds little, but it is enough. It's a small village (about 2700 inhabitants), and from the tour, you definitely get a general idea and you can continue walking afterward.If you want his phone number, write to me
Is it scary?
No. We met smiling and welcoming residents. Over the years, there have been a few events in the area. I want to believe that if the army opened the place, they know what they are doing.
When to arrive?
Friday-Saturday have become busy days in the village that is trying to get used to the new situation, so try to arrive early
What to bring?
Here I come to the tip of the tip - cash. This is the most important because not everywhere you can pay with credit.
And most importantly - it seems that the fact that the village was closed for many years created a clean and well-kept bubble. Now masses of Israeli travelers are starting to arrive. I've already heard of travelers who started picking flowers for them from the well-kept gardens and the like - don't spoil them - don't pick, don't climb the fountains, and don't have a barbecue in the park, please.