Israel – the Middle East’s version of Disneyland for Kosher Wineries and kosher Oenophiles
I know that Daniel Rogov calls Israel the Disneyland of the Middle East, purely in jest of course, but I look at it from a slightly different perspective. Officially, in the bible, Israel is called a land flowing with milk and honey. The bible states honey, but it means date and fig honey. I always wondered why God chose milk and dates as a singular definition of the fruitfulness of the land of Israel? The truth is, that while it is a description for sure, it is not the land’s agricultural definition. A more detailed definition of the land of Israel can be found in Deuteronomy. For the Lord, thy God, brings you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, and fountains and depths spring forth in valleys and hills. A land of wheat and barley, and vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive oil and honey (8:7-8). Now that is something I can get my head around!
To me Israel is the land filled with drivers who think that the laws of gravity, along with lane markers, and driving ethics do not apply to them! It is filled with people who love the land, the country, and its rich history. It is a land of our forefathers, who walked on it more than five thousand years ago. It is the land of kings, hatred, tragedy, and love. It is a land filled with history that leaps out of the rocks, the valleys, the mountains, and the sweeping vistas. It is a land that filled with memories of our past; the Jewish people, who built, destroyed, lost, and lived in the land. They built temples and lost them one by one; they built them again, only once more to see it obliterated. Yet they came back again, showing the ultimate Jewish traits; love, compassion, and perseverance through all of their tribulations.
The people of the land are called Sabras for a reason. They are hardheaded prickly folks who can scream or ignore you as if you did not exist one minute, and then turn into the most loving, compassionate, and mild-mannered soul that is the true spark of the nation.
To me, beyond all these truths, Israel is a land of kosher and non-kosher wineries, vineyards that stretch for as far as the eye can see, all within a throws distance, to the graves of Rabbis past. Israel is a land with wine presses dating back thousands of years ago. It is a land of wine rejuvenation and revolution. It is a land that I wish I could call home, but one I am proud to return to whenever the opportunity calls. It is a land of our forefathers, a long beautiful and sometimes sad history of our people, but a land we can all call home. It is a land flowing with milk, date honey, wheat, olives, figs, wine, love, compassion, and perseverance, all wrapped up in a prickly package, that requires just a key of love and patience to open.
Throughout the coming weeks I will, God willing, finally get down to writing about my winery visits, my driving excursions, the people I visited with, and the wines I tasted along the way. So please stay tuned for a wonderful series of upcoming posts on Israel; the Disneyland of kosher wineries.