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70 shots for 70 years — My unaltered photos of beautiful Israel

70 unaltered photographs of Israel -- its landscapes, creatures, people, and milestones
Israeli sunset. (Courtesy, Sara Krengel)
Israeli sunset. (Courtesy, Sara Krengel)

Yehoshua and Calev spoke to the entire congregation of the children of Israel, saying: “The Land we passed through to scout is an exceedingly good land. If God desires us, He will bring us to this land and give it to us, a land flowing with milk and honey.” (Bamidbar/Numbers 14:6-8) They say that a photo is worth a thousand words, so these photos (and the quote above), speak for themselves. I have added captions purely to explain the person, place, thing, or event.

Netanya – also known as Israel’s French Riviera
Paragliding is a favorite sport in Netanya.
“Peace, peace to the far and to the near, says God” -Yeshayahu 57:19
Rimonim (Pomegranates) grow wild all over Shvil Hama’ayanot – The Valley of Springs, just outside of Jerusalem.
It’s not called Shvil Hama’ayanot (The Valley of Springs) for nothing – there are natural springs everywhere!
Underwater Observatory Marine Park in Eilat
Inside (literally:) of Eilat’s Underwater Observatory
“Hashkeydia Porachat”-“The Almond Tree Is Blooming” in my front yard…in the dead of winter.
Where else in the world can you see full almond blossoms covered in snow? – Alon Shevut
Ariel Youth Group Leaders sing as they look out onto the Temple Mount (the Temple was also called Ariel).
Ramon Crater (Machtesh Ramon)
Mountain goats roam freely in Mitzpe Ramon and they are not afraid of humans (as you can see from where I am standing!).
Sunset Over Kefar Etzion (taken from my bedroom window)
Eilat’s Coral Reef
This camel actually posed for me in Eilat! Contrary to popular belief, we don’t see camels much in our little country -unless you drive down South!
Only in the Negev! The sign reads: “BEWARE OF CAMELS NEAR THE ROAD”.
Jerusalem Day celebrating 50 years since Jerusalem’s reunification. ,כל הארץ דגלים דגלים ,עם רוקד גלים גלים עם שמח, טף צוהל חג היום לישראל-
Sunset Over the Mediterranean Sea
My 12 year old daughter, Shira Krengel, celebrates Yom Haatzmaut by making a Magen David of shells on the beach in Rishon LeTzion.
Judean hills as seen from Neve Daniel
Israeli Yellow vented-White Spectacled Bulbul (a common sight where I live)
The Judas Tree on my street. The name means Judah’s Tree, because it comes from Judea (a.k.a. Red Bud, כליל החורש).
The Judas Tree can be found all around Harei Yehuda (the Judean Mountains) where I live.
INSIDE/OUTSIDE -MIRROR IMAGE (my backyard)
Israel Has the Best Sunsets!
Migdal David – The Tower of David
Lily Pond on Independence Square -Kikar Ha’atsmaut, Netanya
Jerusalem’s Biblical Zoo is full of surprises
UNITY (See caption on photo)
Israel is the only modern country in the world where you will find a strictly religious, married couple, with the mom holding the gun and the dad holding the baby! I love this photo:)!
Sunset & Snow – what a combo! Only in the Gush!
The synagogues in Alon Shevut. Gush Etzion is a favorite destination in Israel for snow seekers. In one little country you have it all, from desert to snow.
The ancient aqueduct of Caesarea built by Herod the Great
IDF soldiers take a break – some rest, some learn Torah!
Celebrating the 50th anniversary of our return to Gush Etzion, Yehuda, the Shomron, Bik’at HaYarden and Ramat HaGolan.
Charedi Fishermen in Ashkelon
‘Blood of the Maccabees’- The National Memorial Flower for Israel’s Fallen; a sticker with this flower and the word Yizkor is worn on Yom HaZikaron.
Best view you’ll ever get of the Knesset:) Mini Israel is one of a kind!
The Shangri-La Villas at The Orchid Eilat Hotel. I just love the name Shangri-La which is a fictional, mystical paradise set in the mountains – it fits!
Men’s hours at the separate Kiryat Sanz beach in Netanya. Israel is one of the only places in the world where religious women and men can swim freely, in any kind of costume!
Although the world often views Israel as the “Ugly Duckling”, it has always been a beautiful swan to me! This, and the next few shots were taken at Jerusalem’s Biblical Zoo.
There is so much to see at Jerusalem’s Biblical Zoo. It is actually Israel’s biggest tourist attraction!
“May it be Your will God that we be fruitful and multiply as do the fish”  (from the Simanim of Rosh Hashana), and just as fish always have their eyes open, so too may God always watch over us! -Fish swim in the pond at Jerusalem’s Biblical Zoo.
One of the amazing things about living in Israel, is that the seasons and the agriculture revolve around the Festivals of the year. Pomegranates (Rimonim) are at their best just in time for Rosh Hashana, when we declare “May our good deeds, merits, and mitzvot be as plentiful as the seeds of a pomegranate”!
Sukkot is one of the busiest and most exciting times to visit the Kotel. The sight of everyone shaking their Lulav and Etrog is awe-inspiring!
…and the Sukkot are HUGE!
If one is open to it, one can see and feel God in many ways and in many places in Israel. When I looked out of my back window, God sent me this. I call it a love letter. This photo, as with all of my photos, is totally untouched – no Photoshop here.
…here’s another one. I guess God really loves me, and all of you too!
God’s messages come in many forms too. Check out what we got when we cut open our sweet potato on the 5th of Iyar (the Hebrew date for Yom HaAtzmaut), on Israel’s 70th Independence day! Again, no Photoshop here. It was AMAZING:)!
An unusual Leucistic Rock Pigeon on the beach in Rishon LeTzion. Israel is one of the best bird-watching spots in the world, both because of its vast amount of resident species and the millions of migrating birds passing through.
A flock of birds “hang out” near the highway in Beit Shemesh.
Cherry blossoms in my backyard. Gush Etzion is known for its cherries (there is a cherry festival every year in Rosh Tzurim), and they are always perfectly ripe just in time for cherry cheesecake on Shavuot! Yum!
Our “Winter Wonderland”, as seen from my bedroom window. Snow is also really good for cherries, which is why we have both in Gush Etzion.
According to Jewish tradition in the Zohar, Adam buried Eve in Ma’arat HaMachpela (the Cave of the Patriarchs – called such because Abraham & Sara, Isaac & Rebecca, and Jacob & Leah are buried there). The Zohar asked how Adam knew to bury her there, and he answers that Adam saw the light of Gan Eden (the Garden Of Eden) coming from that place. The Cave is said to be the entrance to Gan Eden, and it is said that when Adam buried Eve, he smelled the smell of Gan Eden. The monument in this picture rests over the hole going into the cave, and if you bend down to smell the hole (which everyone, including myself, was doing) you can actually smell a beautiful smell!
Ohel Yitzchak and Rivka in Ma’arat HaMachpela. The graves of Isaac and Rebecca are only open to Jews a handful of times (on certain Holidays) during the year. This Passover was my first time there in 32 years!
Just a regular day on the road. Cows on their way to the dairy farm in Migdal Oz, with me driving right behind them.
Traffic jam! Goats walk along the road from Oz VeGaon. Oz veGAoN is named after the three boys (Gilad, Ayal & Naftali) who were kidnapped and murdered by Arab terrorists nearby.
The Negev Mountains Nature Reserve. The highest point is Mount Ramon (1,037 m/ 3,402 ft) seen on the right.
The terrain in Israel changes drastically in just a short ride, and each mountain range has its own character. This was taken on Derech Avot (the path that our Forefathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob walked), and you can see the rebuilt city of Beitar in the distance.The Beitar fortress, whose ruins lie next to the modern day city, was the last standing Jewish fortress in the Bar Kochba revolt of the 2nd century CE. The fortress was breached and destroyed by the Roman army under Emperor Hadrian, in the year 135 CE, on the fast of Tisha B’av. The Jerusalem Talmud states that the Romans murdered so many Jews in Beitar, that the Roman horses were submerged in blood up to their nostrils.
But we survived against all the odds, and here we are today, with a modern Beitar that boasts a population of 52,000! A night shot of Beitar of today.
Speaking of our ability to survive and thrive, this is the iconic Gush Etzion Heritage Center in Kfar Etzion, which houses the bunker in which the last defenders of the Gush were massacred in 1948 . Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion said: “If there exists a Jewish Jerusalem, our thanks go first and foremost to the defenders of Gush Etzion.”
Modern day Kfar Etzion boasts a thriving yishuv, with a bustling business district and one of the top boys high schools in Israel (with over 600 boys)! If only all those who died defending it in ’48 could see it now!
The iconic water tower on the “Giv’ah Hatzehuba”(“Yellow Hill”) of the Moetza/municipality of Gush Etzion. It towers (pun intended) over the entire region.  Notice the huge Channukiyah on top, which is lit up on Channuka, and can be seen for miles all around.
Speaking of Channuka, here’s a shot of one of our amazingly brave IDF soldiers lighting Channuka candles while on guard duty. We never let the light go out!
Any photo essay on Israel would not be complete without a photo of the Sabra plant (צבר, prickly pear, Opuntia cactus). Native born Israelis are often referred to as Sabras, because they are likened to the fruit of this tenacious desert plant: thorny, prickly and thick skinned on the outside, but sweet, soft and mushy on the inside! In 2017, 75% of the total Jewish population in Israel were “Sabras” – born in Israel – compared with just a 35% native-born population at Israel’s independence in 1948!

Like I said, you get all kinds of terrain and rock formations in Israel. These are cliffs on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea.
Here are two of my favorite things in Israeli nature posing together – the Bulbul and my Shkeydia tree. As I mentioned above, Israel is great for bird-watching.
I also get lots of hummingbirds in my yard.
Cloud watching is another great pastime in Israel.
And here’s a symbol of both our complicated, difficult and tragic history along with the optimistic, beautiful and redemptive times we, the Jewish nation are living in, in Israel -the rainbow. In Jewish tradition, the rainbow is a sign that God will never again destroy the world as He did in the times of Noah, no matter how much man sins. Thus, on the one hand, the rainbow recalls mans sinfulness, which caused the destruction of the world, and Gods mercy and compassion forever after. This is why we recite the blessing: “Blessed are You, God, Ruler of the world, who remembers the covenant, who is faithful to His covenant, and who stands by His word.” On the other hand, it is a symbol of the beauty in God’s world and of God’s revelation to man, as it says in Yechezkel (Ezekiel), where he describes a vision of the Divine Presence: “Like a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, with a glow around it; this was how the glory of God appeared.” Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson says that the flood was not only a terrible tragedy, but also actually purified the world. Therefore, the rainbow also reminds us that we humans have the ability to purify the world. The Zohar says that there will be a brilliant rainbow just before the Mashiach comes. May it be speedily in our days, so that we will know no more sadness or war, only peace, brotherhood and joy! Amen!

All of the photos in this blog are property of Sara Krengel, and all rights are reserved. Please contact me directly to purchase photos or acquire the rights to use them. Thanks!

About the Author
Teacher of Jewish Philosophy, Family Purity, and the Jewish take on dating and marriage; Mikveh Tour Guide; proud mother of 6 AMAZING kids; Rebbetzin; American Israeli who is in love with the Jewish People, Torah and Eretz Yisrael!
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