Today is the worst weather day in Israel I have ever seen. The land of sun and heat of the summer, is now the land of thunder, torrential rain, landslides, flooding and snow. We are at Nof Ginosar Kibbutz on the Sea of Galilee, which is the base of operations in the summer when we do work at the Bethsaida Archaeological site or at Nazareth. I don’t recall ever even seeing and cloud in the sky during the summer, but for the last 12-hours loud, long rumblings are the norm, as is rain falling in sheets, nearly vertical at times, through 50 mph gusts of wind. There was no way to do any field work today in these conditions, and even if we wanted to head over to Tel Akko and finish the geophysics that was started yesterday, that would have been impossible. Many roads are closed in the highlands to the north (the Golan Heights) because of snow, Nazareth had an ice storm this morning, the road across the mountains to Akko and Haifa was closed because of landslides, and the roads to the south are closed because of flooding. Hence we are staying put at Ginosar. Below is a view looking south over the Sea of Galilee, with the city of Tiberius visible in the distance. This was taken during a 20-minute window when it cleared up a bit, but you can see in the distance in the photo the clouds and rain closing in again.
During another brief respite from the rain, I took a walk around the kibbutz. Ginosar is still on operating kibbutz, but now using the modern model which has moved away from communal living to for profit operations. Nof Ginosar was founded in the early 20th century and functioned as a working kibbutz under the traditional model of free housing, no pay and a subsistence communal lifestyle. That model changed for good at Ginosar around 2000, when there were not enough residents that wanted to continue this lifestyle. The same can be said for the other kibbutzes around Israel. Much of the commercial side of the kibbutz is in operation like cattle and crop agricultural, but many of the labor positions are filled by workers from the Philippines and Thailand. There are still local residents that live in the kibbutz, but they generally work outside of Nor Ginosar. Below is a picture of an area of the kibbutz that is adjacent to the Sea of Galilee.
Lastly, for now, something that is ever-present around Israel is the bomb-shelter, the one pictured below at Nof Ginosar. So far the only disruption has been by the weather and not any type of political unrest. I hope it stays that way. I was here at Ginosar when the war was occurring with Hezbolla, which I think was 2008 (don’t quote me on that) and rockets were falling around here that were being shot from southern Lebanon to hit Tiberius, but they fell shot and hit hear. No injuries, but it was a bit unnerving.