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Middle East - Teachers Guide

On this Teachers Guide page you will find the itinerary for the upcoming Israel / Palestinian Territories and Turkey stay.

On this Teachers Guide page you will find:

1 - Title of every update the Team has posted during this part of the Trek. NOTE: You can click on this for the Teachers' Tips - quick summaries of each of the dispatches that were posted in that update, along with activity suggestions.
2 - A brief list of the key topics covered in the update.

What's in the Current Update?

December 15, 1999: Shalom! The Team arrives in Israel
  • An overview of the Israeli conflict
  • History re-written in the Middle East
  • The revitalization of Hebrew
  • Discussion of the World Trade Organization (WTO)
IDF soldiers are ever present, as this Jewish boy knows

Israel /
Palestinian Territories

(Dec 14, 1999 - Jan 29, 2000)

Turkey Stay

(Feb 6 - Mar 20, 2000)
Israel Turkey

Israel / Palestinian Territories Stay
(December 14, 1999 - January 29, 2000)

An Introduction to the Conflict, Moses and Abraham (Ibrahim) - Week 1

Click here for corresonding National Standards

It's Hanukkah, Christmas, Ramadan AND the New Millenium! - Week 2
Click here for corresonding National Standards

A Tour of Old Jerusalem: One Powerful Kilometer Squared!
Plus the Romans and Crusaders in the Holy Land
- Week 3

Click here for corresonding National Standards

Carving Up Palestine: New Jerusalem and East Jerusalem, two sides to a sacred coin - Weeks 4 and 5
Click here for corresponding National Standards

Modern Israel, the Emerging Palestinian State, and the Peace Process - Weeks 5 and 6
Click here for corresonding National Standards

Week 1 - An Introduction to the Conflict, Moses and Abraham (Ibrahim)
(Updates December 15 & 18)

  • Ben Yehuda's house - the home of a great linguist who helped revive the Hebrew Language
  • Theodore Herzl, the Zionist movement, and Jewish Immigration to Palestine (Aliya)
  • Meet some Israelis and Palestinians
  • West Bank town of Hebron - holy to Jews, Muslims, and Christians, due to the Cave of Machpelah, burial site of the prophet Abraham (or Ibrahim in Arabic), his wife Sarah, and his children.
  • Sites in the Sinai Peninsula, Egypt, where Moses - a prophet to Jews, Christians, and Muslims-is said to have received the Ten Commandments (Mt. Sinai), and where the Jews wandered for 40 years in the desert. The Holy Family (Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus) is said to have wandered here. The Sinai Peninsula was also occupied by Israel between 1967 and 1982, leaving landmines as a hidden reminder.

Week 2 - It's Hanukkah, Christmas, Ramadan AND the New Millenium!
(Updates December 22 & January 5)

  • Happy Hanukkah December 3-11 (25th of Kislev 5760 in the Jewish calendar) The Festival of Lights, Hanukkah is a celebration of the success of the Maccabean revolt in 167 BC, in which the Jews regained Palestine from the Seleucids (Greeks), only to lose it soon after to the expanding Roman Empire.
  • Mea She'arim - an ultra-orthodox Jewish district of Jerusalem, the only remaining example of a shtetl (ghetto) which existed before the holocaust in Eastern European Jewish communities. During Hanukkah, the lamps hung outside the houses in this area are said to make it enchanting!
  • Celebrating Ramadan! December 9, 1999-January 6, 2000 (Sha`ban/Ramadan, 1420 in the Islamic calendar) Ramadan is the 9th month in the Islamic Calendar-it is one of the five main tenets of Islam that Muslims fast from dawn to sunset every day during this month.
  • Merry Christmas! December 25 Nazareth - visit Jesus' hometown, and the Basilica of the Annunciation where the Archangel Gabriel is said to have appeared to Mary, the Mother of Jesus.
  • Bethlehem - visit the church built over the manger where Jesus is thought to have been born.
  • The Jerusalem Syndrome - in normal years, about 200 foreign visitors a year are "overcome" by the Holy City, and often believe themselves to become characters from the Bible, such as Jesus, Mary, or John the Baptist. For months leading up to the New Millenium, this problem has been growing enormously! The team will try to visit Kfar Shaul, a state psychiatric hospital where these people usually end up!
  • So what REALLY happened in Jerusalem at Y2K? The team tells the whole truth!

Week 3 - A Tour of Old Jerusalem: One Powerful Kilometer Squared! Plus the Romans and Crusaders in the Holy Land
(Updates January 8 & 12)
  • The Wailing Wall / Western Wall - all that remains of Solomon's Temple, the holiest site in the Jewish religion
  • The Citadel and the City of David - The story of David (of David and Goliath, liberator of Jerusalem, installer of Ark of the Covenant), the 12 tribes of Israel, the Exile into Babylon, and their return. (The subsequent Maccabaean revolt will have been covered during Hanukkah).
  • Mt. Zion - possible site of the Last Supper
  • The Valley of Jehoshaphat, the Mount of Olives, the Garden of Gethsemane - where Jesus was arrested, and the place where the Day of Judgement is supposed to take place
  • The Church of the Holy Sepulchre - where Jesus was said to have been crucified, buried, and resurrected
  • The Via Dolorosa - "The Way of Sorrows," the path Jesus is said to have taken carrying his cross to Calvary
  • Haram ash-Sharif/The Temple Mount - This is the heart of Old Jerusalem and the Three Major Religions, as well as a major obstacle to peace in the region. This is ancient Mt. Moriah, where Abraham (Ibrahim) was called to sacrifice his son Isaac (Ishmael in Islam) as a test of faith. It is the site of Solomon's temple, of which only the Western Wall remains (see above), and it is the site where the Prophet Mohammed is said to have begun his Night Journey into heaven. The Islamic Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa Mosque are built here. The Bible says that, at Armaggedon, a spring will flow from this rock.
  • The Jewish Quarter - was leveled by the Jordanians during the 1948 war, but has now been rebuilt. Home to Sephardic and Ashkenazi communities and mosques.
  • The Muslim Quarter - bustling and lively market area
  • The Christian Quarter - home to churches, monasteries, and 20 different Christian Sects
  • The Walls and Gates of the Old City
  • Other Christian and Mamluk Muslim sites
  • Akko - a coastal Crusader Fort
  • Caesarea - Roman capital built by Herod, where many Jews were executed and tortured
  • Masada - the site of the final resistance of the Jews before the Romans, and the beginning of the Diaspora
  • The Sea of Galilee and Tabgha - where Jesus is said to have walked on water, multiplied loaves of bread and fishes, given the Sermon on the Mount, and appeared after his resurrection

Week 4 - Carving Up Palestine: New Jerusalem and East Jerusalem, two sides to a sacred coin
(Updates January 15 & 19)

  • Coverage of the British Mandate period: Jaffa, Arab revolt 1936-1939 and Jewish underground resistance
  • Coverage of the UN Resolution 181 and Israel's declaration of statehood (Ben Gurion and Independence Hall) and Israel's Independence War and the 1948 Arab expulsion termed "Al Naqba" and Deir Yassin massacre
  • Safed - historic Jewish town. Again, the site of much fighting and the eventual removal of the Palestinian Population when Jewish settlers arrived. Also headquarters of Haganah, the Jewish underground (some say terrorist) army before 1948.
  • The Jerusalem Question - Being a major Holy City for Jews, Christians, and Muslims, it's no surprise that Jerusalem is one of the major stumbling blocks to a lasting peace in the region. The team will discuss the complexity of the issue, and get the opinions of the students who live there.
  • The New City - Jewish settlements begun outside the Old City walls after the Turkish Sultan's Edict of Toleration for all Religions in 1856 allowed Christians and Jews to return to Jerusalem. Now a modern city.
  • East Jerusalem - a typical Arabic city, with crowded, colorful markets
  • Mandelbaum Gate - the UN-supervised crossing point between New Jerusalem and East Jerusalem for the 19 years (1948-1967) when the city was divided between Israel and Jordan
  • The Knesset - Israel's Parliament is located here, because Israel considers Jerusalem to be its capital city
  • The US Consulate in Jerusalem - The US is the #1 supporter of the state of Israel, and Israel is the #1 recipient of US foreign aid. There is only a consulate in Jerusalem, because the US, like most countries, does not recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
  • Coverage of the 1967 War and occupation of West Bank, Gaza, Sinai, and the Golan Heights
  • Rebel Jewish Settlements in the Palestinian territories, another major stumbling block for peace.
  • The Samaritans - one of the world's smallest minorities, now split between Palestinian and Israeli territories
  • UNRWA - United Nations Relief & Works Agency, responsible for the Palestinian Refugees fleeing from the forming state of Israel

Weeks 5 and 6 - Modern Israel, the Emerging Palestinian State, and the Peace Process
(Updates January 22, 26 & 29)

  • The Gaza Strip - once an important strategic point for caravans between Asia and Africa, this 40 kilometers long strip of Palestinian territory is home to around one million Palestinians in three cities and eight refugee camps, as well as 4000 Jews in 20 settlements. Gaza is a densely packed look at the entire Israeli/Arab situation. It is also the source of cheap and often illegal labor for Israelis on the other side of the "Green Line."
  • Rafah, Gaza - a city split by the Palestine/Egypt border, separating families
  • Arafat City, Gaza
  • The Golan Heights - Syrian territory occupied by Israel since 1967
  • Dizengoff St. - the site of a suicide bus bombing
  • Rabin Square - site of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin's assassination
  • The border with Lebanon - occupied by Israel since 1982, Southern Lebanon is another piece of the peace puzzle
  • Metula - Israeli town on the Lebanese Border, with a medical clinic for the residents of Southern Lebanon
  • The Palestinian National Authority
  • Visits to refugee camps in the Territories of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip
  • Jericho - considered by some to be the world's oldest town, site of the famous battle where Joshua tumbled the walls, now Jericho is home to some of the largest refugee camps on the West Bank, and is one of the cities now under the control of the Palestinian National Authority Universities in the Palestinian territories
  • Children of the Intifada - the team talks to children and young adults who have lived their entire lives in Occupied Territories, and finds out what their experience was like
  • Nablus - on the site of the historically and Biblically significant town of Shechem, Nablus is now a main Palestinian center of industry and commerce
  • Kibbutz visit
  • The Negev desert - home to Bedouin nomads and Jewish settlements of new arrivals
  • Meetings with the Black Hebrews and recent Russian Immigrants
  • Eilat - resort town on the Red Sea
  • Haifa - the largest port town, where shiploads of Jewish settlers arrived.
  • Druze Villages around Mt. Carmel
  • Mt Herzl - the hill where former Israeli Prime Ministers Yitzhak Rabin, Levi Eshkol, Golda Meir, and Menachem Begin, as well as Theodor Herzl, the founder of political Zionism, are buried
  • Hai-Bar reserves - reintroducing animals that were in Israel in Biblical times
  • The Dead Sea - the lowest point in the world, with high salt and mineral concentrations

Turkey Stay
(February 6 - March 20, 2000)

A Great and Distant Past - Weeks 1 and 2

Click here for corresonding National Standards

Influence from the West - Weeks 2 and 3
Click here for corresonding National Standards

Influence from the East- Week 3 and 4
Click here for corresonding National Standards

The Turkish State- Weeks 4 and 5
Click here for corresonding National Standards

Modern Turkey-Culture, Environment, and Challenges - Weeks 5 and 6
Click here for corresonding National Standards

Weeks 1 and 2 - A Great and Distant Past
(Updates February 9, 12 & 16)

  • Catal Hoyuk, one of the oldest human communities (New Stone Age)
  • Dergah, the supposed site of Abraham's birth
  • The ruins of Gordion, the ancient capital of Phrygia, where King Midas lived
  • The funerary statues on Nemrut Dagi
  • Remnant of ancient Lycia, such as rock-cut tombs in the hillsides at Dalyan, Xanthos, Fethiye, Kas and Myra
  • Miletus, an important commercial center from 700 BC to 700 AD. Miletus was home to the first Western philosopher, Thales
  • Cappadocia, once the heart of the Hittite Empire. At Cappadocia, trekkers can explore the underground, multi-level cave cities outside Nevsehir
  • Hattusas, once the Hittite capital

Weeks 2 and 3 - Influence from the West
(Updates: February 19 & 23)

  • Ephesus region, a well-preserved classical city of the Mediterranean. The Temple of Artemis, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, was located at Ephesus.
  • Bergama, also known as the ancient social and cultural center of Perganum
  • Izmir, or ancient Smyrna, where Homer lived
  • The ancient ruins of Troy, the site of Homer's Iliad
  • Sanliurfa, the site of the first and second crusades
  • The Karanlik Kilise, or Dark Church, famous for 11th and 12th century frescoes
  • The Sancta Sophia, or Aya Sofya, the greatest church in Christendom
  • Churches in Ani
  • The Orient Express' old drop-off point

Week 3 and 4 - Influence from the East
Updates: February 26 & March 1)
  • The Golden Horn, site of the fall of Constantinople or the conquest of Istanbul? At a nearby military museum, trekkers can see the great chains which the Byzantines tried to use to keep out Mehmet the Conqueror
  • The Blue Mosque, built by Mehmet the Conqueror
  • Topkapi Palace, residence of the sultans for almost three centuries
  • Tombs of the sultans Osman and Orhan, the founders of the Ottoman Empire
  • Bursa, the first capital city of the Ottoman empire. Here trekkers can see Karagoz shadow puppet theater
  • The great palaces and mosques of the Old City in Istanbul
  • The old fortress palaces of Ishak Pasa
  • Safranbolu, the site of well-preserved Ottoman houses
  • Konya, to see whirling dervishes at a Mevlevi worship ceremony and learn about the life and teaching of Rumi. Konya was also the Seljuk capital and the center of carpet production in Turkey

Week 4 and 5 - The Turkish State
(Updates: March 4 & 8)

  • The Ottoman secondary school where the Sivas Congress was held. The Sivas Congress was heralded the Turkish War of Independence
  • Gallipoli battlefields, where the British and French fought with Turkish forces for control of Ottoman lands
  • Van, the site of the Armenian Van revolt and the Armenian massacre. The old city of Van was destroyed during the upheavals of WWI
  • Kutahya, where a decisive battle in the Turkish War of independence was fought
  • Ankara, to visit the Castle of Ankara, Ataturk's mausoleum, and Ataturk's presidential mansion
  • Trabzon, site of Ataturk's villa

Weeks 5 and 6 - Modern Turkey-Culture, Environment, and Challenges
(Updates: March 11, 15 & 18)

  • Epicenter of the massive earthquake in August, 1999 which killed more than 14,000 people
  • The jail which houses Abdullah Ocalan, the leader of the Kurdistan Worker's Party, sentenced to death for treason and separatism
  • Ataturk Dam, the site of the The South-East Anatolia Project (GAP)
  • The Melek Hotel in Goreme Valley, where Nico Leyssen is heading up the Save Goreme Campaign
  • Erzurum, a city of great cultural differences
  • Kumkapi fish restaurants and the Cicek Pasaji (or "Flower Passage") in Istanbul
  • A Hemsin-owned pastry shop in Istanbul
  • The Pamukkale Region, where white cliffs hold natural wading pools
  • The steam baths at Haman
  • The Black Sea coast, via ferries from Istanbul
  • The famous "moonscape" trolodyte dwellings in Goreme valley
  • The mining villages which produce meerschaum

Teacher's Guide: Mexico Guide - Belize/Guatemala Guide
Central/South America Guide - Southern Africa Guide
Western Africa Guide - Middle East Guide

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