Mark Twain is credited with having said, “History may not repeat itself but it does rhyme.” Rhyming aside, one can easily argue that history repeats itself in Israel. As of old, history has repeated itself at least fifteen times here since November of 1947 in the form of war. Twain visited the land (among other places) in 1867, before its restoration, and assessed the dire state of the Galilee in his humorous memoir of his travels, The Innocents Abroad…
“ …[Judea and Samaria is a] desolate country whose soil is rich enough, but is given over wholly to weeds-a silent mournful expanse…. A desolation is here that not even imagination can grace with the pomp of life and action…. We never saw a human being on the whole route…. There was hardly a tree or a shrub anywhere. Even the olive and the cactus, those fast friends of the worthless soil, had almost deserted the country.” – (Mark Twain, The Innocents Abroad. London: 1881)
Time and the vision of several Hebrew prophets have proved Mark Twain only half correct. One hundred and forty-five years after the famous author memorialized Israel’s northern land as a “desolation” I walked the south shore of the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) with my camera and snapped the confounding photos below.
They would certainly have surprised him.