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Gush Halav: Home To The Maronites

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Despite 14 centuries of persecution, these Galilee-based Christian followers of a hermit named Mar Maroun have refused to abandon their faith. Sound familiar?

While browsing the Internet for information on the Galilee town of Gush Halav, we found these words on a site linked to the Ministry of Tourism: “The Arab village of Gush Halav is situated in Israel’s Galilee area. . .”  This was repeated by the usually reliable Jewish Virtual Library, and any number of other sources.

But within minutes of entering Gush Halav in preparation for this article, we learned — and not for the first time — that the Internet can be wrong! For, according to our host, Shadi Khalloul, the vast majority of Gush Halav residents are not Arabs at all, but Maronites: Christians who have been followers of a hermit known as Mar Maroun since the end of the 4th century. And even though you often hear Israelis calling it by its Arabic name “Jish,” Khalloul asked us to please not refer to Gush Halav as an Arab village!

Khalloul explained that like Father Abraham, the Maronites originated in Aram (an enormous area stretching from Mesopotamia to the Mediterranean Sea). Over time, they dispersed throughout the Middle East. When the Arabs swooped into the region early in the 7th century, they tried to force Islam on the Aramaen population in general and the Maronites in particular. Yet despite immense pressure, the Maronites, like the Jews, refused to abandon their faith. Since then, Aramaen Maronites have been continually persecuted by the Arabs. Most of the area’s Maronites eventually moved for safety into the Lebanese mountains, where they tilled the rocky hills. Thousands were killed in a bloodbath that took place in the mountains in 1860.

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Read the full article over at The Times of Israel

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Testimonials
Dear Aviva and Shmuel , Just a note to thank you for all of your help on our trip to Israel. Aviva .. your great ideas for the day we were on our own plus your help in booking everything was really helpful and made our first night and day very exciting .Shmuel ..apart from the fact that the kids thought you may actually be one of Supermans cousins .. we really had a fantastic trip. What you managed to show us in Jerusalem considering William is only 8 was amazing. Both the kids loved the water tunnel ( even after a small initial scare !). The day doing Masada ,En Gedi and the Dead Sea was really the most exciting day for us all . Our Israeli friends who came over to join us from Tel Aviv said there was no way they would have been able to fit in so much. Everyone loved it !
Regards, David Glazer .. (and Joel and William)

the Glazer Family