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Around Jerusalem and the Dead Sea Travel Guide

Ella Valley

The Ella Valley is one of those delightful places—not uncommon in Israel—where you can relate the scenery to a specific biblical text and confirm the maxim that once you've visited this country, you'll never read the Bible in quite the same way again. Beyond the junction of Route 38 with Route 383, and up to the right above the pinewood slopes of Park Britannia, is a distinctively bald

flattop hill, Tel Azekah, the site of an ancient Israelite town. The hills are especially delightful in March and April when the wildflowers are out, and hiking paths are plentiful.

In the Ella Valley, the southernmost of the great valleys that cut from the Judean highlands toward the coast, Route 38 crosses a usually dry streambed; 200 yards beyond it is a place to pull off and park. If you have a Bible, open it to I Samuel 17 and read about the dramatic duel between the Israelite shepherd David and the Philistine champion Goliath. The battle probably took place close to where you're standing:

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