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article imagePhoto diary: Is Israel really a winter wonderland? Special

Drinking hot chocolate at 1200 meters in Northern Israel was never such fun. Especially as you cannot enter the coffee house through the front door and you certainly cannot sit outside with your hot drink and admire the view.
Israel is experiencing one of its coldest, wettest, longest and snowiest winters in recent years. A trip up the snow covered Golan Heights shows how wintry Israel can be to those whose vision of the Holy Land is that of deserts and dust.
The goal of this journey up the Golan Heights while passing snow covered vineyards was to reach Coffee Anan which in Hebrew means 'coffee in the clouds' a perfect name for this isolated coffee shop located at 1200 meters on Mount Bental; sitting on the border of Israel and Syria.
Israel in winter
Israel in winter
The coffee shop overseen by Kibbutz Meron Golan, was named after Kofi Annan the Ghanaian diplomat who was the seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations from 1997 to 2006.
Israel in winter
Israel in winter
Israel in winter
Israel in winter
The area of Coffee Anan overlooks to the east the Syrian Kuneitra Valley where the old city of Kuneitra lies and the UN compound is located.
winter in Israel
winter in Israel
Damascus is just another 60kms further east and Washington DC is a little bit further.
Israel in winter
Israel in winter
Looking west down the Golan heights and towards the Hula valley.
In the Yom Kippur War of 1973, Mount Bental was the site of one of the largest tank battles in history. The Syrians attacked the Golan with 1,500 tanks and 1,000 artillery pieces. Israel attacked back with just 160 tanks and 60 artillery pieces. The Syrians eventually retreated, but not without inflicting heavy casualties on Israel's army.
Israel in winter
Israel in winter
After building a snowman...
Israel in winter
Israel in winter
time to check if we can get through the snow and into the coffee house for hot chocolate.
Israel in winter
Israel in winter
Then the journey back southwards towards Tel Avital and the Sea of Galilee, top right in the image, before the next storm arrives.
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