JERUSALEM (Feb. 21)
Hiking has becone one of the most popular pastimes in Palestine. Adults and schoolboys have adopted the slogan “See Palestine First,” and spend their spare time rembling through the picturesque Palestinian districts.
There is a hikers’ league, called the Ramblers’ Association, which plans trips for its members to the various points of interest in the country; the south; the hills around Safad; the waterfall at Metullah, near syria; snow-capped Mount Hermon, and all the colonies of rural Palestine.
For guide books, the hikers carry their Bibels, from which they glean descriptions of the landscape through which they themselves pass. They consider the poetic descriptions of the Palestinian panorama to be an adequate geography of the land.
A VACATION PASTIME
Hiking as a sport has been practiced by the young people of Palestine since before the War. The hiking season lasts from Passover until late in the autumn, when the schools reopen. Instead of spending their vacations under the burning sun of the beach at Te Aviv, government officials and shop-clerks spend their vactions camping in the open, enjoying the hospitality of the Jewish farmers. At times, they stay at Bedouin encampments, where visitors are greeted in the Oriental fashion.
Excursions on foot in Eretz-Israel are considered a vital part of the education of the Palestinian boy and girl. Pupils in the elementary and secondary schools make ten-day hiking trips while pursuing their normal curriculum. Even the chilren in the kindergartens have their walks in the field or on the hillsides, under the guidance of their teachers.
Everywhere in this land you meet the roaming bands of young people, in polo shirts and khaki shorts, bent on seeing their own homeland. They are the new – and happy – wandering Jews.