A guide friend in Israel notified me that one of his neighbors was experienced in aerial photography, and asked if I would be interested in going up during the recent trip to Israel. I indicated an interest and we began to work on the details. The pilot, Yoav, had to get permission and clear us with Israeli security well in advance of the flight. The first day we scheduled was scrubbed due to bad weather coming in. The following day was sunny and fairly clear. Certainly it was one of the best weather days we had during the first two weeks of December.
We flew from the Sde Dov Airport. This is a small airport along the Mediterranean coast immediately north of the Yarkon River in Tel Aviv. Arkia Airlines operates here with flights to Eilat, Rosh Pina, and perhaps other places. When we arrived at the airport to meet our friend and the pilot we had to go through strict security even though we had sent all of our passport details in advance. Once that was completed we headed for the plane, a Cessna 172 Skyhawk. Our pilot was well aware of most of the places we wanted to visit. He would tell us to be ready in two minutes, or in 30 seconds, for the best photos. We flew over Gezer, Zorah, Beth Shemesh, the Zorek Valley, Lachish, Jerusalem, the Herodium, Aphek/Antipatris, and lots of terrain in between in two hours and six minutes. I made 1754 photos during that time, filling an 8 gig card and two 4 gig cards. Probably not a Guinness record, but a record for me.
Perhaps over the next few weeks I will be able to share a few of these photos with you. Let’s begin with the Coastal (or Maritime) Plain south of Tel Aviv/Joppa. This area is also referred to as the Plain of Philistia because the Philistines lived in the region in Old Testament times. The Philistine cities of Ashdod, Ashkelon, and Gaza were in the southern coastal plain.
The plain of Philistia may be as much as 20 miles wide as we move further south. This photo gives one some idea of the territory immediately south of Tel Aviv as we fly south east to Gezer. Our altitude here was 800 feet.
This region is now an important part of Israel, but in Bible times few Israelites lived in the area.