Sunday, August 5, 2012

A National March

Ever heard the joke about the bemused Indian villager who asks one of the endless stream of Israeli trekkers passing through his mountain village how many Israelis there are? About 8 million, he's told. "No, not how many Israelis in northern India: I'm asking how many altogether?"

There must be serious explanations for the inclination of young Israelis to backpack in large numbers in India and Sri Lanka, Central- and South America, New Zealand, and recently Vietnam and Laos. One overlooked explanation - or demonstration, at any rate - is that Israelis have been trekking up and down the hills for as long as they've been Israelis.

Here are two films, one from 1963 and the other from 1970, of the marches the grandparents of today's hikers embarked upon. Those were simpler days, the ethos of the travel was strikingly different, and the paved roads were narrower - but perhaps the urge may have been the same.


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