Paragliding in Israel

Saturday, 1 August 2009

Only in Israel can you leap off the same mountain on which King Saul fell onto his own sword. Or retrace the route Jesus took when he leaped off an abyss to escape a lynch mob. See Israel from another perspective.

Paragliding is becoming one of Israel’s most popular extreme sports and its hard not so see why. With such amazing landscapes below both geographically and historically, seeing the country from a new perspective whilst enduring the thrills of trying something so exciting, makes paragliding an incredible experience.

Its going on dusk here on the cliffs of Mevo Hama on the southern Golan Heights. The setting sun is a deep yellow and it’s starting to silhouette the hills across Lake Kinneret to the west. More than 30 paragliders are already in the sky hovering over the 400-meter plateau. One after another, they yank their chutes by the lines like they’re pulling up a kite, turn around and literally push themselves off the edge of the cliff for half an hour of soaring before the sun sets completely. Syria and the outskirts of Damascus on the eastern horizon, the fading white Gilad mountains of Jordan to the south and the shadowy, craggy slopes of Galilee to the west; it’s a stunning view that only a privileged few get to see
“Everyone starts paragliding for a different reason and enjoys it for different reasons,” says Amir Malik, who picked up the sport with his wife some six years ago. “For some it’s the quest for the altitude, for some the challenge of finding thermals. For some it’s the aerobatics. Some do it for the silent flying along the ridges and some for the noisy flight with a motor on their backs. I personally joined the sport because it was my dream to fly. I really wanted to fly with a motor in the skies of Israel. That was my dream but with time, after my Level 1 course, I realized that free flight was the kind of flying for me. I even bought a motor and tried it, but I saw that it wasn’t for me.

“I enjoy high flight, the higher the better. Flying just before dusk as the sun sets over Lake Kinneret is the ultimate flying experience for me. My most beautiful moments of my flights till today are the evening flights from Mevo Hama.”

Click here to read the rest of this article at the new Tourist Israel website.