The Golan Heights
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The Golan Heights
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The Golan Heights is a plateau situated in north-eastern Israel, south-western Syria. It was conquered by Israel in 1967 and annexed in 1982, but is still claimed by Syria. You can not pass here between Israel and Syria, and while in Syria the only city you can visit is Quneitra, a ghost town controlled by UN forces.
Note: When hitchhiking, always ask where the driver is going, and do not say your destination. It is then for you to decide whether to get in the car or not.
Warning: the primary route for hitchhiking south from the Golan, passes the West Bank and areas such as Jericho. Pay attention to every ride you take and choose your drivers carefully.
From the Golan the first goal to reach is the Tsemach Junction, which is situated at the bottom (southern) tip of the Kinneret. From a local junction, make your way to preferably Highway 98 and head south, but depending where you are, Highway 92 also leads to the Tsemach Junction. If you happen to be in the upper eastern part of the Golan, Highway 90 west of the Kinneret will also do, but will be much more difficult, because many people stop in Tiberias, which is a relatively large city, and will possibly require leaving a the city, which can be rather difficult.
After the Tsemach Junction your next goal is the Beit Ha'Arava Junction which is reached by continuing south on Highway 90. From there, you can either chose to go to Jerusalem, or continue on to either the Dead Sea or Eilat. On the way to Beit Ha'arava, a common location for drivers is Beit She'an which is also a location that many people hitchhike from.
There are two ways of getting to Tiberias, either going around the top of the Kinneret, or its bottom. Depending on where you are, you will have to decide which is more convenient for you. Going around the bottom is usually the easiest and simplest way, but there obviously places where going over the top just makes more sense. To go around the bottom, your first goal is the Tsemach Junction at the bottom tip of the Kinneret. There are three ways of getting there: a) Taking Highway 98, which runs along the eastern border of Israel southward down from the Golan. b) Taking Highway 92, which runs along the eastern bank of the Kinneret. c)Take Highway 98 to Route 789, which runs by such towns as Afik, Ne'ot Golan, Bnei Yehuda, and Giv'at Yoav, to Highway 92 and then southward. Many drivers tend to take option "c" and is usually a good choice. In terms of going over the top of the Kinneret there are also two options: a)taking Highway 91 to Highway 90 and the head southward, or take Highway 87 to Highway 90 and head southward.
Continuing to Jerusalem
If you ride doesn't go to Jerusalem (most do) but continues south towards the Dead Sea, get off at the Beit HaArava Junction, and continue at the trempiada at the beginning of Highway 1 going west to Jerusalem. From here, it is best to wait for a ride that is going directly to Jerusalem without any stop (most do, or even continue beyond Jerusalem), unless your goal is not actually to get to Jerusalem, but a settlement along the way, such as Ma'ale Adummim, in which case there should be people headed there as well.
Continuing to the Dead Sea and Eilat
Either pass the Beit HaArava Junction or just continue south from it. Everyone going south will be going at least as far as the Dead Sea, which is just 2 kilometers south. Depending on where part of the Dead Sea you want, just stick to the Highway and go as far south as you chose. To get to Eilat, just continue south on the highway, as far as possible until it hits Eilat, which is approximately 200 kilometers south of the Beit HaArava Junction.
Your first goal is the Beit HaArava Junction, which connects Highway 1 going west from Jerusalem, to Highway 90, which goes north to the Kinneret.
From the city center you have two options:
1. You can either take service taxi ("Sheirut") Number 36, from Damascus gate of the old city, in the direction of Abu Dis, a ride of 5 NIS only. Go down in Maale Adumin junction and continue hitchhiking west. If you take this ride you get directly to road #1, from which many rides will take you straight to Beit HaArava Junction.
2. Or take buses 25, 4 or 4A from West Jerusalem to get to Har Ha'tsofim Junction, (French Hill). The place is usually crowded with hitchhikers, and drivers stop often. Most likely they will go only half ways, in which case you should ask to go down in the entry junction to their settlement, and continue hitchhiking from the bus station.
From the Beit HaArava Junction, head north on Road 90 until you reach the Tsemach Junciton at the bottom of the Kinneret. From there, You can either hitchhike to Tiberias by going westwards on Road 90, or use the Trempiyada (hitching spot) up to the Golan. People either drive up to Road 92 or Road 98 from there. Road 98 goes right up to the Golan, and Road 92 runs along the west coast of the Kinneret from where you can pick up Roads 789 or 87 to the Golan. Highway 789 connects to Road 98 from where you can chose to either continue north or head south. Road 87 also connects to 98, but a bit later, and it also turns west over the Kinneret or east through the center of the Golan until it picks up 98 at its end.
Continue up Highway 90 and follow the direction from the Beit HaArava Junction shown in the directions from Jerusalem.