Israel's Good Name

Industry in the Galilee Panhandle

In Galilee, Israel on May 21, 2012 at 1:13 PM

Sunday the 20th of May was a big and important day. For all of us in Israel, Sunday marked “Yom Yerushalayim” – a day celebrating our re-conquering of the Jordanian-occupied Jerusalem back in 1967 – and less importantly, it was the day we took a trip to the Galilee Panhandle. The sole purpose of our trip (“our” being my parents and I) was to procure some shoes at the Naot factory store. However, thanks to some advertising cards we found, our trip was expanded to a full-blown day of exploration. First, the factory:

Teva Naot factory

It was a lovely day and the shoe selections were also good. I was not looking for shoes so I browsed and then took my browsing skills outside. I wanted to look inside the factory but only one door was open. The entry was filled with boxes so there wasn’t much to see. I decided to play it sneaky and followed a forklift. He headed for the other entrance, one blocked with those thick plastic flaps, and I attempted to get a picture. My efforts weren’t really paid off so I had to slip my camera between the flaps and take a discreet photograph, “point-and-shoot” at it’s truest form. Not a great shot but here it is:

Sneaky picture of the factory floor

What makes this humble factory so interesting is that Teva Naot is Israel’s biggest exporter. Making over a million pairs of shoes every year, some 3,000 every day, with sales in over 6,000 locations around the world it is a fair chance that you have footwear from this very factory. Teva Naot’s product line includes the iconic Teva sandals, Naot shoes (very similar to Birkenstock) as well as Source sandals – very popular in Israel. Tons of people make their way up north to shop in the factory store, including us. But our adventures didn’t stop at the Teva Naot complex, after we bought the shoes we needed we picked up some advertising cards and saw two interesting sites that were in our return journey’s path. The first one was the low-key Derech HaTavlinim (Spice Trail) store:

The spice store

When we entered the store we were greeted by lovely smells and began to look around. We were handed a basket and a marker to properly label the spices we were to pick out. With over 200 types of spices and blends, there was much to see. Some of the most interesting products included the “schwarma” made out of apricot paste and walnuts. The girl behind the counter shaved off some for us to try – I didn’t fancy it too much.

Apricot and walnut ”schwarma”

The halva beside the “schwarma” was magnificent – all four varieties: chocolate chip, coffee, vanilla and pistachio. One of the workers approached us with little cups of apple cinnamon tea which smelled delicious. Here is the rest of the tea, just look at those little cubes of dried apple:

Tea for the customers

From the hawaij to the Sicilian onions mix to the assorted fruity teas, there was so much to see, so much to smell. The first thing I sampled from the stock was this very unique black sea salt:

Black sea salt

There was also lemon sea salt and smoked sea salt but the black one was the weirdest to eat. As I stood there I imagined I was eating coal and that amused me. After more tea was drunken and more halva was sampled, we gathered up our purchases and headed out. Our next stop was the Meister Vineyards, of Rosh Pina. As we left the highway and maneuvered through the dirt roads that skirted the vineyard, we approached an interesting cluster of building and equipment. This huge dog was standing guard and greeted us peacefully:

Sentinel

We looked around but the only signs of life were of the canine variety. Apparently they closed prior to our arrival so we had no choice but to turn back. But all was not lost, upon crossing the bridge that connects the vastly different Upper Galilee and Galilee Panhandle, we stopped the car and got out for a look. Here it is, the beautiful Kinneret with the mountains and trees surrounding it:

Looking down at the Kinneret

And here is the bridge behind us:

The bridge that spans a change in the land

And of course, a panoramic of the beauty (click to enlarge):

From the golden hills of the Panhandle to the forest near Tzfat

An adventure well done!

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  1. Your articles and photos are a treat and I look forward to sharing them about in my circles. Bracha v’Hatzlacha!

  2. Nicely written article but it seems to be lacking any information on where the shoe factory is except for “Galilee Panhandle”.

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