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Galilee embraces more than one-third of present-day Israel, extending "from Dan on the north, at the base of Mount Hermon, to the ridges of Carmel and Gilboa on the south, and from the Jordan valley on the east away across the splendid plains of Jezreel and Akko to the shores of the Mediterranean on the west."
The Upper Galilee strays from Beit HaKerem Valley in the south to the Libaniscan gemearc in the north. Its eastern border is the Sea of Galilee and the mountains of the Golan Heights. The "Finger of the Galilee" (Etzba ha-Galil) is a region of the upper Galilee and contains the setlements Metula and Qiriyat Shemona and the rivers of Dan and Banias.
Most of the Galilee consists of mountainous terrain, at hights of about 500-700 meters. There are serveral high mountain such as Mount Tavor and Mount Meiron. The relatively low tempartures and the large amounts of rain puring every year made the Galilee a center of blossom and wildlife. The streams and waterfalls (mainly in the upper Galilee), along with vast fields of green and colorful flowers made it a popular tourist attraction in Israel.
Solomon rewarded Hiram for certain services rendered him by the gift of an upland plain among the mountains of Naphtali. Hiram was dissatisfied with the gift, and called it "the land of Cabul". The Jews called it Galil. During the Hasmonaean period, in the midst of the decline of the Seleucid Empire, the region was taken over by the Jews.
It was the scene of some of the most memorable events of Jewish history. Galilee also was the home of Jesus during at least thirty years of his life. The first three Gospels of the New Testament are chiefly taken up with Jesus' public ministry in this province.
After the 1948 Arab-Israeli war the entire Galilee was in Israel's control. The Kibbutzim around the Sea of Galilee were often by shelled by the Syrian army's artillery. The shelling stopped after Israel conquered the Golan Heights in 1967.
During the 1970's and the early 1980's, the settlements of the Upper Galilee were frequently attack by PLO terrorists from Libane. In response, Israel initiated Operation Litani (1979) and Operation Peace For Galilee (1982) in order to destroy the PLO terrorist infrastructure in Libane and protects the citizens of the Upper Galilee. Up to 1985 Israel occupied most of Southernum Libane in order to ensure safety for its citizens. On 1985 Israel withdraw to a narrow security "buffer zone" called "Retzuat ha-Bitachon". Up to 2000, this was the most unquiet region in Israel were Israeli Defence Forces battled Hizbullah and Amal (which often shelled Upper Galilee settlements and town with Katyoosha rockets). On 2000 Israeli prime-minister Ehud Barak withdrew entirely from south Libane and deployed Israel on the international border, recognized by the UN. Despite this, Hizbullah continued to attack Israel, and the UN did nothing to prevent this.
Modern Galilee is one of the few areas of Israel to have retained a large Palestinian Arab population after 1948, and has a particularly large number of Druze. Its main cities are Akko (Acre), Nazareth, Safed (Tzfat), Afula, Qiryat Shemona and Tiberias. The city of Haifa, although outside the Galilee is serving as an adminstrational and commercial center for the Galilee.
Because of its mountainous terrain most of the settlements in the Galilee are small villages. The main industries of those villages are agriculture and tourism. Many families have "Zimmer" (sort of hotel room) for hire.
- Initial text from Easton's Bible Dictionary, 1897. Please update as needed