Extreme Sports, Tourism

CavingIsrael is a dream country for caving.

Beyond the obvious airborne, waterborne or ground level sports, going underground is a rapidly developing extreme option in Israel.

“Caving is possibly the most dangerous challenge sport there is, ” says Sergey Shipitsin, one of Israel’s most accomplished speleologists (a scientific specialist in caves). “It’s also one of the few activities where you can still go where no one has gone before.”

Shipitsin, 43, tells ISRAEL21c that “Israel is a dream country for the cave explorer, ” ranking among spelunkers’ top 10 countries. Israel has four main caving areas: the Jerusalem Hills, Mount Sodom (unique in the world), the Upper Galilee and the Hebron Hills in the West Bank.

RappellingMount Sodom – basically a block of salt rising 230 meters above the Dead Sea – is pierced by labyrinth caverns and tunnels formed by rainwater, including the world’s biggest salt caves. If you know where to look, the Jerusalem Hills have thousands of caves, many of them eminently explorable.

Caving (known as potholing in the UK), which includes climbing, hiking and rappelling, is not an activity to be attempted alone, or without the proper equipment and preparation.

In 2004, Shipitsin and some fellow cavers set up, a non-profit organization dedicated to cave exploration and rescue, which now has some 3, 000 members.

“Israel has many people experienced in both cave exploration and rappelling. We organize challenge trips underground and training courses. You don’t have to be particularly fit – we had children aged seven and a 74-year-old in last weekend’s tour, ” he says.

Skydiving2. Into the abyss

There are many unique rappelling sites in Israel.

Rappelling – the controlled descent down a rope known as “abseiling” in British English and “snappling” in Hebrew – against the cliffs of the Ramon crater in the Negev, or down wadis in the Judean Desert, produces an unbelievable adrenaline rush.

Israel’s top 10 extreme sportsIsrael is blessed with some tremendous rappelling sites, not all of them in the desert. Try Khirbet Oren on Mount Carmel, where the stone wall rises from the valley almost vertically; the Kesh on the border with Lebanon; the prehistoric Pigeons Caves near Karmiel; or the notoriously challenging Black Canyon trail in the Golan Heights, which involves traversing rushing water and hiking through a unique nature reserve.

For training, we counted 12 rock-climbing walls in Ashdod, Haifa, Jerusalem, Kibbutz Ha’Ogen, Kiryat-Ono, Kfar Blum, Petah Tikvah, Ramat Yishai and Tel Aviv.

3. Jump out of a plane

Photo courtesy of Paradive

The greatest experience of a lifetime – parachuting above Israel’s coastline.

Paragliding Parkour Azrieli Running Skiing
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Cut teachers pensions, buy fireworks.

2011-12-11 21:53:09 by asaman

London 2012 Olympics: Austerity boy David Cameron steps in to double budget for opening and closing ceremonies
By Jacquelin Magnay and Christopher Hope7:00AM GMT 06 Dec 2011
Despite the worsening economic climate, the Prime Minister sanctioned spending more on fireworks and acrobats at the beginning and end of the London Games.
The news came as the public spending watchdog warned that the bill for security at the Games next year will be twice as high as previously thought

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