A record breaking number of people visited Gush Etzion Wednesday, the first day of Chol Hamoed Pesach. Over 10,000 people visited the various sites in the region, including the Herodian, site of King Herod's ancient palace, as well as the Charitun Cave near Tekoa – the first time tours of the cave have been conducted.
Hundreds of families also visited the Beiar water tunnel, an ancient water tunnel which funneled water to Jerusalem during the Second Temple period. It's a historical tour, allowing visitors to learn about ancient Israel's water economy, as well as a refreshing one, with visitors able to take a dip in the cool waters of the tunnel.
Another popular tourist attraction is the Deer Land Farm, which hosted hundreds of families throughout the day. The farm offers various attractions including: the longest “Omega” zip line activity in the country (400 meters long), ATV tours to the “back country,” rock climbing, a petting zoo, picnic tables and a dining room.
Davidi Perl, head of the Gush Etzion Regional Council, said that he was amazed to see the thousands and thousands of people who have come from all over the country to visit the area, and how the numbers have increased from year to year. He added that to him, “there is no better way to show how Gush Etzion is a genuine part of Israel.”