Shay RabineauNov 12, 2023
Walking the Land
A History of Israeli Hiking Trails
Indiana University Press 2023
Israel has one of the most extensive and highly developed hiking trail systems of any country in the world. Millions of hikers use the trails every year during holiday breaks, on mandatory school trips, and for recreational hikes.
Shay Rabineau's Walking the Land: A History of Israeli Hiking Trails (Indiana UP, 2023) offers the first scholarly exploration of this unique trail system. Featuring more than ten thousand kilometers of trails, marked with hundreds of thousands of colored blazes, the trail system crisscrosses Israeli-controlled territory, from the country's farthest borders to its densest metropolitan areas. The thousand-kilometer Israel National Trail crosses the country from north to south. Hiking, trails, and the ubiquitous three-striped trail blazes appear everywhere in Israeli popular culture; they are the subjects of news articles, radio programs, television shows, best-selling novels, government debates, and even national security speeches. Yet the trail system is almost completely unknown to the millions of foreign tourists who visit every year and has been largely unstudied by scholars of Israel. Walking the Land explores the many ways that Israel's hiking trails are significant to its history, national identity, and conservation efforts.
Christopher P. Davey is Visiting Assistant Professor at Clark University's Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies.