This Israel city is known as a settlement. Founded in 1978, it's name means "Lion of God". So fitting considering it is situated in the midst of the Shomron, or Samaria, (aka West Bank), on the east side of the Green Line.
The population of Ariel consists of those who immigrated to Israel from the former Soviet Union. It is a very popular city in Israel with the wise and the young, totaling over 18,000 people. The Ariel University is the largest public college in any of Israel's cities, and the fastest growing.
Ariel Regional Center for the Performing Arts offers creative performances in dance, theater, music and fine arts.
For more information about Ariel, check out this website.
When we visited Israel in May, 2015, we were only able to view this Israel city from the balcony of our hotel room at Eshel ha'Shomron. But we were so impressed with the area that I wrote a little something about it.
Sitting on the balcony of our hotel in Ariel, an Israeli city in Samaria, I hear the sounds of hotel employees emptying trash, children laughing at the pool, birds chirping and calling and the broadcast of Muslim prayers echoing through the hills.
I look through the juniper trees outside our balcony. Across the ravine on the next hill lies the settlement of Ariel. A peaceful, orderly city in Israel, tucked in amongst olive trees, palm trees, other flowering trees and more junipers.
Vehicles rumble by on the road below me, the one leading to Ariel, through the security gate. Voices ascend the hill from the gas station below. Even though it's Shabbat people have places to go, things to do.
On these West Bank hills converge such opposing cultures, yet both having the same goal. To settle the Land of Israel. As our taxi driver, George says, "It's complicated. I told you, it's complicated."
In the midst of all this complication, I'm encouraged to send back a good report. Even though there are, indeed, giants in the land, it is a beautiful land. Truly full of promise.
In our Bible study today, Mike Clayton asked us what we had for breakfast this morning. "Did you eat fruit? Did you eat bread?" We nodded yes, yes. He said "No, you ate prophesy", then quoted Ezekiel 36:24-38, where the Lord will restore His people to their land, He will "summon the grain and make it abundant" and "make the fruit of the tree and the increase of the field abundant".
The Lord is already restoring. I see it all around. I have tasted it. Tasted the wheat, the barley, the vine, the pomegranate, the olive, the citrus, the fig, the beauty, the abundance. And the promise of complete restoration. The promise of that which is yet to come.
Though we were unable to visit Ariel, this would be a comfortable and friendly place to spend some time and it's our hope that we will soon get an opportunity to do so.