With much of the Hermon in Lebanon, its peak straddling the border with Syria, and the rest controlled by Israel, it is not surprising that the UN maintains a buffer zone near the top of this gorgeous mountain cluster. What is known as “Hermon Hotel” is the highest permanently manned UN position in the world.

Often called the “snowy mountain” or the “gray-haired mountain,” in Israel the Hermon is known as “the eyes of the nation” because its peak of 2,236 m (7,336 ft) is the country’s highest and is thus crucial to the IDF’s strategic early-warning system. No wonder the IDF fought so hard to climb this mountain in 1967 and stop Syrian shelling of the Jewish communities below, and then to recapture it in 1973 after Israeli positions had been overrun in the first days of that year’s Yom Kippur War.

Of course, the Jewish history of the Hermon goes back long before modern conflicts. The Hermon was the northern boundary of the tribe of Manasseh (Joshua 13:2), and is mentioned numerous times in Tanach (Jewish Scripture), such as in Psalms 42, Song of Songs 4:8, and elsewhere.

Mount Hermon is the site of the only ski resort in Israel, and a surprisingly good one — especially considering that it resides in the Middle East. It hosts many ski trails of all levels of difficulty, sledding, a ski school, and much more. The nearby Hermon Nature Reserve includes abundant and diverse vegetation, animal life, hiking trails, waterfalls — and incredible scenery.

Beauty. Security. Sport. Health. Fun for the family…So much goodness in one place — it is indeed “like the dew of Hermon, that comes down upon the mountains of Zion, for there G‑d commanded the blessing — Life! — forever” (Psalms 133:3).