This large touring map of Israel serves not only as a practical guide to the geographical layout and infrastructure of Israel but also as a cultural document that reveals much about the region's historical and societal nuances. Initially published by the Survey of Israel in 1976 and later revised in 1996, the map, is an important artifact that helps us understand the complex narrative of Israel's geography and history.
The map's appeal lies in its blend of accuracy and detail. The 1:250,000 scale offers an expansive yet detailed view of the region, making it an excellent resource for understanding the landscape's topography. It uses a dual grid system—the Universal Transverse Mercator (UTM) Grid in blue and the Israel Grid in brown—providing a precise way to determine locations.
Yet, the map's depth lies in its rich annotation and visual portrayal of cultural and historical sites. It doesn't simply indicate locations; it weaves a historical narrative, marked by symbols and legends that denote places of religious significance—ancient synagogues, monasteries, mosques, and Druze and Bahai holy places. These labels serve as waypoints in the spiritual journey of a nation, rooted in its history and culture.
Despite its meticulous attention to detail, the map thoughtfully includes a disclaimer stating, "THIS MAP IS NOT AN AUTHORITY ON BOUNDARIES." This disclaimer serves as a stark reminder of the fluid and often contentious nature of territorial lines in this region. The inclusion of the Israeli-Palestinian agreements and peace treaties further underscores this geopolitical complexity.
The color-coded depiction of various zones, boundaries, and agreements reflects the region's ongoing narrative of conflict, reconciliation, and cohabitation. It simultaneously serves as an open-ended historical document and a tool of engagement with Israel's multifaceted geography, infrastructure, and cultural heritage.