Oded Levanon of SkyTrek was among Israeli hot-air balloonists on hand for the October 2012 hot-air balloon festival in Ma’ayan Harod National Park at Mount Gilboa, sponsored by the Gilboa Regional Council in the Galilee.

He explains that hot-air ballooning has only been developed in Israel over the past decade, but Israel’s weather is perfect for this gentle airborne adventure nearly the whole year round.

SkyTrek’s Amir Shemer notes that the festival gets bigger every year, attracting pilots from the United States and England. “This creates a lot of friendships between different countries.”

American pilot Steve Hoffman even says ballooning in the skies over Israel tops them all. “It beats flying over the Alps, as a matter of fact,” he tells ISRAEL21c.

Music by Kevin MacLeod