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Israel Overview

Israel is truly a country of contrasts.

Within its 22,000 square kilometres lives a population of 9.2 million. The three major monotheistic religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam all have deep historical ties to the region. Israel is a country that has a human history going back 50,000 years and its strategic location has served as the gateway from Asia to Egypt and Africa has made Israel an ideal target for conquerors through the ages.

Life in Israel is complex. And that adds to its allure as a fascinating place to visit.

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For many, Israel is the Holy Land. Millions of people visit the country for a pilgrimage: to honour their Jewish heritage; for Christians to walk in the footsteps of Jesus; for Muslims to visit the Dome of the Rock, as Mohammed is believed to ascend into heaven from there.

Jerusalem is about 5,000 years old, and one of the world’s most ancient cities.  It is without a doubt one of the world’s most fascinating cities. There wouldn’t be one square micrometre of Jerusalem that lacks any historical significance. When you wander through the streets and alleyways of Jerusalem you absorb thousands of years of civilisation.

Yes, so diverse is Israel that a mere 40 kms away, the city of Tel Aviv can seem like you are on another planet.

Located on the Mediterranean Sea, Tel Aviv is a city of beaches, nightclubs, glitzy hotels. It is considered to be the most liberal city in Israel and one of the most gay friendly cities in the world. Tel Aviv is a city that just doesn’t stop. It’s a place to party or to relax, or to just wander around and enjoy the vibe.

Masada sits atop a plateau in the Judean Desert with stunning views of the Dead Sea.

This is an important place for Jews as it was the last Jewish holdout to fall to Rome in 73 CE. Masada symbolizes the exile of the Jewish nation from the Holy Land. Its violent end has become a symbol of bravery and self-sacrifice since the founding of the State of Israel in 1948.

If you wish to visit the lowest above water point in the world, visit the Dead Sea. That name serves it well as the waters of the Dead Sea are super saline, so is too salty for marine habitation.

You can float in the Dead Sea, and the waters are said to be beneficial. The mud along the shore of the Dead Sea contains many minerals and is believed to have medicinal and therapeutic benefits. It is not uncommon for visitors to cover their bodies with the dark mud.

The food in Israel is amazing. Because Israel is a magnet for people of many nationalities, that diversity is reflected in the cuisine.  Much of the food is kosher, but there is so much variety this is hardly an issue.

Traditional Middle Eastern foods such as falafel, hummus and shawarma are very popular, and they are many variations for you to try. Vegetarian and vegan food is plentiful too. Then there are the fruits and the nuts and the wonderful range od desserts. Local beers and wines are available, plus the local liqueur Arak, which has an aniseed flavour.

Israel is a small country with an excellent public transport system. However, to make the most of your trip, consider booking a tour or hiring your own guide.

With such a long and fascinating history, as Ksenia Kobyakov from the Israel Ministry of Tourism recommends, having a guide who can relate the story of the places that you visit will make your trip complete.

By world standards Israel is tiny, but what a fantastic place to experience.

Israel is truly a country of contrasts.

Plan your trip here: https://info.goisrael.com/en/

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