So apparently I completely skipped over I in my A-Z series because I forgot to post it! So here it is this week 😀
What to Do in Israel
While I am aware of the conflict between Israel and Palestine, I’ll admit I do not know nearly enough about it. I don’t condone killing or violence in any form, particularly against protestors who are, of the majority, non-violent. And that’s my entire stance as I don’t know enough. However, I would like to learn more and one of the best ways to learn about any given place is to actually travel there. In any case, this is a gorgeous place that I would love to see.
A Little History
This is the portion of this post that I was most scared to do. This is because I have tried to learn about the history of Israel and its conflicts many a time before. There is so much information it is almost impossible to condense. I will do my best to give a little ancient background and modern background, but understand that this subject fills entire series of books.
The area where Israel sits is known as the place where Judaism and Christianity came into being. It contains many, many sacred sites for a ton of religions, including Islam. The territory has been passed around and conquered by many nations. The Crusades in the 11th-13th centuries didn’t help matters and increased tensions betweens the various Abrahamic faiths (this includes Christianity, Judaism, and Islam along with other religious who have roots in Israel, such as Druze and Bahá’i Faith). It remained primarily Muslim up until the British decided to get involved in a conquest for Israel in 1917. There were a lot more factors involved, again, this is incredibly condensed.
Britain decided to create a “Jewish National Home” which was supported by the UN. Israel became independent in 1948 amid massive tensions between those of the Muslim and Jewish faiths. What followed were many wars between Israel and Palestine. Currently Palestine has been majority confined to a few areas such as Gaza and the West Bank. There is still a lot of conflict, and a lot of people have been killed.
Israeli Shekel – the currency rate is fairly favorable right now, and has been for awhile so one can expect it remain pretty good for a while.
Hebrew and Arabic
What to Do in Israel
There is kindof a shocking amount to do here. I would likely divide my trip into things I can do from Jerusalem and things I can do from Tel Aviv and base myself in each city.
Within the city I would hit up all of the well known tourist destinations you likely don’t need me to discuss. But I do want to visit each quarter in the city and, if possible, spend a night in each to see how each quarter lives. I would definitely head to the dead sea from Jerusalem (perhaps to Eilat, the southernmost city) While I know there are other countries that likely offer cheaper access to the Dead Sea, who knows if I’d never get the chance to go back. I always feel it’s best to do what you can while you can, because you never know! I would also head to the Negev desert as it’s about as isolated as one can get and one might see some Bedouin nomad tribes.
The 24/7 city, it seems. I love cities like this, so I’d likely want to spend a lot of time just exploring both at night and during the day. I’ll head to the Camel Market to see the market life and get some delicious olives.
*I will, of course, also see the West Bank as I feel it is important. The city of Bethlehem is divided in two, which could give a very good idea of what’s happening. Ramallah is sort of the capital and I’ll head here too. I’ll have a separate post on Palestine someday.
I read about this village on dontstopliving.net and I was absolutely fascinated. Isfiya is home to the Druze community, who are practitioners of a secret religion loosely related to Shia Islam. Sometimes they have free guided tours of their village and I would hopefully be able to schedule my trip to work so I could learn more about this fascinating group of people.
A Note on Palestine
I consider Palestine to be it’s own country based on 136 states, or over 70% of the UN members, recognizing Palestine as such. Due to this, I will one day have a separate post on Palestine.
While I love traveling by train – it actually looks like traveling by sheruts (shared buses) is the best option. This is because anywhere along their typical route you can be picked up and dropped off. Since the territory in Israel is home to so many famous sites, sometimes they’re in the middle of nowhere. Be aware that during Shabbat all public buses and trains are closed – but taxis are still running so there’s always options.
What to Eat
Because the culture of this country is so strong and well-preserved, there are seemingly hundreds of quintessentially Israeli meals. And they’re everywhere. Basically, don’t leave Israel without trying hummus, falafel, and shwarma. There’s like a million more but no list will be complete without these three. But pretty much just eat everything in sight, is my brief conclusion after reading the exhaustive lists everywhere on the internet for what to eat.
This has been “What to do in Israel” I hope this has been helpful and given you a brief insight into one of the most fascinating and storied countries in the world. Don’t forget, this is part of a series!