Sunday, October 23, 2011

An Israeli tour

On Eurosport channel there is an ad campaign for a country, showing wide beaches and beautiful people swimming, and then paragliding, and rappelling down cliffs and driving in jeeps in canyons, all very outdoorsy and attractive, then it says "enjoy the magic - Israel." Needless to say I was surprised, its part of the re-branding of Israel, not a Chassid or Arab in sight.

If I were given sufficent funds to conduct a PR campaign to inform people and increase tourism to Israel, this is what I would show:
Acre (Akko in Hebrew) the port city in northern Israel and its fabulous buried underground Crusader city and the Jezzar Pasha Mosque, the largest Mosque in Israel, active, alive and definitely worth a visit.
The Hamam hot baths next to the Acre prison which were featured in the movie "Exodus" and is now restored.
Haifa and the magnificent Bahai gardens, the center of the world-wide Bahai faith
Zichron Yaakov founded in 1882 and its old Synagogue and its Museum of the First Aliyah, the earliest Jewish immigration to the Holy Land
Daliat al-Carmel the largest Druze village in Israel, worth a visit for its glimpse of Druze culture and its delicious food
The old quarter of Tzvat (Safed) and the medieval synagogues
Caesarea, the excavated Roman city and the huge Crusader Fortress including the visitor's center with excellent videos
Tel Aviv and the early settlement of Neve Tzedek, the first Jewish suburb of Jaffa in 1887 and the restored Turkish railway station Hatachana which contains restaurants and boutiques and nearby the restored Hassan Bek Mosque
Mini-Israel near Latrun that contains the main cities and sights of Israel in miniature, and nearby the Armored Division Museum showing the Israeli tanks the Merkava (a favorite of kids)
Beersheva with its Turkish memorial to the soldiers who died defending it from the British in WWI and the British cemetary nearby with the graves of the British and Commonwealth soldiers who died capturing it and the Park of the Australian Light Infantry with the statue of the Australian soldier attacking the Turkish positions
Also in Beersheva the Israel Air Force Museum and the striking Negev Battalion Memorial up on a hill overlooking the city
Eilat and the undersea observatory
Visit the amazing Ramon Crater at Mizpe Ramon and Solomon's Pillars at Timna in the south. Take a jeep ride or a tour in the Negev, stark and beautiful.
The road to Jerusalem and the remains of the lightly armored cars that were used to send convoys of food into the besieged city in 1948 and the position of Kastel that overlooks the main road into Jerusalem that was a very strategic location
In Jerusalem itself, not only the usual sights of the unique Old City, the newly designed Israel Museum, but also Ammunition Hill, where the IDF in a suicide mission defeated the Jordanian Arab Legion and helped capture Jerusalem in 1948
Near the Rockefeller Museum the memorial to the Jordanian soldiers (still there under Israeli jurisdiction) who fought bravely but vainly to defend the illegal Jordanian occupation of East Jerusalem
In the Jewish Quarter, the beautiful reconstructed Hurva Synagogue that was completely destroyed by the Arabs in 1948
The amazing excavations of the ancient city in the Davidson Center and the underground tunnels of the Temple Mount
Archeological excavations, including Tzippori in the Galilee with magnificent Roman mosaics, and the Roman city of Beit Shean
All the many ancient biblical sites such as Meggido, Hazor, and Tel Sheva showing the ancient Jewish connection to the Land
The wonderful Sea of Galilee at Tiberias, take a dinner cruise on the lake or enjoy the "banana boats"
Oh, and finally Netanya, where a stroll along the cliff-top tayelet (promenade) is a must!

There is so much to see and so much that tells the story and history of the Jews in their Land that anyone not convinced of the connection is purely biased. One image must be selected as an icon, just as the Houses of Parliament are for London, the Eiffel Tower is for Paris and the White House for Washington. I would choose the Citadel with David's Tower that would symbolise the ancient connection and strength of the association of the Jews with Jerusalem.


Post a Comment

<< Home