I know that Israel turns 63 today, but putting together a list of 63 things is a daunting task. Maybe next year I’ll work on 64 things.
And in no particular order…
- 1) The rich history – Jewish & non-Jewish, it happened here. The Torah / Bible? Yeah, most of that takes place here. The Crusades? A good chunk of that took place here as well. You can see the history, whether thousands of years old in the holy capital, or mere decades old alongside the highway, with your own two eyes … touch the history with your hands and feet. To this day, I am still amazed as how the Kotel (part of the Bet Hamikdash) was built a few thousand years ago without any machinery. What’s your favorite historical site in Israel? Masada sure does stand out for me.
- 2) The culture – The rich culture of Israel exudes from every aspect of life including it’s museums (more museums per capita than any other country), it’s nightlife (whether you’re observant or not, there is fun for everyone at night in the larger cities), it’s cafes, and especially in the streets. Spend some time in a local market or on a bus and you’ll start to see what I’m talking about.
- 3) The people – The Israeli people are a class to themselves. With the majority of the population serving in the army at one point or another, they carry a no-BS swagger that I appreciate as a NYer. Despite this, it’s hard to say that there is only one type of Israeli with so many Olim (immigrants) from around the globe in such a small space, you’re bound to meet all types of people, all of whom will invite you into their homes.
- 4) The hikes – I can’t count the amount of amazing hikes Israel has in such a small area. Each one is unique and exicting, some have you crossing rivers, others scaling cliffs, all amazing. Personal favorite hikes: Nahal Yehudia & Har Arbel.
- 5) The beaches – Eilat, Tel Aviv, Netanya, and others have amazing beaches for sun bathing, lounging, surfing, beach sports, kite flying, and more. I saw my first rainbow on the beaches of Dor while searching for Chilazon (tekhelet snails).
- 6) The food – Besides for the fact that Israel’s melting pot of a country brought with it cuisines from all over the world, we have the local favorites: Shwarma, Chummus / Hummus (depending on your capability of pronouncing that word), Falafel, Malawach, Pita & Laffa, amazing local cheese and wines, etc. Oh, and I almost forgot: Kosher Thai Food! Yumm
- 0.3) The loud, obnoxious person on the bus next to you – While this doesn’t sound like a reason to visit Israel, the experience sure will stick with you when you leave.
Surely I left something out. What did I miss? Comment below.