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Travel Announcement: To Israel!

israel2

Sometimes opportunities arise when you least expect them. It happened to me recently when a new travel company asked me to visit Israel and participate in a test tour. I pay only airfare - everything else from luxury hotel accommodations to food are covered by the organizer. Israel isn't a country to which I previously envisioned traveling, but how can I resist such an opportunity? It gives me a chance to explore an entirely new region of the world. The schedule will be out of my control to some extent, but the organizers will work with participants to visit areas of interest. I know for certain that we will be in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Bethlehem. I don't know if we will go further into Palestine, but I hope so.

Of course, the primary tourist attractions in Israel are religious sites but they're of no interest to me. What else can I see/do in these cities? Where can I find the most dramatic desert or scenic landscapes? Interesting people or markets? I want to make the drive to Ramon Crater, and am curious about the bedouin village/school in Khan al-Alhmar after reading this report. Has anyone been there? Please leave any suggestions about interesting places or people in comments. If anyone knows local English speakers in these cities who may be willing to answer questions and/or act as a guide, please let me know. I'd also be grateful if you could throw links to interesting photo reports from other LJ bloggers who have traveled in the region.

Thanks, in advance, for the help! I depart next Sunday, and will be sure to share photos and impressions of my journey.

Comments

jack_cracker29
Apr. 3rd, 2014 10:01 pm (UTC)

Time for an Israeli story… Sorry if too wordy

I visited it and Egypt unexpectedly in ’99 if I remember, when traveling thru Europe and getting a call from home that my uncle who was working as USAID projects rep in the Middle East was now in Israel and after that was planning to go to Egypt and would be happy to have a familiar face around.
So I went. Didn’t like either country much. Maybe was too young. Israel seemed particularly boring. You can cover major religious sites in a day or two , go to a hill where bunch of Jews committed mass suicide in antiquity and the Dead Sea that is actually a salty lake. Voila you seen Israel. One of local USAID employees was an Israeli Christian Arab (I didn’t know such specie existed) who invited us to his home in Jerusalem and took us around Palestine.
Story is that when we were leaving Bethlehem after visiting Church of the Nativity and some bazaar, Arab Gyro deli (or whatever it’s called) etc to go back to Jerusalem we ran smack into a CNN moment. At an intersection right in front of us they had Super Bowl of the Middle East.
Three or four Israeli soldiers on their home TD line against a Palestinian football team. It was a type of a "football game" where one team is shooting at players of the other team throwing rocks and whatnot from different yardage. Throwing is done by Palestinian players of various ages, the younger the player the closer he could get to the soldiers but not closer than about 25yrd line. If too many of them get too audacious soldier would shoot a teargas can at them and they run back to 50 yrd line. There they have older teens with slings giving 12-13 yr old rascals new plays… Some older teens shuttle back and force to 75yrd line where grown “coaches” are giving new “plays” to older teens. Meanwhile Israeli “players” are closely monitoring the field one with a scoped fully automatic, one with a rubber bullet gun one with a teargas thrower and an officer on the radio and an automatic. If too many Palestinian “players” start throwing rocks the soldier with rubber bullet gun shoots the most audacious kid and the tear gas soldier lets loose a few gas cans… and it goes on for like 2-3 hours…
We couldn’t move at all cars were all around us for miles back… so we had to watch the drama that I have never and probably will never see again…
At about closer to dinner time the “SuperBowl” ran its time and Palestinian “players” started to go back to their home TD line for rewards and attaboy from “coaches”.
A bobcat loader came out and took all the rocks back to about 50yrd line for the next “game” I guess…
(Deleted comment)
skvorets1989
Apr. 4th, 2014 09:37 am (UTC)
Excuse me, It doesn't happen "in various locations throughout the country". It happens in one place - the western bank of Jordan River where Arabs are majority and where everybody lives like shit. In other parts of Israel jews and arabs live peacefully and just fine. And Israel would fix this problem long ago if West wouldn't come with it's "help" all the time encouraging this kind of behavior from arabs and blaming jewish settlements for everything.

Such diverse in every possible way country as Israel with so rich history and so many things going on there right now can be called eternally boring country only by eternally boring person.

Edited at 2014-04-04 12:40 pm (UTC)
peacetraveler22
Apr. 4th, 2014 01:43 pm (UTC)
I know the West Bank is the heart of the tension, however I thought the discord between Arabs/Jews extended outside this zone. If you tell me they are living hand in hand in peace throughout the rest of Israel, then good. I hope it to be true. I'll see when I visit. You don't like America's foreign policy? Welcome to the club! Neither do most Americans. However, I don't write about politics in this blog. It's a lose/lose situation for a blogger in the .RuNet sphere. Almost impossible to have a civil discussion w/out troll infections.
skvorets1989
Apr. 4th, 2014 03:04 pm (UTC)
I don't want to this club because as I can see it America is being mostly criticized for excessive activity on the world stage and for being too much agressive. I don't believe this is the case. On countrary I believe that this is the myth created and constantly supported by corrupt opressive governments around the globe who see storng America as a threat for themself.

And for my unspeakable dissapointment I see that this propaganda works not olny in those countries where people have very limited sources of information but also in the US itself.

And same here with Israel. Arab countries which have no democracy no rule of law no nothing work day and night on demonizing Israel which is free and prosperous. And it also seems to me that some of their lies believed even in the US which is for now probably is the only real Israel's ally.

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