Can you imagine a place where, in the space of just a few minutes, you can go from praying at an ancient wall thousands of years old to sitting in one of Jaffa Street's chic cafes sipping on a Chai Latte as the light rail trundles by? Or where you can spend hours sifting for artifacts from Temple times or sitting in a modern stadium watching the famous Beitar Jerusalem team battle it out in the Israeli Football League while munching on the quintessential Israeli snack, Garinim (sunflower seeds). This is Jerusalem today, the capital of Israel!
On the other side of the country is the coastal city of Tel Aviv, a modern metropolis with hundreds of skyscrapers, a buzzing hive of activity filled with high-tech workers, beach and party-goers, and culinary foodies. Head up north to the holy city of Safed where you can slow things right down. Here, you can get lost in the winding alleys of the ancient city, breathe in the clear mountain air, and bathe in the hot healing springs of nearby Tiberias. Down south are the towns of Be'er Sheva, ancient Hebron, and the Negev desert, where our biblical ancestors tread thousands of years ago.
There really is no place as spectacular in the world like Israel!
Here are some very 'Israeli' customs you need to know about!
1. In Israel, everything is a negotiation!
2. Israel's most popular street snack is falafel, but a newcomer is on the scene! Sabich!
3. In Israel, you can experience the special atmosphere of the Jewish festivals and national days.
4. Unity flows through the veins of every Israeli.
5. Everyone is family!
As people of the book, we have learned to replicate the behavior of our biblical forefathers and foremothers who were known for their kindness and generosity towards others, along with their courage and determination in the face of adversity and challenging circumstances. Along with some local habits picked up in the region, there is a reason why Israelis are compared to Sabras, the fruits that are coated in prickles but sweet and delicious on the inside.
To outsiders, they might seem a bit too assertive or in your face, but persevere and you will soon discover that Israelis are the warmest, most caring people you've ever met. And that was only two minutes ago!
So when you plan your next visit to the Holy Land, keep the above facts to hand and you'll feel right at home as soon as your plane touches down!
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