Captivating, sun-drenched cradle of ancient faiths
Israel’s offerings amount to a dizzying array, luring seekers of all kinds. Ancient wonders abound – Israelite, Roman and Byzantine, among many others – as do outdoor adventures: in the forests of the north, along the balmy Mediterranean coastline, and in the barren, moon-like Negev. Swim with dolphins in the Red Sea, feel weightless in the Dead Sea, or relax with a cocktail on a Tel Aviv beach.
Just as Israel’s richness of wonders is belied by its size, so too is its dazzling diversity by its self-designation as, simply, a “Jewish state.” The gathering of the Diaspora only boosted an already intricate blend of cultures when Jews landed here from as far afield as Finland, Morocco, Brazil and the Ethiopian Highlands.
The twists and turns of the religious landscape are reflected in the country’s fiercely contested politics, with Israelis collectively spanning great spectrums of hopes, ambitions, and faith.
Believer or not, each visitor will doubtless be moved by the passions and convictions that emanate from here, with outpourings of fervent emotion and dissonant yearnings for this coveted land: from the cliffs of Masada to the heartfelt prayers at the Western (“Wailing”) Wall, and from Al-Aqsa Mosque to the footworn pathway of pilgrims along Jerusalem’s Via Dolorosa.