A taste of Israel
Traveling Well to Israel
Welcome to Israel…a land where Abraham forged his covenant with God…and today is a nation that has defied unbelievable odds to become an ancestral homeland for Jews and a place where democracy has flourished.
For the first time traveler to Israel, it is like a walk through history. Here three continents (Asia, Africa and Europe) and two seas convene making the country a blend of cultures, customs and traditions. Here was a crossroad to ancient routes of commerce and a home to diverse peoples reflecting the flood of conquering armies striving for eminence in this much-desired small country. Canaanites, Hebrews, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Crusaders, Ottoman Turks and the British—each made their stand, briefly flourished, and were swept away leaving in their wake fortifications, castles and royal palaces. From sheikhs’ tombs with whitened domes to ancient synagogues decorated with colorful mosaics and the graceful arches of Crusader churches, Israel is an amazing feast for the senses.
Rooted in religion—though a majority of its people is quite secular—the old Walled City of Jerusalem is of great symbolic importance for Judaism, Christianity and Islam and their histories entwine on its labyrinthine streets. Walk along the Via Dolorosa or Way of Sorrows to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the site of Jesus, the Christian Messiah’s, crucifixion, burial and resurrection. Observe the solemnity of the Western Wall, the only surviving remnant of Judaism’s most sacred shrine, the Temple Mount. Gaze in awe at one of the world’s great architectural masterpieces, the Dome of the Rock, which was built over a rock said to retain Mohammed’s footprint. It is of particular veneration because of the belief that it is the place that had been visited by Mohammed, the Muslim Prophet, on his miraculous night journey which had taken him from Arabia to heaven.
Ancient and modern, secular and sacred, Israel beckons visitors with its magnificent sites, holy places and warm Mediterranean climate. And while Israel is a land of dynamic contrasts with age-old sacred shrines alongside futuristic skyscrapers and posh resorts with swaying palms alongside desert wasteland…it is its own unique Israeli blend—a fitting description for a nation that continues to confound expectations.
What time of year is best to visit Israel? Anytime of year is beautiful in Israel! Israel enjoys long, warm, dry summers (April-October) and generally mild winters (November-March) with somewhat drier, cooler weather in hilly regions, such as Jerusalem and Safed. Rainfall is relatively heavy in the north and center of the country, with much less in the northern Negev and almost negligible amounts in the southern areas.
Regional conditions vary considerably, with humid summers and mild winters on the coast; dry summers and moderately cold winters in the hill regions; hot dry summers and pleasant winters in the Jordan Valley; and year-round semi-desert conditions in the Negev.
Weather extremes range from occasional winter snowfall in the mountain regions to periodic oppressively hot dry winds that send temperatures soaring, particularly in spring and autumn.
Who are the Israelis?
- Population of 7 Million
- 79% are Jewish
- 15% are Muslim
- 6% are Christian, Druze, Buddhist and more
- Hebrew, Arabic
- Almost everyone speaks English
Short Distances: – Israel is basically the size of New Jersey.
- Tel Aviv-Jerusalem: 50 minutes
- Jerusalem-Dead Sea: 45 minutes
- Jerusalem-Masada: 90 minutes
- Tel Aviv-Haifa: 90 minutes
- Jerusalem-Tiberias: 2.5 hours
- Tel Aviv-Eilat: 4 hours
Preparing for the Trip
- No visas required
- Just a passport with validity of 6 months
- All major credit cards accepted
- Accessible ATM’s
- 3.5 Shekels = $1
Electricity The electric current in Israel is 220 volts AC, single phase, 50 Hertz. Most Israeli sockets are of the three-pronged variety but many can accept some European two-pronged plugs as well. Electric shavers, traveling irons and other small appliances may require adapters and/or transformers, which can be purchased in Israel.
Tel Aviv • Jaffa • Caesarea • Tiberias • Sea of Galilee Nazareth • Jericho • Dead Sea • Masada • Qumran • Jerusalem • Wailing Wall • Bethlehem • Church of the Nativity • Mount of Olives • Mt. Zion
Did You Know?
- Israel has 4 seas, 6 micro-climates, mountains, valleys, lush pastureland and deserts, all in a space the size of New Jersey.
- Jerusalem is Israel’s “Washington, D.C.” and Tel Aviv is Israel’s “New York City.” Jerusalem, the capital, is home to three quarters of a million people. The Tel Aviv metropolitan area, Israel’s center of business, culture, fashion and entertainment, is home to four million people.
- Mount Hermon is 10,000 feet high, Jerusalem is 3,000 feet above Sea Level, and the Dead Sea is the lowest point on earth. Because it is 2,000 feet further from the sun’s rays – even the fairest skin tans at the Dead Sea shore, but doesn’t burn.
- 75% of Israelis are Jewish, 25% are Israeli Muslims, Christians, Druze, Baha’is and Buddhists.
- Israel’s official languages are Hebrew and Arabic and almost everyone speaks English.
A Taste of Israel: Filet of Sea Bass
- 4 fillets of Sea Bass (5 ounces each)
- 3.5 ounces of Spinach Leaves
- 3.5 ounces of Cooked Chickpeas
- 3.5 ounces of Blanched Green Ful (Fava Beans)
- 3.5 ounces of Baby Arugula
- 4 Thyme Leaves
- 1 Garlic Clove
- 1/2 cup of Olive Oil
- 1 grilled Eggplant
- 1 tablespoon of Sour Cream
- 1/2 Lemon
- Cream of Eggplant: Burn the eggplant on an open flame. Cut in half and scrape out the inside. Throw away the peel. Mix the eggplant with salt, pepper, lemon juice, and 1 tablespoon olive oil to taste. Mix in a blender with 1 tablespoon of sour cream until it becomes a smooth cream.
- Tomato Coulis: Slice an X into the top of the tomatoes. Boil in water for 1 minute. Remove the skin, cut into quarters, and take out the seeds. Put on a tray and sprinkle 2 tablespoons olive oil, pepper and salt to taste. Bake for 2 hours in the oven at 200 degrees.
- Fish: Season fish with salt, pepper, and 2 thyme leaves. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil on a sauté pan. Place the fish on the pan and sear on both sides until brown. Take the fish off the pan and put on a baking sheet. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and cook fish for 4 minutes.
- Vegetables: Fry spinach in a sauté pan with 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Season the spinach with salt and pepper. Let sit until it reaches room temperature. Sauté cooked chickpeas, fava beans, 1 garlic clove, salt, pepper, and 2 thyme leaves in a pan with 1 tablespoon olive oil on a low flame for a few minutes. Add tomato coulis and 1 tablespoon water and cook for another few minutes.
To Serve: Place the cooked chickpeas and fava beans in the center of the plate. Place the fish on top, then place the fresh arugula leaves seasoned with salt and pepper on top of the fish. Pour the cream of eggplant on the side.
Contact TravelSmart Partners today to start planning your Israel journey.