Israel ? What do you do there?
This is the most common question I am asked after I mention that I have just returned from my most recent trip to Israel.
My knee-jerk reaction is defensive, as I find that no one ever asks anyone who has just returned from a trip to Florida or the Caribbean the same question. And this in the locker room of my local JCC!
Presumably laying around a pool sipping drinks or playing golf do not require any reporting!
Israel however requires much more work and effort. To begin with, if one does not have a cell phone nor has ever rented a car, things take a bit more time to plan.
There are many places that I have visited that I return to on each trip. I go to Hevron and Kever Rachel as much to support the settlers as to re-charge my spiritual batteries. Similarly day trips up to Tsefat, Meron and Tiberius brings fresh focus to every trip.
For several years now, I have wanted to take the tour of the Jerusalem City Hall complex, however, it only runs on 10 persons or more and the number of visits to the Safra Square tourist office never seem to coincide with any groups.
I had an aunt and uncle who, on weekends, would purposely go for drives in the countryside and try to get lost so as to see where they would come out . I do the same thing on the side streets and lanes of Jerusalem.
Israel has, in my opinion, an annual preponderance of interesting exhibits at its museums and art galleries. These coupled with the biannual International Jerusalem Book Fair means that one has to carefully plan any trip in any given year.
On a personal level, the fact that one’s maternal grandfather had visited Jerusalem in 1913 during the Ottoman Empire and prior to the Mandate or founding of the State of Israel means that on any given trip one can be emotionally effected by the simplest of sites on any given trip.
In short, Israel as a whole is a country that offers an unending source of interesting venues for the any visitor, either a first time visitor or those returning for their twentieth trip!