Israel means a lot of different things to many people, and is one of the most diverse and dynamic countries in the world. Even though it’s often associated with political unrest and conflict, it’s also a beautiful place to travel to, with spectacular natural beauty, lively cities, ancient historic sites, incredible cuisine, and friendly, welcoming people.
On this journey, I’m traveling through the Holy Land, a region important to the three main monotheistic religions, and what is known today as Israel and Palestine.
In this episode, I’m exploring Israel, a country that was established in 1948, but is located in a region that has been at the crossroads of religions and cultures for many centuries. From the beautiful beaches and dynamic streets of modern Tel Aviv, to the religious landmarks and atmospheric alleys of the Old City of Jerusalem. From the salty water of the Dead Sea to the surreal desert landscapes of the Negev. Along the way, I meet some of the people that live here, and taste some of the local food.
I’ll do so from a traveler’s perspective, focusing on the positive stories and things to do. But here and there I also mention the conflict between Israel and Palestine, since it has impacted the lives of many people in the region. For those interested in the politics and modern history of the region, however, I recommend to read, watch, and listen to as many different sources as you can.
This is my first long trip after the pandemic started, and I’m grateful for the chance to travel again. It’s also my second visit to the region, and therefore I use both new and older footage for this video.
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Copyright of all footage: Hoffer Media
Here’s a brief overview of the content in this video:
We begin this journey in Tel Aviv, Israel’s ‘beach city’. But it’s much more than that, it’s also an economic powerhouse and vibrant cultural center, known for its liberal and cosmopolitan attitude. The next stop is Caesarea, an interesting place for people who are interested in history. This ancient port city was an important place during Roman times, and was only recently excavated by archaeologists. Not far from here is Haifa, known particularly for its beautiful Bahai’s gardens.
I continue my travels in Akko, a stunning fortified city on the Mediterranean coast. Its winding alleys are a joy to get lost in, and it’s also worth discovering the underground tunnels. Driving onwards, I travel to the Golan Heights, an area popular for outdoor activities, with beautiful mountain landscapes and national parks. It’s also a contested place, as the Golan was captured by Israel from Syria, after Six Day War. As you travel in this region, you come across many reminders of the war.
Nazareth is one of Christianity’s holiest places, and the place where Jesus is said to have lived for many years. The Basilica of the Annunciation is the absolute highlight for many visitors, and the city is an important place for religious tourism. Also interesting is Nazareth Village, where you can imagine life during the time of Jesus.
Few places evoke so much imagination as Jerusalem, one of the world’s oldest cities, and holy to Jews, Muslims, and Christians. Walking (into) the Old City can be a magical experience, and to many visitors feels like entering a different world, and era. While Jerusalem is a spiritual and historic center, it’s also a dynamic city, where traditional lifestyles blend with cosmopolitan ideas.
We continue our journey in the Negev, a vast region in the South of Israel, comprising of arid mountains and surreal desert landscapes. Here, I visit a number of beautiful nature reserves, and also briefly visit a kibbutz. At the Southern tip of the Negev is Eilat, a popular holiday destination for Israeli families, but also a good place to go diving or snorkeling, as it’s located on the Red Sea.
I end the trip on the Dead Sea, known for its high salt levels, where people actually stay afloat. The high concentration of minerals is also said to have healing powers for people with certain skin problems. It’s not all good news though, as the Dead Sea’s water levels are receding at immense speed, mostly due to human activity, such as extraction for industrial purposes, and climate change…(read more)
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