israel - Rob Padowski

about israel:

While probably not on your radar as a holiday destination, Israel truly deserves some serious consideration. It's compact size makes it easy to see and do a lot in a short two week vacation. While it is technically in the Middle East, once you land and dig into Tel Aviv's Mediterranean vibe you feel worlds away ...

Upon landing I was thoroughly questioned by the immigration official. Why were you in Malaysia? What did you do in Africa? How long was your last trip? Who do you know here? Why are you here? What's your middle name? What do you know about Palestine? While I of course I have nothing to hide, these questions are always unnerving no matter how many borders you cross. 20 minutes or so later I was issued a landing card which almost felt like being handed a winning lottery ticket (NOTE: Israel does NOT stamp passports) and was on my way.

The whole Israeli/Palestinian issue was seemingly an issue outside of the country. Not once did I engage in a conversation about it, with locals or tourists. The people were genuinely friendly, the food is amazing, and nearly everyone in Tel Aviv rides a motorized bike or scooter.

While not a religious person, it is amazing to see and experience the presence and magnitude of three religions claiming 2000+ years of history. Do note it's not a cheap holiday destination. Beers are +/- $9 USD a bottle, meals run about $15 USD. and accommodation is not cheap, and we visited in (really hot yet still) low season ...

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