Fodor's Exploring Israel

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Fodor's Exploring Guides are the most up-to-date, full-color guidebooks available. Covering destinations around the world, these guides are loaded with photos; essays on culture and history, architecture and art; itineraries, walks and excursions; descriptions of sights; and practical information. Fodor's Exploring Israel, 4th Edition gives you great tips on dining and lodging for all budgets as well as tips on basics such as getting there and getting around and when to go and ...
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Overview

Fodor's Exploring Guides are the most up-to-date, full-color guidebooks available. Covering destinations around the world, these guides are loaded with photos; essays on culture and history, architecture and art; itineraries, walks and excursions; descriptions of sights; and practical information. Fodor's Exploring Israel, 4th Edition gives you great tips on dining and lodging for all budgets as well as tips on basics such as getting there and getting around and when to go and what to pack.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781400017218
  • Publisher: Fodor's Travel Publications, Inc.
  • Publication date: 8/15/2006
  • Series: Fodor's Exploring Guides Series
  • Edition number: 4
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 5.15 (w) x 8.65 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Under the Spotlight

The gaze of the world often focuses on Israel. It is a place that exists deep in the psyche of the western world but that, for many, is more myth than reality. For anyone with Sunday School notions about "the Holy Land," the dynamic, restless, abrasively energetic modern nation of Israel will come as a big surprise. Many Israelis just wish theirs could be a "normal" country. But normal countries do not encourage waves of large-scale immigration when they already have an unemployment problem. In normal countries, vibrant capitalism would not thrive within a monolithic socialist infrastructure where the state owns nearly all the land. But then, normal countries do not have Israel's problems. And somehow, the world does not expect Israel to find normal solutions.

People hold strong views about Israel. It is hard to grasp that a place only the size of Massachusetts can be so crucial to world politics and world religion. The problems have an old-new look about them too. Those ancient Assyrians, Egyptians, and Babylonians who vied for control over the land of the Hebrews have modern inheritors. Those Canaanite tribes who made life difficult for conquering Israelites might almost have been the prototype for today's West Bank militants.

As always, different people lay claim to the same patch of earth. Can such deep and intractable conflicts ever be resolved? The world's press certainly has plenty of easy answers, as do governments around the globe. Politicians and pundits, concerned more about their own national interest, are all too ready to instruct Israel in the error of its ways. Visitors often come up with quick solutions.Israelis know it is not so simple, and that their whole survival is at stake. They, more than anyone, want to be free to enjoy life in peace. Would it be better to hand over the whole West Bank to the P.L.O.? Some of it? What if Hamas or Islamic Jihad took over? The P.L.O. itself contains elements at odds with Arafat. Parts of the West Bank are almost in the Tel Aviv suburbs. Would it have been better to hang on to it forever? Was it a mistake to do a deal with Arafat? But then, Arab states made peace because of that. The country is alive with debate, a kaleidoscope of opinions, ideas, choice, diversity.

The Land

That diversity of opinions is just one other facet of Israel's extraordinary spectrum of peoples and landscapes. For sheer physical variety, the country is phenomenal, with four climate zones and four types of terrain, ranging from handsome and verdant Mediterranean hills in the north to parched desert in the south; from majestic snow-capped Mount Hermon to the salty Dead Sea, the lowest point on the earth. Journeying between the two, you will pass vineyards and olive groves mentioned in the Bible, apple orchards, fields of corn and banana plantations, tomatoes and strawberries -- truly a bewildering range of crops. Today, after just a century of labor and reclamation, Israel looks again like a land of milk and honey. This is the ancient-modern "Eretz Israel" -- literally, Land of Israel. Some call it the Promised Land, some the Holy Land, some the Zionist Entity. Most Israelis call it simply, HaAretz: the Land.

History and Heritage

Past, present, and future seem to converge here. Uninspired apartment complexes in well-ordered planned towns give an impression of modernity, but builders digging the foundations usually have to call in the archaeologists. Every walk or drive involves an encounter with Israel's long and dramatic history. Almost every Israeli family has its own story of events that span the globe -- but that started here.

A Homeland

Many migrants are motivated by religious or cultural zeal, many by the simple promise of food, a roof, and a regular job, and many by the longing to escape persecution. The service which Jewish families read together over the annual Passover meal, celebrating the Exodus from Egypt, concludes with "Next year in Jerusalem." Daily, that wish is made a reality.

The cornerstone of Israel's existence is the Zionist dream of gathering in all the Jews who have been exiled across the globe and bringing them back to their true home. The idea was even set down in the book of Genesis. Yet any country that willingly promotes a policy of mass immigration must seem at best foolishly philanthropic, at worst, suicidal. The economic logistics alone appear formidable. To an Israeli, however, the case looks different. Israel is a nation born of new immigrants: they are its life force.

Since 1948 more than two million have "made aliyah" -- literally, gone up -- to Israel. These olim (new arrivals) not only must they adjust to a new language and culture, but also to the fact that their new country is at risk. Despite the pressure new immigrants sometimes impose on the employment sector, their decision to make a life in Israel is greeted with by Israelis as evidence that the creation of a Jewish homeland really is working as its founders planned.

Who Can Come?

In 1950, the Israeli parliament passed the Law of Return. This enshrined as a right what had, until then, been an unwritten tenet: namely, that any person who could claim Jewish descent would be welcomed to the country. Even as Orthodox authorities restricted the definition of Jewishness, immigrants have arrived in waves from Eastern Europe, North Africa, the Gulf states, the former Soviet Union, and Ethiopia.


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Table of Contents

Contents
How To Use This Book
Contents Pages
My Israel
Israel Is
Old and New
A Homeland
Hopes and Dreams
Diversity
Religion
Work and Play
Politics
Vigilance
In the News
The Future
Israel Was
The Bible
Early Conquests
Roman
The Holy Land
Islamic
Mameluke and Ottoman
Zionist
Settlement and Struggle
A New Country
A to Z
Jerusalem
Focus On
City Gates
The Four Quarters
Ashkenazim and Sephardim
The Temple
Israel's Arabs
Food
Jewish Observance
Children
Walks
On the City Walls
The Old City
West Jerusalem
Tel Aviv and the Coast
Focus On
Language and Literature
Music
Secular and Religious
Pioneers and Heroes
Festivals
Kosher Food
Wine
Walks
Dizengoff Street
Old Jaffa
Drive
Carmel Scenery
Galilee and the North
Focus On
Kibbutzim and Moshavim
Forests and Parks
Walk
In the Footsteps of Jesus
Drive
The Golan Heights
The Northern Road
The Sea of Galilee
Judaea and Samaria (The West Bank)
Focus On
The PLO
The Dead Sea Scrolls
The South
Focus On
The Bedouin
Underwater Eilat
Desert Walks and Drives
Making the Desert Bloom
Bird Migration
Travel Facts
Arriving
Essential Facts
Getting Around
Communications
Emergencies
Other Information
Tourist Information
Accommodations and Restaurants
Index
Acknowledgements
Maps and Plans


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