I must have first heard of Israel in the pages of my geography books in school. Confession – I have no memory of it except that I knew there is a country called Israel.
After I grew up a bit and started reading newspapers – it always stayed in my mind as a troubled part of the earth. I did not really follow the news in detail, but I knew something was happening there. It was not in the top travel destinations I wanted to visit.
Books On Israel
O Jerusalem!, is a book that was recommended to me many times. I had all intentions to read it but for one reason or the other never got around to read it. It is still on the wish-list.
Years later I read ‘The Almond Tree‘ by Michelle Cohen Corasanti. It is the story of a boy who grows up in the conflict dominated areas of Palestine and Israel. The book opened up the geography of Israel for me. In my review of the book I said, I want to pack my bags and head to Israel now. I wanted to see the orange, olive and almond trees described in the book. I wanted to walk through the corridors of Hebrew university where the protagonist of the book studied science.
This is when Israel first entered my wish-list. I started dreaming about a visit to Israel. I became more conscious of the news from Israel and of the images I saw on the Internet.
Tel Aviv – A happening hub of Innovation
In my alternate life as a student and consultant of business innovation, I often came across innovators from Israel. Israel is a world leader in the startup ecosystem. It serves as headquarters to many innovative companies. It has a culture that attracts brilliant minds from across the world. Startup Capitals a book that speaks about the startup hotspots across the puts Tel Aviv right on top.
Now I have been to places like Silicon Valley, Bangalore & Singapore and I know the vibrant culture they have that allows startups to flourish. I assumed that Tel Aviv would have a similar cosmopolitan culture for the new business ideas to flourish. It was time to read on Tel Aviv.
My readings tell me that Tel Aviv is a happening cosmopolitan city with a vibrant cafe culture. They say it is a city that never sleeps, something that is said about New York and Mumbai too. A brilliant example of its inclusive culture is the fact that Tel Aviv is arguably the capital of LGBT tourism.
Come to think of it – it is a city with a vibrant nightlife and beautiful beaches.
Across the Dead Sea
Last year when I traveled to Jordan, I got the first glimpse of Israel. I was staying at the edge of the dead sea near Madaba and Jerusalem was just across the sea. We could see its lights reflecting in the dense saline waters of the dead sea. In fact, when I was floating in the dead sea, covered in a mud wrap, I wondered when would I see this side from the other edge of the dead sea in Israel.
Dead sea as you know is one of the wonders of the world. It is the lowest point on earth with high oxygen levels. The water is so saline and so dense that you can not drown, you just keep floating. One of the popular images of dead sea is that of reading a book while floating in its waters.
Even from the blue waters of the Red Sea, I could see some parts of Israel. It was a sight that is right in front of you but still so far.
Jerusalem – the hotbed of history
Thanks to IndiTales, somewhere I got added to a mailing list by Israel Tourism. This was like getting a regular dose of interesting snippets about the country.
History junkie in me in wants to visit one of the oldest living cities in the world – Jerusalem. The fact that it has been the birthplace of 3 major religions makes it fascinating. I want to see where the spiritual roots of a large section of humanity are rooted. And I want to see if it also carries the vibes like our Kashi.
I was fascinated by the images of its markets like Shuk – hope to buy tempting fruits there someday. Guess their markets are as noisy as ours, if not more.
Museum lover in me can not wait to visit the country with a maximum number of museums per capita.
I learned that English is spoken well along with Hebrew and Arabic. Friends who have visited Israel tell me that an English speaker faces no problem traveling in Israel.
Top it up with the fact that there is free Wi-Fi everywhere – looks like one can plan a working holiday or worcation as they call it now.
Dear Universe, now that I have told you so much, please conspire fast to send me to Israel.