A journey to the Holy Land (Israel) is like no other journey in the world!
It is a pilgrimage, not a trip, the source of many great religions and the birthplace of Christianity and Judaism, and one of the holiest sites for Moslems in the world.
It is a country full of rich history, some of the oldest places in the world, a vibrant, full-of-life country that is growing by leaps and bounds.
A nation that comprises many ethnic groups… people from all nations. In Hebrew, the official language of Israel, they call it Ha Eretz… the land.
Bordered on the West by the Mediterranean Sea to the South, the Red Sea. Land borders to the North are Lebanon and Syria, to the East Jordan.
Israel has seen many wars through the centuries.
It was captured and ruled by many conquerors.
The history of Israel is not totally clear, however, the earliest history of mankind dates back nearly a million and a half years! Archaeology has discovered sites dating back nearly 120,000 years!
The nations of Israel and Judah date back to about 900 B.C.E. They destroyed the country in 720 B C.E. by the Assyrians. Nebuchadnezzar II conquered it again in 586 B.C.E. and destroyed the Temple, the center of Judaism.
The Greeks and Romans conquered it again and ruled until 132 A.D. when the Bar Kokhba revolt took place against Rome.
Then came the Arabs, followed by the Crusaders, Mamluks, Turks, and the British. In 1947, the Jewish nation of Israel was established, and war broke out between the surrounding nations of Arabs and Israel. Another war followed this in 1956, 1967, 1972, and 1986.
There have been many battles and skirmishes since that time.
The Palestinians established their own state during the Clinton years. Since that time, there have been many skirmishes at some border points around Gaza and the Syrian border.
The population of Israel in 2018 was 8.89 million, made up of Jews, with Arabs and Christians making up most of the rest of the population.
Major cities include Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Haifa, Eilat, and Tiberias.
Tourism is the major industry, followed by agriculture and manufacturing. I want to talk mostly about tourism to Israel, which is what my occupation is.
The first question that comes up is terrorism… how does it affect travel to Israel? Terrorism is a worldwide problem, not just an Israeli problem. We have seen terrorism in many countries of the world, even here in the United States.
No country is exempt from it; however, Israel has dealt with it better than most countries, including the United States.
Today, terrorism in Israel is almost nonexistent.
Security at the borders and airports is among the most sophisticated in the world.
While many denounce the wall that was built to protect the Israelis, it is a fact that terrorism in the country of Israel has nearly stopped. It is completely safe to walk the streets of Jerusalem or Tel Aviv.
Of course, there are travel warnings about travel in some “West Bank” areas, but most tour groups do not go into those areas.
They equip guides and bus drivers with cell phones and are constantly in touch with local authorities to make sure that the groups do not go into any area where there could be trouble. We restrict travel to certain sites during Jewish and Arab holidays as prevention.
We welcome tourist from all countries in Israel and the local population, whether it be Arab or Jew, are very friendly to a tourist.
Many families depend on tourism for survival, so no one wants to “bite the hand that feeds them”.
Now, let’s look at some sites to see, and things that are too good to miss:
Jerusalem is a must-see place. If I say that you could spend a month in this famous city and still not see everything, it is not an overstatement.
The sites in Jerusalem are limitless. Here are just a few, without a long description of them. I do not list these in the importance of them. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but the highlights.
1. Temple Mount. Aksa Mosque, Dome of the Rock, Wailing Wall, Rabbi’s Tunnel, Pinnacle, Teaching Steps.
2. Garden Tomb. Closed on Sundays as they have a worship service there. Check for times.
3. Via Dolorosa (Way of Sorrows), the traditional way Jesus would have walked to Calvary. Friday, March is a great way as the Catholics stop at each of the Stations of the Cross.
4. Mt. Zion, David’s Tomb, Upper Room.
5. Burnt House, is a great video on the times and history.
6. St. Stephen’s Gate, or Lion’s Gate, Sheep Market
7. Church of St. Anne, Pool of Bethesda, Ecco Homo (behold the man), The Pavement.
8. Church of the Holy Sepulcher.
9. Church of All Nations, Garden of Gethsemane, Tomb of the Virgin Mary.
10. Palm Sunday road.
11. Mt of Olives, Mt of Olives cemetery, Church of the Pater Noster, Dominus Flevit, Chapel of the Ascension.
12. Nebi Samuel, the Tomb of Samuel.
13. The Emmaus Road.
14. Ein Karem, the birthplace of John the Baptist.
15. Dead Sea Scrolls.
16. The Knesset (Parliament).
17. Bethlehem, Church of the Nativity, Shepherd’s Fields, Rachel’s Tomb.
Dead Sea Area
1. Bethany, Tomb of Lazarus (on the way to the Dead Sea).
2. Good Samaritan Inn.
3. Valley of the Shadow of Death.
4. Jericho, Jordan River, Dead Sea, Mt. of Temptation.
5. Caves of the Dead Sea Scrolls, Ein Gedi (where David hid from Saul), Masada, Dead Sea Scrolls Museum.
1. Jacob’s Well, Mt. Gerizim, Mt. Ebal, Tel of Samaria.
1. Masada, Gideon’s Springs, Nazareth, Mary’s Well, The Precipice, Mt. of Transfiguration, Village of Nain.
2. Cana, Mt. Hittin, Sea of Galilee, Tiberias, Jordan River.
3. Tabgha, Mt. of Beatitudes, Jesus Boat
4. Bethsaida, Capernaum, St. Peter’s house.
5. Mt. Hermon, Caesarea Philippi.
West Israel, Mediterranean Sea
1. Acre, Haifa, Mt. Carmel, Megiddo.
2. Caesarea, Tel Aviv, Jaffa, Ashkelon.
South of Israel
1. Shoram, home of Goliath, Valley of Elah (where David slew Goliath).
This is only a summary of just some of the many sites to visit in Israel. We will have a more detailed post of places to visit in Israel.
I trust you have enjoyed this small guide to this ancient and beautiful country and that you will visit it soon.
Joe T. White ThD
Sign up for our FREE newsletter. We never spam or sell your information or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org