Nowhere is this spirit of confidence and creativity more obvious
than the beachfront bars, boutiques and galleries of Tel Aviv,
which was barely a one camel town a century ago. And just 45
minutes up the road is a certain Jerusalem, with its multiple
millennia long history.
Away from the famed cities, and despite a population of eight
million souls in a relatively small area, there are areas of
staggering beauty and remoteness such as the Negev Desert, which
remains home to Bedouin settlements, and the freakish phenomenon of
the Dead Sea, the lowest point on Earth.
Israel is also a country that engenders a strange sense of
reassurance, even in first time visitors. After all, anyone raised
in a Christian country will have a certain innate familiarity with
places such as Nazareth, or Bethlehem and Jericho in the
Palestinian West Bank which can be explored on a day trip. Put
simply, collectively this small sliver of Eastern Mediterranean
Holy Land packs more of a historical punch than any place on the
But it's not all about history and places - Israeli food is as
good as most in the Middle East, the locals have a strong and
infectious desire for living life to the full and this is also a
surprisingly good destination for family holidays. All this, and
weather to knock ours into a cocked hat, is just a five hours away
with daily direct flights.