The State of Israel gained independence in 1948, and is a democratic society with 8.5 million inhabitants. It is home to Jews, Arabs (Muslim and Christian), Bedouin, Druze, amongst others.
Geographically, it is a small country, and is comprised of areas and climates that differ vastly from one another. It has the humid and warm western Mediterranean coastal plain, the cool mountains of the Galilee in the north, the dry hills of Judea in the east and the extremely hot Negev Desert in the south.
Within its small perimeters, Israel is abundant in fascinating archeological and Biblical sites, such as Jerusalem, Nazareth, Bethlehem, Masada, Tiberias, Acre, Jaffa, Sea of Galilee, and many more. Israel has a rich history, going back more than 3000 years: the Canaanite period, Kingdoms of Judah and Israel, Persian, Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine Empires, Islamic, Crusader, Mamluk, Ottoman and British periods, have each left their marks.
In the last century, Israel has seen the revival of the Hebrew language and the evolution of a flourishing culture, including literature, music, dance and art. Throughout those years, universities, research centers and scientific institutes were established, and a sophisticated high-tech industry was formed. In Israel one may encounter different multi-faceted cultures, from modern cosmopolitan cities, such as Tel Aviv, to Israel's unique communal society, the Kibbutz. Israel's cuisine reflects its multicultural society based on different food traditions from all over the world. From falafel stands to gourmet restaurants, Israel offers a wide spectrum of Mediterranean, Oriental, European and Asian food as well as a variety of refined, locally produced wines.
Jerusalem, Israel's capital, and largest city both in population and size, is one of the oldest cities in the world, with a history going back 5000 years.Holy to all three Monotheistic faiths – Christianity, Judaism and Islam, Jerusalem's beauty lies in it's juxtaposition of old and new. Modern buildings and landmarks in the new city, Jerusalem has something to offer everyone.
The Old City, with its quaint alleys and captivating heritage, is a must for every visitor to Jerusalem. Whether you seek religious sanctity or cultural enrichment, the Old City offers it all. The Western Wall, The Via Dolorosa and The Dome of the Rock, are just three of many historical and religious sites which attract visitors.
Once you leave the Old City walls, the new city offers many other sites of cultural, music, art, and gastronomical interest. There are many museums to visit, including the Israeli Museum, which is one of the top ranking Museums in the world, parks to picnic in and quaint neighborhoods to stroll through, such as Yemin Moshe, the German Colony and Ein Kerem
Participants can enjoy a walk through the Ben-Yehudah Pedestrian Mall in the Center of the city, eat falafel and absorb the Jerusalem vibe, and then for a true modern-day Jerusalem experience it is highly recommended to go to the Mahne Yehuda Market, or "the Shuk" as it is known to locals. There you will find everything from fresh produce and spices to house-ware and textiles.
Jeuralem is a short drive away from Tel-Aviv and important sights such as Masada, Dead Sea, Haifa are easily accessible.