I regularly travel to Israel, and when I am there, I try to meet new people or spend time in places that I haven’t before. Each time, I come away wondering how I didn’t know about “that place” before — and there is always more to see and experience. I think I’m in love. It’s such a small country yet fascinating people and exhilarating opportunities are around every corner.
That said, I am not an “Israel romantic”—I’m a realist. There are real people with real problems mixed into the real landscape of conflict and rich biblical history. Just a couple weeks of simply doing life in Tel Aviv or Jerusalem will cement several abrupt super market encounters in your memory, and when I say “abrupt,” I really mean a cut-in-line-and-pretend-you-aren’t-there rudeness that makes western sensibilities go crying to emotional counseling. If you stay long enough, though, these same people will defend you with their lives.
There is a slang term used in Israel for a native born Israeli — a “Sabra.” This Hebrew word refers to a cactus or what is called a “prickly pear” plant in English. This is a desert plant that has a tough and prickly skin, but is soft and sweet inside. In my experience, there is no better description of Israelis. When you take the time to get past the aggressive and sharp exterior, you won’t regret it.
“If you have only seen Israel on TV, Internet articles, or from a tour bus window, you’ve missed the real Israel.”
If you have only seen Israel on TV, Internet articles, or from a tour bus window, you’ve missed the real Israel. While all are viable options, these avenues simply show you what they want you to see. What you’re missing is the cornucopia of unique, quirky, astounding, heartwarming, heartbreaking, and simply unknown things about the culture and the region. What am I referring to, you might ask?
Just as a start, there’s an Elvis restaurant, odd Middle Eastern hand gestures, A REAL LIFE “Krusty Krabb,” Jews and Arabs sharing meals and getting along, and extreme sports. There’s stunningly accurate ancient prophesies, secret hikes and caves, incredible Arab hospitality, grumpy nuns, and vast ways to serve the people and the country. Israel has the best hummus hideouts and roadside delicacies on earth, adventures in airport security, beautiful locations to relax and reconnect with God, and miraculous encounters. Wait – you didn’t hear about half that stuff on the news or from the Israel tour on TV?
Ezekiel 5:5 God said he placed Jerusalem (Israel) in the center of the nations. It’s not an arrogant statement to say Israel is the center of the world—it’s biblical! To that end, there is something for everyone in the people, the culture, and landscape. It is where all nations will come to worship the King. So get ahead of the curve, beat the rush, and come experience the real Israel. You won’t regret it.
Interested in visiting Israel? Check out www.jersusalemencounter.com!