In May of 2011 I had the opportunity to travel to Israel. I visited Haifa, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Caesarea, Masada, and the Dead Sea. It is an interesting and beautiful place of many juxtapositions, old and new as well as the many different cultures and religions. The long time scale fascinated me in places like Jerusalam and Masada and how many times the lands have been taken over and reclaimed for centuries. For example, the Romans took over the fortress at Masada in the first century. Then places like Tel Aviv are a modern, bustling metropolis. Haifa, where I spent most of my time, is considered the Silicon Valley of Israel.
People’s reactions to my traveling to Israel was another interesting part of the trip. Many people had preconceived notions that Israel is just a large desert with little development and in a constant state of hostility. I found it to be a safe, thriving, and in parts, plant life and trees were quite abundant. The country’s woodlands and forests were ravaged during centuries of warfare and neglect, but much has been done to reforest the countryside. Today, there are over 200 million trees in Israel.
I will be returning to Israel in April.