Later this week I am going to Israel for the first time.  Now is an exciting time, to say the least:  the violence in Gaza, Israeli elections, the economic downturn.  What?  Am I nuts?   What better time to go!

It’s my first time and I am doing a lot:

  • Private touring: (February 21-25)
    • Jerusalem:  the birthplace of Western Religion(s) (3)
    • Masada:  the last stance and suicide of Jewish defenders against Rome
    • Qumran:  site of the Dead Sea Scrolls excavation
    • the Galilee:  hills and forests
    • Haifa, Ceasarea, and Akko (Accre):  in order, Jews and Israeli Arabs co-existing peacefully and the largest Baha’i temple; Roman ruins; the most Arab of Israeli cities
  • Jordan tour (February 26-28): 
    • Amman, ancient Philadelphia and the capital of Jordan
    • Madaba (settled for 4500 years) and most important Christian center in Jordan
    • Mt. Nebo, where Moses first saw the Promised Land
    • Kerak, a crusader castle—thankfully the only one I’ll bother with
    • Petra, ancient capital of the Nabateans carved out of rock in the 4th century BCE—and one of the filming locations for Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
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