Destination Discovery: Israel
For Cruisers Who Have Done It All
By Richard Varr
When it comes to the history of the world, this small stretch of land the size of New Jersey holds an enormous legacy. From its tree-lined rolling hills in the north to creviced desert terrain in the south, Israel is the meeting place of three continents — Asia, Africa, and Europe. It’s also the crossroads of three of mankind’s great religions — Judaism, Christianity, and Islam — and where, according to Scripture, Moses led his people, Jesus preached and was resurrected, and Muhammad ascended to heaven.
Israel itself was only proclaimed a country in 1948, but the region’s five millennia of tumultuous history have resulted in some of the Promised Land’s most enduring monuments and biblical sites. It’s home to the lowest point on Earth, with the Dead Sea’s salt-encrusted shoreline measured at 1,348 feet below sea level; your ears will pop on the downward-winding road that runs alongside oases filled with date palm trees.
Twenty-first century Israel comes alive in skyscraper-studded Tel Aviv, often referred to as Israel’s New York. The city was founded just over a century ago on sand dunes beyond the walls of the biblical-era Old Jaffa Port. Trendy art galleries and shops now stand along Jaffa’s stone alleyways. Modern Jerusalem also teems with pedestrian malls, boutiques, and street-side cafes.