Israel, the holy land that was the seed of all that grows.Abraham, Isaac, David and Jacob but remained elusive for Moses. The Holy land, the land of creation, where began all stories, old and new.
The land that bears scars of mistaken identity, inhibitions and fears, that won’t allow you to explore the warmth that each home in this country would love to share and embrace every stranger of every nationality without any question or doubt.
Like an uncut diamond, waiting in the distance to be discovered, explored and appreciated, this true gem is your PIN to one of the most exotic destinations with everything to offer and all that there is in Israel to see.
Rich in its soul but nurturing and treating a wounded body which bears scars of all the pain and anguish it has had to face, one would expect anger and resentment but what you see are the smiles that refuse to leave the ravaged faces who still believe that this Land of the creator will find its true identity some day.
When we listen to our heart, we will always, always be guided forward in a way that serves us. Who I am now is shaped by having followed those persistent whispers. Rather than one “life purpose” or mission, we actually have many opportunities to experience aspects of what brings us alive.
The dry sands of Jerusalem are interwoven with 3000 years of history, which has embedded itself deeply into the old wizened bearded men in the shuk, hands filled with shabbat candles and knowledge flowing like the famous Dead Sea which refuses to let anything sink.
Diverse in it’s ways, constantly evading from the unity which can bring in the much required peace but yet each individuality speaks volumes without reminding the fact that they are in fact just parts of the whole. The maker is the same for all but sadly divided into pieces by his own creations.
Words will forever remain unable to justice to these shining jewels of the dessert. Thought of as stones by many, but these priceless beauties each have a history of its own. It might be forever misunderstood but keeps reaching out to those who can brace the storm to hear its heartbeat.
Nature gave its blessings in abundance by showering it with milk, honey, lemons, fruits and exotic offerings which remain a secret to the rest of the world. Which itself is enough to visit this heaven to get a taste of the nectar flowing through its veins.
Pomegranate, mangoes, olives, figs, dates and artichokes are blessed with a unique taste of their own, embodied with the fragrance and richness of the raw earth constantly warmed by the hot sun. The cafe Afuck, mint tea and fresh fruit shakes not only quench the thirst but give you an experience which cannot be explained.
The warm pita bread enhancing its identity with the wonderful hummus, shawarma, jachnun, shakshuka, falafels, baba ganoush fill not only the belly but leave a memory in some corner of the heart. The moist and flaky baklava sweetens the soul leaving the tongue craving for more.
Travelers always know that once you set out for a new destination, you will never be completely at home again, because part of your heart will always be elsewhere.
That is the price you pay for the richness of loving and knowing people in more that one place. To anyone who is considering an Israel trip but is worried about safety, here’s what Avi has to say…
“From all the pre conceived notions that people have of this country, from all the negative publicity and thoughts that may come out of your mind about this historic city. From all that is holding you back from within or outside, people of the world this is the holy land and much more, or shall I say much much more.
This is Israel and this is as real as it gets, this is as safe as it gets, and if there is any city in the world, you would call safe to travel and venture at anytime of the day or night,this will be the city that is second to none. If you are a vegetarian then these countries will blow you away and they have some of the most vegan friendly restaurants ever.
I have tried to capture it to the best that I can, but trust me, the true beauty is to see it in person. From sun sand and beaches to the lowest point on planet earth. I consider myself blessed (for more reasons that one) to have witnessed this beauty. Add this on to your bucket list for sure and I guarantee you, it won’t disappoint you at all. A tad expensive on the wallet, but please don’t let that deter you from travelling there. A heads up, if you are not camera shy or an avid photographer, no amount of GB space will be enough to capture it all.
If you are a foodie, come prepared, because these guys serve food cooked from the heart, and when they eat and entertain, they truly lay it all out. Ladies and gentlemen, this is Israel and Jordan through my eyes.
A few recommendations…
I’m not the same having seen the moon shine on the other side of the wall – goes a famous travel quote. Israel is a beautiful, culturally and geologically rich country with happy people and endless opportunities to explore and see a new and unique side of the world. So go ahead and plan your Israel trip without any fear.
And in the end, with Israel on my mind, all I want to say – um, actually sing – is:
And I think to myself…Oh, what a wonderful world!!
PICS: Avi Shetty WRITE UP: Reema Suri