Editor’s Wrapup: Now, Voyager
For better or worse, Israel is located at the crossroads of three continents, which explains why history’s conquerors, explorers and tourists have always passed through. This year, as tensions calm and the economy surges, the Jewish state is poised for a new wave of visitors.
One of the themes of our 2006 Israel Travel Issue is looking for roads less traveled. Even first-time visitors know to explore Jerusalem, take a day trip to Masada, view the Baha’i temple and gardens in Haifa and spend time on the beach. But for a small country, Israel has a surprising number of hidden treasures. Leora Eren Frucht reveals several—including a Crusader castle and an underground museum—in “What Else to See in Israel” (page 36).
To go beyond the surface, visitors should ask not only what else to see, but how else to experience the country. Generations of tourists have traveled by tour bus, taxi or rented car, but options today include mountain bikes, horses and jeeps. And Israel now offers not only gourmet restaurants, but also wine and cheese tours. Dina Kraft looks at the various ways to travel, on the roads and off, beginning on page 42.
The café now competes with the beach as the ultimate Israeli leisure activity. Lauren Gelfond Feldinger looks at the country’s coffee culture in “Espresso Evolution” (page 50). And Rochelle Furstenberg takes a closer look at one Jerusalem coffeehouse that evokes an era gone by (page 54).
Israel, of course, is not just a tourist destination. In “Fear of Wonderland” (page 34), Stuart Schoffman recalls a conversation with an American Jewish friend who had never visited. Asked why, his friend replied, “I’m afraid that if I went there I would never leave.” Most visitors, for better or worse, resist the temptation to stay. But those who go to Israel—for the first time or the 20th—are never the same after the experience. —Alan M. Tigay