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On one front, Israel is portrayed by the news as both peaceful and chaotic. My worldview of Israel before I visited was broadly founded on stories from the Bible, the news, and spy movies.
Over the years, I have come to realize that all three sources mentioned above are heavily unreliable, especially the Bible and the news. So, as part of my mission to travel the entire world and explore different cultures, which I have chopped into an attempt to visit 12 different countries each year, I decided to visit both Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, the capital city of Israel
I was looking forward to meeting a Mossad Agent in Israel as I have so many questions to ask from the movies I have watched, but the Jewish friend I made while in Tel Aviv, Deborah, only smiled when I asked if she works for the Mossad. Then again, even if she does, she wouldn’t tell me.
Tel Aviv, wrongly assumed by many as the capital city of Israel is beautiful and culturally diverse. It is extensively liberal. And for a minute, I had to pinch myself to make sure I was not in Amsterdam when my late-night search for a street food vendor led me to a busy sex shop where folks had gathered—waiting to watch a drag show next door.
I whispered to myself; that even the descendants of Jesus Christ and the other “holy Prophets” appreciate the priceless benefits of good sex and orgasm—and the liberal worldview of the people in Israel has paved the way for a sex shop.
On this important point of liberalism, not only are the people of Israel friendly to tourists. People from various countries have also made Israel their home. I met a Ghanaian woman who lives and works in Israel and another African brother from Malawi too. They all had amazing things to say about the people of Israel.
My hotel in Tel Aviv was about 2 minutes’ walk from the beach and the sunny weather each day meant that the beach was packed anytime I went there. Some of the women wore bikinis and the men were topless—eating, drinking, reading, playing volleyball, and swimming.
Tel Aviv is modern, forward-thinking, and beautiful. It is exactly like any Western city I have visited—like Amsterdam, Athens, Paris, or Geneva. Of course, with its own uniqueness which is found in its architecture, history, and culture.
I also visited Jerusalem, the birthplace of the three main monotheistic religions—and to be frank, I found more character in Jerusalem than in Tel Aviv. Jerusalem seems like “proper” Israel—with so many tourist sites and identifiable Jews.
I fell in love with the buildings in Jerusalem. They are all made from the same material-Limestones. While the designs are modern, the material and therefore the general overview looks somewhat ancient.
Interestingly, all the tourist sites I visited in Jerusalem including the Wailing Wall, the Christian, Jews and Muslims’ quarters of the Wall, the biblical Path of Jesus to Crucifixion, the Tomb of Jesus Christ, Golgotha, and Bethlehem (the Church of Naivety) were free. You did not have to pay to see or visit these sites.
The above is quite unusual—maybe the tour company I used paid, and I didn’t know. I don’t think so though.
I crossed the famous West Bank wall from Jerusalem into Bethlehem. The wall has several touching paintings/graffiti by the famed street artist Banksy.
I was expecting to see a heavy military presence, passport control, and searches at the gate based on news reports of that region. But there was nothing like that. It was just a drive-through—apart from the tour guide announcing that no one should take photos of the few soldiers at the gate. If you are not told that you’ve moved from Jerusalem (Israel) to Bethlehem (Palestine territory) you wouldn’t notice.
Both Bethlehem and Jerusalem have character and history.
I found it interesting that my tour guide (who I believe was a Jew) kept making it clear whenever he pointed out or spoke about Jesus or any of the biblical sites—that this is “according to the Bible or according to Christian tradition”. He did not present any of the claims about Jesus or the Biblical sites as a fact.
Would I ever visit Israel again? It’s a YES. But until then, I am off to Warsaw in Poland to delve into the affairs of my Eastern European friends who were erroneously accused by the Brits of having invaded Britain to steal all their “jobs”.
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