Sunday, July 31, 2011


(does not include Red Sea; includes West Bank)

David’s Tours of Israel – 011-972-052-458-9444;; archaeologist; fluent in English and Russian; provides sensitive, tailored tours throughout Israel, with special depth of knowledge re Israel’s ancient history.
Itsik Harani – 23 Brodetzki Street (Tel-Aviv); 011-972-052-327-8713;; excellent tours.

ABU GHOSH (includes Nataf)
Abu Ghosh Restaurant – 65 Hashalom Street; 011-972-02-533-2019;; briefly enshrined in Guiness Book of World Records for preparing world’s largest hummus plate.
Lebanese Restaurant – 88 Hashalom Street; 011-972-02-533-5561;; sit at table in shady courtyard.
Rama’s Kitchen – Nataf; 011-972-02-570-0954;; everything anchored around taboon (stone oven); baked breads and whole fish; veranda overlooks Mediterranean & Judean Hills.
Sights & Sites
Church of Notre Dame de l’Arche de l’Alliance (Our Lady of Ark of Covenant) – at hill top (turn right across from old police station, adjacent Kiryat Yearim community); 011-972-02-534-2812; marks last place Ark rested before King David brought it to Jerusalem.
Crusader Church of Resurrection – Tel Aviv-Jerusalem Highway (13 km from West Jerusalem); 011-972-02-534-2798; built in 12th Century and more perfectly preserved than any other ancient church in Palestine; lush, walled date palm garden; built over ancient cistern used in Canaanite times.

Sights & Sites
Ein Gedi – west of Dead Sea, near Masada & Qumran caves;; national park-oasis.
Masada – 12 miles east of Arad; 011-972-3-539-6700;; ancient fortification in south, on eastern Judaean Desert’s edge, overlooking Dead Sea; Herod built palaces for himself on mountain and fortified Masada between 37-31 BCE.

Integral – 6 Hagdud Haivri; 011-972-8-866-8824; Russian-fusion food with plenty vodka.

Walled Off Hotel – Area C;; decorated & designed by Banksy.

Hilton Eilat Queen of Sheba Resort – 8 Antib Road, North Shore; 011-972-8-630-6666;; lagoon, mountains, and Red Sea views; parasailing and water-skiing; average food.
Rimonim Hotel Eilat – North Beach; 011-972-3-675-4591;

Health Spa Estate Neve Midbar – Moshbey Sade (next to Park Golda); 011-972-08-657-9666;; spacious health spa (for daytime visits); centers on natural thermo-mineral water pool, pumped up from deep underground, at around 102° F; also has 2 freshwater pools; sauna, various massages, and aromatherapy treatments; gift shop, kosher restaurant, and coffee shop.

Maya Negri – King Solomon Boardwalk (Designers Gallery); 011-972-8-658-3235;; Tel Aviv’s Donna Karan.

Sights & Sites
Chai Negev Zoological Park – Kibbutz Revivim; 011-972-08-656-2688;; activity center with animals as focus; on 4 acres; wild animals, carnivores, predators, reptiles, rodents, mammals, hoofed animals, water fowl, domestic animals.
Mitzpe Revivim – Kibbutz Revivim; 011-972-08-656-2570 or 011-972-08-656-2638;; Kibbutz Revivim is community established prior to Israel’s independence; besieged during Independence War by Egyptian soldiers; tours; also worth seeing, tree garden.

Agua – 1 Hamaayan Street; 011-972-02-644-9494; sidewalk café.
Sweet N’ Karem – town center; chocolates and ice cream; coffeehouse.

Ruth’s Tile Shop – town center; 2nd floor Ottoman house; ceramics.

Sights & Sites
Church of Visitation – built over John the Baptist’s parents’ home.
Convent of Sisters of Our Lady of Zion.
Muscovia Monastery.

Sights & Sites
Vertigo Eco-Art Village – Kibbutz Netiv HaLamed-Heh; 011-972-02-624-4176 (Jerusalem number); or; open year round.

GALILEE (Capernaum, Degania, Ein Gev, Hazor Haglilit, Kinneret Colony, Rosh Pina, Tiberias & Yardenit)
Bayit Bagalil – Hazor Haglilit; 011-972-4-680-8200;; 26-room boutique hotel in stone chateau; pretty pool; adults only.
Hotel Mizpe Hayamim – Safed Road 89; 011-972-4-699-4555;; on 15 acres of undeveloped land with Galilee Sea views on clear days; ample greenery inside & out; organic farm & perfumerie.

Galil Forest Spa – Hazor Haglilit (at Bayit Bagalil Hotel); 011-972-4-680-8200;; tiny spa.
Spa Mizpe Hayamim – Safed Road 89; 011-972-4-699-4555;; try Wildflower Honey Rejuvenation body scrub, masque, and massage.

Sights & Sites
Capernaum Ruins – 2 hours from Tel Aviv; main sights are ruined synagogue & church, which stand quite close to each other near shore, with ruins of 1st-6th Century houses in between.
Degania Alef Kibbutz Courtyard & Museum – off Route 90 (Degania); 011-972-4-660-8410;; Israel’s 1st kibbutz; make sure to check off adjunct, Beit Gordon Natural History Museum.
Ein Gev Kibbutz – Ein Gev; 011-972-4-665-9800;
Kinneret Colony Museum – Kinneret Colony; 011-972-4-675-0142; must book by appointment.
Yardenit – off Route 90 (down from Degania Alef Kibbutz); River Jordan location where Jesus baptized.

HAIFA (includes Akko & Mount Carmel)
Bakeries, Coffee, Ice Cream, Juice & Tea
Endomela – near Lighthouse (Akko); 011-972-04-955-2212;; run by Uri Jeremias, who also runs Uri Buri; try apricot and/or cardamom.

Carmel Forest Spa Resort – Carmel Forest; 011-972-4-830-7888;; luxury spa offering green, tranquil alternative to massive spa hotels in Dead Sea desert; considered most beautiful spa hotel in Israel; overlooks distant Mediterranean and wooded acres; ask for room overlooking forest or gardens.
Efendi Hotel – Louis IX Street (Akko); 011-972-74-729-9799;; 12 rooms occupying 2 Ottoman palaces; meticulously restored.

Kukushka – Turkish Bazaar (Old City); 011-972-04-901-9758;; limited snack menu that, in fact, is excellent; homemade soups, craft beers, sausages (!) wrapped in thin, fried bread, calamari.
Uri Buri – 93 Haganah Street (Akko); 011-972-04-955-2212;; legendary for seafood; on city ramparts; seedy in appearance and extremely poor (really, arrogant) service.

Sights & Sites
Baha’i Shrine & Gardens – Akko & Mount Carmel; 011-972-4-831-3131; or; 2 Baha’i Gardens, 1 in Haifa (also known as Hanging Gardens of Haifa) and other in Akko; garden terraces around Shrine of Bab on Mount Carmel are among Israel’s most visited tourist attractions.

Fergana – 54 Ha-Peled Street; 011-972-3-556-0210; inexpensive, tasty Uzbek cuisine in modest setting; plov, Central Asian pilaf, and manti (meat dumplings) are excellent.

Sights & Sites
Agamon Hula Lake Ornithological & Nature Park – Yesud Hamaala Junction; 011-972-04-681-7137;; 60K cranes migrate here annually.

NAHARIYA (includes Kibbutz Kabri)
Pivko Village – Kibbutz Kabri; 011-972-4-995-2711; airy, contemporary, tasteful wooden cabins in countryside, each with own outdoor Jacuzzi; every 2 cabins share spacious living room; lovely spot with gorgeous vistas and good hiking.

Adaline – Kibbutz Kabri; 011-972-4-995-2707; set in simple stone and wood building, beside dining terrace with countryside vistas and distant sea view; Mediterranean food prepared with fresh ingredients; homemade desserts and wine list although you can bring own; lovely, gourmet, country food.

Sights & Sites
Akko – former crusader capital; features Hospitalier castle, Templar tunnel, and museum.
Rosh Hanikra – known for white chalk cliffs and grottoes.
Tel Kabri – Kibbutz Kabri; arrange tour in advance; occupied over 16K year period; only Canaanite palace in region to be fully excavable; Minoan frescoes.

Bakeries, Coffee, Ice Cream, Juice & Tea
Deewan Al-Saraya – White Mosque Yard (Old City Market); 011-972-4-657-8697; coffee and qatayef, fried, syrup-soaked pancakes typically eaten during Ramadan.

Bars & Nightclubs
Alreda – Al-Bishara Street; 011-972-4-608-4404; charming old world decor and delightful garden terrace; try “Old Nazareth,” arak, lemonade, and mint.
Misk – Al-Bishara Street; 011-972-77-203-1811; bar-concert space; stylish.

Alreda – Al-Bishara Street; 011-972-4-608-4404; nouvelle Arabic cuisine; charming old world decor and delightful garden terrace; try Moroccan-style chicken, almond, and honey pastilla.
Mejana – Al-Bishara Street; 011-972-4-602-1067;; Arabic-Italian-Palestinian fusion in elegant space near Greek Orthodox Annunciation Church; daily changing menu.
Misk – Al-Bishara Street; 011-972-77-203-1811; concert space-restaurant in Ottoman-era, white stone building; falafel and shawarma; classic Palestinian dishes given worldly makeover.
Sudfeh – 35 Pilgrim’s Route 6083; 011-972-4-656-6611;; fusion bistro in 19th Century Russian seminary with white stone arches and 40' high ceilings; contemporary Arabic cuisine; Galilee Mill supplies spices.

El Babour – HaBankim Street; 011-972-04-645-5596;; family-owned mill that’s been grinding Ks grains & herbs for more than century.
Mahroum – Paulus VI Street; 011-972-4-656-0214;; sweets; try knafeh, Palestinian specialty (shredded phyllo covered in white cheese and syrup).

Sights & Sites
Galilee Mill – El Babour (Old City Market); 011-972-4-645-5596; on Old City’s edge, close to Mary’s Well; active store containing over K herbs and spices; originally, mill built by Wagner family (Templar movement at 19th Century’s end); visit highly recommended, both to see impressive grinding machines and old tools and enjoy wonderful scents emanating from wide variety aromatherapy oils, herbs, and spices.
Greek Orthodox Church of Annunciation – Ha-Knesiya Squaure; 011-972-04-6576437;; upper church has fine, wooden iconostasis, with delicate carvings & painted icons; from 18th Century church’s north aisle, 7 steps descend to lower chapel of spring; here, narrow single aisle, sometimes crowded with pilgrims, roofed by barrel vault & lined with blind arcades decorated with colored marble & glazed ceramic from about 1750; at north end of chapel, Mary’s Spring runs beneath altar & can be peered down into; round stone well has lamp over-hanging & many Mary icons set up around rim; according to 17th Century account (Quaresmi), now-blocked stair on right originally led to convent & there was altar in east wall (now covered with arcades); Byzantine bath house remains recently uncovered in area & can be seen in nearby cafe.

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