7 Fun and Interesting Facts About the Pomegranate

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, is almost here, which means it’s time to talk about pomegranates. On Rosh Hashanah, Jews from all around the world gather to celebrate the creation of the universe and the day GOD created Adam and Eve. It is the first of the High Holidays, a 10-day period that ends with Yom Kippur. There are certain prayers which need to be said and rituals which need to be performed, but as in many other holidays, the feast is also a major part of the celebration. Traditionally, the feast includes a round challah bread and apples dipped in honey, which are a blessing for a sweet year ahead. Many people also combine the pomegranate in their feast, as it symbolizes wealth, prosperity, and wisdom, which are all excellent blessings for the upcoming year.

Here are 7 fun and interesting facts about the pomegranate:

1 – It is one of the Seven Species of the Land of Israel:

The Hebrew Bible tells us: “For the Lord your God is bringing you to a good land, a land with brooks of water . . . a land of wheat and barley, [grape] vines and figs and pomegranates, a land of oil-producing olives and honey [from dates] . . .” Until today, there are many pomegranates in Israel, which you can see while walking around in the markets, especially during September-October.

2 – The pomegranate is very healthy:

The pomegranate is one of the healthiest fruits on the planet. Recent studies have shown that they possess several benefits to the body. It may reduce inflammation in your body, lower your blood pressure, help in fighting joint pain, lower your risk of hear diseases, and much more. Whether you’re celebrating Rosh Hashanah or not, if you want to become healthier, you might want to add pomegranates to your diet. You can either eat the red seeds themselves or drink it as pomegranate juice. Either way, it’s very nutritious and healthy!

3 – The pomegranate was found in archeology:

The pomegranate was probably very significant in ancient times, too, as archeologists have found pomegranate shapes on coins and other items. The most famous item is the ivory pomegranate, a thumb-sized semitic ornamental artifact. It looks like a pomegranate and is made of hippopotamus bone. But the most interesting thing about it is the inscription that appears on it: “Holy (Sacred) to the Priest of the House of God (YHWH).” it is thought to have adorned the High Priest’s scepter within the Holy of Holies.

4 – Pomegranates have a long shelf-life:

They can be stored up to 2 months in the refrigerator!

5 – It’s originally from Persia, which is today’s Iran:

Many people think that the pomegranate was always here in Israel, but the truth is that it’s originally from Persia. Until today, Iran has one of the greatest amounts of pomegranates in the world. It produces about 500 thousand tons of pomegranates each year! The pomegranate arrived in the Land of Israel about 4,000 years ago and still exists due to the ongoing agriculture.

6 – In Hebrew, the pomegranate is called “Rimon”:

In Hebrew, “rimon” also means “grenade”, which is the explosive weapon typically thrown by hand. It is not coincidence that the two have the same word to express them. The grenade was named “rimon” because it is more or less the size of a pomegranate, but also because it explodes to a lot of pieces. The pomegranate has a lot of seeds, so you can see the similarity.

7 – Pepsi released a pomegranate flavored 7UP for Christmas:

In 2007, Pepsi released a pomegranate flavored 7UP for the Christmas holiday. The new taste received mixed reactions. It was a special edition that stayed on the store shelfs for around three months.

And here’s a video by Top10Best, which brings much more facts:

Have a sweet Rosh Hashanah!

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The article was written by Lior Connelly, Israeli tour guide and owner of Backpack Israel, the ultimate website for budget travelers.

Sustainable Travel in Israel: 20 Tips

Travel has always been an integral part of human nature. We love to travel. And a LOT. But what impact do we make on the places we visit? Can we leave a positive impact behind us? When you ask these questions, you start traveling sustainably. In this post, we’ll tell you all you need to know about sustainable travel and how you can do it in Israel.

So, what exactly is sustainable travel?

From Wikipedia: “Sustainable tourism is the concept of visiting somewhere as a tourist and trying to make a positive impact on the environment, society, and economy.”

To travel sustainably, we need to do some things. We need to conserve the natural places that we visit. We need to respect our surroundings. We need to support the local communities. And we need to learn about their cultures.

Instead of polluting the places we visit, we leave them clean behind us. Instead of dominating the wildlife, we let the wildlife strive. Instead of buying from a travel agent, we buy from a local service provider and help the local economy. And instead of disrespecting the culture of a place, we broaden our knowledge and bring something of that culture back home. So, when you travel sustainably, you travel better.

If you want to try sustainable travel in Israel, here are our travel tips:

1. Come in the low season.

When there are too many people traveling at the same time, it can leave a bad impact on a place. Israel is a very small country. It takes around eight hours to drive across it from the north to the south. So, you can imagine how crowded it can get in the high season. Don’t come in the summer (June to September) or in the spring (March to May). Opt to come in the winter (November to February) or in the fall (October). The weather is still great most of the time, and there’s more to Israel than its beaches. 

2. Bring a reusable shopping bag.

Israel is becoming more and more ecological. But there are still some places that offer plastic bags. When packing for the trip, make sure to pack a reusable shopping bag. Use it every time you go to buy things, whether it is groceries or souvenirs. This is a great way to do sustainable travel in Israel.

3. Learn some Hebrew and Arabic.

The three main languages spoken in Israel are Hebrew, Arabic, and English. So, if you speak English most people will understand you. Though, if you want to experience the culture, speaking the local languages is a great way to do it. You can start learning a few basic words of Hebrew and Arabic before coming to Israel. “Thank you”, “please”, “yes”, “no”, “good morning”. These are some words that can raise a smile on the locals’ faces and completely enhance your trip.  

Here’s a short lesson by Hebrew101:

4. Pick up your litter.

Make sure to always throw away your litter, whether you’re in one of Israel’s cities or on one of its hiking trails. In the main cities, there are garbage cans almost everywhere. In the outdoors, you can bring a garbage bag with you and put the litter there. If you want to be super sustainable, you can also pick up other litter you see on the way. Litter is not only not aesthetic, but also dangerous to the wildlife. 

5. Buy local fruits and vegetables.

Israel is full of agriculture. But supermarkets prefer importing fruits and vegetables instead of selling the local ones. If you want to buy your food products and cook them while traveling, look for local products. You’ll find them in small grocery shops or the markets. Skip the big supermarkets. If you’re not sure if the fruits and vegetables were grown in Israel, ask someone. By buying local fruits and vegetables you’ll be helping the local agriculture. It has been suffering a lot lately. If you want to be super sustainable, visit a farmer’s market or go directly to the farmers. 

Buy sustainable. But local fruits and vegetables in Israel.
Olive tree in Israel

6. Try vegan and vegetarian food.

Did you know that Tel Aviv is the vegan capital of the world? There is plenty of vegan and vegetarian places to eat in Israel, especially in Tel Aviv. Most of the local street food is vegetarian. Falafel, sabich, burekas, and hummus are all vegetarian! Eating vegan and vegetarian is a great way to help fight the meat industry. It leaves a very bad impact on our planet, not only on Israel. It increases greenhouse gas emissions, deforestation, soil degradation, and many more bad factors. 

Check out this great video by Israel:

7. Drink from the tap.

Did you know that plastic isn’t recyclable? This means that if you’ll buy a lot of mineral water during your trip, you’ll be leaving a lot of plastic behind. The tap water in Israel is drinkable, so we recommend bringing a reusable bottle with you. Israel is quite hot all year long, so choose a bottle that can hold at least 1 liter of water.  

8. Use Couchsurfing.

There are many types of sustainable travel accommodation in Israel. One of them is Couchsurfing. This wonderful network connects travelers with locals from around the world. The locals offer their home as a free place to sleep. In return, travelers can offer to help with house chores. This is not only a budget way to stay in Israel. It is also a great opportunity for you to learn more about the local life and culture. Try sitting down with your host for breakfast or dinner and ask them about life here. There are many Couchsurfing hosts all around Israel. So, you will be able to meet some hosts along your trip. 

Check out this video by Alexander Travelbum to learn more about Couchsurfing:

9. Stay at local hostels.

If you’re not so comfortable staying at someone’s home, you can always choose to stay at the local hostels. In recent years, more and more hostels have opened all around Israel. The best-known ones are the Abraham Hostels in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and Nazareth. But there are plenty of others. Most of them are well-maintained, friendly, and clean. Make sure to stay at a locally-owned hostel, which is not part of a global chain. And when staying at a hostel, opt to stay in a dorm room. This way you’ll be saving on A/C, light, and cleaning. 

10. Keep your showers short.

Water is not an endless resource. As a dry country, Israel is working hard on creating new water resources. In the past, we were completely dependent on the Sea of Galilee and sweet groundwater. But the Sea of Galilee is not always full, and the groundwater is drying up. So instead, we are trying to desalinate salt seawater. Help us save every drop of precious water by keeping your showers short. 5 minutes is plenty! 

Keep your showers short for sustainable travel in Israel

11. Go camping or glamping.

If you want to travel outside of the big cities, you can camp or glamp in the wilderness. There are many camping sites all around Israel, some of them free and some of them at a reasonable price. Though, you should know that most of the free ones have no facilities at all. When you go camping in the wilderness, also make sure to camp only in designated areas. These designated areas are there to limit our presence in the wilderness. This way we can help the wildlife strive around us. 

If you prefer to camp in style, you can always choose glamping. Glamping is short for glamourous camping. It means you can enjoy luxury services while camping in the outdoors. To book a wonderful glamping experience, email us at travelisrael@travelkosh.com.

Glamping in the Israeli desert. Great way to do sustainable travel in Israel.
Glamping in the Israeli desert

12. Hike on the marked trails.

Israel is full of hiking trails. And all are well marked. When hiking in Israel, make sure to always walk on the marked trails. Even if it’s tempting, don’t leave the trail to explore unknown areas. First of all, it could be dangerous. It could also harm the wildlife around you. No matter where we step, we are leaving our impact. So, let’s try to reduce our impact on the environment as much as possible.

Check out some travel ideas here: Nature in Israel: 10 Beautiful Places.

Hike on the marked trails in Israel
A trail marker in Israel

13. Walk Around in the Main Cities. 

When exploring the main cities of Israel – Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa, and others – you can get around by walking. Make sure to stay in a place close to the city center. This way you’ll most likely be no more than a 45 minutes’ walk away from the main sites. So, you will be able to get some physical exercise as well as reduce pressure on transportation. If the walk is too long, you can also try the local public transportation. Usually, there are plenty of bus lines, which reach plenty of interest points.

Be sustainable. Walk in the main cities of Israel.
Old Jaffa Clock

14. Stay quiet when walking through neighborhoods.

Some neighborhoods are touristic areas in Israel. For example, the Nachlaot neighborhood in Jerusalem and the Florentine neighborhood in Tel Aviv. When walking through the neighborhoods, respect its residents. Try keeping your voice down and don’t stop and stand right under the window of someone’s house. Imagine yourself at your own home. Would you like people shouting outside your window? 

15. Dress modestly in religious sites.

There are many religious sites in Israel, most of them located within the Old City of Jerusalem. For the Western Wall, you will only need to cover your shoulders and wear pants over the knee. But for the Temple Mount, you will need to cover yourselves completely and not wear skinnies. If you don’t want to walk around the whole city with long wide pants and long U-shirts, you don’t have to. The people on Temple Mount will supply you with long clothes for the visit, which you will need to return upon exit.

Other religious sites include synagogues, churches, and mosques. In churches, you need to enter without hats. In synagogues, it would be more respectful to enter with hats or head coverings. In mosques, it is customary to enter without shoes. In any case, respect what the religious people instruct you to do. Though, don’t let them disrespect your religion. If you are Jewish and wear a Kippa, you do not need to take it off even if entering a church. On Temple Mount, it is a different story. If you do wear a Kippa and want to enter Temple Mount, you will need to take it off for security reasons. 

Respect holy sites in Israel: Western Wall and Temple Mount
The Western Wall and Temple Mount

16. Respect customs. 

There are some religious customs in Israel, which you should be aware of if you want to do sustainable travel in Israel. One of them is connected to the Shabbat, the holiest day for the Jewish people. This day begins in the evening of Friday and ends on the evening of Saturday. On Shabbat, religious Jewish people do not use technological or electronical devices. So, if you are visiting the Western Wall or the ultra-religious areas of Jerusalem, try to not use your phone. Most important, don’t take photos of Jewish religious people on Shabbat. 

Also, there’s a Jewish religious law that does not allow to eat dairy products together with meat products. In short, it’s called eating Kosher. Most of the restaurants in Israel are Kosher. This means they won’t sell both dairy products and meat products. There will be a restaurant offering meat and another restaurant offering cheese. Those restaurants pay a lot of money for their Kosher certificate. Make sure to not enter with non-Kosher food into their restaurant. If you bought a cheese sandwich somewhere, don’t sit with it in a meat restaurant. And vice versa, don’t enter with a meat product into a diary restaurant. This can turn their restaurant into non-Kosher. 

Watch this interesting video about Kosher food by BimBam:

17. Make sure to buy souvenirs Made in Israel.

If you want to bring some souvenirs home that’s fine. But make sure that the souvenir was made in Israel and not made in China. It might cost more, but at least you’ll be supporting the local community. Go to local galleries and local stores. Make sure to ask where the product was made. Best would be to see how they make the product in front of your eyes! One of the loveliest projects in Israel is Yad LaKashish. It is a Jerusalem nonprofit project empowering low-income elderly people. These elderly people create beautiful products – ceramics, jewelry, kippot, and more. You can visit their center in Jerusalem and purchase their wonderful work. 

18. Talk to the people.

The people of Israel are very friendly. Try talking with them while traveling. Ask them about their profession, their life, and their feelings about Israel. Or you can just ask them for a food recommendation. Most will be happy to share their stories with you, and might even be happy to show you around. There is no better way to experience Israel than by talking to its residents. 

19. Take care of Eilat’s coral reef.

Eilat, the southernmost city of Israel, is famous for its sunny beaches and its coral reef. It is the northernmost coral reef in the world. You can snorkel or dive to see it, but make sure not to damage it. Don’t kick the sandy ground when standing next to the corals, as the sand which rises upwards can clog them. This can hurt their ability to eat and develop properly. Also, don’t step on them and definitely don’t tear them apart. They aren’t souvenirs. They are living creatures. Respect the underwater life and enjoy it from a distance! 

Coral reef in Eilat

20. Learn about Israel before coming.

The best way to get ready for sustainable travel to Israel is to read about the country before arriving. The Travel Israel app by Travelkosh, a creation of local Israeli experts, can be a great start. Read about the different regions of Israel, learn about the customs and cultures. Then, start planning an amazing, sustainable journey to the land that so many have dreamt of coming to. If you need more specific help, you can always use our Trip Planner service.

So, as you can see, sustainable travel in Israel is not so complicated. We wish you an amazing and sustainable time in our beautiful country! 

Download Travel Israel by Travelkosh TODAY:

The article was written by Lior Connelly, Israeli tour guide and owner of Backpack Israel, the ultimate website for budget travelers.

Nature in Israel: 10 Beautiful Places

Israel is small. It spreads to a length of 424 km and to a width that ranges between 114 km to 15 km at its most narrow point. But within its short borders, it has plenty of beautiful and varied landscapes. As a local Israeli, I’ve had plenty of time to discover Israel’s different gems. There’s plenty of nature in Israel. Here are 10 of my favorite places:

1 – The Ramon Crater:

One of the most impressive natural places in Israel is the Ramon Crater, also known as Makhtesh Ramon. Ramon Crater is the largest of seven erosion craters in the world. It is about 40 km long and 9 km wide. At its deepest point, it is 350 meters deep! When you stand on the outer edge of the crater and look inside, you see a bathtub full of colors and shapes. But the best way to truly experience the natural beauty of the Makhtesh is to start hiking inside it. You’ll find amazing wadis and a variety of colorful stones. Geology is everywhere. There are many campgrounds within the crater if you wish to stay there the night. But many of them do not have drinking water, light, restrooms and other facilities.

Bonus Fact: It is called Ramon Crater thanks to the Romans, who crossed through it along the ancient Incense Route.

Where to find it? The Ramon Crater is right next to the settlement of Mitzpe Ramon. In Hebrew, “Mitzpe Ramon” means “the overlook over Ramon”. It is located in the Highlands of the Negev Desert, about 200 km from Tel Aviv, which is about a 2-hours’ drive.

Best thing – it’s free of charge!

The Ramon Crater in Israel
Entering the Ramon Crater

2 – The Hidden Lake:

Hidden from sight, this “lake” is actually an old mining quarry. People used this quarry to mine copper in the 1970s. But the quarry shut down in 1978 following the decrease of the copper stock. When it got abandoned, the people no longer pumped out the groundwater, so it flooded the place.

I have lived in Eilat for several years, and this spot was a wonderful getaway from the city. Local people come here to enjoy the cool water and the beautiful scenery in the middle of the desert. People who I take here call this place “paradise”. You can swim in the lake, but don’t put your eyes and mouth in it. The water is quite salty! And be careful as there is no lifeguard.

Where to find it? Not a lot of people know about this place, so let’s keep it a secret! If you want to get there, you can download our app – “Travel Israel by Travelkosh” – and ask me about it via the Chat. I’m Lior, by the way. What I can say is that this Hidden Lake is about 25 km north of Eilat.

Best thing – it’s free of charge!

The Hidden Lake near Timna Park, Israel
The Hidden Lake from above

3 – Agamon Hula:

Agamon Hula is another lake, but a completely artificial one. It’s located up north, where everything is green and beautiful. It is most famous for its great bird population. If you’re fond of bird watching, this is one of the most popular spots for this activity in Israel. The other spot is near Eilat, in the Eilat Birdwatching Park.

When I come to Agamon Hula, I love renting a bike and riding around the artificial lake. There’s a long, paved, well-maintained path circling the entire lake. On the way, you encounter a great variety of animals – not only birds! I recommend arriving early in the morning to see how everything is waking up.

You can read more about this site through the official website of Agamon Hula.

Where to find it? Agamon Hula is in the Upper Galilee area, about 36 km north of the Sea of Galilee. If you come from Tel Aviv, it will take about 2 hours to arrive there.

It’s free if you walk and don’t rent a bike.

Check out this amazing video by BirdingIsrael:

4 – Stalactite Cave Nature Reserve:

Up in the Jerusalem Hills hides the largest cave of stalactites in Israel. A professional guide of the “Israel Nature and Parks Authority” leads the tour inside the cave. They take you on a short route between the ancient rock formations. If you have a great imagination, you’ll be able to spot different shapes. Amongst them are the “elephant ears”, the “princess” and the “cake”. The tour includes an explanatory movie as well, which adds to the fun!

You can read more about this site in the official website of the Stalactite Cave Nature Reserve.

Where to find it? The Stalactite Cave Nature Reserve is located about 35 km from Jerusalem. It is about 35 minutes by car.

It costs money to enter.

Watch this beautiful video by Eyal Bartov:

5 – Rosh Hanikra:

Another amazing site is Rosh Hanikra. This chalk cliff meets the Mediterranean Sea at the northwesternmost point of Israel. Get on the shortest and steepest cable car in the world, where the cliff’s grottos are. Before entering the grottos, I recommend to watch the short film shown in the old railway tunnel. The film tells about the natural wonder, the grottos, and also about the history of the place. Yes, this place is not only about nature in Israel. It has also been a major point throughout human history.

The powerful waves of the sea crash inside the grottos. It’s amazing! It’s also beautiful to look at the sea from up top, before going down the cable car. This area of the sea is a nature reserve comprising of three islands. It is the only nesting place of certain rare birds in Israel. These birds are the common tern, the white wagtail, and the European herring gull. It is not allowed to visit those islands, so you can only see them for afar on a clear day.

You can read more about this site in the official website of Rosh Hanikra.

Where to find it? Rosh Hanikra stands at the northwesternmost point of Israel, on the border with Lebanon. It is about 42 km north of Haifa, which is about 40 minutes by car.

It costs money to enter.

Rosh HaNikra in Israel
Rosh HaNikra rock formations

6 – The Red Sea:

So, as I’ve already mentioned, I’ve had the honor to live in Eilat for a couple of years. I always loved looking at the amazing Red Sea and the Edom Mountains, which frame it from behind. The Red Sea and the mountains change their colors very often. Expect to see beautiful shades of blue and turquoise along with amazing shades of purple, pink, grey and brown.

But the best part about the Red Sea is that it is home to the northernmost coral reef in the world. You can rent a snorkel or diving gear and start exploring the amazing underwater life. I recommend to go as far south as possible to see the most beautiful reefs. You can also join a diving tour, as the diving guides know exactly where all the outstanding points are. If you prefer snorkeling, the Coral Beach Nature Reserve is another one of my favorite picks.

The official website: Coral Beach Nature Reserve.

Where to find it? The Red Sea is right next to the city of Eilat on the Israeli side and the city of Aqaba on the Jordanian side. It is the southernmost point of Israel.

Best thing – it’s free of charge, unless you rent equipment for exploring it from the inside.

Watch this nice video by the Eilat Municipality:

7 – The Eilat Mountains:

The desert surroundings of Eilat are beautiful. The well-maintained road number 12 goes up to the Eilat Mountains and drives through them. You can stop at some points along the way and explore the surroundings by foot. Everything is so colorful up there – orange yellow, brown, black and even pink! I recommend climbing up Mount Yoash to enjoy a great view of the borders – Israel, Jordan, Arab Saudi and Egypt. It’s a short and quite easy 20 minutes’ climb to the top. And of course, there’s the Red Canyon, a short trail through the beautiful, reddish Wadi Shani.

Best thing – it’s free of charge!

On the Eilat Mountains in Israel
On the Eilat Mountains

8 – Keshet Cave:

Well, this isn’t a cave anymore. The Keshet Cave was once a cave formed by karstic processes, but at some point it collapsed. It left us only with a beautiful arch. “Keshet” in Hebrew means “arch”. A short path leads to it. You can take some nice photos, but it’s most famous as a rappelling site. So if you’re into rappelling, you should try and book some rappelling in advance!

There’s a great story behind the formation of the Keshet Cave. The story takes us back hundreds of years ago. There was a gang of Bedouin bandits, who used the top of the cave as a lookout point over the nearest road. People travelled along this road daily, sometimes very rich people. Those were the people that the bandits were looking for. They robbed a lot of gold along the years. One day, they heard that a very-very wealthy man was planning to travel on the road the next morning. They had a chance to become very-very rich, so they were very excited. They planned the attack on his entourage all day long.

During the night, the chief of the bandits had a very unusual dream. An angel came to him and told him: “It’s time to go. Hell is waiting for you.” He asked: “Why?” And the angel told him: “Because you are a bandit”. “If I am a bandit and it is already over, then why have you come to me?” asked the man. “Because I want to hear if you have any way of improving yourself,” said the angel. “You know what?” said the man, “I will be a good man from now on, and will only do good deeds.”

The chief woke up all sweaty and went to his two fellow bandits to tell them: “I don’t want to be a bandit anymore. I’m not going to take part in this robbery today.” They tried to convince him to stay, but he refused to hear them. He even decided that he will stand up on the top of the cave and warn the entourage. The two other bandits understood that their chief is not the same and so decided to kill him. “We’ll push him off the edge of the cave,” they said to themselves. But when they came behind his back, the angel saw them from above and collapsed the cave beneath their feet. The chief remained on the arch of the cave, and the other two bandits fell down to their death.

Where to find it? Keshet Cave is located in the Admit Park in the western part of the Upper Galilee. It is about 53 km north of Haifa, which means about 50 minutes by car.

Best thing – it’s free of charge!

Keshet Cave in Israel
Keshet Cave

9 – The Dead Sea:

I’ve kept it close to last on the list, but it doesn’t mean anything about its beauty. The Dead Sea is one of the most relaxing and amazing places in Israel. It is a worldwide nature wonder thanks to its mineral-rich, salty waters. Unfortunately, much of the Dead Sea had already dried up. Its southern part is actually an artificial salt pool made in the area of Ein Bokek. Make your way to one of the northern beaches if you want to experience the real Dead Sea, which hasn’t dried up yet.

Where to find it? The Dead Sea is in the Judean Desert, about 430 meters under the sea, at the lowest point on Earth. It is about half an hour away from Jerusalem by car.

The northern beaches have an entrance fee, but there are a lot of great facilities.

The Dead Sea in Israel
The Dead Sea

10 – Mount Arbel:

There are many beautiful lookout points in Israel, but this one is one of my personal favorites. If you don’t want to hike to the top, you can drive up there and enjoy the view without any physical effort. The lookout from Mount Arbel overlooks the amazing Sea of Galilee, the Galilee and Golan mountains and the agricultural fields of the area, . On clear days you can even see the city of Safed. The mountain rises to a height of about 180 meters above sea level, and about 390 meters above the Sea of Galilee!

You can read more about it in the official website of the Arbel National Park and Nature Reserve.

Where to find it? Mount Arbel rises above the Sea of Galilee, not far from the city of Tiberias.

It costs money to enter.

Check out this beautiful video by Tal Hanoci:

Those are my ten favorite natural places in Israel. Hope you’ll enjoy the beautiful nature in Israel!


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The article was written by Lior Connelly, Israeli tour guide and owner of Backpack Israel, the ultimate website for budget travelers.

Remembering the Holocaust Through 4 Sites in Israel

The Holocaust and Heroism Remembrance Day is a national day in Israel, meant to commemorate approximately six million Jews who were perished during the Holocaust by the Nazis and their collaborators. Every year, this remembrance day is held on the 27th day of the Hebrew month, Nisan, which means it usually falls in April or May. This year – 2020 – it falls on 20 April.

There are many monuments commemorating the Holocaust throughout the world, but we want to focus today on four sites that exist in Israel, the land which a few years after the Holocaust became the state of the Jewish people.

Yad Vashem:

Yad Vashem is the Israel’s official memorial to the victims of the Holocaust and is the largest institute in the world dedicated to preserving the memory of the perished, honoring the Jews who fought against the Nazis and the Righteous Among the Nations, who helped Jews in spite of great personal risk, and researching the phenomenon of the Holocaust, with an aim to prevent events like this from happening again. Besides the library and research area, the institute also has an impressive and very informative historical museum, which tells the story of the Holocaust from its very beginning to its very end. This museum is one of the most visited sites in Israel and is free of charge, so we definitely recommend visiting here on your next trip.

The museum of Yad Vashem includes many authentic photos from the time of the Holocaust, as well as personal items belonging to those who were taken to the Concentration Camps and Death Camps. You can also watch filmed testimonies of some of the people who were able to escape and survive the Holocaust. Outdoor, in the courtyard the encompasses the museum, you can find many monuments of memorial.  

Next to Yad Vashem stands Israel’s National Cemetery on Mount Herzl. We recommend walking on the trail that connects Yad Vashem to Mount Herzl and visiting some of the monuments which exist at the edge of the cemetery, in the forest, which are also connected to the Holocaust. One of those monuments is the Memorial for the Last of Kin, which was built in memory of the Jews who were the only ones in their families to have survived the Holocaust, were able to come to the Land of Israel and fell in the War of Independence in 1948-49.

The entrance to Yad Vashem is not allowed for children under 10 years old due to the hard content inside.

The museum is located in Jerusalem, next to the Mount Herzl Light-Rail Station.

For more info, visit the official website of Yad Vashem.

Watch this great video by The Watchman with Erick Stakelbeck:

Ghetto Fighters’ House:

Yad Vashem might be the largest institute dedicated to the Holocaust, but the Ghetto Fighters’ House was the first museum in the world dedicated to the Holocaust. It was built about four years before Yad Vashem, in 1949, at the very end of the Independence War. The founders are Holocaust survivors, who decided to put behind the grief and the horror and establish a kibbutz in the Western Galilee. They called their kibbutz Lohamei HaGeta’ot, which means “Ghetto Fighters”, and established the museum under the same name.

The main museum shows the Holocaust from different angles through informative text and authentic images. It also has an entire exhibition dedicated to the ghetto fighters, who fought the Nazis in the Warsaw Ghetto. One of the most interesting items on display in the museum is the original booth in which Adolf Eichmann sat during his trial. In this exhibition you can hear and read parts of Eichmann’s quotes from the trial and different interviews he gave. Eichmann, who was one of the major organizers of the Holocaust, was sentenced to death by hanging on December 1961. He was the only person sentenced to death in Israel until this day.

Right next to the Ghetto Fighters’ House there is also Yad LaYeled, a children’s memorial museum dedicated to the Jewish children who were perished in the Holocaust. The exhibits of this museum are more appropriate for children of age 10 and above. 

The museum is located in Kibbutz Lohamei HaGeta’ot, about 28 km north of Haifa.

For more info, visit the official website of the Ghetto Fighters’ House.

Watch this video of the Holocaust Remembrance Day Ceremony at Ghetto Fighters’ House, published by KKLJNFWorldwide:

The Anne Frank Memorial:

One of the most touching and unique memorials in Israel is the Anne Frank Memorial in the Forest of the Martyrs. The Forest of the Martyrs was established in 1951 by the Jewish National Fund and was planned to consist of six million trees in memory of the six million Jews perished in the Holocaust. The memorial, which was created in 2001, is a paved path aligned with signs, which show parts of Anne Frank’s diary. At the end of the path stands a modest statue, that depicts the room in which Anne Frank hid from the Nazis. The statue was made by Pete Cohen, who also hid from the Nazis as a child in southern Holland.

For those of you who do not know, Anne Frank was a Jewish girl born in 1929 in Germany. After the Nazis rose to power, her family moved to Amsterdam in Holland, but when the Nazis conquered Holland, they had to hide.  On July 1942 they moved to a hiding place, which they had prepared in advance in the office building of Otto Frank’s company. A number of people, who worked for Otto Frank in the past, helped the family by providing them supplies from the outside.  Unfortunately, about two years later, one of the neighbors told the Nazis about the hiding place and the family was sent to the concentration camps. Anne Frank died in the Bergen-Belsen Camp in March 1945, just a few weeks before the camp was freed. Miep Gies, one of the people who helped the family in hiding, found Anne’s diary and hid it. This is how we know of her story today.

The Anne Frank Memorial is located near the lower parking lot in the Forest of the Martyrs. To get there, you will need to drive on road 38 towards Beit Shemesh and turn east at Eshta’ol Junction towards road number 395. After about 100 meters you will need to turn left (north) onto a paved way that eventually leads to the site. It is located about 50 minutes by car from Jerusalem. 

Watch this video by KKLJNFIsrael:

Scroll of Fire Monument:

The last site we would like to mention is also located in the Forest of the Martyrs, but unlike the Anne Frank Memorial, it is located at the top of the forest, on a hill overlooking the surroundings. The Scroll of Fire Monument was created by the sculptor Nathan Rapoport, who was a Holocaust survivor, and inaugurated in 1971. The impressive monument, which is made of bronze and rises to a height of eight meters, commemorates the story of the Jewish history from the Holocaust until the Independence of the State of Israel. It is shaped like two scrolls, one of them describing the Holocaust and one describing the freedom and independence of the Jewish people in their state.

If you’ll look closely, you’ll be able to spot Janusz Korczak, who went with the Jewish children of his orphanage to the Treblinka Death Camp, and the ghetto fights in the Warsaw Ghetto. You’ll also be able to see a man kissing the ground of the Land of Israel, and people dancing Hora near the Western Wall.

The Scroll of Fire Monument is located near the settlement of Ksalon. About 1.5 km before the settlement there is a left turn to the monument. When you turn east at Eshta’ol Junction towards road number 395, instead of turning towards the Anne Frank Memorial, you need to continue up the mountain until you reach a roundabout, which leads right to Ksalon.

Watch this video by Ts Der:

Those are four of the main sites commemorating the Holocaust in Israel, the land which many of the perished dreamt of seeing.

Never again. We will always remember.

For more information and help planning your trip to Israel, download our app – “Travel Israel by Travelkosh” – for Android and iOS.

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The article was written by Lior Connelly, Israeli tour guide and owner of “Backpack Israel”, the ultimate website for budget travelers in Israel.

Israel and the Coronavirus: Dealing with a Crisis

The coronavirus pandemic began in China in early 2020 and meanwhile has expanded to the entire world. Israel is not immune and is affected by the virus from February 2020. If you are wondering how is Israel dealing with the coronavirus, this post is for you.

Coronavirus in Israel: The Beginning

The panic began in Israel when a group of Israeli travelers were quarantined on the “Diamond Princess” cruise ship in Japan. When those Israelis came back to Israel, some of them were tested positive for coronavirus and sent to further treatment at Sheba Medical Center. This happened on 23 February. The next case came up on 27 February, when a man who came back from Italy four days beforehand was tested positive as well. That man managed a big toy store in Israel, which quickly became one of the virus outbreak points in Israel.

But even before those cases, Israel cancelled flights from China and other areas which were known as outbreak points. Tourists were not allowed to enter Israel starting late February, but Israelis who came back from abroad were still allowed to enter and were just requested to isolate themselves for 14 days in their homes. The problem was that not everyone who came back from abroad had a car or a lift from the airport, and so many made their way back by public transportation, which might have also helped spread the virus. The self-isolation became a mandatory quarantine from 9 March.

Using Technology to Identify Potential Cases

On 17 March, the Israeli government approved the Shin Bet internal security service to track prior movements of those tested positive for coronavirus through their mobile phones. The Shin Bet used this tracking technology to identify other people, who might have been infected from those who have been diagnosed. People who have been near those diagnosed people received text messages which informed them to stay in self quarantine for 14 days. It might have violated the privacy rights, but had led to over 500 cases which were identified ahead of time.

Social Distancing and Essential Services

In mid-March, the Israeli government started limitations on the public. On 10 March, gatherings were limited to no more than 2,000 people. Later, this turned out to be a mistake, as the Purim celebrations took place on that day and many got infected in the huge parties which took place. A day afterwards, on 11 March, the gatherings were limited to up to 100 people. And then, on 15 March, they were limited to 10 people only. Today – 10 April – only 2 people can gather.  

Schools were closed down starting 12 March, and students began studying through the computer. Synagogues were closed down on 25 March, and people were aske d to pray individually at home. Public transportation was also reduced drastically. On March 25 the government also imposed new restrictions stating that a person can only walk 100 meters from his home unless going to essential services. Essential services such as supermarkets, grocery stores, medical centers, pharmacies and essential workplaces are still open as of now (10 April). On Sunday, 12 April, it will become mandatory to wear a face mask when going outdoors.

On Passover eve, in order to minimize the number of infections, the government ordered a complete curfew. People were not allowed to travel outside of their cities from the afternoon before the holiday until the morning afterwards. On normal days, there would have been thousands of people travelling around to their families’ homes to celebrate Passover. This Passover the roads were almost completely empty.

Protecting the Elder Population

As it seems that the coronavirus harms the elder population the most, people older than 70 years old were advised to stay at home at all times. Public persons called grandsons and granddaughters to not visit their grandparents, and children to not visit their elder parents. “Instead of visiting them, call them every day,” they said.

Many volunteering projects have also started following the pandemic outbreak. One of them, for example, is the “Dor 2 Door” project, which aims to help people of high risk, who cannot leave their homes. The volunteers of this project purchase essential products for the elder population, bring them to their homes and leave them outside their door without making physical contact. This way the elder population does not have to be at any risk.

Screenshot from Dor 2 Door website

The IDF and the Pandemic  

The Israeli government has announced a war on the coronavirus pandemic. That means that the IDF is also involved, especially the HFC. Soldiers were asked to take care of children of essential workers, and were also sent to help in limiting entry to highly infected areas. The first place which was declared a “restricted area” in Israel was the city of Bnei Brak, which had the second highest number of coronavirus cases after Jerusalem. The army has also helped in giving out food products to high risk populations.  

Effects on the Economy

There is an ongoing disagreement between the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Finance. The Ministry of Health call to severe measures for stopping the spreading of the virus and so wish to close as many work places as possible. The Ministry of Finance, on the other hand, says that saving the economy is as important as keeping people healthy. “If people will not die from the virus, they will die from the economical crisis that will come afterwards,” says the Ministry of Finance. That is why the Israeli government has not announced a full closure and essential workers are still working. Still, by 1 April the unemployment rate in Israel had reached over 24 percent! And that does not include the independent workers, who are not obliged of unemployment benefits.

The government announced an economic rescue package totaling 80 billion ILS.  Independent workers were promised two pulses of up to 6,000 ILS, but some were denied this grant following a number of restrictions. This led to a great protest, which resulted in the changing of those restrictions by the government. Before the holiday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also promised 500 ILS per child for each family in Israel.

Bottom line?

Most Israelis are pretty optimistic, try to keep happy and not panic. Almost two months after the coronavirus arrived to Israel, we are standing on about 10,100 diagnosed and 93 dead. The government promised to “loosen the leash” after Passover. Let’s see how this crisis evolves.

Until we can start travelling again, you’re free to read about Israel on our app – “Travel Israel by Travelkosh”:

Passover: What do People Do on the Holiday

Passover is almost here, so we wanted to tell you about how this Jewish holiday is celebrated in Israel. Here are what we, local Jewish people of Israel, do on Passover:

1 – They clean the house very thoroughly

Well, the truth is that we clean very thourougly a few days before Passover, so that the house is completely clean on Passover itself. What do we clean the house from? Chametz, which means all types of leavened food. That means bread, pasta and so on. On Passover we want to remember our slavery in Egypt and the Exodus from Egypt. Because we were in a hurry to get out of Egypt, we couldn’t wait for the bread to leaven, so we went out to the journey with unleavened bread. That is why on Passover we clean the house from the leavened products – so we feel like those Hebrew slaves in Egypt.

Many families take this opportunity to also do some Spring cleaning, so they clean every corner of the house, behind the storage cabinets, and even take out their windows for washing. Some even use this time to sort through the letters they’ve recieved throughout the whole year, or sort through their old clothes.

Cleaning for Passover

2 – They read the Haggadah together

As part of the holiday, we need to remember the story of our anscestors in Egypt and how they were freed from Egypt by GOD. So each year, every Jewish family comes together to read the Haggadah – the text telling the story of the Jewish liberation from slavery in Egypt as described in the Bible. The Haggadah is read during Seder Pesach, the Passover feast, and includes blessings, stories and songs. It can take the whole night to be completed! That is how we pass this important story of liberation from generation to generation.

Haggadah of Passover
An ancient Haggadah

3 – They eat matzah

As we’ve already mentioned, in Passover we cannot eat leavened food. That means we cannot eat regular bread. Nowadays people eat bread baked from an unleavening type of flour, but whoever wants to stick to the traditional – eats matzah. Matzah is an unleavened type of flatbread, which is also part of the Haggadah story, as the Hebrew people made matzah flatbreads before their journey to Canaan, the Land of Israel. If you want to imagine the taste, then imagine a huge cracker with no taste! It is used in many recipes during Passover, including pizza on matzah, matzah eggrolls and matzah with chocolate spread. Most Israelis get tired of it very fast!

But if you really want to make your own matzah, here’s a recipe by Howcast:

4 – They travel

Of course, what is an Israeli holiday without travel? And Passover, the holiday which reminds us of our freedom, is without a doubt a great opportunity for the Israelis to travel abroad or within the country. We, Israelis, love to travel at every opportunity we get. This year – 2020 – we have the coronavirus, which will unfortunately make most of us stay at home, but we’re looking forward for the next opportunity.

Passover is seven days long. On the first two days of the holiday there is no public transportation, so if you don’t have a car you can’t travel, but afterwards, in the next couple of days everything works as usual and in normal years the attractions and national parks of Israel are flooded in this time of year.

Bonus: Why is Passover called Passover?

The holiday is called Passover because of what happened in Egypt. GOD inflicted 10 plagues on Egypt. On the last plague he went down on Egypt, passed through the homes and killed the firstborn child of every family. Though, he passed over the houses of the Hebrew families and therefore the Hebrew people were not harmed. In Hebrew, the holiday is called “Pesach”, which means “passed over”.

Have a Happy Passover!


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Top Things to Do in Israel This February

February is here! If you’ve booked your tickets and are the way to Israel this February, here are some of the most recommended things to do while you are there:

Visit one of Israel’s great museums:

Israel is full of great museums to visit while you’re here. Since February is still winter here in Israel, and the weather might get stormy at times, it’s great to have some indoor activities in plan. Here are some museums that we trully recommend visiting:

  • The Hebrew Music Museum in Jerusalem – This small museum is very unique, since it focuses on the music that accompanied the Jewish people throughout history and over the entire world. When entering, you will get a tablet guide, which enables you to hear the instruments as you walk around the museum. We love it! More info about the Music Museum can be found here.

Here’s a video by Kikar Hamusica:

  • Israel Museum in Jerusalem – This is the biggest cultural institution in Israel. If it isn’t raining (and even if it is), we recommend taking a look at the huge and fantastic Model of Jerusalem in the Time of the Second Temple. Then you can enter the museum and visit the impressive archeological section, which includes hundreds of rcheological findings from all around Israel. If you prefer art, you can check out the Israeli art exhibition as well, but maybe you would prefer going to the Tel Aviv Museum of Art. More info about the Israel Museum can be found here.
  • Dialogue in the Dark Museum in Holon – Also known as the”Blind Museum”, this museum is perfect for you if you have teenagers and you want to teach them about people with disabilities. On the 75-minutes tour you will be led by a blind person through a completely dark museum and will have the chance to experience how it is like to live as a blind person. It is necessary to book tickets in advance and places get booked fast, so make sure to book your ticket a long time before you arrive.

Enjoy some wine in the Golan Heights:

February is a great time to drive up to the Golan Heights, the most northeastern part of Israel. After the rains we had last month, the different waterfalls of the Golan Heights are roaring in a very beautiful manner. While you’re visiting this beautiful region, we would also recommend you to visit one of the Golan’s great wineries and taste the local wines produced here.

Want to visit a winery in the Golan Heights? Write to us at travelisrael@travelkosh.com and we’ll get back to you ASAP.

Go see the red anemones of South-Western Israel:

February is the season of the red anemones bloom in southwestern Israel. If you LOVE flowers, we definately recommend making your way to the western Negev region. You can walk around the forests and see those beautiful flowers almost everywhere! Local tip – if you don’t like crowds, try avoiding the area on the Israeli weekend (Friday-Saturday), because there will be a LOT of people there on the weekends.

And here’s a nice video by Ynet from last year’s festival:

Start hiking the Israel National Trail from south to north:

If you LOVE hiking, then Israel is full of great hiking trails, which are clearly marked on the maps and in the field itself (with colorful markers on the stones along the way). One of the most popular and amazing hiking trails in Israel is the Israel National Trail, and now is the season to start hiking it from south to north.

The Israel National Trail extends to a length of about 1,000 kilometers from the southern city of Eilat to the northern settlement of Dan. It passes through amazing landscapes and interesting landmarks, and is very popular among Israelis who have just finished the army and want to take a break before beginning real life. The trail usually takes about 2 months to complete, but if you don’t have that much time you can always hike just part of it.

So why not start from north to south? Because in February we are still in the Israeli winter and it’s a great time to start in the south, in the desert, before it gets too hot. Just make sure to keep your eyes on the weather forecast and not hike when there are flood hazards.

For more info about the Israel National Trail, you can check out this website, and you can contact us through travelisrael@travelkosh.com.

Here’s a great video by Lukasz Supergan:

Take part in the Red Sea Jazz Festival in Eilat:

Last, but not least, is the Red Jazz Festival in Eilat. This is one of the leading music festivals in Israel, and it attracts many visitors to the city in February. There’s also a Red Sea Jazz Festival in the summer, but this winter edition is also great, with much milder weather and beautiful music from all around the world. Check out about this year’s festival in the official website of Red Sea Jazz Festival.

The festival is named after the Red Sea, which is the amazing sea that Eilat lies right next to. The sea’s temperature is more or less the same throughout the entire year, around 25 degrees Celcius, so if you’re already around, why not do some snorkeling? Yes, there’s a beautiful coral reef in Eilat, too, and it’s the northernmost coral reef in the world, so it’s worth a look. Just make sure to have a towel ready when you get out of the water, because it might be cold outside!

Here’s a video by Bluesy Soul:


For more useful information and local tips –

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5 Reasons to Hire a Private Tour Guide in Israel

A lot of people travel to Israel as part of an organized group tour. But if you’re not fond of walking around in a large group and barely seeing the tour guide, there’s another way. Try hiring a private tour guide in Israel. This solution is perfect for those who want some personal guidance throughout your trip (or at least part of it).

Here are 5 reasons why you should hire a private tour guide in Israel:

1 – They have studied two years to get their certificate

Private tour guides in Israel have to complete a two-year course in order to get their certificate. The course includes lectures in the classroom as well as weekly tours all around Israel. They study about the history of the Land of Israel from its very beginning, learn about the different cultures, the three main monotheistic religions – Judaism, Christianity and Islam – and even attend some lessons about the country’s geology. That’s why you can be sure that whoever guides you is well educated and very knowledgeable. You can be sure that they are more knowledgeable and up-to-date than most websites on the internet.

Many of the private tour guides can guide all around Israel, but some choose to specialize in a specific area or theme. If you want a private tour guide for your entire trip, you will easily find one. If you prefer someone who specializes in the Old City of Jerusalem or in archeology, that’s also something you can find quite easily.

2 – They will save you time

Instead of going lost in the streets and losing your way on the roads, the private guide will show you the way and save you precious time. That’s how you’ll be able to see more sites in less time.

3 – They are local people

The private guides who work in Israel usually live in Israel, which means they are local people. You have a rare opportunity to walk around with a local and ask him or her anything you have in mind about the everyday life. Wondering about the Jewish traditions? Not sure about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? Want to understand how people live with no public transportation on Shabbat? Feel free to ask your guide all those questions.

4 – They will point out things you would never notice alone

When you’re wandering alone and don’t have any guide with you, you might miss some really extraordinary details. A private guide will point out things which you would never notice alone, such as a beautiful carving which has an interesting story behind it, a fragment of ancient pavement or the oldest trees on Mount of Olives. They can also take you to some lesser known sites and observation points, which will surely enhance your experience.  

5 – They can recommend some great places to eat

If we’ll get back to our third point, the Israeli tour guides are locals. This means they have their favorite restaurants, which they can recommend you. If you’re on a tour that includes lunch, they might even accompany you to their favorite place in the destination and recommend some local dishes. It’s always good to eat with a local!

So, how should you choose the perfect private tour guide for you?

When choosing a private tour guide in Israel, you first have to make sure that the tour guide you are hiring is a licensed tour guide. If he or she do not mention it, you can request to see their certificate.

Next, ask yourselves if you want a walking tour or a tour that involves driving. In Israel, a tour guide must have a special driving license and car if they wish to drive tourists, so if you would like to travel somewhere far and drive between sites, you might want a tour guide who holds this special license.  If you would like a simple walking tour in one of the main cities, you don’t have to worry about the guide’s driving license.

Then, you need to read more about the tour guide and understand what types of tours does he or she provide. If you want them to be experts in some topic, like archeology or geology, you can check about it as well. Choose the guide which seems most suitable and interesting in your view, and just have a good time!

Would you like to hire a private tour guide for your trip to Israel? Leave us a message and we’ll try connecting you to a private guide who fits your needs:

And don’t forget to download out app – “Travel Israel by Travelkosh”!

Top 5 Reasons to Visit Israel this December

Vacationing this December? Try ISRAEL – the place where it all began. Israel will offer you a mix of enchanting places, wonderful celebrations and cool weather. Here are our top 5 reasons why you should visit ISRAEL this December:

Experience HANUKKAH:

Hannukah, also known as The Festival of Lights, is a Jewish holiday which takes place on the 25th day of the Hebrew month of Kislev. This year, the 25th day of Kislev falls on 22 December. The festival, which lasts eight nights and days, commemorates the rededication of the Second Jewish Temple in Jerusalem by the Maccabeans.

During Hannukah, the Jewish people light a candelabrum with nine branches, which is called a hannukkiah. On the first night of Hannukah one candle is lit. On each day, an additional candle is added to the hannukiah, until there are 9 candles. The ninth candle is used on every day of Hannukah to light the others and is usually placed above or below the other candles. This special candles is called the Shamash.

When you come to Israel in December, enjoy the Hannukah vibes. Watch children play with the driedel, and eat oil-based foods which are typical to Hannukah, like latkes and suganiyot. Latkes are yummy potato pancakes and sufganiyot are sweet jelly doughnuts. When Hannukah begins, make sure to walk along the streets and try spotting hannukiahs on the houses’ windowsills. You will find many hannukiahs lit along the alleys of Jerusalem’s Old City and the beautiful neighborhood of Nachlaot.

Hannukiah in Hannukah

Celebrate CHRISTMAS:

Continue the festivities with Christmas, which takes place on 25 December. Israel is one of the top destinations to celebrate Christmas, as it is where it all began. Jesus was born in the city of Bethlehem, and later spent his childhood in the city of Nazareth. He was crucified and resurrected in Jerusalem, and later ascended to the Heavens from the top of Mount of Olives.

Enjoy the beautiful Christmas decorations which enlighten mainly the cities of Jerusalem, Nazareth, Haifa and Bethlehem. If you are Christian, you can take part in many Christmas prayer services which take place mainly in Jerusalem, Nazareth and Bethlehem.

Christmas in Israel

Take Part in the HOLIDAY OF HOLIDAYS:

One of the greatest events of December in Israel is the Holiday of Holidays, which takes place in the city of Haifa this year between 19-28 December. Haifa is known as a city of religious and cultural diversity, where Jewish, Christians and Muslims live side by side peacefully. The Holiday of Holidays celebrates the holidays of the three religions – Hannukah, Christmas and Ramadan. Since the Ramadan is celebrated according to the Islamic calendar, it doesn’t always fall on December. This year only Hannukah and Christmas are celebrated on December, but still, this doesn’t damage the huge celebration.

Take part in the celebrations that happen in Wadi Nisnas neighborhood and the foot of the beautiful Bahai Gardens. Walk around fun street celebrations, enjoy the beautiful decorations, wander through the arts and crafts fair and taste from the many food stands throughout the festival’s area.

The celebrations takes place at the foot of the Bahai Gardens
The celebrations takes place at the foot of the Bahai Gardens

Have a BEDOUIN EXPERIENCE:

Bedouins were nomads and some continue to live a nomadic lifestyle in the Israeli desert. Experience the amazing Bedouin hospitality, which is also very culturally engaging. The indigenous tribes date back to hundreds of years. They open their hearts and homes and way of life to the general public. You can ride camels, enjoy a traditional Bedouin meal, taste their wonderful coffee and herbs tea and even experience overnight stays in traditional tents.

Bedouins in the Israeli desert
Pic by Israplan

Shop at the TEL AVIV MARKETS:

The Tel Aviv markets are the place to experience cool market vibes and excellent street food, as well as explore the Israeli local products. Stroll through the markets to shop for fresh food ingredients, wonderful spices, mouthwatering food and… Yes, there are also souvenirs.

Carmel Market is the most famous market and is colorful in spirit and food. Here you can definately find some great street food to taste, as well as fresh fruits and vegetables from Israel. Another cool market to explore is the Flea Market at Old Jaffa. There, you will find plenty of authentic antiques from all over Israel. Bargain and take them home.

To experience the most out of the markets, we recommend taking a tour with a local chef through the different stores and stands.

Market in Israel

Planning to come to Israel this December? Feel free to contact us through the app – “Travel Israel by Travelkosh” – or send us an email to travelisrael@travelkosh.com. We’re here to help you plan your trip and help you book the best experiences.

Download “Travel Israel by Travelkosh” TODAY!

Top 5 Foods to Taste in Israel

One of the best ways to experience a new destination is by eating the local food, and in Israel you’ll find plenty of culinary opportunities along your visit! Since Jewish people have come from all over the world to Israel, there’s a lot of diversity. We also love lots of food that originates from the Arab or the Turkish cuisine, and have added it our special Israeli touch.

But which food types should you definately try while in Israel? We’ve written them down for you:

Falafel:

Falafel is one of the most popular street foods in Israel, so you’ll find plenty of falafel shops almost everywhere you go. This delicious vegeterian food is a deep-fried ball of ground chickpeas or fava beans. Different herbs and spices are added to the mixture and you get a yummy and fluffy ball! The falafel originates from the Egyptians, but today it is an unseperatable part of the Israeli food culture. Make sure to eat it in a pita filled with all the possible toppings – vegetables, pickles, tachini and much more!

Learn how to order the falafel with this cute video by Birthright Israel Alumni Community:

Sabich:

Another vegeterian dish that is definately worth a try is Sabich. It’s an Israeli sandwich based on a traditional dish from the Iraqi Jewish kitchen. Traditionally, this dish was made for Shabbat, but today you can see people eating it all week round! This delicious pita sandwich is filled with a rainbow of tastes – fried eggplant, hard boiled eggs, vegetable salad, hummus, amba, parsley and tachini.

Learn how to make it with this nice video by Haaretz.com:

Shawarma:

If you love meat, you should try out the famous street food of Shawarma. The original and most authentic shawarma is made from lamb meat, which is chopped to slices, stacked on one another and put on a slowly rotating vertical metal scewer. It gets roasted like this for hours. Every time someone wants a shawarma, part of the meat is shaved off the scewer, put into a pita or a laffa and stuffed with more yummy ingredients, like salad and tachini. That’s shawarma. Today you can also find shawarma made from chicken and other types of meat. It orginates from Middle Eastern countries, such as Egypt.

Learn how Kosher Shawarma is made by watching this video by How2Kosher:

Shakshuka:

Let’s get back to vegetarian food in Israel. Shakshuka is a beautiful mix of eggs, pepper and tomatoes in a frying pan. This yummy dish originates from North Africa, but is today one of the main dishes in a typical Israeli breakfast or dinner.

Watch how to make Israeli Shakshuka with this video by Haaretz.com:

Malabi:

And let’s finish with desert! One of the most common and well-known deserts in Israel is the malabi, which is a milk and cream pudding topped with culinary rose water and  chopped pistachios or coconut . The desert originates from the Arab cuisine.

Check out how malabi is made by watching this video by Jewlish by Jamie:

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Article was written on November 2019 by Lior from Backpack Israel.