Israel was created a modern state in 1948. The capital, Jerusalem, is a sacred place to Jews, Christians and Muslims but it is also a modern city with many attractions, sitting at the centre of a thriving, bustling country with so much to offer the 3.5 million tourists who visit each year. Places to visit include Masada and Ein Gedi on the Dead Sea, Jerusalem, the Galilee with its beautiful lakes and valleys, Caesarea and Haifa on the north coast, or head off the beaten path to the Negev Desert in the south or the Golan Heights in the north east. The cosmopolitan city of Tel Aviv on the Mediterranean coast is the centre of beach culture, lively nightlife and shopping. The resort town of Eilat on the Red Sea is the water-sports capital with its coral-fringed beaches for swimming, windsurfing, parasailing and water skiing.
Palestine is two territories in Israel: Gaza in south west Israel on the Mediterranean Sea, and the West Bank along the Jordan River. Bethlehem is the birthplace of Jesus Christ, the Holy Land of the medieval crusades and a landscapes of striking contrasts. Palestine is a captivating destination for tourists from all walks of life. Palestine is renowned for its religious sites that are immensely important for followers of Islam, Christianity, and Judaism alike. Christian pilgrims can trace Jesus’ life on earth—from his birth at the nativity church in Bethlehem, to where (as the bible states) he was crucified, buried, and resurrected at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. Dating back more than 10,000 years and sitting at 258m below sea level, Tel As-Sultan (the ancient city of Jericho) is both the oldest and lowest town on earth. The city of Hebron is a historic site in itself; its striking arched roofs and labyrinthine alleyways are characteristic of Hebron’s well-preserved Mamluk-style architecture.
Gaza is likewise an important resting place for migratory birds—including herons, cranes, and flamingos. Gaza city’s seaside restaurants are a great place to enjoy fresh seafood while looking out over the tranquil Mediterranean. The city is famous for its hand-woven rugs, wicker furniture, and pottery, which you can find at a local market. The Gaza War Cemetery is the final resting place for ANZAC soldiers who died fighting in Gaza during the First and Second World Wars.