On a trip to Israel in March my wife and I got a chance to see historic sites, hike in national parks, sample the food, and experience the existential reality of Israel today.  We visited major archaeological sites, of course, but also got a sense of recent Israeli cultural and political issues. What an interesting and complicated place it is.
Israel: vulnerable and nationalistic
Israelis have made the desert bloom with high quality fruits and vegetables


Tel Aviv is modern and secular


The northern city of Safid (Tzfat) is a center of Kabbalah, or Jewish mysticism


The Western Wall in Jerusalem is Judaism’s most sacred spot


The wall is actually a retaining wall that supported the second temple,
destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD


Boys serve in the armed forces for at least three years, girls for two