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Caesarea: A Brief History of Israel’s 2000-Year-Old Manmade Port

When many people hear the name “Caesarea”, their minds are immediately drawn to a Roman location. The name is indeed Roman; Herod the Great dedicated the city to Caesar Augustus some 2000 years ago. However, it is an Israeli city.

Caesarea Origins: Straton’s Tower
A man by the name of Straton is believed to have been the ruler of Sidon (now part of Israel) as far back as the 4th century BC, and what is now known as Caesarea was Straton’s Tower until about 90 BCE, when it was captured by Alexander Jannaeus. Jannaeus was interested in shipbuilding and enlarging the Hasmonean kingdom, and as such, Straton’s Tower remained a Jewish settlement a number of years until the Romans came along in 63 BCE. The Romans declared it an autonomous city, and it underwent a number of significant changes during its pagan transition. Herod the Great renamed the city Caesarea after the Roman emperor Caesar Augustus.Continue Reading..

33 Flavors at the Mahane Yehuda Market in Jerusalem

If there’s one thing that foodies and those in culinary professions take with them after a visit to Jerusalem, it’s the Mahane Yehuda Market. Although there are many more than 33 flavors available at the Mahane Yehuda Market, this number adequately represents the wide selection of foods and drinks that come from all over the world.

A Hub for Locals and Tourists Alike
Although the Mahane Yehuda Market is by far one of the most popular tourist hubs in Jerusalem, particularly among those who have insatiable appetites and a craving for new culinary experiences, it is also a very important place for locals who purchase fresh ingredients from around the world at dozens of stalls representing many different cultures around the world. It is said that while most of Jerusalem represents the past, the market here is the epitome of the contemporary side of Jerusalem – as well as its future.Continue Reading..

David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s Founding Father

David Ben-Gurion was born David Grün in Plońsk, Poland on October 16, 1886. He is widely known as Israel’s Founding Father due to his role in helping the country gain its independence. Today, there are a number of commemorative sites across Israel named after David Ben-Gurion, and many have become popular tourist attractions.

His Early Life
David Ben-Gurion was born in Poland, which was still part of the Russian Empire at the time of his birth. His father was a lawyer and a leader in the Hovevei Zion movement, and his mother died when he was 11 years old. For many years, his birth certificate was believed to be lost, but it was retrieved in Poland in 2003. It was learned that he had a twin brother who died after birth. At the age of 14, David Ben-Gurion and a friend formed Ezra, a youth club that encouraged the study of Hebrew and movement to the Holy Land.Continue Reading..

Israel’s Tank Museum at Latrun

The history of the Middle East is one of the most intense and interesting in the world. Many wars took place in and around Israel throughout the years, and books that focus on these wars often boast pictures of exhibits found in Israel’s Tank Museum at Latrun. Formerly known as the Armored Corps Memorial and Museum, it is home to more than just exhibits.

Upon Arrival

After making arrangements to visit the Tank Museum, visitors are often met at the gate by the Library and Information Center Manager, who helps to provide and arrange guided tours. The first thing tourists notice about Latrun is the setting; it was originally built by the British as a sort of police fortress that overlooks miles upon miles of the surrounding area. It becomes obvious in just a few minutes’ time that whomever controlled Latrun controlled the entire country. Even after the War for Independence was won, it took 19 more years for Israel to finally reunite with the Latrun fortress and become whole.

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Eilat, Israel’s Resort Town on the Red Sea

Although the actual city of Eilat, Israel was not established until after the Israeli War for Independence ending in 1949, the city is steeped in history and culture. Because of this, it has grown into one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations, and it combines modern resorts with historical landmarks.

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Safed, the Mystical City of Kabbalah

Safed is steeped in culture and history, and it is one of the most popular tourist destination. Not only does it allow visitors to see what life was like some centuries ago, but it also provides all of the modern amenities that vacationers expect.

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Ein Gedi, King David’s Favorite Spot

If you are visiting Israel, Ein Gedi is one of the must-see sites that you don’t want to miss. It is located on the western shore of the Dead Sea, which is the lowest point on Earth at 400 meters below sea level. Although the climate in the area is extremely hot and dry, Ein Gedi is an oasis. It is mentioned in many historical documents, and history shows it was King David’s favorite place.

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Mt. Herzl, Israel’s Military Cemetery

Mt. Herzl, which is Hebrew for “Mount of Remembrance”, is a burial site for Israel’s leaders, but also for our founding fathers and members of the country’s military who fought so hard for its independence. While a cemetery may not seem like much of a tourist site, this one puts Israel’s sense of determination into focus and is highly recommended to visit. There is also a museum there dedicated to the life of Theodore Herzl who is considered the father of modern political Zionism.

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Masada: The little-known back story

From a distance, Masada does not look too different from the other hills in the Judean desert. Yet, it was on this unassuming flat-topped hill that a group of desperate and besieged Jewish rebels made their final stand against the Romans. The siege of Masada was documented by Flavius Josephus, a Jewish historian.

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The Amazing Health Benefits of the Dead Sea

Since ancient times, the saline waters of the Dead Sea have been renowned for their health benefits. Dead Sea water contains up to 10 times as much salt as ordinary sea water. Also, whereas sodium chloride makes up 80% of the salt content in normal sea water, it comprises a much smaller proportion (12-18%) of Dead Sea salts. Dead Sea waters have substantial quantities of bromides, calcium chloride, potassium and magnesium all of which possess therapeutic properties. Here are some of the places where you can tap into the Dead Sea’s healing abilities.

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