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Israel

Has anyone gone to Israel and planned it on there own without going on a tour?
Going for 12 full days (14 with travel) and we want to see as much as we can. First time
Some sites say that Elat is too far so not to go if you don't seem to have the time.

How many days would I need in each area eg Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, North, Gaza, etc.

Posted by
8568 posts

Israel can be done on your own. How much time in each place depends on what interests you. Some sights may be difficult to get to without a car. (Day tours are available.)

You cannot enter Gaza just to visit. You must have an official reason and apply for permission.

Posted by
13930 posts

What Frank said. If you've traveled independently in Europe, you can do it in Israel.

What are your approximate dates. I can't tell you how much the holidays and the weekends will affect your planning!

Posted by
4120 posts

Forget going to Gaza, are you planning to visit Baghdad or Afghanistan as well.

Jerusalem should be your primary focus and take at least 3-4 nights. Lots to see in the North, Haifa, Caesarea, Meggido and more should be another 3 nights.

Massada and the Dead Sea would be some good ideas for the South. I wouldn't thing Elat would be worth the trip.

Posted by
45 posts

It certainly can be done on your own. As Rick hints in his Israel/Palestine video, try to carve out some time to learn the Palestinian side of the Israel/Palestine conflict. Once you understand a bit more the extent of the occupation and conflict (i.e. West Bank areas that don't receive water 24/7, etc.), the more interesting and often uninformed, the American perspective of Israel is and you begin to understand a bit more why the U.N. has so many resolutions against Israel. We experienced first hand road blockage for a Palestinian road from Ramallah for no apparent reason, so it's good to get educated so you can fully understand both sides. I recommend Green Olive tours, however, some say they are too Palestinian-oriented, although we've taken 3 separate tours with them and found the guides highly educated and balanced (Yohav (Israeli) is particularly articulate and educated if you can get him). You can even visit a refugee camp. Green Olive is owned by an Israeli-Jew, who believes in Palestinian rights and his partners are both Israeli and Palestinian---which gives a very good perspective. If you are interesting in understanding a bit more before you leave, recommend reading The General's Son by Miko Peled. He is the son of an IDF General who became a peace activist. Visiting Hebron is particularly eye-opening (see Tomb of the Patriarchs). Consider doing the trip yourself, but picking up a couple of day tours to gain valuable insights that you might not fully get on your own. We went to Israel in 2016 and didn't expect to ever return, but return we did in 2018 and I now read Al Jazeera and Al Monitor news almost daily!
https://www.toursinenglish.com

Posted by
8568 posts

One sided propoganda tours, Al Jazeera and AL Monitor. No anti-israel bias there....he says sarcastically.

Posted by
45 posts

Frank II, most Americans already understand the Israeli side because that's the media norm, I am just suggesting (as Rick does as well) there is another side and it's interesting to be able to at least see the other side, whether you agree or not--better to actually know the other side first-hand, instead of just drinking what you are given from the American media. We had no idea until we actually became educated on the conflict and acknowledging there are 2 sides. I am not trying to start a conflict here, just suggesting people experience both sides and then speak from experience vice hearsay.

Posted by
8568 posts

People believe what they want to believe. It doesn't have to be true. You just have to believe it. Propoganda has been used over the ages to convince people to take sides.

Just remember.....when you take those type of tours, you're only being shown what they want you to see. When you read certain publications, they are only telling you what they want you to know. And it will never go against their agenda.

You believe what you want to believe.

Posted by
13930 posts

first hand road blockage for a Palestinian road from Ramallah for no apparent reason

Kathy - I'm glad you got to experience that - I'm much more glad that you never experienced the shootings and bombings in city centers, in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and others, that killed and maimed hundreds of mothers and children, that came from Palestinian territories. I have a great deal of sympathy for the many Arabs, both Israelis and Palestinians, who are subjected to delays and sometimes even indignities. But I am sure civilians in Israel are safer because of those security checks (after all there are seldom any attacks in recent years, because so many are foiled), and there are apparent reasons for them. Think about the security checks on your US borders . . . .

Posted by
4120 posts

I visited Israel, after living in Saudi Arabia for five years.
I learned the Arab side very well. You don't need to go to Gaza to get that. Going to Gaza would be like going to Liberty City in Miami. NOT a good idea.

Hebron is an interesting place to visit. The tomb of the Patriarchs.

The only way that a permanent peace will take over is for the Arabs to accept the existence of Israel.