I have to be in Tel Aviv at the end of October and would like to go to Lebanon since I have very distant cousins I have never met. I know that you can not enter Lebanon from Israel. I also know that Israel doesn't stamp passports anymore, however, I'm really trying to be smart about navigating those countries. My cousin in Lebanon says to enter through Jordan. My Israeli friends say that I should stay several days in Jordan to not flag my trip as an Israel/Lebanon trip. I know I should go to Lebanon first. I'm just wondering what my best options are and if it would be best to spend the extra money and time to make direct flight to Lebanon from US, then go to Europe somewhere...then buy a separate ticket to Israel and home from Europe and bypass Jordan all together. Any thoughts?
Wow - this is a tough one given the land borders. When we did it about 5-6 years ago, we kept Israel for the last leg. We traveled overland from Turkey, thru Syria, into Lebanon, back to Syria and then onto Jordan and Israel - but that was at a time when Syria was safe and not in a civil war.
Your best bet is as you suggested to fly into Lebanon. Then check on options to fly into Turkey from Lebanon and from there to Israel - using separate tickets. Alternatively, see if there are any flights or ferries that connect Lebanon to Cyprus - either N. Cyprus or Nicosia and from there you should be able to get a flight into Israel. Or fly from Beirut to Cairo or somewhere on the Red Sea and then travel overland into Israel.
Unless you really want to visit Jordan (Aqaba, Petra, Wadi Rum), skip the land option. Turkish Air has 5-7 flights a day between Istanbul and Tel Aviv. But do look at Royal Jordanian. You might be able to fly round-trip to Israel via Amman with a stop-over in Amman to take the overland trip to Lebanon before Israel.