1. An absolute reverence for life -There is nothing more sacred and worth celebrating than life. Israelis were voted one of the happiest nations in the world and it is easy to see why.

2. One of the world’s natural wonders (Dead Sea) – Have a float or enjoy some pampering at one of the earth’s most spectacular wonders, the Dead Sea. It is enough to soothe away your stress.

3. Cultural hub – Opera? Theatre? Live music? Mime? Art exhibition? Book reading? Whatever cultural activity you feel like indulging, you can bet that you can find something that tickles your fancy…

4. Women’s rights – Women in Israel enjoy a much higher status than their counterparts in many other countries around the world. One of the first countries to have a female Prime Minister and with a strong representation of women in our new Knesset, Israel is demanding that the status of women continuously improves.

5. A world in one country – Israel offers a world in one country. If you are hankering for the Alps, you can ski in the north, swim with the dolphins in the south and feel like you have toured several different countries thanks to the mix of cultures and personalities of our towns and cities.

6. Home to the three monotheistic religions – Judaism, Christianity and Islam were all born in this region. Where else in the world but Jerusalem can you pray (and slip a note)into the Wailing Wall while hearing the Imam call the Muslim faithful to prayer and the church bells peal all at the same time?

7. Protecting the endangered – Israel is home to no less than 25 special programmes aimed at protecting endangered wildlife. Here, rhinoceros who are hunted all over the world thrive in breeding programmes, endangered birds and other threatened species are cared for and under stress free conditions, happily multiply.

8. Museums – You can lose yourself in a myriad of different kinds of museums. From the historical to art, to our Zionist history and honouring our precious lost, Israel offers something that appeals to everyone no matter what your interest is.

9. Green is the hot new colour – It is no secret that Israel is a leader in cutting edge technology. This also includes environmental or “green” technology. A leader is sewage recycling, water purification and concentrated efforts to encourage people to recycle and lessen their carbon footprints, makes environmental issues an important priority.

10. Eating as an art form – Food is central to Israeli culture. No matter what the situation is or the mood, everything can be solved over some Hummus. Or gefilte fish. Or anything from the kaleidoscope of cultures that form the Israeli palate. We do love our food. We like it fresh, simple and in abundance. B’teavon!

11. Hidden gems – you can turn a street corner and disappear into an Aladdin’s cave,hidden restaurant or stumble upon an ancient archaeological relic.

12. Incredible diversity – over 82 different kinds of ethnic communities call Israel home. On any given day you can bump into several of them. It adds colour and life to our wonderful mosaic of people

13. Fantastic Israeli summer – yes it is hot but it brings Israelis out of their winter hibernation and the beaches are dotted with sun worshippers.

by Rolene Marks

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