Introduction

Few places on earth stir up passion the way that Israel does: the breathtaking beauty of its hills and valleys, the eerie stillness of the Dead Sea, the multi-coloured canyon of Makhtesh Ramon, and the ancient walls and pathways of Nazareth and Jerusalem. The call of the muezzin and the quiet prayers of Orthodox Jews at the Western Wall reflect how the religious devotion of the Muslims, Christians and Jews who live here runs through every facet of life.

As, of course, does the political – and visitors will rarely leave without encountering the country’s complex politics. But there are also plenty of ways to relax: the bars and beaches of Tel Aviv and Haifa, the wineries of the Galilee and tables loaded with mezze. For the curious visitor, Israel never fails to challenge and confound, excite and surprise, leaving an imprint that lingers long after the return flight home.