~ 7.. .' 7:34. Guy Hindley ekes out Israel’s hidden places,

Opting for solitude rather

than the teeming tourist multitudes.

t A. t a . t t . _, .... - the Red Sea.offthe coast ofEilat.a _ "" . t . " _. {it is r .3; non-stop excellent. : 1-. . t. 0 i " ‘_ , Although the sea is rapidly becoming t ‘t :3. t » t, V i ‘1‘ .- more polluted(one morning we " t 7 woke up onthe beach to findit ' t. ~ " - t 4'? .. J“ coveredinathick black tarrygoo.

... r’lr‘i' _.‘.

r mparts. which are up to 20 metres high and two metres thick. it is one of the oldest places in Israel. The last stronghold of the occupying Crusaders. it was filled in and built upon by the Marmalukes when they finally took it. Now some of the original town has been excavated and you can descend into it below the shops and cafes.

There are plenty of other awe-inspiring natural phenomena to take in. such as the enchanting grottos of Rosh Haniqra at the Lebanon border and the Soraq caves in the Jerusalem hills. full of perfect stalagmites and stalactites. which were discovered by chance. in 1967. during mining work.

The coral diving round the reef in

Dome oi the Rock in Jerusalem

leaked from an oil tanker -- the local Bedouins shrugged in indifference to this regular occurrence) you will still find shoals of red. blue and luminous fish along with sundry other coral inhabitants including seahorses, enormous eels and surreal vegetation and so on.

Israel‘s fame outstrips its size; you can easily travel its length in a day and its breadth in a couple of hours. It is therefore ideal for even just a one—week sight-seeing tour.

The tourist industry is an important feature of Israel's eternally ailing economy. Hotels and hostels abound. ranging from millionaire-priced luxury to the ultra-cheap and nasty. The latter

Israel is a country of contrasts and clashes; ancient and modern. serenity and tension. East and West, machine-guns and mysticism. It is also stunningly beautiful. Within its small (but ever expanding) borders there is a multitude of breathtaking sights. both natural and man-made: the sunrise from the ruins of the ancient desert fortress of Masada (where hundreds of beseiged Jews committed mass suicide rather than be captured by the Romans); the tranquil Sea ofGalilee. by the profound Golan Heights; the Dome ofthe Rock and the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem; and a host of museums, shrines, sites. buildings and ruins that are testament to this land’s

integral role in the dawning of caters for the inordinate number of

Islamic and Judaes_Christiah 20—30 year-old foreigners who stay in

religions and cultures. . 1 Israel for weeks and often months The hght tOO adds to thc intense‘ a ’5 largely attracted by the famous

unique atmosphere. So many artists ' “J « kt'ht’tttzcs {ind mt’ShtWSg

-_ Ardon‘ Stcihhardt‘ Zaritsky, l he tourist trade (and indeed the

Roberts __ have tried to capture the Jemsa'em population) is on the wane owing to fears of terrorism and the Intifada

way the land itselfseems to glow . . . golden in the evening. _ (Arab UPnSlng In the West Bank and

But thtS is Stahdard fare about enchant“), hitching but Gaza). From a visitor‘s point ofview v

[smelt and whilst the cliché image of What to KNOW : gfiittfgxghotaaomomgum 0' - this ts “Mtge tenant,” this ts largely unfounded; one can Israel being rich in spiritual legacies BB'OTB YOU GO i 6 days. my app” Student . women. 50"“ the tUttht)’ ahd frustration 15tme~ 59315.03" true that that“ is No visa is necessarylor and young person taresto ' Useful from both thCIJCWI‘Sh and A?” Often a thth “he between a PFCCIOUS British passport-holders but Tel Aviv cost £175 return, Publications Ct’mmumt'cs and Otto “tn Witness the sacred site and a dull tourist trap. customs can be rigorous; departing Gatwiclt. Contact constant confrontation 1n Jerusalem. There is much in Israel that is less delays are lilter when Campus Travel at The Hub, ; Let’s 60 Israel and Egypt is or the nearby West Bank. but famous. but is far more mesmetising leaving. liillhead Street and 90 John “8:613” migrate 8“ VOW neither side is generally interested in and exhilarating than traipsihg Climate: in summerthe Street. Glasgow (041 357 088 ll 0'8 0 989. tourists and both are typically blasé round the way of the Cross which is temperatures are mostly in I 0608 and 041 552 2867 : back-pa'ckino timing! is also towardS them. The), are way tot, . . the 80s and 90s butolten . respectively) orthe : more In 0mm V“ an! 8 preoccu ted with loathin cach

generally Clogged With Ovefbcanng higher in the South. Israeli ; Edinburgh Travel Centre. nlaihora 0' historical bated h p. .. . . - . g . 8W1“ and gangs 01' squealing Winters approximate E Bristo Square. Edinburgh books on Israel inlourist 0‘ c’ ‘0 pd” “"y VFW“? 9" Wh”? Canon-carrying tourists Scottish Autumns. with very f (031 668 2162) torturther . and book shops. It's tf‘H’tt Scotland “fight ht ""0 "‘9‘"

Nazareth and Bethlehem may be in cold nights. otten below i details. Elal are notoriously PUDIiSth by Pan It 59-95- her“ and htttcr tighttng- Therc '5 the Bible but for all that, they are lreezing. j expensive. UseluI Addresses even a‘certain V()yCUTlSIlC.'lf rather today qumtessemtal nomplaccs Israel is two hours ahead Where To Sta callous,excrtement to be had for ZCfat‘ With its artistsr commune and ol GMT. has a population at y g The "'39' G°V°mm°ht sensation-seekers. 500 year-old inheritance of 1"“ °V°tt°m "mm". and “OMS 0' 8” “Withhons ' Tom“ 0m“ is at ‘8 Gum Nothing modern really feels

' .‘ . . . . the currency is New Israeli are in abundance. as are "aithomullh Stint- ind- . ' thu t. [-1

Kabbaltstic mysttcrsm is far more Shams (3 ".3221 about cheap ham“. , London, my 1A; (01 434 ’Smous 't‘ "XV" d ' c‘ _ interesting and vibrant. and Ein 10.20 pet cent “not out". G u. A d ' 3651 ). It you want to stay on kaleidoscoptc soc1ety. Alltsigns of Gedi. by the Dead Sea, with its open huge and sale black 8 mg roun a mum (mo‘ttytun but“ the Bnmh' Who “fled mm] as nature reserve (gorgeous tigers), market). The train service is not ' ""108 "'8 Cllwmphomc recently as 1949‘ have been . sublime waterfalls and quasi_ttopical Genin There extensive (particularly in , conditions can simulate an completely erased, except peculiarly ptanttttc is infinitely more beautifut g = the South) but the national emotional pressure the GPO‘s red pillar boxes. The

The northern Arab town of ACCO Fourto live tllghts depart "Egged' buses are cheap, 3 000k0fl.conllci1l slapdashcdncss of modernity feels on th 1 M d.t ' . trom Heathrow and Gatwlclt ' plentilul and moderater ; Accumulation hold. fragile and temporary as it leans

e errane‘m Coast '5 each week. APEX lares are i comlortabla. lsrael is 50m" 5'90". LOW”-

another unsung beauty spot. Walled Weakly agathSt the monumcntahsm

72 The List 16 29 June 1989