From Andrew Harper:
About 265 miles from north to south, Israel lends itself to a two-week itinerary by chauffeur-driven car. Of course, you can drive yourself — the roads are marked in English, as well as in Hebrew and Arabic — but some cities, such as Nazareth, are extremely congested. Also, if you want to cross into the Palestinian-controlled West Bank, to Bethlehem, for instance, assistance is essential. Despite routine mayhem in the Middle East, Israel seldom feels like a country in crisis. Here, the abnormal is quite normal, so people just try to get on with daily life. Tel Aviv sprouts skyscrapers; the high-tech and financial industries continue to boom; and a dynamic economy has created an accelerating demand for new hotels, resorts and restaurants of an international standard.- Andrew Harper
WHEN TO VISIT:
The long summer is dominated by hot, dry air from the Arabian Desert to the east. From October to April, low-pressure systems sweep in from the Mediterranean.
GENERAL INFORMATION: Visit goisrael.com before your trip.
DIRECT DIAL CODES:
To phone hotels in Israel, dial 011 (international access) + 972 (Israel code) + city code and local numbers in listings.
Seven hours ahead of New York (EST).
New shekel (ILS).Fluctuating rate valued at ILS3.9 = US$1.00 as of February 2015. Note: All of our suggested hotels quote rates in US$.
Tel Aviv, Tel. 3-519-7475. Consulate: Jerusalem, Tel. 2-622-7230.
Hotels & Travel Partners
Set in an old stone building with a lovely courtyard garden, this has been a Jerusalem institution since 1995. Chef Ezra Kedem virtually invented New Israeli cuisine.10 Agripas Jerusalem http://arcadiarest.com/en/arcadia/
The name means “facing the sea,” and the specialties here are fish and seafood flown in from around the world. The restaurant overlooks the port of Tel Aviv.24 Nemal Tel Aviv Tel Aviv http://www.mulyam.com/?categoryId=93938
Chef Yonatan Roshfeld’s menu of contemporary cuisine includes tapas and half-portions so diners can try numerous dishes. The restaurant overlooks Tel Aviv’s Mediterranean promenade.4 Hashunit Street Herzliya, Tel Aviv http://www.herbertsamuel.co.il/
This lively restaurant is next to Jerusalem’s Mahane Yehuda marketplace. The chefs create modern Israeli cuisine in a colorful open kitchen. Call ahead to confirm opening hours.10 Beit Ya'akov Jerusalem http://machneyuda.co.il/en