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ISRAEL


Location - Middle East; Capital - Jerusalem; Population - 7 million; Currency - New Israeli Shekel MORE ISRAEL

Little over three hours by bus takes you from the Dead Sea to Eilat, the southern tip of Israel on the Red Sea coast. It's a city where I worked in a supermarket back in the 1990s and I was itching to return - November 2014.

 

israelnote120 Israeli Shekels

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

israel883A plane lands at the very central domestic airport in Eilat. So central you have to walk around it from town to beach

A new airport is being built north of Eilat, while the current airport will become the terminus of a rail link, built by the Chinese. No doubt it will lead to the city's further expansion and, most importantly for the Chinese, will allow freight transit via the Red Sea to the Mediterranean and on to Europe

 

israel899Eilat is the primary diving and beach destination for Israelis in the summer (days are a very sweaty 40°C plus) and for Europeans, especially Russians, in the cooler months

 

israel898aBoats in the lagoon and marina - Eilat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

israel897The marina and lagoon are surrounded by several high-rise hotels, seemingly the bigger the better - Eilat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

israel867The Three Monkeys is one of most popular bars in Eilat. Beer is expensive everywhere in Israel so look for happy hours!

 

israel902North Beach, heading eastwards to Jordan - Eilat

 

israel917Daytime winter temperatures hover at 20°C - Eilat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

israel914Can't remember the name of this bar-cafe on North Beach but it's a cool place to chillout - Eilat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

israel904North Beach is the closest beach to the town centre, divided into several smaller sections from west to east - Eilat

 

israel912The sparkling Red Sea - Eilat

 

israel920The expansion of Eilat continues - the new Peace Lagoon was built since I was here in the 1990s.
The 'castle' in the background is King's City, a Disneyland-style attraction.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

israel885Lots of brightly coloured fish welcome visitors to Eilat Museum - Eilat

 

israel891The museum labels this as an Iranian flotation tank transporting weapons and intended for the Palestinian Authority in Gaza, captured in 2002 by Israeli naval forces - Eilat

 

israel895Monument to the capture of Umm Rashrash (present-day Eilat) by Israel in 1949, raising the ink flag. The original ink flag is in Eilat Museum - Eilat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

israel934Near the airport are a series of salt pools attracting birdlife. Except in this photo! Instead, go for the pools near the Rabin border crossing - Eilat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

israel936Ice Space is an ice bar-cum-sculpture exhibition complete with mini ice-slide, all in sub-zero temperatures of course - Eilat

 

israel943A saxophone frozen in ice - Eilat

 

israel945Posing with a real penguin! I think it was real, maybe - Eilat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

israel930The Jordan border is about 200m away from here. The town in the distance (Aqaba) and the mountains behind are in Jordan - Eilat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

israel953And at the other end of Eilat is the Egyptian border at Taba, leading to the Sinai peninsula and some of the best diving sites in the world

 

israel958The South Beach stretches several kilometres from Eilat city centre to Taba. This is Princess Beach just around the corner from Taba - Eilat

 

israel963The northern tip of the Red Sea is the meeting place of four countries: Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Israel and Egypt. The faint outline of land behind the boat is Saudi Arabia - Eilat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

israel959A glass-bottom boat returns to the Underwater Observatory Marine Park - Eilat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

israel968Red Sea coral from the Underwater Observatory Marine Park's watchtower - Eilat

 

israel1005The underwater observatory is a fine place to view coral and sea-life while remaining dry - Eilat

 

israel986A brand new addition to the marine park is the Oceanarium where visitors can see the Shark Pools - Eilat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

israel995In December 2014 the Oceanarium was so new that construction work was ongoing - Eilat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

israel1001Walk beneath the sharks - Eilat

 

israel1009Coral Beach Nature Reserve is an underwater reserve catering to snorkellers - Eilat

 

israel1010This part of Coral Beach outside the reserve is a wide section of sand with a good bar-restaurant - Eilat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

israel1012Eilat has a lively watersports scene as well as diving, snorkelling, snuba etc

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

israel1023I'd say the best beach in Eilat is the private one at Dolphin Reef

 

israel1024Floating platforms at Dolphin Reef - Eilat

 

israel1036Lunchtime for the dolphins, who always look like they're wearing a cheeky smile. Good on them! Eilat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

israel1044The dolphins were brought from the Black Sea in 1990s - Eilat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

israel1053Taking the bus through the Negev desert to Tel Aviv

 

israel1054From Tel Aviv I headed straight for Sderot where plenty of orange trees line the route. I guess they're Jaffa oranges?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

israel1056israel1057

I wanted to visit Sderot to see Gaza from a distance and also see the effect its proximity has on the town. Sderot train station is built to be rocket resistant (left). And as you'd expect the town has a high number of IDF soldiers (right, with backpacks)

 

israel1065At its closest point Sderot is less than 1km from Gaza, earning it the name 'Bomb Shelter Capital of the World'

 

israel1083Many shelters have been given a street-art makeover. - Sderot

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

israel1068The shelters are to protect from these, remnants of Hamas Qassam rockets at the police station's 'rocket museum' - Sderot

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

israel1073When the Red Colour warning ('Tzeva Adom') is heard residents have less than 15 seconds to seek refuge before impact. Towns further away have a bit longer - Sderot

 

israel1081Artists4Israel loves Sderot

 

israel1080Street art in Sderot

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

israel1086Newer buildings are reinforced from rocket attacks and bus stops are also fortified. There's also a children's playground shelter doubling as a brightly coloured caterpillar - Sderot

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

palestine310

Panoramic view of Gaza from Nir Am lookout near Sderot. More photos of Gaza on my Palestine page

 

israel1089Bomb shelter at Ashkelon train station

 

israel1090Tel Aviv's main market is Carmel market

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

israel1091It's not a patch on Jerusalem's Mahane Yehuda market but it's lively - Tel Aviv

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

israel1093And if you're a beer fan it has the fantastic Beer Bazaar, stocking virtually all the huge number of Israeli craft beers popping up - Tel Aviv

 

israel1095Between Carmel market and the seafront is Hassan Bek Mosque - Tel Aviv

 

israel1104Close by is HaTachana, a converted former train station complex incorporating souvenir shops, bars, restaurants, a tourist office and also hosts events - Tel Aviv

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

israel1107Live music and plenty of food at HaTachana - Tel Aviv

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

israel1110The southern city centre district of Florentine is a bohmenian area of Tel Aviv with bars, cafes and graffiti art

 

israel1108Someone please translate this for me! No doubt it's something less than complimentary about Israel's prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu - Tel Aviv

 

israel1117I like this one. Propping up an eclectic building in a Tel Aviv side-street

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

israel1118Bright and busy street art close to Carmelit bus station - Tel Aviv

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

israel1111israel1112

These are two important buildings on Rothschild Boulevard. On the left is Independence Hall where David Ben-Gurion declared the State of Israel in 1948 and became the first president.
On the right is the Haganah Museum. The Haganah were the paramilitary forces fighting against the British in Palestine, and later became the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) - Tel Aviv

 

israel1121The seafront is divided into a series of beaches, from Jaffa in the south to the Old Port in the north - Tel Aviv

 

israel1124aIt's Shabbat in Tel Aviv and what better than a communal dance at Gordon Beach

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

israel1124dUnlike West Jerusalem, which grinds to a halt on Shabbat, there's plenty of action in Tel Aviv. It's helped massively by having the Mediterranean Sea and miles of sand on its doorstep

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

israel1125Relax on Gordon Beach, where it was over 20°C on this December afternoon. Perfect! Tel Aviv

 

israel1134Next to Gordon Beach is the small Tel Aviv Marina - Tel Aviv

 

israel1133The wide promenade next to the marina. And this being Tel Aviv there's an open-air cafe-restaurant next door

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

israel1141It's possible to walk from Jaffa (the peninsula on the horizon) all the way to HaYarkon Park in the north - Tel Aviv

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

israel1136The waves are small but it's a (mini) surfer's paradise - Tel Aviv

 

israel1142Families make the Old Port a busy place on Shabbat, where it's all drinking and al-fresco dining - Tel Aviv

 

israel1145Father and son fishing on Yarkon River in HaYarkon Park, a five minute walk from the Old Port - Tel Aviv

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

israel1149There's a sailing club in HaYarkon Park where lots of kids row around in circles. And I'd be exactly the same.. - Tel Aviv

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

israel1157This reminds me of street art in London by Frenchman Invader though crucially it's minus the pixellation - Tel Aviv

 

israel1153There's a lot of bars to choose from in Tel Aviv

 

israel1162The Great Synagogue was built in the 1920s. Opposite (out of picture) is an excellent bar with outdoor seating - Tel Aviv

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

israel1171I'm sure I recognise this image, a face from the Vietnam war? Tel Aviv

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

israel1175Rabin Square is named after Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, assassinated here in 1995 by an Orthodox Jew opposed to the signing of the Oslo Peace Accords with the PLO - Tel Aviv

 

israel1178Memorial to Yitzhak Rabin, murdered at this spot - Tel Aviv

 

israel1180Israeli flags stand over the memorial to Yitzhak Rabin - Tel Aviv

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

israel1181A juice stall just off Dizengoff Street - Tel Aviv

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

israel1183The Fire and Water Fountain on Dizengoff Square - Tel Aviv

 

israel1100The Etzel Museum in Charles Clore Park on the seafront. It covers the history of the Etzel, who fought against the British in Palestine and for Israel in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. The Etzel, Lechi and Haganah later merged to form the Israel Defence Forces - Tel Aviv

 

israel1188More surfing, this time with the backdrop of ancient Jaffa - Tel Aviv

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

israel1203Tel Aviv's coastline from above Ajmal beach, where the old town of Jaffa (or Yafo) begins

 

israel1191The Clock Tower is a good marker for the entrance to Jaffa

 

israel1198On the right is the late 19th century St Peter's Monastery - Jaffa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

israel1207Take the narrow stepped alleyways through the Old Town to the port - Jaffa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

israel1206Jaffa hosts a flea market, art galleries and boutique shops, and is also home to a significant Muslim population with several mosques - Jaffa

 

israel1212Jaffa Port, one of the oldest ports in the world, is edged with sea-food restaurants and galleries - Jaffa

 

israel1218Street art is definitely flourishing in Israel - Jaffa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Website and content Copyright © 2008-2015 Mark Wilkinson. All rights reserved.

 

LINKS

http://bus.co.il - bus timetables, including the main bus company Egged

www.goisrael.com - Israel tourist board

www.rail.co.il - train timetables

 

I am not responsible for the content of external websites.

 

 
 


 
   
 
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