Just got back from our first trip to Israel. It was truly amazing and I have to give a big and sincere "thank you" to everyone on this forum who has been so kind and generous with your advice.
I have some thoughts and advice I'd like to share. You'll forgive me for the thoughts being rather random. We just got back yesterday from a few days in Paris and I'm stil a bit foggy.
US Air started non stop flights from Philly to Tel Aviv. The flight was wonderful. We were in Envoy Class and the new "pods" were just incredibly comfortable. I actually slept for most of the flight.
We flew El Al from Tel Aviv to Paris. Wow, I love El Al. The plane looked spanking new. The food was so fresh and delicious and I felt incredibly safe.
Just a note about the airport in Tel Aviv. It was a breeze when we landed. And when we departed I was asked two questions and quickly went through security. No removing of shoes...no fooling around with liquids. It was the least amount of hassle I've had traveling in years. And the best part...having breakfast of burekas in the food court.
Even though everyone has told me for years that you feel safer in Israel then you do anyplace else, I didn't really believe it. Well, now that I've been there I can say it is true.
The whole time we were there it felt completely safe and "normal". If you looked at the news or read the international papers you'd think otherwise....but we were in the middle of Jerusalem and we walked, even late at night and felt carefree.
I thought when we went to Jerusalem that we had to stay at the King David. That if we didn't the experience would somehow be less. The good folks on this forum strongly suggested the Inbal and I was truly delighted with it. Modern, elegant and perfectly situated near the Old City and tons of restaurants and shops.....we loved it.
The breakfast at the Inbal was amazing. We stayed on the executive floor and had access to the lounge which we used daily. The staff was wonderful.
Yad Vashem-- I admit it, I was afraid that I would be so depressed after a visit that I would be upset for the whole trip. However, this was not true. I walked around with a heavy heart, but also a determination to do my part to not allow there to be world silence or appeasement in the face of evil.
Ever single world leader needs to go to Yad Vashem. Really, ever person needs to go. We must not forget the past. We must not allow evil to grow. We must understand the absolute unique importance of Israel.
The food in Israel is amazing. I ate hummus almost everyday...it was so much better then in the US. The fruits and vegetables had such an intense flavor. We drank a pitcher of fresh lemonade with mint at dinner each night.
Oh, I have to mention that we couldn't believe how reasonably priced everything was. We'd have a huge lunch and it would be maybe $50. In the US, a similar meal would be closer to $100.
Everyone spoke English. Everyone made us feel really welcome.
One of the places that I wanted to go to was the Hurva. It has an incredible history and it meant a lot to me to just stand inside.
The whole country of Israel is a miracle on so many levels. There is no place like it in the world. We felt incredibly lucky to be able to go.
G-d Bless Israel.