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I will be visiting Israel next week

I am going to be in Israel from the 20th to the 28th of January. The plan is to be in Tel Aviv for two or three days from the 20th, then hopefully Jerusalem, Haifa, Nazareth, perhaps a little wine tourism in the Golan Heights, and Beersheba if I have time, which I may not. This will be my first trip and as always, there can be more visits. One of the purposes of a first trip to anywhere is to find out about the interesting things to do and see on subsequent visits.

The aim, as is the case with most of my travel, is to go, look round, and try to get some sense of the place. In Israel, the cultural and architectural magnificence of the place makes this particularly daunting. I am coming with the sense that Israel is one of the most egregiously missing places from my travels, but also with a certain amount of cultural baggage. I attended Anglican Sunday school as a child, of course, but was taught my biblical history in the sense that it felt that these were mythical places. That they were actually real took a more adult understanding.

Plus of course, there is the modern economy: every government in the world has seemingly released press releases stating how “We must create the Silicon Valley of (wherever)” (seemingly failing to understand that by government direction is not how you do it), but Israel seems to be virtually the only country in the world with a startup and tech economy scene that is actually worthy of such a description. My admiration for this is enormous, but my detailed knowledge of it is less than I would like it to be. If anyone wants to tell me more about this / show me how this has happened, I would be delighted to let them tell me and/or show me.

Several of my Jewish and Israeli friends have already offered me advice on what to see and do, of course, but further advice would be welcome, particularly from readers of this blog who may have some sense of my quirky sensibilities. Comments on this post are welcome, as is e-mail to michael.jennings at gmail.com. I promise to write about interesting things that I find on this blog.

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9 comments to I will be visiting Israel next week

  • Paul Marks

    God willing I will be going to Israel in March Sir.

    What I will see will be very much a matter for my friends and relatives there.

    As a noncar driver and someone who can not speak Hebrew I will be very much in their hands.

    I only hope the house is still here when I get back.

  • Looking forward to seeing both of you:-)

  • Valerie

    http://yaacovlozowick.blogspot.com/2011/02/start-up-nation.html

    Mr. Jennings,
    Here is but one post from Yaacov Lozowick’s now idle blog related to your query. You will find more interesting information on the left page of the blog under “Innovation”.

  • peter

    1) don’t waste your time there talking about politics
    2) For high tech stuff Netanya is probably the place, and in addition it has great beaches, also “jeeping” and alot of History, of course.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Michael, get a copy of the Israel Test by George Gilder, who knows a great deal about Israel’s ascent to greatness as an IT centre.

  • BTW, two points. First, ‘architectural magnificence’? Er, not really, sorry…:-) Second, as advanced as Israel’s IT sector is, it has by no means reached its current status free of government intervention/support – at least no more or less than in the rest of the West, AFAIK. For better or worse (depending on one’s metacontext).

  • On the first point, my brain told my fingers to type “archaeological” and they instead typed “architectural”. They do that sometimes. I’m not sure why.

    On the second, there is certainly lots of state involvement in the creation of Silicon Valley in California, too. Much of this came through having a large defence industry in California, both through direct and semi-direct spinoffs, and also through having a critical mass of the right kind of people as a consequence of that. I suspect that almost precisely this is part of the story in Israel as well. It isn’t the whole story though.

    On the other hand, there are lots of kinds of government intervention to promote tech industries that have been tried in lots of places and have failed in lots of places and have not apparently failed in Israel. It could be that the reasons for Israel’s success lie elsewhere, or because these things are necessary but not sufficient. I don’t know. It’s what I am trying to figure out.

  • konshtok

    wine tourism in winter?

    considering the weather I recommend skipping the golan

  • Michael: I don’t know either.

    konshtok: it really depends on the day. The weather can be very nice, at least until February.