israel

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The city of Jerusalem, with all its pivotal symbols of faith for Jews, Muslims and Christians, is dominated by the great walled expanse of Temple Mount
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In Jerusalem's Old City a golden dome shines among all the minarets and towers, walls, churches and bazaars that enrich a profoundly devout, if divided, society
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From the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem's Old City the view encompasses both the Muslims' golden Dome of the Rock and the Jews' Western Wall
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The Holocaust History Museum at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, monumentally cutting through the Mount of Remembrance, commemorates six million Jews murdered by the Nazis
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Housing the Dead Sea scrolls, the Shrine of the Book in Jerusalem's Israel Museum alludes in its striking architecture to the themes of Darkness and Light
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A class of yeshiva boys (Jewish seminary students) crosses the huge plaza beside the Western Wall
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As dusk falls on the Western Wall, sacred to Jews, a playful boy waits for his father
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To pray, to meditate, to converse, Jews gather at the holiest of all Jewish places, the Western Wall--once part of the walls surrounding the Second Temple, destroyed by Romans in 70CE (or AD)
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Jewish women pray at the Western Wall, their section separated from the men's by a simple fence
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Its significance entirely secular, a building wall in Jerusalem displays a cheerful mural; an Orthodox Jew, in the habitual black hat and coat, crosses the street
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In Jerusalem's Mahane Yehuda market piles of peppers provide a mere glimpse of the market's spectacular colour and variety
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Men concentrate on play, taking pleasure in the game and the company
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Tel Aviv, sophisticated and businesslike, can also boast of its dazzling Mediterranean beaches
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Along Tel Aviv's sunny shore cluster smart hotels and office buildings; a children's playground provides a dynamic contrast
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From Jaffa's old town and harbour Tel Aviv energetically grew and spread; today they are the two faces of a single city distinguished as a UNESCO heritage site
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On the Tel Aviv boardwalk, two styles of dress--Orthodox Jew in black, man in shorts flashing an orange anti-disengagement streamer; in mid-2005 hardliners opposed the evacuation of Jewish settlers from Gaza; polls indicated this was a minority view
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A section (in 2005) of the controversial security fence built by the Israel government to guard Israeli citizens from terrorist attack: one effect is to separate peaceable Palestinians from their farms, homes, schools, hospitals and jobs
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A lively corner of walled Akko (or Acre), almost concealing a green-domed mosque. In its long history Akko has been fortress, prison, harbour and more
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From Akko's tiny Mediterranean port, fishing boats supply townsfolk and a host of restaurants
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Caesarea still displays the skills and building frenzy of the renowned Herod, a long aqueduct only one example
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Nahef, an Arab village in lower Galilee, is well situated above olive groves in the Bet-Hakerem valley
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In a lovely landscape, villages including Rama have Camon mountain as splendid backdrop
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There's no escape from bigger cities' hard sell even in a small inland village. The billboard, in Arabic and Hebrew, promotes the Mega supermarket chain
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The Sea of Galilee, the red rooftops of a Greek Orthodox Church: a setting close to Capernaum with its links to the Primacy of Saint Peter
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Within the 'sacred triangle', in a reconstructed church built on a 5th-century Byzantine site, a beautiful mosaic records the miracle of the loaves and fishes
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In Capernaum a modern church spans the ruins of a 5th-century church on a site believed to have been the house of Saint Peter
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Corinthian columns in Capernaum form part of a synagogue built on the black basalt foundations of an even older synagogue
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The tomb in Tiberias of Maimonedes, the great 12th-century polymath. Here, he is better known as Rambam--Rabbi Moshe Ben Maimon
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In Nazareth, a holy shrine for Christian pilgrims is the Basilica of the Annunciation, built in 1969 on the site believed to be the home of Mary, Joseph and the infant Jesus
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Contemporary Nazareth, in no way pastoral, is a thriving, predominantly Arab city of little architectural distinction
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In the 400-acre archaeological site of Bet She'an are extraordinary ruins, largely Byzantine and Roman, of an ancient city whose splendours include a theatre, bathhouses, long colonnaded streets and fine mosaics
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A range of quality wines is produced from grapes grown on several vineyards across the fertile slopes of the Golan Heights, land captured from Syria in 1967. Touring and tasting are welcomed at the winery's visitor centre near Katzrin
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At the Ein Gedi field school on the shores of the Dead Sea, Israel began its first nature study in 1959. Virtually tame ibex wander freely
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On the great plateau of Masada beside the Dead Sea, ruins of a mighty citadel recall the saga of 967 heroic Jewish zealots who, facing defeat by Roman legionnaires, preferred death to slavery
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Plastering oneself with beneficial mud is a singular attraction at Mineral Beach, a Dead Sea resort. An all-white Venus smiles through the black coating
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The Dead Sea, some 400-m below sea level and so salty that wise bathers float face up, has an allure for all visitors in its waters, its views, its health-giving air and minerals
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From the calm (and diminishing) waters of the salty lake the Dead Sea Works company extracts important commercial minerals including potash
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In all its variety Israel--Holy Land or Promised Land, an occupier of captured territory or a vibrant nation rich in skills--is unforgettably a Biblical landscape. In the stark, salt-striated region of Mount Sodom stands a solitary pillar signifying--who else?--Lot's wife
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