The Top 10 New Things To Do in Israel
Updated: Oct 6, 2022
As we start a new Jewish year - 5783 - it's time to look back at ten of the best new things to hit the Israeli tourism scene in this past year, as well as discuss what we can look forward to in Israel in the coming year (and beyond).
In case you missed it: The ANU Museum (the former Diaspora Museum) reopened in March 2021 after a $100 million makeover and is now the must-see museum in Israel (and by far the most digitally advanced museum experience to hit the market). https://www.timesofisrael.com/tel-avivs-museum-of-the-jewish-people-reopens-after-100-million-revamp/
And now for 5782's greatest hits...
A new tunnel tour at the Western Wall. In addition to the original tour - now named the "Great Stone Tour" there is now a tour called the "Great Bridge Tour." For first-timers I'd recommend the original one, however if one is claustrophobic, the new one is much easier to handle.
Wheelchair/stroller access in the Muslim and Christian Quarters. That's right, during the pandemic virtually all of the major streets were repaved to allow for those on wheels to be able to get up, down and around freely.
Ghajar is now open. The Alawite village sitting on the border of Israel and Lebanon had been closed to outsiders for decades due to security concerns, but quietly, was recently opened up for visits. https://www.jpost.com/israel-news/article-717951
The Lod Mosaic returns home. During construction of a highway near Lod, a spectacular 3rd c. CE mosaic measuring 50x27 feet was discovered. After a decade touring the world it has finally returned home to Lod where it is being kept in a brand-new visitors center. You can learn more about it here: https://youtu.be/ZSq5Xc29XPA
The night train began. Just before Rosh Hashana, the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv train with stops at the airport began running at night, at least from Saturday-Wednesday. On Thursday nights it will run only between Tel Aviv and the airport. https://www.timesofisrael.com/overnight-jerusalem-ben-gurion-airport-tel-aviv-train-service-to-launch-this-month/
New hotels opened up. A bunch of beautiful new hotels opened up in Israel in the last year (or two), headlined by the Six Senses Shaharut north of Eilat (pictured). Tel Aviv saw a number of new options open including the David Kempinski, Nobu Hotel, Alberto Tel Aviv, Port Tower Hotel and the Brut Brown Hotel (one of a number of new Brown hotels all over the country). The Dead Sea saw the Herbert Samuel open up (i.e. the new Hod Hotel) and north saw the lovely Galei Kinneret (pictured below) open its gates.
Which leads us to our next story...
Israel's top chef [finally] went kosher. Asaf Granit - Israel's Michelin star chef and head of the Machneyuda Group - finally made his first foray into the world of fine kosher dining. Stay at the new Galei Kinneret resort and you will be in for a giant treat whether it be at the hotel's breakfast, the Lotte restaurant for dinner, the pool bar or a food truck on the hotel's private beach on the Kinneret.
A new distillery in Jerusalem has taken Israel's alcohol game to a whole new level. Thinker's, located just near the famed Machane Yehuda Food Market, is an absolute revelation. And while Jerusalem of Gold (Yerushalayim Shel Zahav) may begin by referencing "mountain air as clear as wine," it's the Jerusalem mountain air from which water droplets are procured to create their award-winning vodka. Don't over think this. https://thinkersdistillery.com/en/
Getting to Israel just got easier. There are now new non-stop routes from Dallas, Boston and Miami to Israel. Here is the list of non-stop routes from the US (ignore the covid requirement stuff at the bottom of the article): https://simpleflying.com/israel-united-states-summer-2022/ . Plus there are now direct flights from Israel to Cairo and to Sharm al-Sheikh just in case you want to add an Egypt adventure on to your Israel trip (or vice-versa).
An Israeli culinary institute just opened up in Tel Aviv. This was a long-time coming and it looks like a must-hit spot for the foodie crowd. Check out Asif... https://asif.org/
The Museum of Tolerance in Jerusalem (our former mayor saw the one in Los Angeles and decided Jerusalem needed one too) is finally scheduled to open in late 2022/early 2023. https://www.museumoftolerance.com/motj/
The Israeli Women's Museum in Haifa was set to open last year so I'm hoping that it will come to pass this year. It's a wonderful undertaking to include Herstory alongside the History of Israel. Some 100 leading ladies will be recognized there - whether you recognize them or not :). https://www.israel21c.org/new-museum-to-showcase-the-women-who-helped-build-israel/
The Tower of David's $50 million renewal program is set to finish this year. It's going to turn the Citadel of Jerusalem into a must-see attraction (beyond the sound & light shows and the incredible view from the top of the tower - which rumor has it will now supposedly be accessible by elevator). https://www.tod.org.il/en/renewal
The arrival of the red heifers. Is this heralding the messianic age? Well. Maimonides thought so. That's right, five red heifers - needed for the service at the Temple to be reinstated - have arrived in Israel and some will be put on display for tourists to check out. Exciting times indeed... https://www.jpost.com/judaism/article-717650
And one for 5784...
An Israeli superhero? I'm not talking an Israeli playing a superhero (i.e. Wonder Woman), but an actual Israeli playing an Israeli superhero in a Marvel film? That's right - meet Sabra! Acclaimed Israeli actress Shira Haas (Shtisel, Unorthodox) will be playing the superhero in Captain America: New World Order set to hit theaters in May, 2024. Okay this wasn't tourism-related per se, but I am really excited about this! https://www.jpost.com/omg/article-716850
And one for 5785...
The elevators from the Jewish Quarter down to the Western Wall Plaza. Finally, that brutal staircase will be able to be avoided by those in need. Now that's a real sign that the Messiah is on his way! In the meantime, they are almost done the archaeological digging phase... https://www.timesofisrael.com/western-wall-elevator-project-unearths-archaeological-trove-of-villa-artifacts/
With all this awesomeness now appearing in Israel (in addition to the long list of insanely incredible and diverse offerings already on tap), it's time to book your trip ASAP. Post-covid tourism is now hitting record numbers and hotels, transportation, attractions and experienced guides (like yours truly) are getting snapped up earlier than usual. Be in touch today to discuss creating a personalized Israel experience to fit your needs, interests, goals, abilities, timing, style and budget. https://www.tourguideofisrael.com/contact
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