Holy hummus: 12 reasons to visit Israel this summer

From mountain vistas in the north and bustling Tel Aviv to Jerusalem’s history and Eilat’s reefs, Israel offers unforgettable summer experiences. Did you need a reason to visit Israel this summer? Here’s 12:

1Your plans won’t get rained out

Because summer is Israel’s dry season, you never have to worry that an unexpected downpour will rain on your parade.

2No car? No problem.

Even without a car, it’s pretty easy to get around Israel. In cities like Tel Aviv, you can walk just about anywhere you want to go, and public buses are almost always available – while many people get around Jerusalem on the light rail. Buses are also an option for intercity travel – but on a hot, busy day, there’s nothing like the smooth ride of an air-conditioned train. On the other hand, if you prefer to get around on two wheels, you may enjoy Tel Aviv’s citywide bike-sharing program.

3But you might enjoy cable cars

Because of Haifa’s high altitude and location on the coast, Israel’s third-largest city offers some truly spectacular views of the Mediterranean Sea. Sometimes, there’s no more enjoyable way to take it in than by sitting back and watching it from a cable car. You won’t believe the views until you see them!

4Give back

As much as a summer trip to Israel can offer you, there are also great opportunities to contribute to Israeli society over the summer. In addition to the wide variety of volunteer opportunities that Masa Israel Journey offers year-round, this summer the Project TEN international development program is offering a month-long session in northern Israel for young adults from around the world (photo by Nir Kafri for The Jewish Agency for Israel).

5Immerse yourself in Hebrew

There are lots of opportunities to study Hebrew in an intensive summer ulpan, but that’s just the beginning. Spend some time in Israel over the summer and use the country as your classroom – using Hebrew everywhere from the grocery store to the bookstore, from the beach to your favorite falafel stand. Speaking of which…

6Deliciousness

While Israel is known for its Mediterranean diet, today it offers something for every palate (not to mention every set of dietary restrictions). From classic falafel and shwarma to more recently trendy foods like sushi and vegan fare, it’s never hard to find what your taste buds crave in Israel.

7Connect to the Start-up Nation

With a booming high-tech scene, Israel has a wide variety of opportunities to offer techies and people interested in working in related fields like marketing, customer support, and graphic design. You can tap into these opportunities through a summer internship or a variety of programs offered by Israel Tech Challenge.

8Tel Aviv

There’s nothing quite like Tel Aviv in the summer. It’s a great city for walking or cycling, and the entire length of the city runs along the sea. You can’t help but enjoy the beach vibe that permeates the city – and since it doesn’t generally rain during the summer, it’s always shorts weather.

9Jerusalem: The Kotel and much more

While Jerusalem is only an hour away from Tel Aviv by bus – and, soon, about a half hour by train – it can feel like it’s worlds away. From the Old City to downtown, from the Machane Yehuda shuk (outdoor market) to the restaurants of Emek Refaim, there’s no other place in the world that feels like Jerusalem.

10After the Med, try the Red or Dead

There are lots of seas to choose from here – the Med, the Red, the Dead. To get a different taste of Israel, take a trip to its southernmost city and enjoy the Red Sea views of Eilat. Then hop – or dive – in and enjoy a swim or a day of snorkeling. Or for something a bit closer to the center of the country, there’s the beach of the Dead Sea. Then cool off by taking a dip – and a float – in one of the world’s saltiest bodies of water. The beach is 1,388 feet below sea level, making it the lowest point on earth that’s not under water.

11Enjoy an all-night street party

Israelis often refer to Tel Aviv as the “city that never stops” – and for one night each summer, that is literally the case. Tel Aviv-Yafo and some other cities have a tradition of offering a wide variety of free all-night programs throughout their local communities on a specific night each summer, from outdoor concerts to parties to special programs at museums. Each city that has a “white night” picks a different date for theirs, and this year Tel Aviv has picked the night of June 28-29.

12Because your favorite musicians are coming

While Israel certainly has its own bustling music scene, this late spring and summer will see an exciting lineup of major acts from overseas – including Bon Jovi, Slash (Guns & Roses) with Myles Kennedy, Jlo, and others.