Lately, it seems as if Israel is nothing but a war-zone. With its security threat escalating, missiles being fired from Gaza and the recent tragedy regarding the three kidnapped teens, one can easily forget the true beauty of this country. True, it’s scalding hot and you sometimes feel like you’re one warm hug from melting (but not the type of hugs Frozen’s Olaf likes. An actual warm, sticky hug,) but the Israeli summer is still the most awesome summer in the world. Here are the top 10 reasons why:
Late-late Spring Break parties and swimming with dolphins in Eilat
Summer is THE season for a vacation in Eilat. This vacation city has everything to offer for everyone, and in summertime it blooms like no other city in Israel.
From late April to late July, the Israeli students’ Spring Break and summer parties are raving all night! DJ’s, rock concerts, beaches, and care –free students enjoying their much needed break are what summer in Eilat is all about for young adults. But if you’re not the partying type, Israel’s most southern city also has to offer a variety of water activities, from water sports through quiet beaches (the ones where the parties don’t take place,) scuba diving and the cherry on top – swimming with dolphins. There is almost no Israeli who would skip a summer vacation in Eilat, where all the perks of summertime are gathered.
The Kibbutz experience
A month or two spent at an Israeli Kibbutz (a communal form of settlement) is an opportunity many Israelis and tourists can’t refuse. This summertime experience includes a simulation of a life according to the Kibbutz value – you work as much as you can, and receive everything you need. Every year, young people from Israel and from abroad fill the Israeli Kibbutzim (plural for Kibbutz,) where they volunteer in a variety of jobs, from picking cotton through working in the communal laundry to giving birth to milking cows. Through this period of time, the volunteers live in the Kibbutz as guests, enjoying everything it has to offer.
For those who don’t want to spend the entire summer in a Kibbutz, there is also the family- friendly option of a one-time fruit and vegetable picking, which, during the summer, is not an easy task, but it sure is an unforgettable experience.
Out of this world watermelons
If you haven’t tried the Israeli watermelon yet, you must leave everything right now and come here to try it! Israel’s summer fruit are out of this world. Grapes, peaches, melons, plums and at the top of the list – watermelons. A common summer afternoon vision here is of families sitting outside on the porch, and enjoying a fresh, juicy watermelon, preferably with some Bulgarian Cheese. Yum!
White Night Tel Aviv
“White night” (Layla Lavan in Hebrew) is an Israeli slang for a night of continual activity with no sleep. In the past 11 years, Tel- Aviv, the Israeli city that never sleeps, has turned this phrase into action in a night of nonstop activities for all ages. The 2014 White Night, which took place June 26, included Kid's art workshops in Bialik Square; free opera performances in the Tel-Aviv Opera House; street performances along Rothschild Boulevard; a Bollywood dance workshop on Gordon Beach; ballroom dancing in Habima Square; all night screenings at the Tel-Aviv Cinematheque; street performers in the Jaffa Flea Market and if you've stayed awake all night there will be sunrise yoga in Tel-Aviv port. Also, museums will be open to the public free of charge, and special free concerts and lectures will take place in various locations across the city. Tours of the city will be held, and many restaurants and cafés will offer something special for the all-night revelers.
The number one reason Israelis long for summer, other than vacation from school and work, is the return to the beach-time. Spending time in one of Israel’s many beaches is a must-do at least once a month, if not once a week (and yes, some even go every day.)
Just sit back, relax, close your eyes and feel the warm sun on your face, play with the soft sand between your toes and listen to the sound of waves and seagulls. You can also sun across the shore, build sandcastles (with or without your children,) collect seashells, catch a tan, read a book, throw a picnic or go for a swim – the possibilities are endless.
One of the most Israeli beach activities is the game of Matkot: Just use your wooden racket to hit a small rubber squash ball, in turns with your partner, as many times possible without dropping it. This fun game is often being referred to as Israel’s National Sport, and you haven’t fully experienced Israel without playing it at least once. There is also a Matkot museum, the first of its kind, in Tel – Aviv. You can read more about it here.
Rooftop parties and beach parties
In summer, the roofs of Israel are being raised, literally, for under-the-stars outdoor parties. Tel-Aviv was recently named the “Best Beach Party Spot on the Planet,” and it sure is: not a weekend goes by without a massive party being thrown at one of Tel-Aviv’s beaches. But it is not just Tel-Aviv that raises the roof. Rooftop and nature parties are taking place everywhere, from north to south, taking advantage of the hot, rainless summer in Israel and the clear starry nights.
The flourishing Ramat HaGolan
Ramat HaGolan (Golan Heights) in northern Israel is a top travelling destination in Israel. In winter, it is the perfect destination for a Zimmer (Israeli country lodges) vacation, but in summer, this beautiful piece of nature flourishes and attracts both tourists and locals. Dip your feet in rivers, enjoy the breathtaking scenery from the mountaintop. After the snow melts and the sun comes out, the flowers bloom and create a beautiful carpet of colors. The more adventurous people never skip a chance for a bumpy jeep ride or a wild kayak adventure in the Jordan River. There are also several historic sites, where you can almost see ancient cities come to life around you. No matter how old you are, in every summer Ramat HaGolan is a must-do.
Three major nighttime spectaculars light the Israeli skies in summer: The Tower of David Night Spectacular in Jerusalem, telling the ancient story of Jerusalem; the Sound and Light show at Masada, which is presented against the dramatic backdrop of the western side of Masada and tells the story of the rebels’ last days at the cliff-top fortress; The Tiberium, a musical water shows on the Sea of Galilee, at the city of Tiberias.
Those three shows light the summer skies in Israel, from south to north, and are tourists and locals favorites. Each tells a different story about the history of the Land of Israel, through an unforgettable show of lights and sounds.
Camping by the Sea of Galilee
When it is summer in Israel, you can be certain that no funky weather would mess up a night under the stars. During the months of summer, many Israelis flock to the beaches and forests of Israel and set up tents. The most popular location for such a night out is the shores of the Sea of Galilee. This place attracts people from all over the country, from families to groups of friends – everyone set a tent, take out a guitar, and enjoy the sounds and sights of the sea.
Pick a music genre, any music genre, and you’ll find a festival dedicated to it which takes place in southern Israel during summertime. The Negev, the southern part of Israel, is a wide desert, which in summer becomes quite an attraction with artists, both local and international, setting up stages in the middle of nowhere, filling the silence of the desert with people and sounds.
Whether you are a jazz fan, a chill-out type or a rock groupie, the deserts of Israel probably have a plan for you this summer. Some of those musical festivals last for a few nights in a row, with people bringing tents and camping out, others are just for the night, but all are one great experience!
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