These Places in Israel Will Make You Cry

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Seven Places in Israel That Will Make You Cry

Seven Places in Israel That Will Make You Cry. Photo Credit: Photo: Gilad Benari
According to Rich Cohen, author of Israel is Real, “there is a condition suffered by tourists who visit Israel…called the Jersualem Syndrome. It’s contracted mostly by Christians, who, touched by the light of the city and its ancient names, lose their minds…” It’s both more and less complicated than that, and not even necessarily about religion, but by extension, there are some places in Israel that could reduce even the most stoic travelers to tears.

 

The Coast

This beach is located slightly north of Tel Aviv. Photo Credit: Photo: Anthony Grant

Could a beach make you cry? It’s a valid question: certainly, just about any of Israel’s 137 beaches when sunset falls over the Mediterranean – especially a sexy beach– could elicit a teary-eyed emotional response.

Masada
Stairway to big emotions: this flight of stairs connects the Masada peak with the ruins of Herod’s Palace.Photo Credit: Photo: Anthony Grant
Israel is Real author Rich Cohen writes that Jews rarely get the Jerusalem Syndrome, which may or may not be true. But surely any traveler of any faith, or even of no faith at all, cannot help but be struck by the poignancy of the desert fortress of Masada. It was the scene of the tragic last resistance of the Zealots, an ancient Jewish sect, to the Romans in 73 A.D. You can still see the ramparts that the Romans built as part of their siege of Masada, and many other evocative ruins on the site as well. Reach the 1,300-foot peak by hiking up the Snake Path or by cable car.

 Tel Aviv Port

Tel Aviv Port is something of a misnomer, as not many boats actually come to shore here. But its mix of designer shops, seafood restaurants, organic markets and salt air is nothing short of splendid. Photo Credit: Photo: Anthony Grant

The Tel Aviv Port, called Namal in Hebrew, is a paragon of shopping mall excellence. Why? Because it’s unlike any mall you’ve ever seen – it’s even better than HaTachana – and it’s all about location. The place is right next to the Mediterranean Sea and car-free: the vast decks are of bleached gray wood and in places are fashioned to look like sand dunes, their gentle curves forming a foreground to an aquatic orchestra of white-blue waves that tickle the railing.

The promenade is lined with a cool parade of fabulous shops and restaurants, only a few of which are chains. Nightclubs, bars, plush lounges wide open to sea and sky. This risks making you so sad for all the mini-malls most of us are used to, you could, well, just up and weep.

The Dead Sea

Uber-salty Dead Sea water: bad for bicycles, but great for your skin!. Photo Credit: Photo: New 7 Wonders

At 1,360 feet below sea level, the Dead Sea is the lowest point on earth. Its water is about ten times saltier than the ocean’s, giving it a buoyancy that makes it possible to float…and with water that salty, one splash in the wrong direction and you’re going to get all teary-eyed, whether you wanted to or not!

Baha’i Gardens
Baha’i Gardens, Haifa, by night. Photo Credit: Photo: Baha’i International Community
The “hanging gardens of Haifa” fan along a broad staircase of 19 terraces that extend up the northern slope of majestic Mount Carmel in Haifa. The central terrace houses the gold-domed Shrine of the Bab, a central figure of the Baha’i faith. These magnificent gardens are on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. Haifa, less than 60 miles north of Tel Aviv, is Israel’s principal seaport and renowned as home to the best hummus restaurants in Israel.
 Yad Vashem
Yad Vashem: exiting the central exhibition structure. Photo Credit: Photo: Anthony Grant

Yad Vashem is Israel’s official Holocaust remembrance authority, located on Mount Herzl in Jerusalem. You are sure to come away from a few hours here (and consider two hours the very minimum) with a deeper appreciation for some of the countless tragic stories from the twentieth century’s darkest hours.The permanent historical exhibits are located inside an elongated triangular concrete structure, designed by Moshe Safdie, at the center of the site.

The symbolism of that structure will not be lost on anyone familiar with the history of the Holocaust. You might think you’ve seen it all and heard it all and maybe you have, but no matter: It is exceedingly difficult to visit Yad Vashem without shedding a tear.

 

The Wailing Wall

The view from the Western Wall, or Wailing Wall, in Jerusalem during prayers. Photo Credit: Photo: Gilad Benari

The Western Wall forms part of the western flank of the holy site of the Temple Mount. The wall is the imposing remnant of Jerusalem’s Second Temple (Herod’s Temple), which the Romans destroyed in 70 CE. Because it’s all that’s left, the Jewish tradition of visiting the wall and mourning the destruction of the temple also resulted in the name, The Wailing Wall.

Jewish tradition holds that despite the temple’s destruction, the divine presence never left.

It’s customary to write a note, ostensibly for divine consideration, and place it between the large, ancient stones. Regardless of your faith, it is remarkable to see the archaeological trace of an ancient religion. And to feel the power that it still exerts. At all of Jerusalem’s holy sites but perhaps especially the Wailing Wall, it’s really okay to cry.

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