Israel’s Most Iconic Tourist Hotspots – Through the Lens

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The Mount of Olives in Jerusalem.
The Mount of Olives in Jerusalem.Credit: Daniel Tchetchik
Daniel Tchetchik
Daniel Tchetchik
Daniel Tchetchik
Daniel Tchetchik

The scenes are surreal: A Chinese man getting his picture taken next to a “Beware of Mines” sign. A fully clothed woman submerged in the Jordan river. And a man covered in mud in nothing but his Speedos.

In the past 18 months, more tourists have visited Israel than any other time in its history (3.6 million in 2017 alone). Many of these tourists come in groups – pilgrims roaming religious and historic sites – while others are drawn to the “sin city” of Tel Aviv, known for its splashy gay parades, beautiful beaches and nonstop nightlife.

A tour guide pointing north on an outlook over Haifa Bay. The industrial part of the city can be seen in the lower right, August 31, 2018Credit: Daniel Tchetchik

In Haifa, the sun beats down on a group of tourists heading to the Baha’i Gardens – one of Israel’s more exquisite and mysterious religious sites, perched on Mount Carmel. Often it seems that the heat is somehow more attracted to tourists than locals, whose skin has grown accustomed to Israel’s climate, and the sun reflects off of them like a shiny menorah.

Fresh off the bus, they all look lost and not quite sure of their surroundings. With unbreakable confidence, their tour guide points his hand heavenward and, in a seemingly cautionary tone, yells: “That’s north, Nazareth, the Golan Heights … [and] Syria” – it’s all over there.”

The group relaxes. It seems the fact they now know where they are has had a calming effect, as they proceed to pull out their phones and snap shots of the view and themselves over and over ... and over again.

A pilgrim submerges herself in the Jordan river as part of a religious act. This is usually an epic moment for Christian visitors to Israel. August 31, 2018Credit: Daniel Tchetchik
A bus of tourists on the north of Israel.Credit: Daniel Tchetchik
At the Baha’i Gardens in Haifa. The sheer number of selfies is at times hard to fathom. August 31, 2018Credit: Daniel Tchetchik
Tel Aviv Gay Pride week.Credit: Daniel Tchetchik
The Church of the Annunciation, Nazareth.Credit: Daniel Tchetchik
A camel walking through a shocked crowd of tourists on the Mount of Olives. August 31, 2018Credit: Daniel Tchetchik
The Mount of Olives in Jerusalem.Credit: Daniel Tchetchik
Streets of Jerusalem.Credit: Daniel Tchetchik
On the way to Qasr- el -Yahud.Credit: Daniel Tchetchik
Mud, holy water and other expensive accessories are sold in enormous quantities along the Dead Sea shore. September 16, 2018Credit: Daniel Tchetchik
A boy at the Qasr al-Yahud site playing in the water while his father (unseen) prays nearby, August 16, 2018Credit: Daniel Tchetchik
Outlook on Haifa.Credit: Daniel Tchetchik
A woman looks out to the med sea from Dan Panorama.Credit: Daniel Tchetchik

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