Everyone has their own perception of what Israel is about: it’s a package of beaches and sun; it’s the Promised Land of the Jews; it’s the birthplace of Christ. And while it is all of these things, it's much more. Israel is a bustling, noisy, modern country. It’s best not to arrive with preconceptions of spiritual epiphany at the risk of missing the best this fascinating country has to offer. To understand Israel, visit the new, cosmopolitan city of Tel Aviv, dive the Red Sea at Eilat, explore some of the country's thriving national parks and float for hours in the salty stillness of the Dead Sea.