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Having just returned from a 17-day trip to Israel a husband and wife team share experiences. 1) Getting there. If you live in the SE or SW US, the new Delta flight from Atlanta is the way to go since it will save you at least one connection. I would recommend building in AT LEAST two hours between your originating domestic flight and the Israel flight from Atlanta. Keep in mind that there will be a separate security check (expected for Israel flights) and there are NO SERVICES at the departure gate once you pass through. So empty your bladder, as well as your pockets and fill your stomach before going thru the security check! Interestingly, security at Ben Gurion upon leaving Israel was relatiively painless. Just a few basic questions before checking in, no pat downs, interrogations or requests to recite Hebrew prayers. not even required to remove shoes. Of course, Israel seems to profile more than American security does, obvious tourists (Jewish) without Arabic surnames. 2) The couple wife traveled independently and toured Tel Aviv and Jerusalem solo, hiring a private guide for touring the north (Galillee and Golan Heights area) and Massada/ Dead Sea. Expensive but worth it since you see more than on the canned bus tours. Driving a rental car is for the very brave, expecially in the cities. Sharing a guide with 4-6 people would lessen the costs. 3) A cell phone for about 50 cents per day was well worth it is you are on your own, especially if you plan to visit anyone. Also useful for contacting museums, restaurants etc. for operating hours. Definitely contact any such places to confirm opening hours as they can be erratic. In some cases restaurants or laundrimats advertised hours (as found in guides or business cards) were NOT accurate! 4) Signage and finding your way on foot can be a challenge, especially in Jerusalem and the Old CIty. A compass is a useful supplement to a good map. 5) Both husband and wife felt very safe except when lost in the Arab quarter of the old city and getting wrong directions from some boys,on how to get to the Jaffa Gate. 6) Taxis to were the easiest way to get places (other than walking) within Jerusalem or Tel Aviv. Average fare was 30-40 shekels (about $7-10 ). Buses are crowded, difficult to figure out the bus system and there is no security on the buses. 7) Hints on specific areas/sites: 1) Old City-Tickets to the Western Wall tunnel tour are EXTREMELY difficult to get, even several days in advance. A walking tour of the old city with guide, Leon Gork, proved fortunate because he happened to have spots reserved for a tour that day. His website is http://jerusalemwalks.com Another alternative is to take the guided tour in Hebrew if the English tours are full. You still get to see the site and there are narratives in English along the way. At any rate the tour is well worth it. Visiting the Wall was a moving experience but as a reform Jew, some of what was going on was a bit foreign. The experience was soured a bit by a gentleman who came rather affectionately and asked for some money. After giving him a bit, he then came back with another old gentleman and wanted more money. Despite the signs that disallow begging. There are limited times for entering the Temple Mount- usually mornings only and no entry on Friday-Saturday. Figuring out how to enter the Temple Mount from the Wall was confusing. If you want to visit the Temple Mount after visiting the Wall, Exit the wall and via the Dung Gate and then re-ener through the security checkpoint at the FAR right. (See item #4 above-signage confusing) We happened to be in Jerusalem for Jerusalem Day (May 25, 2006) . An absolute moving experience. If you plan to go next year consider going around that time. 8) Places to Stay -Tel Aviv- the Olympia Hotel- very nice, clean, reasonably priced and great location. Jerusalem-Barkai Studios run by Ruth Barkai-great location. She rents out two apartments for $65-70. Only the smaller of the two units has air conditioning, something to keep in mind in the summer. However she did provide two fans, and was not too bad since it is in a stone builidng and remained relatively cool. Arbel Guesthouse Shavit Zimmer in Arbel near Tiberias. Very nice and quiet Only will work if you have a rental car or are with a guide.