Places and regions to visit
Beyond Jerusalem, Israel offers some exciting visiting opportunities.
On the coast, Tel Aviv is a vibrant, modern, cosmopolitan city. Further north lies Haifa, offering beautiful mountain-coastal views and a multi-cultural scene.
The northern part of Israel, the Galilee, is relatively lush. Attractions there include christian sites of pilgrimage (Nazareth, sea of Galilee), streams that form the Jordan river, Hula-valley birding sites, great local food in both Arab and Jewish towns.
The southern part is arid. The Judean desert and the Negev boast some wild rocky scenery, as well as unique geological phenomena. At the very southern tip, on the shores of the Aqaba gulf of the Red Sea, lies the resort town of Eilat.
The conference takes place in the end of the short Mediterranean spring. By late April, the greenery and flowers give way to the yellow colours of summer, everywhere but in the far north. Weather is typically warm and nice, although some cooler rainy days are still possible, as well as occasional days, locally known as “hamsin”, when very hot desert air takes over.
An important calendrical note
The week before the conference has two very significant days. Wednesday 22/4 is Memorial Day. Starting Tuesday evening, all restaurants and entertainment venues shut down. Ceremonies are held and sirens are heard, see here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yom_Hazikaron. On Wednesday evening occurs a sharp transition to Independence Day. The evening includes fireworks and public performances, while on Thursday many Israelis hold picnics.