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Food and culture in Tel Aviv

Get into the groove, Israel-style...the latest Tel Aviv restaurants, Jerusalem culture, Dead Sea daydreaming and more. Literary Tel Aviv. Do's and don'ts. And Madonna's semi-secret Holy Land grooves.

More Israel Travel Ideas
Israel Travel Spotlight10

What Airlines Fly to Israel (and which are the best)?

Sunday April 1, 2012
El AlEL AL Israel Airlines

People often ask me, when planning their trips, what is the best airline to fly to Israel. The short answer is easy: El AL Israel Airlines is by and large the best way to go. I am not paid to say that, and that is my opinion based on personal experience. However, it must be noted that other major airlines serve Tel Aviv's Ben-Gurion International Airport. All of these offer one thing that El Al does not, which is service on Saturday (El Al planes do not fly on Saturday because of the sabbath). But there are other differences, many of which I will presently recount to give you some details you won't find on the likes of Orbitz or Kayak.com. Without further ado:

United: I flew this airline most recently, and the verdict? Not bad. The 777 aircraft from Newark was clearly recognizable as an "old" Continental plane but was very clean and generally in good-looking shape. Service was friendly if perfunctory. Perhaps the dinner entree of sesame chicken was better than the penne pasta and meatballs I opted for, but, quite alarmingly, the omelette served prior to landing was almost devastatingly delicious.

Delta: I have written for Delta's in-flight magazine, Sky, and byline or no I can say that if stuck on a tarmac at JFK -- where Delta's non-stops to Tel Aviv originate -- I'd rather have their magazine in my hands than United's. Delta is always on-the-ball and I've never heard a bad word about their international service.

USAirways: Recently introduced non-stop service from Philadelphia to Tel Aviv.

Lufthansa: I flew Lufthansa recently from Tel Aviv to Frankfurt and it must be said that it was absolutely the cleanest airplane I have ever been in, period. Flight attendants actually seemed to like their jobs. Highly recommended.

British Airways: Also recommended, but the 767 aircraft used on the Heathrow-Tel Aviv route are not new.

Alitalia: Good food, nice and frequent service. Recommended.

Like a Prayer, Answered! MADONNA Announces Second Israel Concert

Sunday March 18, 2012
Madonna gone wild Gaga who? Seems Madonna has stolen yet more pop thunder from the Lady, with Israeli press sources reporting that Madonna is planning a second concert in Israel in May. The concert is scheduled for May 31 in Ramat Gan, next to Tel Aviv, and has been dubbed a "Concert for Peace." Madonna declares, "Music is so universal and if there's any chance that through my performance I can bring further attention and enlightenment to honor the peace efforts in the Middle East and help people come together, it would be an honor for me."

The concert, scheduled to follow the kick-off concert on May 29, is her "way of thanking those who are making so much effort toward bringing peace to the Middle East."

Madonna

In older news, Madonna also declared that you've only got four minutes to save the world...but add one to find out where Madonna might hang out in Israel.

What Can Lady Gaga Teach You About Israel?

Saturday March 3, 2012
Gaga for IsraelNot Lady Gaga, in Tel Aviv.
Photo: Anthony Grant

After a morning swim in the Dead Sea, Lady Gaga declared that she felt like "motherfucking Superwoman." Put that in your travel manifesto and...well, what else can Mother Monster teach us about Israel? Seven lessons come to mind:

1) She might be able to tell you where to get drunk in Jerusalem.

2) She could quite possibly tell you where to marry the night in Tel Aviv.

3) She could tell you where to explore art and culture in Jerusalem.

4) She might go gaga over this hotel.

5) She could tell you where to get a good deal on a disco stick.

6) She could sing about Judas to her heart's content on the shores of the Sea of Galilee.

7) She could surely tell you about some amazing places in the Holy Land and a few reasons to visit them.

Cathouse: The City (yes, that means you, Tel Aviv)

Monday February 27, 2012
Tel Aviv Cathouse

What is up with Tel Aviv and the cats? They're everywhere! According to Anat Rosenberg, writing in the delectable City Guide Tel Aviv, Tel Aviv's countless stray cats rank right up there with "the smell of jasmine or honeysuckle that wafts out of nowhere" and "lingering over a coffee and snack at one of the many cafes around town" as among the city's principal sources of joy. Well, maybe not so much if you're a dog person, but the truth is that cats are almost everywhere you look in this town. You'll see lots in the fun Kerem quarter.

The way I see it, the more cats, the fewer rats. Let's turn 'em loose on New York City! Seriously, if I were a cat, I'd be one happy camper in any of Tel Aviv's neighborhoods. Which is not to say that I wouldn't also be happy with my tail in the air over in Italy.

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