Of all the things that can be said (and are said) about it, Israel is a destination whose reputation precedes it. The holy land. A beacon of progress and democracy. The war-hungry bully on the block. A Mediterranean paradise of miracles, falafel, start-ups and camel rides. No other destination that is so small in land mass is full of so much contradiction. Mountains tower over the lowest place on earth. Gays and Lesbians sunbathe one beach over from Ultra-orthodox Jews. A sparkling sea lies next to arid desert. Desert shepherds tend sheep next to state-of-the art wind farms. Whatever your politics, whatever your beliefs, whatever Israel means to you, it is an undeniable hotspot of holy sites, multicultural gastronomy, vibrant art and culture and wondrous natural phenomenon from fertile wine valleys to the salty Dead Sea.