ORGANIC RESTAURANTS IN:
Israel has been the only Jewish-majority state in the world since its establishment as a nation in 1948. It is in fact a diverse country with Muslim, Bedouin, Armenian, and other minority populations. Hebrew and Arabic are both official languages. Many faiths consider Jerusalem to be a holy place. Tel Aviv is more laid-back and secular. A lot of financial business is conducted there, although its population is only slightly over half the size of Jerusalem's. Overall, Israel is densely populated, although many regions (particularly arid ones) have few inhabitants. Really intrepid travelers can go snapling/rappelling in a canyon in the Judaean Desert to the lowest place on earth, then literally chill out with a plunge into the nearby Dead Sea. Old City Jerusalem contains don't-miss sights like the Dome of the Rock and the Western Wall. Israeli cuisine was initially largely Eastern European in flavor. Some representative dishes were gefilte fish, noodle kugels, and Russian borscht. Over the passing years, more influence has come from the immigration from Turkey, Iraq, Yemen, Morocco, and other Middle Eastern countries. Shakshouka, poached eggs in a tomato-based sauce with chili peppers and cumin, is thought to be Tunisian. Try Israeli salad, which has tomatoes and cucumbers in an olive oil-lemon juice dressing, and possibly bell peppers, grated carrot, finely shredded cabbage or lettuce, sliced radish, fennel, spring onions, and spices like sumac. Hummus is an important staple food, as is the sesame product tahina. Avocados, citrus fruits, eggplant, beets, and pomegranates are a few examples of the outstanding produce that grows here. Truth be told, the farming techniques are generally superior to the natural growing environment in this largely desert nation. Parsley, za'atar, and other herbs play an important role in the cuisine, as do couscous, rice, and soup. You can get vegetarian Israeli, Italian, or Lebanese food, as well as organic raw treats or gluten-free pita with Mediterranean cuisine. Try some of Tel Aviv's best vegan options by digging into artisanal gelato and sorbet, or eating Ethiopian food to a jazz beat. Now that's groovin'!