About 265 miles from north to south, Israel lends itself to a two-week itinerary by chauffeur-driven car (some cities, such as Nazareth, are extremely congested). Also, if you want to cross into the Palestinian-controlled West Bank — to Bethlehem, for instance — assistance is essential. Despite routine mayhem in the Middle East, Israel seldom feels like a country in crisis. Here, the abnormal is quite normal, so people just get on with daily life. The high-tech and financial industries continue to boom, and a dynamic economy has created an accelerating demand for new hotels and restaurants of an international standard.

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