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I don’t get many (well, any) opportunities to travel to exotic spots. But I do love to read about them and plan trips that I’ll take someday…when the college tuitions are history, the house is paid for and I’ve stopped worried that I’ll have to eat cat food when I retire. So it was marvelous to have author Michelle Dim-St. Pierre stop by to tell us about the country where she grew up — Israel.

5 Things You Should Know About Israel
by Michelle Dim-St. Pierre

2014-ST-PIERRE-0167Where in the world will you travel this summer? I highly recommend Israel.

People are often surprised when I recommend Israel. “Isn’t it unsafe?” or “Is there really anything for me to do there?” are often questions I receive in return.

If you have preconceived notions about what Israel is really like; don’t worry, most people do. And frankly it’s hard not to with media reports. Yet if you take the time to explore Israel and really get to know its culture, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the diversity and history that you will find there. As I travel in and out of Israel on a regular basis, I always look for interesting facts to bring back with me and share with those that haven’t visited yet. Did you know:

1. Israel is a fusion of cultures and diversities
One of the reasons I love Israel is how hip and modern it truly is. You’ll find immigrants from many different cultures make up the population here, and with millions of tourists from all over the world, you’ll never feel out of place no matter where you go or what you do. Israel is also a lot less formal than what you might have anticipated; yes, you will find business owners in their jeans and shorts. Be sure to check out Tel Aviv, one of my most favorite cities in the world. You’ll find a combination of beach parties, crowded bars, shopping, fine dining, even a welcoming LGBT community that is growing and thriving in this most accommodating city.

2. Israel is safe
Israel is safe, I can’t stress that enough. In all my travels throughout Israel I have never felt threatened or out of place. International media sources try their best to create a war-torn picture of what is happening in Israel. But in reality, daily lives go on, and most people and most locations throughout Israel remain as safe as other places throughout the world. In fact, in many cases I’ve felt safer on the streets in Tel Aviv then I have in some situations back in my current location in the US. Security is important throughout Israel, and you’ll find yourself quickly at ease … just use common sense like you would anywhere in the world.

3. You have to try the food…
Israel is a food culture, fusing tastes and cultures into just about every location. You can grab something on the go from a local street vendor, or spend the night on the town at a world class restaurant. You’ll fall in love with falafels, learn quickly the proper way to eat hummus, or savor one of the local wines to compliment everything on your plate. It’s not a taste you’ll soon forget.

4. … then stay for the history
What brings people here in the first place is the amount of history located within a very small region—the one and only land that serves three religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam—The Holy Land. Experience the calmness of effortless floating at the Dead Sea, the lowest point below sea level. Take a walking tour of the infamous security barrier. Take a ride on a camel through the scorching desert and inhale the Bedouin’s culture of people who will never leave the desert but migrate in it. Don’t miss the Baha’i Gardens and Golden Dome in Haifa and don’t leave without the taste of the city that never sleeps—Tel-Aviv. Or visit the Old City at Jerusalem’s core. Nothing will leave you as breathless as all you will take in on a visit to Israel.

5. Whatever your interests, you’ll find it in Israel
I think what fascinates me most about Israel is there really is something for everyone. If you choose to spend your time at the PinnacleLustbeach, there are beautiful locations to accommodate you. If you want a lesson in history, it doesn’t get much more profound than at one of the oldest centers of the world. If world class shopping is your thing, you can find designer wares at the best places in town.

You’ll truly be amazed at how Israel will leave you wanting to visit again … and again.

More about Michelle Dim-St. Pierre

Michelle Dim-St. Pierre was born in Tel-Aviv, Israel, where she spent more than half of her life before relocating to the United States. She lived through four wars and served in the Israel Defense Forces for two years. Unlike her first year of service in an armored division in the Golan Heights, she spent her second year serving in the medical corps where she interacted directly with the injured soldiers of the Peace of Galilee war and their families. This interaction, along with the exposure to the hospital atmosphere, fascinated Michelle and further touched her heart.

After graduating from nursing school with a BS in Nursing in Tel-Aviv, she practiced internationally for 32 years in various positions in the surgical field and quickly advanced into health care administration. During her career she worked in the Operating Room, Recovery Room, and CCU—along with many other duties.

Writing was Michelle’s outlet at first, but it soon became her passion. Recently she left nursing and became a full-time writer. Her international background, along with her military and nursing experience is always at the tip of her pen. Her first novel, Pinnacle Lust, starts the Pinnacle trilogy.

Pinnacle Lust takes place In a Tel-Aviv hospital during Operation Desert Storm, Sharon Lapidot, a beautiful young nurse, is having an affair with a married doctor. Sharon’s colorful and exciting life is ultimately destroyed by powerful and eroding mistakes. But her courage and wisdom lead her to an unregretful commitment. Vividly told, this compelling journey of love and lust, honor and betrayal, loss and redemption, will move you–and perhaps even change you.