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Reflections on a Return to Israel

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avatar by Ronn Torossian

Opinion

Israeli activists hold national flags as they march towards Damascus gate in the old city of Jerusalem. Photo: DPA / Picture Alliance via Reuters

After two years of not visiting Israel due to COVID-19, I spent 10 days in Israel during Passover. There were so many special things, special highlights, and things I had forgotten about during my absence.

Jerusalem and Tel Aviv are really like two different countries. While the international media focused during my visit on the Temple Mount conflict, in Tel Aviv (where I stayed), it wasn’t frequently discussed. In Jerusalem, holidays are felt vividly, with lots of prayer and people walking in the street. In Tel Aviv, it’s all about relaxation, scooters, beaches, outdoor cafés, and family.

The Peres Center for Peace and Innovation is a special place. It provides a great interactive journey that helps to envision creations of the future, and focuses on the innovation and creative spirit of entrepreneurs in Israel. The tour starts in a room of holograms, where innovators (including the founder of the Waze app) “speak” to you about their motivations, challenges, and achievements.

Visiting Fauda Base is an amazing experience; it is located on the outskirts of Jerusalem. The experience features simulated missions to capture terrorists and gather information, where one can dress up just like the Duvdevan unit does on the hit Netflix show. We participated after visiting Yad Vashem as a family. From the destruction of the Holocaust to the glorious strength of the Israel Defense Forces — what a sight.

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Some other highlights included a seder in Jerusalem and praying at the Kotel beforehand, as well as visits to many restaurants. I spent time with my friends from Shurat HaDin (the Israel Law Center) who continue their vital work suing terrorists and their supporters. It was a great visit, and a great reminder of how special Israel is.

Ronn Torossian is an entrepreneur and author.

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