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I'm going to be in Israel for some Singularity University events March 9-16, with free days on the 9th, 13th, and 15-16th. I've toured a number of sites there but wonder if I can pull off some Red Sea snorkeling or something else interesting. Thoughts?
Brad Templeton's profile photoOmri Drory's profile photoBarry Shein's profile photoRon Reisman's profile photo
Petra in Jordan. You should have enough time to swing it.
Red Sea has some interesting snorkeling, but I've seen better reefs in Hawaii. I think it's only exceptional if you put on scuba gear and go deep. Also, Egypt's Red Sea coast is a dystopian world of half-finished and decaying resorts. Things to see in Israel: Wadi Rum (ok, Jordan technically), Masada, spend more time in Petra etc.
Hi Brad - this is Omri (was at SU a lot during the summer - my company Genome Compiler is an SU company) - I will be one of your Israeli hosts here - just let me know what you want to do and we will try to make it happen!
Hey Matt, you know I've been to Masada. Oh wait, it was not with you that I went. I have been to Petra but for too short a time, and Wadi Rum might make some sense for a return. will show you some of the places I've already seen (Plus Petra and Jerash.)
I recommend Tzvat, which a lot of people don't include on their itinerary but which is the city in which many of the mystics lived.
I certainly second the recommendation for Safad in the beautiful hills near Leb., and (for a completely different experience) Hebron. if either interest you, get in touch before you go, and we'll hook you up with the locals. Hebron, in particular, can be dicy without local coordination. Jerico ruins are world-class, though again check the local security situation before venturing. The Negev and a 4-wheel drive rentacar = adventure. You can the dead sea, King Solomon's mines, visit the bedoiin and end up in Eilat in the same day (if you push it :-). From Eilat you can dive the Red Sea, or visit Sinai (timna crossing into Egypt). The resorts halfway to Sharm can be very international & interesting, though milage varies depending on .... Day trips from Eilat to the monastery on the mountain that some associate with 'Mt Sinai' are justly popular. Sinai can be sketchy (tour buses are occasionally held up by bedoin bandits) so make sure you're traveling with safe folk. Again, if you want a connection, call. There's also lots to see in Palestine. Bir Zeit University can be interesting, though you'd be advised to have sponsorship by a Palestinian academic faction (one of the more powerful ones) first; not a good idea to be perceived as 'invading' the campus. 
I think a trip into the west bank might be interesting. Is that something you know about +Omri Drory or should I call Ron's contacts?
I never been to the west bank.. It's dangerous (even illegal) for me to go there.. maybe in a better world - can't help you with that.
I've driven thru the West Bank tho that was in the 80s, very different, about the worst I was warned about was that if I broke down I'd probably pay thru the nose which sounded to me about the same as Alabama. I've also taken a bus thru Gaza en route to Cairo, stopped there for lunch even, same trip.
Yep, I used travel everywhere in mid-seventies in the West Bank, and felt much safer (more at home) than in Egypt or Jordan. The break really occurred with the first Intifada, when the Palestinians (as Tom Friedman says) decided to say NO to partnership with Israel. No one disputes that isreal provided more health care, honest government, security, economic oppotunities, etc. than any regime before (or since). In the end, they couldn't cope with the Israeli ID cards; they said NO and and haven't bben too welcoming since.

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