I go to Israel and Lebanon about every 2 weeks or so. Of coarse the threats or fears inspired by the media are well overblown.
Both have amazing historical-arachealogical sites. If you are religious, or just interested in religion, Jerusalem is obviously essential. There are numerous ancient Roman sites around as well, especially old ports on the ocean.
As for the media reports: they are mostly accurate for what they show, but they show only bad things, as we know - they don't spend their time covering the 90% of the area and events that are good.
|Quoting ConcordeBoy (Reply 31):|
....what are some of the areas of both Israel and Lebanon that tourists should NOT be anywhere near? Just curious.
If you want to avoid terrorism or getting involved in the Israeli-Palestinian/Israeli-Hezbollah/Israeli-Lebanon conflicts, you can avoid obvious terrorist targets and obvious Israeli military targets. I, personally, do not take public transportation in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem or really anywhere in Israel.
Cabs are good and reasonably priced. Israeli government offices, a big shopping mall, and large meeting places (big hotels, sporting events, concerts, etc...) are all potential targets, but I wouldn't necessarily avoid them entirely if I had a need or desire to be there
- just be alert.
Gaza and southern Lebanon are probably too much for the casual tourist - but visiting the Palestinian territories is essential for understanding the middle east conflict. You'll need to talk to both Israelis and Palestinians if you are interested in politics, and there are plenty of Arabs and Arab neighborhoods in Israel that are interesting to visit.
Beirut is almost entirely safe for the tourist, assuming Israel doesn't start another defensive war while you're there. Unfriendlies can be found in Lebanon, if you go looking for them, but why would you? The cab drivers and tour companies keep you well clear of any place that might be hostile to Americans.
Overall, to me, the seashore is especially interesting and a bit overlooked by the tourist, and fascinating ancient ruins abound in places like Caesarea and Baalbek that have nothing to do with politics.