Pictures by QT Luong
Israel is a country that concentrates in a small area (the size of Belgium or New Jersey) an unmatched wealth of landscapes, culture, history, and religion. This is at the same time the Jewish Promised Land, the Holy Land of Jesus, and Palestine. One of the craddles of humanity, its religious sites are holiest to Jews, Christians, and Muslims. As a result, the land has been fought over for two millenia in major wars. This results in a dense and diverse heritage, with overlapping Western and Arab cultures. History is still in the making there, which is part of what makes the country so fascinating. Despite great state accomplishments, conflicts still continue with the Palestinian problem remaining largely unsolved. In 1993 and 1995, right after the Oslo accords that brought a tangible hope of peace there, I had the chance to spend a total of about two weeks in this most interesting country, talking to both sides.