Diplomacy comes in many forms — preventative, soft power, Machiavellian coercion — so many kinds you might not even be able to narrow down your favorite means to an end. Former NBA star Dennis Rodman would have you believe that regular basketball games between the U.S. and North Korea would completely mend relations, for example. When it comes to the enduring, multifaceted conflict between Israel and neighboring Palestine, however, we may need to take a leaf out of Sasha Baron Cohen’s book and start with food. Israel-Palestine food tours, that is, not infuriating public officials.
Bloomberg reports that a small number of travel agencies are arranging specially curated gastro-tours of Israel and Palestine, crossing the border to sample both countries’ famously delicious, healthy, locally sourced, vegetarian-friendly cuisine.
If you think the logistics of planning this kind of trip seem complex, you’re correct. The agencies who arrange the excursions tend to lead groups on paths rarely traveled by tourists, adding an element of exclusivity that’s worth the price. Israeli tour guides who cross the border regularly speak multiple languages, have racked up hundreds of trips’ worth of specialized experience to keep things safe and pleasant for all involved and are well-versed in the day-to-day conflicts that can hold up or endanger travelers. Palestinian tour guides earn licenses from the Israeli Ministry of Tourism upon passing a comprehensive language, culture and history exam. In short: don’t worry, definitely go!
Between restaurant- and nightlife-obsessed Tel Aviv and Haifa and the buzzing culinary enclaves of Palestine’s Jericho, Bethlehem, Nablus and Ramallah, you’ll get a well-rounded experience that touches on many aspects of the region’s vast and history-rich culinary sphere. Take cooking classes, visit some of the best-loved hummusiyas in the world and devour all the freshly fired pita bread you can stuff in. It’s one proactive step towards beginning to resolve a multi-generational conflict so far-reaching in scope that some won’t even broach the topic unless blackout drunk. Speaking of which, don’t forget to sample the booze.