Jerusalem/Bethlehem (Ashdod), Israel
Ashdod produces textiles, cosmetics, and half the electrical power generated in Israel. Yet it is best known as the portal to the Holy Land.
According to Scripture, Ashdod was once home to giants. It was here that the Philistines brought the captured Ark, celebrating their victory over the Israelites. Today, the city itself is a giant of industry, surpassing Haifa as the largest port in Israel. More importantly, Ashdod is your gateway to Jerusalem. This city in the hills of Judea is sacred to three of the world's great faiths. For Jews, the Western Wall - the sole surviving remnant of the Second Temple - embodies their cultural and religious identity. Christians walk the Via Dolorosa and observe the Stations of the Cross, renewing Christ's sacrifice. For Moslems, the city is home to the third holiest shrine in all Islam. From a spot near the El-Aqsa Mosque, Muhammad ascended into Heaven to receive the teaching of Allah.