One of the things I like best about Israel is the country's national park system.
Today M, three friends from work and I drove down to Ein Gedi, an oasis on the Dead Sea with some great hiking trails and some cool archaeological sites. The park is about 400 meters below sea level and has two rivers and four springs on it, as well as a nature reserve. We saw Ibex (sort of like a gazelle) and Rock Hyrax, which look like a beaver without a tale, plus a variety of birds. There is a spectacular water-fall, especially for the desert.
The nicest archaeological site in the park is that of a 3rd century AD Synagogue with beautiful mosaic floors. The mosaics include inscriptions in Hebrew and Aramaic. The inscriptions include the geneaology from Adam to Japeth, lists of donors to the synagogue, and a curse on anyone who reveals the city's secrets to strangers.