If you are looking for the perfect gift for someone who loves Israel, look no further than the newly published treasure box, “The Desert and the Cities Sing: Discovering Today’s Israel,” created by Lin Arison and Diana C. Stoll.

Published by Chronicle Books, this gorgeous treasure box is designed to highlight aspects of Israel’s creative achievement and innovation.

It includes four books on art and design, Israeli cuisine and culture, innovation and enterprise, and creativity; four DVD’s, including the Academy Award-winning movie Strangers No More, a USB flash drive with animations; a limited-edition scarf by designer house Frau Blau; and 25 photographic prints by Neil Folberg.

“If I could have included a bottle of wine, I would have done,” writer Lin Arison told ISRAEL21c.  “I wanted people to be able to experience all of Israel in one go.”

The Judean Desert, a photo by Neil Folberg, for “The Desert and the Cities Sing.” Photo courtesy
The Judean Desert, a photo by Neil Folberg, for “The Desert and the Cities Sing.” Photo courtesy

Arison first came to live in Israel in 1988 with her husband, the late Ted Arison, founder of Carnival Cruise Lines. They lived in the country for over a decade, and during this time she began exploring and often writing about the places she visited and the people she met on her journeys for Link Magazine, a business magazine based in Israel.

Lin Arison. Photo by Lisa Leone
Lin Arison. Photo by Lisa Leone

 Arison, who has written books before, including Travels with Van Gogh and the Impressionists, which was published in 2007, remained in Israel after her husband’s death in 1999, and today divides her time between Israel and Miami.

The idea for this book, she says, came with a single sip of wine in 2009 from the Carmel Winery. After decades of terrible wine, the country had finally begun to produce high-quality wines that rivaled that of the best wine producers in the world. What else, wondered Arison, had changed?

Her fellow writer, Stoll, who is based in North Carolina, worked with Arison before on the book Feast for the Senses: A Musical Odyssey in Umbria, published in 2010.

The duo decided to approach Israel from a different angle, focusing on the country’s creative achievements and innovation in arts, design, science, technology, agriculture, education, wine, cuisine and fashion. “We wanted to get the message out that this is a place many good things happening,” says Stoll. “This is something a lot of people don’t information on.”

The Beit She’an Valley. Photo by Neil Folberg for “The Desert and the Cities Sing”
The Beit She’an Valley. Photo by Neil Folberg for “The Desert and the Cities Sing”

They interviewed some of the country’s most colorful characters, including innovators, artists, winemakers, performers, educators and musicians.

“Our hope is that ‘The Desert and the Cities Sing’ may serve as both an unexpected entry point and a new kind of roadmap of Israel for our readers,” says Arison.

The treasure box costs $125 and can be purchased from Amazon or from Chronicle Books.