Anyone who braves the discouragement of their fearful or politically close-minded friends and relatives and actually makes the long journey to visit Israel for the first time gets a big "bravo!" from me. And if it's one of my relatives, albeit a very distant one, and actually not one but a couple, even if I've never met them before, I'll do whatever I can to make their stay enjoyable.
In this case, the couple in question are the second-cousin and spouse of my second-cousin's wife, here for a professional conference plus a few days of touring. Because their conference is in Jerusalem, they've made the conference hotel their home base. I'm please to see that as recently as April 16, 2006, The New York Times considers Jerusalem worthy of an article in the Travel section!
As it turns out, someone the couple did know beforehand recommended a tour guide, who happens to be married to an archeologist. And not just any old archeologist: Avner Goren, the man who guided Bruce Feiler, the author of Walking the Bible and Where God Was Born. Avner is also quoted on page 3 of the NY Times article. So their conference hasn't even started yet, and they're already planning their next trip, maybe to volunteer on an archeological dig.
I'll have a tough act to follow as their tour guide in Tel Aviv.
By the way, they aren't Jewish. In considering this, I reviewed my family tree and discovered that we now include non-Jews of Japanese, Chinese, Indonesian, English, Danish, Irish, German, and Sufi backgrounds. I'm the first known Israeli, and it's more of a foreground than a background for me.