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5 Hidden Gems to Visit in Israel

Check out the previous installments in Kathy Shaidle's Israel Travel Series:

5. Caliber 3

Since 2000, Caliber 3 has trained laymen and professionals (including the IDF) in security and counterterrorism techniques.

This Gush Etzion range is one of the few places in Israel where tourists are permitted to fire guns. That makes its 2-hour courses for tourists incredibly popular, even though they aren't exactly a walk at the beach:

At our program we combine together the values of Zionism with the excitement and enjoyment of shooting which makes the activity more meaningful. The contact with real soldiers who have experienced anti terrorism fighting means that everything shown and taught is authentic.

Don't worry: you aren't expected to run an obstacle course, but there is some running back and forth, yelling, and briskly paced team competition with lots of surprises.

Stick it out and you'll be rewarded with the chance to fire a Ruger (too heavy!) and an M16.

They'll even serve you lunch. (This is Israel; food is VERY important.)

Definitely one of the highlights of my trip.

(P.S.: Remember to wear long pants, and leave the flip flops at home. Ask permission about whom and what you can film and photograph.)

Our trainer was Steve Gar (below), an impressive guy originally from South Africa. Besides being a weapons expert, he is studying to be a rabbi and he works with special needs youth (one of whom served as Steve's range assistant). Sorry, ladies -- Gar's married (to a Toronto girl!).