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Israel itinerary ideas

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Hello fellow Fodorites,
My wife and I are planning our first trip to Israel in late August / early September for about 12 days. A rough draft itinerary is as follows: Spend the first 2 nights in Tel Aviv, then pick up a rental car and head north to Caesarea for the day, visit the Roman ruins on land, and dive among the ruins of the underwater archeological park. Onto Haifa for 2 nights, see Bahai Gardens and visit Akko for the day, spending the night in Haifa. Then we have at least 2 options:
1. Drive from Haifa to Tiberias, visiting the Zippori National Park en route, and spending 2 nights in Tiberias. Visit Safed the following day, spend the night in Tiberias, and then head south to Masada and the Dead Sea, visiting Bet She'an on the way. Spend 1 night in the Ein Gedi area, drive to Jerusalem, drop the rental car and spend the final 4 full days in Jerusalem. Or -
2. After a day trip to Akko, rather then drive back to spend a second night in Haifa - continue on to Safed, spend the night there and visit the city the next day. Then move onto Tiberias, and head south as described above.
Is the Zippori National Park worth making a detour for?
Also, is it safe to park in Caesarea for the day with a car full of luggage (albeit in the trunk and hopefully out of view?) I have read of break-ins the area. Would it be safer to simply head up to Haifa, unpack and double-back to Caesarea for the day?
Do we face the same "issue" (if indeed, it is in an issue), if we drive from Haifa to Akko, and leave our car (with luggage) there whilst visiting the sights for the day (before continuing on to Safed for the night), as opposed to doubling-back to Haifa for the night.
While It seems more direct and efficient, time-wise, to move from one destination to another (Tel Aviv - Caesarea - Haifa - Akko - Safed - Tiberias, etc.), stopping at hotels en route - I wonder if it would be better to have two main bases in the area (Haifa and Tiberias) and make daytrips from there?
What do you think?
Any and all suggestions are welcomed and appreciated.
Thanks very much.
Larz

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