They work day after day, year after year, explaining Israel, its historical and modern sites and its people to the myriad of tourists who come here from all over the world. They are the people who we see on sunny and rainy days, carrying a hat or an umbrella, to signal to their groups that they are there. To mark 60 years of Israeli tourism, The Jerusalem Post interviewed four veteran tour guides and one young, soon-to-be guide. Ya'acov Mitrani, 56, was born in Ramat Gan and lives in Yehud with his wife and two daughters. He currently serves as chairman of the Israel Tour Guides Association. Why I chose the profession: "I think that I have been a traveler ever since I was born. As a teenager and a soldier, it was clear to me that I would stay a traveler. Thirty-eight years ago, while serving in the Golani Brigade, my friends in the unit and I prepared for the possibility that Black September [in Jordan] would spill over into Israel. "We were placed at the Tel Dan nature reserve in Galilee. While my friends couldn't wait for me to move from there, I couldn't stop traveling this beautiful place." The most beautiful place in Israel for me is: "The road from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. I drive this road at least two or three times a week. I guess the combination of the good mood I have in the mornings and the route that keeps changing does it for me." A place in Israel that is not visited enough: "Tel Aviv. This is a beautiful, interesting, fun and vigorous city, and on top of that it has the sea shore." Israeli tourism enjoys/suffers from: "After many years of intifada and the number of visitors reaching half of a million a year, Israel last year had 2.5 million tourists. If we want to maintain this success, the tourism industry should be put under strict supervision and the shortage of employees should be addressed seriously. On the other hand, the level of presentation of the national parks and archeological sites is very high and satisfying." The principle that guides me as a tour guide: "Every day, when I am off to work, I know that I represent Israel and this is a great responsibility. When I hear tourists saying, for example, that it's amazing that we grow vegetables and fruits in the desert, or when they are impressed of the variety of the landscapes here, I feel proud again to be Israeli." Ya'acov (Yankik) Perlstein, 67, was born in Petach Tikva and lives in Ramat Gan with his wife. A father of two and a grandfather of one, he has been a tour guide for the past 43 years. Why I chose the profession: "I was a member of the youth movement of Ha'mahanot-Ha'olim and there I was educated and raised to love the country and to tour it." The most beautiful place in Israel for me is: "Jerusalem. This place speaks to everyone and to me as well. As a person who loves water and nature, I love the profusion of the water in the North, the sites of Mt. Carmel and Massada at night and the unique beauty of Eilat's reddish mountains." A place in Israel that is not visited enough: "The Negev. Many Israelis and tourists don't travel there enough, maybe because it is technically harder to get there." Israeli tourism enjoys/suffers from: "It enjoys curious tourists who really want to get to know the country, and to learn the place's history and archeology. On the other hand, the heritage of this place is constantly under threat because of the political disputes in the region." The principle that guides me as a tour guide: "I believe that our love for this country and the beautiful things it enjoys should encourage us to continue and search for ways to coexist with nature." Rafi Glass, 69, was born in Israel and lives in Ramat Ilan. Married and a father of three, he has been a tour guide for the past 41 years. Why I chose the profession: "I got to know and love the country during my military service in the Paratroopers. I am a people person and I love the sense of freedom, and there is nothing that makes me happier than telling other people about the history of Israel and its heritage." The most beautiful place in Israel for me is: "Jerusalem, because of our history that is in this place and also because it is sacred to all religions. Also Massada, because it symbolizes the Jewish character of rising from the dust time after time just when it seems like we are finished." A place in Israel that is not visited enough: "The South of Israel, the Negev and Machtesh Ramon [the Ramon Crater], which is a tremendous place that many Israelis haven't realized yet." Israeli tourism enjoys/suffers from: "As a former chairman of the Israel Tour Guides Association, it became clear to me how acute the shortage of parking spots is, mainly around the Old City in Jerusalem but also in other places where it is not always safe to park. "In addition, if we want to make sure the tourists who visit Israel later serve as 'ambassadors' for this state abroad, we must make sure that hiring a tour guide is a must. "More than once, I have heard nonsensical explanations given by unauthorized sources, who tell tourists things like the Holocaust was the Jews' punishment for how they treated Jesus or that the Romans treated the Jews as the Jews treat the Palestinians nowadays." The principle that guides me as a tour guide: "I always say that history, archeology and the Bible are the best tools that any tour guide needs to be proficient in, in order to prove that the Jewish people were here first." Yitzhak Mintus, 71, was born in Ramat Gan and still lives there. He is married, a father of two and a grandfather of four, and has been a tour guide for the past 38 years. Why I chose the profession: "As a soldier I served in a unit that worked during the nights and had the days to travel, tour the state of Israel and fall in love with it." The most beautiful place in Israel for me is: "Jerusalem, because this is a city about which stories never run out. Personally, the Judean Desert still excites me as well. The place and its valleys are spectacular." A place in Israel that is not visited enough: "There is no such place. Israelis know and travel everywhere." Israeli tourism enjoys/suffers from: "Tourists from abroad who come here with an honest desire to learn, to explore and to hear, while the Israeli tourists believe they know better than you; they complain constantly and they are apathetic to the beauty and the history surrounding them in daily life. In addition, we must make sure that prices the tourists from abroad pay don't go wild." The principle that guides me as a tour guide: "I don't mix politics and tourism. I simply believe that showing this country to tourists, a country whose landscapes change dramatically in a drive of less than 30 minutes, makes them fall in love with it and appreciate it." Joel Meyer, 27, made aliya from Reading, United Kingdom, four years ago after studying political science. He currently lives in Tel Aviv, and studies in a year-long program of The American Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel and the Tourism Ministry to be an authorized tour guide. I chose this profession because: "I have been working and guiding in a Zionist youth movement ever since I was 15 years old, and I ended up working in it professionally. Today I am in charge of the annual program of the Zionist Youth movement in England. "In the course, I study everything there is to know about this country and since I love working with people and traveling, this is the best thing for me that also connects me to this state." The most beautiful place in Israel for me is: "The Western Galilee because of the green mountainous landscape and the calm atmosphere. I spent four months there when I was 18, and I guess my affection for this place grew on me." A place in Israel that is not visited enough: "The periphery. These places are less traveled and are no less beautiful. In order to assist the development of the periphery, more people should travel there." Israeli tourism enjoys/suffers from: "Objectively, Israel is one of the most diverse places in the world. It has snow in the North and desert in the South, and all religions are based here. "The people are warm but Israeli hutzpa is not always welcome when dealing with tourists from abroad. I think that should be changed." The principle that guides me as a tour guide: "With you all the way. This means that I care and that I do my best so you will enjoy your time in Israel. As a person, I am satisfied when others are satisfied."