- 7 nights accommodation
in selected hotels:
- 1 night Tel
- 2 nights
- 1 night Haifa
- 3 nights
- Breakfast daily
and 5 dinners
- Touring in a luxury, air-conditioned bus with licensed, English speaking tour educator
- All site entrance fees and program fees as per itinerary
- One arrival and departure transfer from and to Ben Gurion Airport
- Portage at the airport and hotels
Day One: Sunday
ON THE WAY TO ISRAEL
Day Two: Monday
LET THE GOOD TIMES ROLL / THE START OF A SPECIAL JOURNEY
- Arrival at Ben Gurion International Airport. Our representative will be on hand to assist with all formalities and ensure your journey has the smoothest of starts.
- Make the short drive to Tel Aviv, also known as “the city that never sleeps.” A place of sun and fun, its centers of culture and history are complimented by great beaches, stores and entertainment.
- Check into the hotel.
- Meet your tour educator who will accompany you on this journey of education and inspiration.
- Beginnings: Modern Tel Aviv grew out of ancient Jaffa. Gaze out over the Mediterranean Sea, learn why Jaffa was so historically important (it was mentioned in the biblical story of Jonah and the Whale) and see how its Old City reflects the present as well as the past.
- Welcome dinner: Celebrate your arrival in Israel with dinner and opening remarks as we look forward to the exciting days ahead. A journey through Israel is also an exploration of its fabulous, varied food. Your enjoyment of Israel cuisine will begin at Maganda, located in Tel Aviv's Yemenite Quarter, with a traditional Middle Eastern meal of meat skewers, hummus and salads.
Overnight: Tel Aviv
Day Three: Tuesday
INNOVATION & ENERGY: THE TEL AVIV STORY
- Breakfast at an Israeli hotel is an experience in itself. Start the day with a bounteous buffet before checking out of the hotel.
- From a Hebrew City to a Hebrew State: Walk along the newly-opened Independence Trail in Tel Aviv and embark on a remarkable journey that begins with the founding of Tel Aviv in 1909 and ends with the establishment of Israel in 1948.
- The Changing Architecture and Culture of Tel Aviv: As we make our way along the Independence Trail, we'll see the diversity of Tel Aviv's architecture and find out how this reflects the culture of a city that refuses to stay the same. Examine the “eclectic” early architecture and the Bauhaus buildings from the 1930s that gave Tel Aviv the nickname of the “White City” and recognition as a UNESCO World Heritage site. We'll also see Tel Aviv's 21st century skyscrapers and ask what they reveal about modern Israel.
- Israel: A Start-Up: Explore the inventiveness and audacity that are making Israel a world leader in technology and transforming the nation's economy at the State of Mind Innovation Center, followed by a meeting with a start-up entrepreneur.
- Tel Aviv's food scene is booming. Check out some of the options with lunch (on own account) at the Nachalat Binyamin food and crafts fair before joining the hustle and bustle of the Carmel market.
- Departing Tel Aviv, we'll head northwards and back in time to Caesarea, one of the Land of Israel's most important cities during the Roman Period. Explore life 2,000 years ago with its ancient amphitheaters, palaces and bathhouses.
- Continue to the kibbutz hotel in the Upper Galilee, enjoying a dinner combining international cuisine with local flavors and the freshest of produce.
Overnight: Kibbutz Hotel, Upper Galilee
Day Four: Wednesday
SECURITY & SERENITY: THE GOLAN HEIGHTS
- Breakfast at the hotel.
- Hit the ground racing as we go off-road for a jeep tour of the Golan Heights that will combine natural beauty with insights into one of Israel's most strategically important areas. Retrace the experiences of Israeli soldiers in their battles here during the Six-Day War of 1967 and talk with your jeep drivers about their personal experiences and feelings about the Golan.
- The Golan Heights is also wine country. Sample some of its best during a tour of the boutique Pelter Winery. We're doing the driving so treat yourself to some Israeli gin to go with the grapes. L'chaim and cheers!
- Northern Borders, Northern Battles: We'll gaze across the Golan and into Syria from the top of Mount Bental and gain powerful insights into Israel's geopolitical and security situation. Analyze the current challenges Israel faces on its northern border, examine the impact of the tragic civil war in Syria, and hunker down in bunkers from the vital battles that took place here during the 1973 Yom Kippur War.
- Lunch (on own account).
- May to September: Take to the water with rafting or kayaking down the Jordan River. (Water shoes are recommended.)
- October to April: The Hula Nature Reserve, Israel's best place for bird-watching, is home to thousands of storks, cranes, pelicans and flamingos. We'll learn why early Zionist efforts to drain these swamps have been replaced by environmental protection and feel as free as a bird during a 3D movie that put us up in the air alongside a migrating flock.
- Da'at Encounters Radical Then, Still Relevant Now? The pioneering, socialist kibbutz movement played a vital role in the establishment of the State of Israel and was one of the early state's most influential and distinctive communities. Meet with a second-generation kibbutz member and hear how life has changed on the kibbutz in today's more individualistic era.
- Dinner at the kibbutz hotel.
Overnight: Kibbutz Hotel, Upper Galilee
Day Five: Thursday
MYSTICS & MULTI-CULTURALISM IN THE NORTH
- Breakfast at the kibbutz hotel before checking out.
- Perhaps it's the combination of mysticism and art or maybe it's the mountain air in Israel's highest city. But entering Tsfat, there is a sense of something uniquely Jewish but not quite of this world. Here, you'll:
- Visit the Ari synagogue and share in the inspiration and innovation that moved Rabbi Isaac Luria (the Holy Ari) and his fellow mystics. In Tsfat, they developed the Kabbalah, the esoteric insights of Judaism and created Kabbalat Shabbat, the prayers sung on Friday evenings to welcome the arrival of the Sabbath.
- See the Caro synagogue, built originally, like the Ari, in the sixteenth century. It is where Rabbi Joseph Caro, one of the greatest of all Jewish legal authorities, taught and lived. Hear the story of how he was visited here by a maggid, an angelic messenger, who revealed secrets of the Torah.
- Walk through the cobbled streets and alleyways to the Artists' Colony with its galleries, shops and studios.
- From the Sky to the Sea: At Rosh Hanikra, the steepest cable car ride in the world will take us down to beautiful sea grottos (sea caves) formed by countless waves hitting the soft chalk rock.
- Lunch (on own account).
- Drive to Akko (Acre), a UNESCO Heritage Site, for a fresh look at one of the oldest towns in the world. Once a stronghold of the Christian crusaders in the Holy Land, Akko was also an important center of Muslim Ottoman rule and today is an example of the multi-culturalism of northern Israel. Highlights include:
- The restored Crusaders' Fortress and look into the lives of the Templar knights, the Christian warriors based here from the twelfth century.
- The el-Jazzar Mosque, one of Israel's largest mosques and an illustration of the Muslim influence in the country, then and now. The mosque is named after its designer, the talented but brutal Ottoman governor Ahmad Pasha el-Jazzar, who in Akko in 1799 repulsed the invasion of Napoleon Bonaparte.
- Walking along the fortified walls that protected Akko and made it a militarily crucial town. Over the centuries, invaders, including Napoleon Bonapart's French army in 1799, damaged but could never destroy these walls. We'll see the massive security measures carried out by Ahmad Pasha el-Jazzar on order to defeat Napoleon at Akko.
- Da'at Encounters Service and Separation: Visit a village in the Carmel Forest for a glimpse into the world of Israel's Druze Hear personal stories and insights about their culture, closely-guarded beliefs and their tradition of military service to the State of Israel. Then enjoy the tastes of the Druze kitchen with dinner in the home of local residents, and groove to the Levantine beat as we sing along with darbuka drummers.
- Head to Haifa, Israel's largest port city, and check into the hotel.
Day Six: Friday
THE MANY FAITHS OF THE HOLY LAND
- Breakfast at the hotel before checking out.
- Da'at Encounters Which Way Towards Coexistence? It is often argued that Haifa is Israel's strongest area for Arab-Jewish cooperation. Explore what has been achieved and what remains to be done at Beit HaGefen, an Arab-Jewish cultural center. We'll talk with Israeli Arab activists and wander through the multicultural Wadi Nisnas neighborhood and markets.
- Take a moment at the top of Mount Carmel, the setting for many biblical stories and the old stomping ground of the prophet Elijah, to admire the view of Haifa Bay.
- Haifa's diversity is also reflected by the fact that it is a world center of the Baha'i religious movement. We'll see the beautiful Baha'i Gardens and one of their holiest sites, the gold-domed Shrine of the Bab, and discuss the complex and sometimes tragic history of this faith and how it ended up being based in Israel.
- As we drive along the Trans-Israel Highway towards Jerusalem, there will be plenty of opportunities to see the “Security Barrier”, which runs along the seam zone between Israel and the Palestinian Territories, and learn about the barrier's effects on Israeli security and Palestinian communities.
- A First Look at the Holy City: Over the centuries, many have been moved and awed by their first sight of Jerusalem. We'll stop at Mount Scopus for a stunning overview of the city and celebrate our arrival with a special ceremony and the traditional “shehechiyanu” blessing of thanksgiving.
- Lunch (on own account).
- A walking tour will take you to the heart of Jewish life, history and holiness: Jerusalem's Old City and the Jewish Quarter. Among the highlights will be:
- A walk along the rooftops for a bird's eye view of the remarkably diverse yet closely bound communities of the Old City.
- The Cardo, the main street of Roman-controlled Jerusalem and its spectacular Byzantine-era columns.
- King Hezekiah's “Broad Wall,” a massive wall built to protect Jerusalem from invasion 2,700 year ago.
- Hurva Square, the center of modern-day life in the Jewish Quarter.
- No visit to Israel is complete without experiencing the Western Wall (the Kotel), widely considered Judaism's holiest site. Each year, over one million notes containing prayers and wishes are placed in the cracks of the wall. We'll discuss the wall's historical and contemporary importance and experience its unique atmosphere.
- Optional: Join Jerusalem in welcoming the Sabbath, the highpoint of the Jewish week, with Kabbalat Shabbat services. The city boasts a dizzying variety of synagogues. We'll be happy to supply maps and suggestions of which might work best for you.
- Celebrate your journey through Israel with a traditional Shabbat dinner at Beit Shmuel. Share in the rituals, the recipes and the joy of the Sabbath in Jerusalem.
Day Seven: Saturday
THE CITY OF SHABBAT
- Breakfast at the hotel.
- A free day will allow you to explore Jerusalem at your leisure. Enjoy the peacefulness of Shabbat in Jerusalem or check out some of the following sites:
- The Tower of David Museum where the story of Jerusalem, from the time of Abraham to the end of the British Mandate over Palestine, is told with exciting exhibitions and in a remarkable location.
- The Christian Quarter of the Old City. See the bargains and bargaining in its shuk (market).
- Then follow the Via Dolorosa, the path Jesus is believed to have taken as he walked, holding a cross, to his crucifixion.
- The final station of the Via Dolorosa is the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the place where Jesus is believed to have been crucified. This church is one of Christianity's great pilgrimage sites and a testament to the remarkable diversity of the Christian world. It includes an empty tomb where it is said that Jesus was buried and resurrected.
- The Israel Museum is the nation's largest cultural institution and an internationally-renowned art and archaeological museum. Take your choice from exhibitions that range from the Dead Sea Scrolls to contemporary Israeli art and much in-between.
- Then hit the town. One fun option is to join the Saturday-night strollers in the Ben Yehuda and Nachalat Shiva Pedestrian Malls for dinner (on your own account).
- The Night Spectacular at the Tower of David Museum: The walls of the Citadel serve as the stage for this cinematic celebration of sight and sound depicting the story of Jerusalem. (Without guide; we will provide a voucher for your entry.)
Day Eight: Sunday
JEWISH MEMORY, JEWISH RENEWAL
- Start your day the healthy way with a fitness and wellness session at Liberty Bell Park. A trained fitness instructor will have you feeling fine.
- Breakfast at the hotel.
- Visiting Yad Vashem, the national memorial to the six million Jewish victims of the Holocaust, is an essential emotional and educational experience. Your guided tour will include:
- The Avenue of the Righteous, where trees symbolic of the renewal of life have been planted along with plaques honoring brave non-Jews who saved Jews during the Shoah.
- The Historical Museum, a state-of-the-art interactive display reflecting decades of research and educational expertise. The story of the Holocaust, with an emphasis on individual victims, is told through survivor testimonies, original artifacts and personal possessions saved from the ghettos and camps.
- The Children's Memorial, where candles shine like stars in the sky to commemorate the 1.5 million children lost during the Holocaust.
- A special Memorial Service where you can pay personal tribute to the victims of the Holocaust.
- Eat, drink and be educated at the Machane Yehuda shuk (market) as we sample food and sweets from all over the Mediterranean and the Middle East and try to figure out what's Israeli about Israeli food. This multicultural, all-inclusive tasting tour can double up as a delicious lunch.
- Return to the Old City to explore the Western Wall Tunnel, the underground continuation of the Kotel, and examine important archaeological discoveries that are revising our understanding of daily life in Jerusalem after the Roman conquest.
- Da'at Encounters The State of the State of Israel: Talk with Professor Paul Liptz of Tel Aviv University and the Hebrew Union College about the key issues shaping Israeli society today. Find out whether the country is stronger than ever or splitting into separate “tribes.”
- Da'at Encounters Navigate Your Way Through the Labyrinth of Israel Politics: Join Professor Reuven Hazan of the Political Science Department at Hebrew University for an introduction into Israel's turbulent political scene where coalition governments and powerful ideological divisions are a fact of life.
- Enjoy a night out with dinner (on own account) in Jerusalem. Among the options are the First Train Station The city's rail link from the late nineteenth century, it is now a center of restaurants, shops and culture.
Day Nine: Monday
UNTIL WE MEET AGAIN
- Breakfast at the hotel before checking out.
- Transfer to Ben Gurion Airport for your return flight to the USA.
It has been our pleasure and privilege to help you discover the diversity and wonders of Israel.
Shalom u'lehitraot, goodbye and see you soon.
Need to Know
Tour departure dates that are not marked as Guaranteed Departure will be confirmed once a minimum number of participants register.
- Tour prices are per person in U.S. dollars. All hotel accommodations, motor coach transportation, special dinners, sightseeing, admissions, luggage handling and the services of local guides, drivers, and the tour guide/educator are included.
- Payment Policy
Da'at Educational Expeditions reserves the right to adjust its terms of payment, including cancellation policies and initial deposits. Notification of any changes will be made explicitly to the participants where relevant.
- Initial deposit of $500 per person, non-refundable, non-transferable is due at the time of reservation unless another amount is indicated for the particular trip or seminar.
- Final payment is due 90 days before the scheduled trip begins, or as specified in your invoice.
- Cancellation Policy:
Cancellations need to be made in writing. Cancellation fees will be based on the date that the written cancellation is received.
- 90 days or more prior to departure: the deposit
- 89 to 46 days prior to departure: 50% of the total trip cost
- 45 days to the day of departure/no-show: 100% of the total trip cost
Cancellation fees may also include:
- Hotel or supplier cancellation fees.
- For trips in Israel only: The cost of the PEACE OF MIND TRAVEL PROTECTION PROGRAM (POM), if this was purchased.
- Group airfare penalty fee.
- Hotel Accommodations: The trip price includes all hotel accommodations, in hotel rooms with private baths. Our standard is to provide the best available hotels while considering value. Although the level of the accommodations may differ slightly from hotel to hotel, we are committed to your comfort. Standard-size rooms are generally smaller outside of North America. They usually accommodate two people and include either one queen-size bed or two single beds (pushed together and made up separately, but with one headboard). While some hotels provide an extra bed in a standard-size room for use by a child under the age of 12, we recommend that families of four or more should book adjoining or connecting rooms.
- Meals are included as specified in the itinerary.
- Tour Educator or Guide: All trips are conducted by our tour educators or local guides who remain with the group throughout the tour.
- Gratuities Included: All gratuities for restaurant staff at group meals are included.
- Transportation in the evening when dinner is on own.
- Amendments to the program: In the event that any sites, programs or meals etc are added to the program, an additional fee may be required.
- Personal extras: Items of personal nature such as laundry, wines, mineral water, beverages, coffee, tea, food other than the table d'hotel menu, passport and visa fees, insurance, and foreign port taxes, unless otherwise specified.
- Water or snacks on the bus (unless indicated otherwise)
- US and foreign airport taxes, Q fuel surcharge and border taxes when applicable.
- Gratuities for Tour Educator (Guide) and Driver. We recommend the following guidelines for tips (amounts indicated in US dollars):
TRIPS TO ISRAEL:
- Group of 20 participants and more:
Tour Educator: $8 | Driver: $4 - per participant per day
- Group of 10-19 participants:
Tour Educator: $10 | Driver: $5 - per participant per day
- Group of 5-9 participants in a mini-van with a driver:
Tour Educator: $100 | Driver: $50 - per day total
- Group of 4-5 participants with a guide driving a private car:
$90 per day total
- Group of up to 3 participants with a guide driving a private car:
$70 per day total
GUIDELINES FOR REGISTERING CHILDREN (UNDER AGE 18):
The first two people in any double or triple room are charged full package rates as adults, even if the second person is a child under the age of 18.
For this reason, the first two people you select for a double or triple room MUST be selected as adults in order for the registration process to succeed.
To register the following room configurations, please follow these instructions:
- For double room occupancy for:
- 1 adult & 1 child - Please select 2 adults.
- 2 children - Please select 2 adults.
- For triple room occupancy for:
- 2 adults & 1 child - Please select 2 adults & 1 child**
- 1 adult & 2 children - Please select 2 adults & 1 child**
- 3 children - Please select 2 adults & 1 child**
(**Reduced rate for a child as a 3rd in a triple room will only be applied if the child is under the age of 18.)