Israel: Ancient Sites & Modern-Day Startups

DATES: February 20–March 3, 2023 

GROUP SIZE: Minimum: 10 travelers, Max 24.

COST: $7,995 per person, double occupancy.  $1,725 single room occupancy supplement.

TOUR LEADER:  

JERRY SORKIN has been involved with the Israeli Palestinian conflict for more than three decades, having quietly brought together people from both sides of the issue.  Conversant in both Arabic and Hebrew,  Jerry has traveled extensively throughout the Middle East and North Africa, returning to the U.S. in 2016, after being based more than six years in Tunisia. He has organized and led many trips to Israel, all using his unique contacts to provide an exclusive and enlightening educational experience.

 

TESTIMONIALS:

“Extremely well planned and thought out.  I particularly enjoyed the speakers, guides
and meetings with the various groups and organizations offering varied perspectives.”

                                                                                                                      – J. Harrison, 2018

This was one of the best trips we’ve ever taken, in or out of the Commonwealth Club. It embodied the values of nonpartisan civil discussion and debate. The quality of the guides, both Israeli and Palestinian, was excellent. The depth and breadth of the presenters was formidable.”                                                                                                – R. Weiss, 2020

 

ISRAEL TRIP ITINERARY:

Monday, February 20
U.S. / Tel Aviv, Israel
Depart on flights to Israel.

Tuesday, February 21
Tel Aviv / Jerusalem
Upon arrival at Ben Gurion Airport, transfer to Jerusalem and check into our centrally located hotel. As most flights arrive in the evening, there are no group activities this day. Herbert Samuel Jerusalem.

Wednesday, February 22
Jerusalem
After a tour orientation, explore the Old City of Jerusalem and sites important to the three
major monotheistic religions. Visit the Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount, one of
the most important sites to Muslims. Walk portions of the Via Dolorosa and enter the
Church of the Holy Sepulchre, said to be the site where Christ was crucified and buried.
Following lunch visit the Western Wall. Then enjoy free time to browse the alleys and shops.
Tonight gather for a welcome dinner. Herbert Samuel Jerusalem (B,L,D)

The New Side of This Centuries-Old City:  Jerusalem

Thursday, February 23
Ramallah / Jerusalem
We continue to Ramallah, provisional capital of the Palestinian Authority, where we hear from
Palestinians about the issues they face and their hopes for a settlement in this long, unresolved issue. Return to Jerusalem in the late afternoon. After a pre-dinner discussion, explore Mahane Yehuda, once a popular fruit and produce market, it’s now a hub of gourmet food stalls, restaurants and cafes.  Herbert Samuel Jerusalem (B,L)

A view of downtown Ramallah, Palestine

Friday, February 24
Jerusalem / Bethlehem
Experience Yad Vashem, a powerful living memorial dedicated to the Holocaust. Visit the
West Bank with our Palestinian guide, starting with Bethlehem to see the Christian holy sites,
including the Church of the Nativity, said to mark the place of Jesus’ birth. Herbert Samuel
Jerusalem (B,L,D)

View of the Church of Nativity in Betlehem

Saturday, February 25
Masada / Dead Sea
We drive to Masada, the location of the mountaintop fortress where Jews sacrificed their lives rather than succumb to the Romans.  The importance of Masada remains in the
psychological and political mindset of many Israelis. Continue to the Dead Sea, the lowest
point on the earth. Swim or float in the relaxing salt waters and experience the health benefits
of its natural minerals. Return to Jerusalem in the early evening. Herbert Samuel Jerusalem
(B,L)

A View of the Dead Sea & Masada

Sunday, February 26
Safed / Galilee
Travel north stopping in Safed, a charming city known for being a center of art and religious mysticism. Continue to the more rural area of Upper Galilee. Learn about the important role of kibbutzim in the development of Israel in the 20th century. Merom Golan (B,L,D)

Monday, February 27
Galilee / Golan Heights
Meet with an officer from the IDF (Israel Defense Forces). Then hear from people in a Druze town in the Golan Heights area. Druze are an Arabic-speaking sect found primarily in
the mountainous areas of northern Israel, Syria and Lebanon. Later visit a winery and learn
about Israel’s growing wine industry.  Merom Golan (B,L,D) 

A view of the Golan Heights, or simply the Golan, it is a Rocky Plateau in the Levant spanning about 1,800 square kilometres

Tuesday, February 28
Nazareth / Caesarea / Tel Aviv
Journey to Nazareth, the largest Arab town within Israel’s pre-1967 borders. See the
Church of the Annunciation, believed to be where archangel Gabriel visited Mary. We
also visit an Arab tech firm. Continue to the coast and explore the archaeological site and
Roman city of Caesarea. Arrive in Tel Aviv in the early evening for dinner on your own.
The Hotel Carlton (B,L)

Nazareth is the largest city in the Northern District of Israel. Nazareth is known as                “the Arab capital of Israel”

Wednesday, March 1
Tel Aviv / Jaffa
Visit Jaffa, also known as Yafo in Hebrew, a mixed Jewish-Arab town, just south of Tel Aviv.
Enjoy lunch on your own and time in the flea market with its wonderful mix art and antiques.
Then continue to the Rabin Center, named after Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. Enjoy
dinner at one of Tel Aviv’s seaside restaurants. The Hotel Carlton (B,D)

Thursday, March 2
Tel Aviv
Learn about Tel Aviv’s various neighborhoods and architectural styles. See Bauhaus
architecture, Dizengoff Street, Neve Tzedek, and the Florentine district. Enjoy a free
afternoon to visit galleries, the beach, or rent bikes to travel the coastal path around Tel Aviv.
Gather tonight for a special farewell dinner.  The Hotel Carlton (B,L,D)

Tel Aviv, located on the Israeli Mediterranean coastline, it is the economic and technological center of the country.

Friday, March 3
Tel Aviv / U.S.
After breakfast at the hotel, transfer to the
airport for flights home. (B)

 

WHAT IS INCLUDED?

  • All activities as specified
  • Group airport transfers on designated dates & times
  • Transportation throughout the trip 
  • Accommodations as specified (or similar)
  • Meals (B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner) per itinerary
  • Bottled water on buses
  • Special guest speakers
  • Local guide; gratuities to local guide, driver, and for included group activities
  • Pre-departure materials.
 
WHAT IS NOT INCLUDED?
  • International airfare
  • Meals not specified as included
  • optional outings and gratuities for those outings
  • Alcoholic beverages beyond wine and beer at the welcome and farewell dinners
  • Travel insurance (recommended, information will be sent upon registration)
  • COVID-related expenses (vaccinations, testing)
  • Items of a purely personal nature