Israel & Palestine: A land shared by two peoples

Few visitors to Israel or the region have ever experienced a tour such as this. You will have the opportunity to meet firsthand with politicians, activists and government officials, both Israeli and Palestinian, while also touring the land and its many historical sites.

February 13 – 23, 2024
Post tour option to Jordan


DAY 1 – Tuesday, February 13 – Welcome to Tel Aviv

Upon your arrival in Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion airport, transfers will be arranged to take you to your Jerusalem hotel. Due to the fact that many flights arrive in the evening, there are no activities planned for this afternoon or evening. After checking into your hotel, take time to relax and recover from your flight. You are also in a wonderful area to walk around Jerusalem, based within walking distance to both the Old City, as well as the center of West Jerusalem.  Dinner is on your own this evening, and a suggested list of restaurants will be provided. The options are endless! Most all waiters speak English and they usually accept VISA/Mastercard, US dollars and often AMEX.

Overnight: Herbert Samuel, Jerusalem.

DAY 2- Wednesday, February 14 – Old City Jerusalem

Following breakfast, meet your fellow travelers during a tour orientation with our Israeli guide, along with Jerry Sorkin, who will be providing commentary and expertise on issues during the trip.  Today’s touring includes the old city of Jerusalem; Jewish, Christian and Muslim sites, thus capturing all three religions.

The Dome of the Rock, known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary or in Arabic, Haram el Sherif.

We start the day’s touring at one of the most important sites to Muslims worldwide – the Dome of the Rock, known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary or in Arabic, Haram el Sherif.

The touring of old Jerusalem will continue with a walk along portions of the Via Dolorosa and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, thus following the walk that Jesus took and concluding at the church where Jesus was said to be crucified.

Interior of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher

We will enjoy lunch in the old city in a restaurant that serves local Arabic cuisine in a homey atmosphere.  Following lunch, we visit the Western Wall, frequently referred to by Jews as the “Wailing Wall”, or in Hebrew, the kotel, which is said to be the remaining wall of the 2nd Temple. For those who wish to explore more of the Old City on their own or browse the many alleyways of the shops, time will be allotted.

The Western Wall or referred to by Jews as the Wailing Wall

This evening’s “Welcome Dinner” will be preceded by a guest speaker who will share his insight as to the political situation regarding Israelis and Palestinians.

We will be walking to our restaurant, which is very close to our hotel.

Overnight: Herbert Samuel, Jerusalem. (B,L,D)    

DAY 3 – Thursday, February 15 – The West Bank

Following breakfast, we join our Palestinian guide and go to the Kalandria check point to enter Palestinian territory at the separation wall. Today’s program has us visiting the West Bank’s Palestinian territories accompanied by our Palestinian guide, as we visit Ramallah, the provisional capital of the Palestinian Authority. 

Shortly after entering the territories, we will stop at a refugee camp to provide everyone with a sense of what is meant by a “refugee camp”, a term that may suggest a tented camp…but now, 70 years later!

Aida Refugee Camp, West Bank

We then drive to the PLO offices, where we will have a briefing with a noted Palestinian official.

Jerry with the late PLO negotiator, Dr. Saed Erekat. RIGHT: Jerry with a close Palestinian friend at the headquarters of the PLO in Ramallah

Lunch will be held privately in Ramallah, followed by a meeting joined by 4-5 “twenty-something” Palestinians who attend different universities in the West Bank, providing an opportunity for a discussion with them with regards to how they see their situation, a strategy and how this may differ from the “old guard” Palestinians of the type we will be meeting at the PLO office.

Meeting with Palestinian university students in the West Bank

Late afternoon, we return to Jerusalem and our hotel for a little down time at the hotel. We then settle into a pre- dinner discussion led by Jerry about the opinions and statements we heard in in “Palestine” and how these fit in with a “dual narrative” between that of Israelis and Palestinians.

Afterwards, we visit Jerusalem’s “Foodie Heaven”, also known as Mahane Yehuda, a popular fruit and produce market in West Jerusalem that bustles with activity during the day and then closes at night. People can walk the 15 minutes to the market,or take the tram. In recent years, the dynamic has changed as Israel has become a country of diverse cuisine. In the evening, the market takes on a new ambiance as food stalls, restaurants and café’s abound, providing a wonderful way to experience food. The options of where to dine are up to you, with most being small sit-down restaurants. Should you wish to make reservations at some particular restaurants for that night that you may have read about, this can be arranged in advance based on availability.

Dinner is independent, so people can return to the hotel at a time of their choosing, again, by walking or the tram…which is approximately five minutes.

Overnight: Herbert Samuel, Jerusalem. (B, L)


In Mahane Yehuda in Jerusalem
DAY 4, Friday, February 16 – Yad Vashem & Bethlehem

Following your breakfast, our day starts with a visit to Yad Vashem, a memorial dedicated to the Holocaust. A visit to Yad Vashem is a must-see of every visiting dignitary to Israel.

Following Yad Vashem, we drive to Bethlehem, in the West Bank, which is considered by Palestinians to be a part of “Palestine”.

Jerry and a group meeting with the Mayor of Bethlehem, Anton Salman
Interiors of the Church of Nativity, Bethlehem, West Bank

We depart Yad Vashem by 11:30 in order to drive to the checkpoint into Palestinian territory by noon at the Bethlehem crossing. Our Palestinian guide will again be with us. We will be doing touring in Bethlehem, including the Banksy wall. Lunch will be in a private home of a Palestinian family. Following lunch in Bethlehem, we will be accompanied throughout Bethlehem by our Palestinian guide, who will take us to the Christian holy sites, including the Church of the Nativity, said to mark the place of Jesus’s birth. We will also visit Manger Square in the heart of Bethlehem where Christmas Mass is said every year; a celebration that is annually marked with political overtones, providing one more example of the demographics that complicate issues in the Holy Land.

Returning to our hotel, we will have some down time, as the Shabbat begins and Jerusalem comes to a slow crawl. We will be having dinner at one of the few restaurants open on Friday nights. However, prior to dinner, we will have a special guest speaker at our hotel.

One of our groups after completing the tour of Masada
DAY 5 Saturday, February 17 – Masada and Dead Sea 

We have an early breakfast before traveling south beginning with Masada, the mountain top Roman fortress where Jews sacrificed their lives to prevent rather than to succumb to Roman demands. The importance of Masada remains in the psychological and political mindset of many Israelis.

Roman encampment at the base of Masada

From Masada we travel to the Dead Sea, the lowest point on the earth. Bring your bathing suits so that you can take advantage of floating in water in which you will never sink due to the density of the salt content. The Dead Sea is also the source for natural ingredients found in many cosmetics. Changing rooms/showers and towels will be provided at the hotel, in addition to a buffet lunch at the hotel.

Late day return to Jerusalem. Dinner is independent tonight

Overnight: Jerusalem. (B, L )

NOTE: Shower facilities/towels, etc. will be available during the day.
DAY 6 Sunday, February 18 – Safed and the Galilee

This morning we check out of our Jerusalem hotel and drive to the northern part of Israel. En route, we will visit the city of Safed (also known in Hebrew as Tsfat).

Safed is a relatively small town with considerable charm. Until the establishment of Israel in 1948, Safed was primarily an Arab town but always had a religious Jewish minority, many of whom were adherents to the Kabbalah, a somewhat mystical sect within Judaism. Today, the population is nearly entirely Jewish and has become a center of art, both secular and religious. We will have time to explore this interesting town.

Safed (Tsfat) and its many streets of art galleries and ancient synagogues

Following Safed, we continue north into the Upper Galilee area, bringing us to our base for the next two nights, a kibbutz near the Golan Heights. This will not only provide a peaceful, rural setting, but an opportunity to learn about the role of kibbutzim (the plural for kibbutz) in the development of Israel in the 20th century, as well as the impact kibbutz life has had that has resulted in having so many successful “kibbutzniks” in Israel’s world of politics, academia and within the high-ranking military.

Overnight: Merom Golan. (B, L, D)

Private chalets at the kibbutz
DAY 7 Monday, February 19 – Galilee and Golan

 This morning following breakfast, we will have a visit with an officer from the IDF (Israel Defense Forces), who will share with us some of the activities that have been taking place in northern Israel. We will visit the border of Syria as seen from the Golan Heights, providing a very clear perspective as to the strategic reasons that has had Israel holding the Golan ever since capturing it from the Syrians after being attacked in June 1967.

With UN observers in the Golan, overlooking Syria and Lebanon

We will also visit a Druze  village,  as  well  as  enjoy  lunch  in  a  Druze  town  in  the  Golan  Heights. The Druze are an Arab speaking sect found primarily in the mountainous areas of northern Israel, Syria and Lebanon. Their religious practices and beliefs are known to few outsiders and Druze as a people often take on the allegiance of the country where they live. As a result, many Druze proudly serve in the Israeli defense forces and in the police.

Later this afternoon we visit one of the fine wineries that have been putting Israel on the map within the international wine industry. 

Dinner tonight will be home hospitality in our kibbutz neighborhood.

Overnight: Merom Golan. (B, L, D)

DAY 8 Tuesday, February 20 – Nazareth, Caesarea, Tel Aviv

 This morning we check out of our kibbutz and head to Nazareth, the largest Arab town within Israel’s pre-1967 borders. The Arab or also referred to as the Palestinian residents of Nazareth, are Israeli

citizens, thus holding Israeli passports. Historically a Christian city, said to be the home of Jesus, today’s population of Nazareth is majority Muslim. Our visit to Nazareth will include a visit to the Church of the Annunciation, as well as an Arab hi-tech firm, as Nazareth is becoming the base for the small, but growing Arab hi-tech industry.

Inside the Church of the Annunciation in Nazareth

Following our visit to Nazareth and lunch, we drive towards the coast and then south, stopping at the Roman archaeological site of Caesarea and learn more about the Roman presence in the Holy Land.

From Caesarea, we drive south along the coast, arriving to Tel Aviv by early evening.

Dinner tonight is independent with suggestions being provided. Many great options within walking or a short ride from our seaside hotel.

Overnight: Carlton, Tel Aviv. (B, L)

DAY 9 Wednesday, February 21 – Tel Aviv area 

 Today’s touring of Tel Aviv takes us approximately twenty minutes south to its sister city of Jaffa, a mixed Jewish and Arab town. We will have a walking tour of the historic parts of Jaffa and a sense of the mixed Jewish Arab neighborhoods of the city, as well as time to visit the portion of Jaffa where art galleries are located.

Prior to our arrival to Jaffa, we will visit an area of south Tel Aviv that has become home to the large community of African migrants who have found their way to Israel. Some are legal residents, some are not, a similar situation to what is taking place on the southern border in the US. We will visit a non-private organization of Israelis who try and help the migrants and their families cope with their lives in Israel.

Meeting with African asylum seekers in south Tel Aviv

Back in Jaffa, you will have time to have lunch on your own, as the heart of Jaffa has both the colorful flee market, which also has within its midst a wonderful mix of foodie opportunities, art, antiques and fun!

Lunch will be independent, so you can choose to sample the many offerings as you wish. Everything in Jaffa is within easy walking distance.

Lots of art galleries, antique shops and restaurants in Jaffa

Following our visit to Jaffa and your lunch, we drive to the Rabin Center, named after Yitzhak Rabin, the late Prime Minister who signed the Oslo Accords with PLO Chairman Yassar Arafat in September 1993 in a very hopeful ceremony with Bill Clinton on the White House lawn. The optimism from the signing was dashed as a right-wing extremist Israeli Jew assassinated Rabin in November 1995. The Rabin Center provides dramatic footage and background as to the development of the modern state of Israel and the many issues that have continually impacted this development.

We return to the hotel allowing you time to freshen up and enjoy the seaside amenities before regathering for dinner overlooking the Mediterranean.

Overnight in Tel Aviv. (B, D)


Tel Aviv seafront area
DAY 10 Thursday, Thursday 22 – Tel Aviv area

 More touring of Tel Aviv continues today, much of it on foot, walking thru various neighborhoods that show some of Tel Aviv’s development, including the Bauhaus architecture, Dizengoff, Neve Tzedek, the Florentine district and more.

This afternoon, enjoy lunch at a Yemenite restaurant, reflecting yet another of Israel’s many cultural influences as a result of its diverse population.

Return to your hotel by mid-afternoon with the remainder of the afternoon free. Optional activities can include renting bikes to travel the coastal or river paths around Tel Aviv, visit nearby galleries, do some shopping along commercial streets of Dizengoff and/or Rothschild Boulevard, or enjoy the beach or and seaside amenities.

We rendezvous this evening for a very special “Farewell Dinnerat an old home in Jaffa.

Overnight in Tel Aviv. (B, L, D)

Day 11 Friday, February 23 – Departure
Transfers will be arranged for all participants to the airport for their departing flights to their next destination. (B)

NOTE: For those going on the post tour to Jordan and Petra with Jerry, you will depart for your flight to the south and entrance to Jordan.



Herbert Samuel Hotel (Jerusalem)

Merom Golan (Upper Galilee)   

The Carlton Hotel (Tel Aviv) 



  • All touring and entrance fees on sites noted on itinerary.
  • Hotels (or similar) as described on itinerary, including breakfast.
  • All meals indicated by B, L, or D. Any other references to meals are for narrative purposes, only.
  • Honorariums for invited guest speakers
  • English speaking guide(s) and private bus with driver.
  • Bottled water at ALL group seatings for lunches or dinners and on the bus while touring. 
  • Airport transfers for those flying on the United Airlines group air.



  • Any purchases of a personal nature, hotel expenditures such as laundry, mini-bar, business center related expenses and spa expenses. All expenses in addition to included room and breakfast.
  • Gratuities for Israeli and Palestinian guides and drivers
  • Travel/trip insurance. Travel Insurance is strongly encouraged. Penalties in the case of cancellation or expenses in the event of an unexpected illness or injury can be costly.
  • International airfare to Tel Aviv. Iconic Journeys Worldwide will be happy to provide quotations and ticketing.
  • Private transfers for those not arriving on a group flight.

COST:  $7,925 per person.

February 13th – 23rd, 2024