Price range
From $3375 per person
Upcoming Date
07-17 November 2023
Tour Time
11 Days (Inc. Arv./Dpt.)

Israel: A Country of Contradictions  
 
A small country with a massive impact. Ancient walls and wells of innovation. A multiethnic democracy with difficult security challenges. Explore these contrasts with Minnesota legislators and community leaders.  
 
JCRC’s Israel Study Tour explores the complexities and beauty of modern Israel, diverse religious histories of the Holy Land, and Minnesota’s many connections with this remarkable country and its resilient people. 

Highlights

Single Supplement $700

Itinerary

1 - Tuesday ( November 7 ) : Welcome to Israel

v

Activities:

  • 5:35 p.m. Arrival at Ben Gurion Airport

  • Transfer to Jerusalem

  • Orientation and Ice Breakers - Meeting room at the hotel

  • Jerusalem Bat Sheva Hotel

Overnight: Jerusalem Bat Sheva Hotel
Meal Plan: No meals included

2 - Wednesday ( November 8 ) : Government in Motion

v

Activities:

  • Breakfast at the hotel

  • Begin the day at the Knesset - The Knesset, Israel's parliament, was named after “Haknesset Hagedolah,” the Great Assembly of the Second Temple period. Today it stands as a symbol of both Jewish sovereignty and dedication to democracy. In lively, often heated, debates, its 120 elected members reflect the divergence of Israeli public opinion, legislate and oversee the workings of the government.

  • Briefing with leading Israeli journalist

  • Meet Knesset Members

  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs - Meet Deputy Consul General Daniel Aschheim, pending availability

  • Continue to the Israel Museum- time for lunch on your own - Visit the unique collections and expansive grounds of the Israel Museum, the country’s national museum. Linger over the renowned international and Israeli art, the world’s most complete Judaica collections and the charming Billy Rose Sculpture Garden. You can also visit the Shrine of the Book, home to the exceptional archaeological finds of the Dead Sea Scrolls and other rare ancient manuscripts.

  • Dinner at Cafe Shalva - Shalva is a Jerusalem based organization that provides services to children with special needs and their families. Graduates of Shalva work at the café, and the café’s profits go back to the center to support its programs.

  • Jerusalem Bat Sheva Hotel

Overnight: Jerusalem Bat Sheva Hotel
Meal Plan: breakfast, dinner

3 - Thursday ( November 9 ) : Jerusalem- Holy to All

v

Activities:

  • Breakfast at the hotel

  • Begin the day at the Mount of Olives - The Mount of Olives offers a panoramic lookout over the city. There are countless Jewish, Christian and Muslim traditions about Mt. Olives, including that from here the Messiah will come, and from here the dead will be resurrected in the vision of the End of Days. Enjoy a beautiful lookout of the Holy Basin, the old and new city of Jerusalem.

  • Garden of Gethsemane and Church of All Nations - At the foot of the Mount of Olives, the Church of All Nations, or Basilica of the Agony, is built over the rock where Jesus is believed to have prayed in agony the night before his crucifixion. Inside, the atmospheric church is kept in semi-darkness, to reflect the somber and sobering location.

  • Tour the Old City - Tour Jerusalem’s Old City and meet the people and places that make this place so unique. In the Jewish Quarter, uncover the layers of Jewish history from the time of the First Temple until the present day. In the Christian Quarter, visit the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, and, if conditions permit, visit the one of the holiest Muslim sites, the Temple Mount. Throughout the tour explore the complexity of a city that is holy to these three major religions.

  • Lunch on your own in the Old City

  • Drive to Gush Etzion to meet Racheli Fraenkel at the Boy's Promenade - On June 12, 2014 Gil-Ad Shaer, Naftali Fraenkel and Eyal Yifrah, were kidnapped and murdered by Hamas on their way home for the weekend. The Gush Etzion Regional Council and the Gush Etzion Foundation decided to memorialize the boys by building a promenade, to be known as the “Boys’ Promenade”, at the Gush Etzion junction. Meet Racheli Fraenkel, mother of Naftali, to hear her story.

  • Machane Yehuda Market Tasting tour - In the heart of Jerusalem sits this bustling, multi-ethnic market bursting with life, art, and flavor. The Machane Yehuda Market is an adventure for your taste buds! Enjoy the hustle and bustle with all the rich fragrances, colors, and sounds this iconic Jerusalem market offers. On Thursday nights the market's nightlife is at its peak!

  • Jerusalem Bat Sheva Hotel

Overnight: Jerusalem Bat Sheva Hotel
Meal Plan: breakfast, Machane Yehuda Tasting Tour

4 - Friday ( November 10 ) : History, Memory, and Shabbat Hospitality

v

Activities:

  • Breakfast at the hotel

  • Yad Vashem - Visit the museum at Yad Vashem, Israel’s National Memorial to the Holocaust. Tour this memorial to the darkest moment in world and Jewish history, its children’s memorial, and exquisite gardens. Yad Vashem is an unforgettable place of tribute and remembrance. You'll be guided by a member of the Yad Vashem staff.

  • Continue to Mount Herzl - As Israel’s national cemetery, Mount Herzl is the final resting place of leaders of Zionism and Israel, including Yitzhak Rabin and Herzl himself, and of thousands of soldiers killed defending the State of Israel. At Mount Herzl you will find a moving monument to the 28,000-odd soldiers and civilians killed in combat or by terrorism since the founding of the state.

  • Free time and lunch on your own

  • Optional- Walk to the Western Wall to welcome Shabbat

  • Shabbat Dinner Shabbat of a Lifetime - The Shabbat of a Lifetime program offers an opportunity for people of all backgrounds to experience an authentic Shabbat (Jewish Sabbath) at the home of a host family in the heart of Jerusalem. Shabbat of a Lifetime participants receive an informative introduction to Shabbat while dining on a five-course meal with their hosts.

  • Jerusalem Bat Sheva Hotel

Overnight: Jerusalem Bat Sheva Hotel
Meal Plan: breakfast, dinner

5 - Saturday ( November 11 ) : The West Bank

v

Activities:

  • Breakfast at the hotel

  • Depart for Bethlehem - After crossing through the check point at Kever Rachel, continue to Bethlehem. Visit the traditional birthplace of Jesus, the site where the The Church of the Nativity now stands. This is also one of the oldest Christian churches in existence. During the Crusades, it was a primary place of pilgrimage. See artwork by the infamous Banksy on the security barrier (separation wall) and spend some time discussing his increased presence in the West Bank since 2003.

  • Meet the Mayor of Bethlehem or a Palestinian Authority Official

  • See the Al Bawadi olive tree - The Al Badawi olive tree in Bethlehem, which researchers peg to somewhere between 4,000 and 5,000 years old, is likely the oldest living olive tree in the world

  • Local lunch with focus on olives

  • Pick olives with locals - Hear how olive trees have become a symbol of politics and sustenance. Visit a local olive press.

  • Meeting with Parents Circle Family Forum - The Parents Circle-Families Forum is a grassroots organization of Palestinian and Israeli families who have lost immediate family members due to the conflict. The PCFF operates under the principle that a process of reconciliation is a prerequisite for achieving a sustained peace.

  • Return to Jerusalem - Evening on your own

  • Jerusalem Bat Sheva Hotel

Overnight: Jerusalem Bat Sheva Hotel
Meal Plan: breakfast, lunch

6 - Sunday ( November 12 ) : The Lowest Place on Earth

v

Activities:

  • Breakfast at the hotel - Check out of the hotel

  • Early departure from the hotel for the Dead Sea area

  • Masada National Park - Ascend the mountain by foot or cable car to explore Masada, scene of the epic stand by Jewish rebels at the end of the Great Revolt against Rome nearly 2,000 years ago. The new museum at the Visitor Center reveals the secrets of the daily life of the rebels, the story of the excavations, and how the site became one of Israel’s most important symbols.

  • Dead Sea for swim and lunch - Israel’s Dead Sea is the lowest point on earth, a stunning, other-worldly landscape of shimmering blue water ringed by bare, orange and yellow hills. The waters of the Dead Sea hold a potent solution of minerals and salts that have strong healing properties. Together with its ethereal beauty, these health-giving minerals make the Dead Sea’s beaches and spas popular vacation spots for Israelis and tourists alike. At one of the local hotels, have lunch and 'float' in the Dead Sea.

  • Drive to Tel Aviv - Check into your hotel

  • Dinner on your own in Tel Aviv

  • Optional walking tour of Tel Aviv's Zionist history - Inspired by the Freedom Trail in Boston, the new Independence Trail leads to 10 of Tel Aviv’s heritage sites teaching visitors the history of this great city along the way. The trail begins at the intersection of tree-lined Rothschild Boulevard and Herzl Street, home to Tel Aviv’s first kiosk. The trail ends across the street at Independence Hall, where on May 14, 1948, David Ben-Gurion read aloud the Declaration of Independence as Israel was declared an independent Jewish state.

  • Tel Aviv Port Hotel

Overnight: Tel Aviv Port Hotel
Meal Plan: breakfast, lunch

7 - Monday ( November 13 ) : Tel Aviv-Old-New City

v

Activities:

  • Breakfast at the hotel

  • Start touring Jaffa in the Ajami Neighborhood - Tour the Ajami neighborhood of Jaffa, a predominantly Arab neighborhood in Jaffa, you’ll hear a challenging narrative about the city and its history. Continue your tour through Jaffa, enjoying the beauty of the winding streets and the beautiful port with its biblical reference.

  • Continue touring Jaffa - Jaffa is one of the most ancient port cities in Israel and the Mediterranean basin. Today Jaffa is a mixed city, where Jews and Arabs live alongside each other. Tel Aviv, Jaffa's younger sister, was established centuries later, in the year 1909, but the two were united into one municipality in 1949, yet each part kept its unique feel and atmosphere.

  • Lunch on your own Jaffa Flea Market - Wind your way through the Flea Market which features everything from antiques to hip new clothing and design stores, cafes, restaurants, and bars.

  • Tech2Peace - Tech2Peace provides high-tech and entrepreneurial training alongside conflict dialogue to young Palestinians and Israelis. They partner with leading organizations like Google for Startups, Microsoft, and MIT to provide the best professional opportunities. At the same time, they use conflict dialogue and team-building activities to create a safe space for young people of all backgrounds and beliefs to meet, express their beliefs, and work with the "other side."

  • Dinner at BlackOut Restaurant - BlackOut is the only dark restaurant in Israel and, one of 14 that operate worldwide. At BlackOut you say goodbye to the sense of sight and immediately feel how the other senses are awakened and sharpened in complete darkness. The waitstaff lead you inside and serve you a selection of dishes full of inspiration from a varied menu, which also includes a rich selection of wines. The unique culinary experience along with the encounter with the waiters who are all blind or visually impaired makes the visit to the restaurant an extraordinary and unforgettable experience.

  • Tel Aviv Port Hotel

Overnight: Tel Aviv Port Hotel
Meal Plan: breakfast, dinner

8 - Tuesday ( November 14 ) : Living on the Edge

v

Activities:

  • Breakfast at the hotel

  • Tour the Gaza border area with Grisha Yakubovich - Stop at key lookout points for an in-depth discussion of the complexity of the Gaza Border situation. Grisha Yakubovich served in the Israel Defence Forces for 30 years, ending his career as Head of the Civil Coordination Department of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT). He now consults and guides educational tour of the Gaza Border and the West Bank.

  • Hummus lunch in Sderot

  • Stop at Netiv HaAsara - Striving for Peace at Netiv HaAsara, a moshav on the western border of Israel with the Gaza Strip. Visit the Peace Wall on the border. Meet Tsameret Zamir, an artist and the creator of the project who will talk about life in the moshav in the shadow of the ongoing security situation – and about the hope of a good and peaceful future. Choose a colorful optimistic tile on which to write a personal wish and later glue to the border wall.

  • Continue to Rehovot - Rehovot is Minneapolis' Jewish Community Partnership City. Meet the partnership members and get to know the community.

  • Dinner in Rehovot

  • Return to Tel Aviv

  • Tel Aviv Port Hotel

Overnight: Tel Aviv Port Hotel
Meal Plan: breakfast, lunch, dinner

9 - Wednesday ( November 15 ) : Physical and Spiritual Heights

v

Activities:

  • Breakfast at the hotel - Check out of the hotel

  • Drive north

  • Stop at Yardenit Batismal site - The Baptismal site Yardenit is situated at the southern end of the Sea of Galilee. This is where the Jordan River flows out of the Sea of Galilee on its way down to the Dead Sea. These are the waters in which Jesus was said to have been baptized by John the Baptist.

  • Visit St. Paul's Partnership Region - Sovev Kinneret is St. Paul's Jewish Community Partnership Region and includes Tiberias, the Jordan Valley, and the Lower Galilee.

  • Continue to Capernaum - Located on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee, Capernaum was a fishing village in the days of Jesus. As the place in which Jesus, Peter, and the Apostles lived and preached, Capernaum is a main site of pilgrimage for Christians.

  • Drive to the Golan Heights - Learn about the recent history of the region and explore the issues that have confronted Israel during the civil war in Syria. Stop at Har Bental, an extinct volcano and an army stronghold.

  • Druze Home Hospitality - Visit and dinner in one of the Druze villages of the Galilee or the Golan. The Druze are known for their hospitality and warm welcome of visitors. Learn about their fascinating history, unique religion, an ancient tradition.

  • Drive to the hotel and check in - Dinner at the hotel

  • North Hagoshrim Hotel

Overnight: North Hagoshrim Hotel
Meal Plan: breakfast, lunch, dinner

10 - Thursday ( November 16 ) : What This Land Has Seen

v

Activities:

  • Breakfast at the hotel

  • Tour Israel's northern border with Lebanon - Lookout over the Israel-Lebanese border from Metula and hear about the geopolitics of the area with Lieutenant Colonel (Res.) Sarit Zehavi, CEO and founder of Alma, a non-profit independent research and education center specializing in Israel’s security challenges on its northern border.

  • Rosh Hanikra - Travel to Rosh Hanikra ("Head of the Grottos"), with the stunning chalk-white cliffs at Israel’s northernmost coastal border. Enjoy the view of the Mediterranean coastline stretched out before you, then take the cable car down beneath the cliffs to the grottos below and tour the system of underground marine caves eroded by pounding waves over thousands of years.

  • Lunch on your own in Wadi Nisnas - Wadi Nisnas is one of Haifa’s most colorful neighborhoods, full of narrow streets, picturesque stone houses, and the Wadi Nisnas market. It is a mixed neighborhood that captures the nature and atmosphere of the city of Haifa - a city of many faiths and communities, that live alongside each other in an exemplary co-existence. The Wadi Nisnas market is the place to go and experience some of the local flavors: taste pastries, spiced tea, the best falafel in Israel, and strong Turkish coffee, along with other delicatessens and aromas that will have your mouth watering.

  • Drive to Tel Aviv - Check in

  • Dinner on your own

  • Tel Aviv Port Hotel

Overnight: Tel Aviv Port Hotel
Meal Plan: breakfast

11 - Friday ( November 17 ) : Bringing it Home

v

Activities:

  • Breakfast at the hotel

  • Optional bike tour of Tel Aviv - Details will be given on the detailed information form you will receive after registering.

  • Meet native Minnesotan Julie Fisher at Kuchinate - Travel to colorful Kuchinate: African Refugee Women’s Cooperative, for a coffee ceremony and to hear the story of this incredible social start-up. Meet founders Diddy Mymin Kahn and Sister Aziza, who have turned the lives of refugee women around by empowering them to find their voices and regain their dignity after very difficult life circumstances.

  • Nahalat Binyamin Arts and Crafts Market - Visit Nachalat Binyamin, an open-air market in the heart of Tel-Aviv that has become synonymous with quality Israeli crafts and folk art. The market is comprised of over 100 stands representing specialty crafts and folk art in virtually every medium imaginable: wood, stone, sand, glass, ceramics, and various metals with most if not all containing materials or themes found only in Israel.

  • Final dinner

  • Transfer to the airport

Overnight: Tel Aviv Port Hotel
Meal Plan: breakfast, dinner

FAQ

Important Flight Information for JCRC Mission

v
Please book air travel to arrive at Ben Gurion Airport no later than 5:35 p.m. on November 7, 2023 Recommended flight is DL234 from JFK to TLV departing November 6 at 11:45 p.m.

What documents do I need to travel to Israel?

v
US and Canadian citizens are not required to obtain a visa for travel to Israel. Citizens from all other countries will need to check with their respective embassies/consulates or visa agency to determine if a visa is required. You can also check here. Your passport needs to be valid for 6 months from the date you leave Israel after your trip. Other documentation, such as that which relates to COVID-19 (for example) may be required. We will update this section with all relevant information as it becomes available.

Are medical and travel insurance necessary? Where can I purchase it?

v
Health Insurance It is a condition of your booking through Via Sabra / Israel4All, as well as the State of Israel, that you obtain travel health insurance which includes coverage for COVID-19. https://www.travelinsured.com/agency/?p=ViaSabra   Travel Insurance We strongly recommend that you purchase full travel insurance which includes coverage for ‘cancellation under any circumstances and for any reason’. It is recommended to purchase insurance as soon as the booking is made, as this cover is often dependent on purchasing as close to the time of booking. You can purchase travel insurance with our partner, Travel Insured, an experienced company and one of the largest in the industry through this link.

Terms of Payment

Deposit is due immediately to secure the booking.

Balance for the trip is due no later than 45 days prior to first day of trip.

Please refer to our full Terms and Conditions here.

Cancellation Policy

Bookings can be cancelled within 48 hours, with a full refund.

Should it be necessary to cancel or postpone the tour due to force majeure circumstances, or Israeli government-imposed/air flight restrictions related to COVID-19,  a full refund may be possible, minus a $200 per person service fee.

For cancellations made:

  • Up to 45 days prior to departure, any payments made above the deposit towards the tour will be refunded. The deposit is non-refundable
  • 45 to 30 days prior to departure, 50% of the total tour cost per person will be refunded
  • 29 to 8 days prior to departure, 25% of the total tour cost per person will be refunded
  • 7 to 0 days prior to departure, the client will incur 100% of the cost of the tour

Should members of a group booking cancel their participation, their deposits cannot be applied to the balance payment of other group members.

All cancellation requests must be made in writing.

What’s Included
Group VIP arrival and departure services v
A private, licensed, English speaking tour guide v
Bottles of water, as needed, and snacks v
Fees for sites and activities listed v
Group transfers to & from the airport v
Hotel accommodation v
Meals as listed in the itinerary v
Tips for tour guides and drivers v
Flight and Health Insurance- https://www.travelinsured.com/agency/?p=ViaSabra v
Airfare v
COVID-19 health insurance coverage (required) v
Optional and suggested activities v

Would you like to stay in touch?

Early bird special - $200 off per person.

Available only between October 1-10, 2021!!

Registration for the trip will open on October 1. Fill out this form to be notified when registration for the trip opens, so you can take advantage of early bird special pricing!

Would you like to stay in touch?

Skip to content