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Israel Through the Ladder of Time: A Study Tour
Shalom is thrilled to announce the launch of this first and one-time only 19-day study tour of Israel in 2019. The tour will be led by Paul Forgasz. Paul has lectured in Bible and Jewish history for almost two decades at Monash University’s Australian Centre for Jewish Civilisation and is also a regular contributor to the Jewish Museum’s adult education program. He has led study tours under the auspices of the Museum to various destinations over the past nine years.
About the Tour
The tour will be accompanied by Ilan Bloch, who will be our full time guide and educator, and also oversee logistical arrangements. An expatriate Australian who made Aliyah more than a decade ago, Ilan is a highly skilled, passionate and engaging educator. He is the director of “Teaching Israel” and is committed to providing participants in his tours with a serious, intellectual and challenging engagement with the Land, People and State of Israel (http://www.teachingisrael.com).
Participation in this tour will provide you with an in-depth and detailed exploration of the Land of Israel through the ladder of time. The itinerary has thus been designed in a way which will enable you to experience the amazing story of the Jews in their land as an unfolding chronological narrative. At the many sites we will visit, under the expert guidance of both Paul and Ilan, you will step back in time and relive the events and significant historical moments that shaped the experience of the Jewish people in the land of Israel throughout the centuries. You will also be challenged to grapple with some of the key sociocultural, religious, ideological and geopolitical issues that confront the modern State of Israel.
The timing of the tour will also enable you to experience Yom Hashoa, Yom Hazikaron and Yom Ha’atzmaut commemorations and celebrations.
The local travel agent is FBI Travel. At the Israeli end, all land arrangements will be handled by “Ramah Programs in Israel” – an organisation which specialises in educational and experiential tourism in Israel.
Israeli Land Package
The tour price is USD 7100. The cost of a single supplement is USD 2397. AUD payments will be tied to the USD exchange rate.
Note: in order for this tour to proceed on the basis of the final quoted price, we will need firm commitments from a minimum of 16 people. You are therefore advised not to make any flight bookings until you are advised that the tour is definitely proceeding.
The following are included in the land package:
- Four star hotel accommodation (19 nights) and buffet breakfasts
- 10 evening meals and 2 lunches
- Full time local tour manager and guide
- Audio receivers and ear pieces
- Entrance fees to tour sites and deluxe motor coach travel as per itinerary
- Tips for bus drivers
- Study sessions (including coffee breaks) as per the itinerary and study materials
Not included in the price:
- Airfare and airport taxes
- Travel insurance
- Hotel transfers to and from the airport
- Tips for hotel staff (at your discretion)
- Hotel porterage
- Hotel extras such as mini bar, room service
- Meals other than breakfast and meals designated above
If you need any help with pre and post tour arrangements, booking of flights, or organising travel insurance, Tamara Menachem of FBI Travel, would be more than happy to assist. Tamara can be contacted on 8573 0915 or via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
What happens next?
Click on the following link to access the online registration page or cut and paste it into your browser.
At the time of registration you will be required to make a deposit of $2500 per person in order to secure your place on the tour.
To pay by credit card you will need to insert your card details in the registration form. A fee of 1.2% will be applied to VISA and Mastercard and 2% to American Express. If you prefer to pay by EFT, please advise accordingly in the comments box at the bottom of the registration page and relevant bank details will be emailed to you upon confirmation of registration.
Further payment of instalments will follow on dates to be advised. Payment of the single supplement will be added to the final instalment. For each instalment you will be invoiced for the equivalent Australian dollar amount based on the exchange rate at the time of invoicing. FBI Travel reserves the right to slightly vary the equivalent Australian dollar amount, as a buffer for any increase in the rate from point of invoice to paying the Italian supplier. However, appropriate account will be taken of this when calculating the Australian dollar amount of the final instalment.
Deposits will be held by FBI Travel until the first instalment is transferred to Jewish Italy, after which time deposits and subsequent payments will not be refunded if you wish to cancel your registration. You are therefore strongly advised to take out adequate and appropriate travel insurance to cover any unforeseen circumstances which might result in you not being able to participate in the tour. Also, as noted above, you should not make any flight bookings until you are advised that the tour is definitely proceeding.
Places on the tour are strictly limited and will be filled in order of receipt of registration forms.
As demand for hotels in Israel at this time of year is at an absolute premium, it is important that reservations can be secured as soon as possible. Early registration is therefore strongly encouraged.
TOUR ITINERARY (subject to revision)
DAY 1 – Tuesday 30 April
Make your own way to the King Solomon Hotel in Jerusalem. After settling in, we will gather in the late afternoon for an introductory study session. Before coming together for our welcome dinner, we will take a short walking tour of Mishkenot Sha’ananim, the first Jewish neighbourhood built outside the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem in the second half of the nineteenth century, where we will learn about the beginnings of the Jewish exodus from the Old City. Overnight in Jerusalem.
DAY 2 – Wednesday 1 May
In preparation for the coming two days, when the focus of our itinerary will be on biblical Israel, we will commence with a study session, during which we will examine the complex question of using the Bible as a historical source for reconstructing the history of ancient Israel. Today’s tour will include visits to three sites of biblical significance: (1) Tel Gezer, which serves as a good introduction to the geography of and Jewish settlement in the Land of Israel. It is also a site which provides us with an insight into the contested nature of biblical archaeology. (2) Sataf, an area of Israelite settlement during the period of the Biblical Judges, and a good example of where “site and source” come together. (3) Tel Azeka, where, according to the Bible, the encounter took place between David and Goliath. We will come together for an early dinner, prior to attending a Yom Hashoah ceremony in Jerusalem and discussing the place of the Shoah in Israeli society. Overnight in Jerusalem
DAY 3 – Thursday 2 May
The day will commence with a visit to Nebi Samuil, which, according to tradition, is the site of the prophet Samuel’s tomb. There we will examine the central role that he played in the anointing of Israel’s first two kings, Saul and David. We will then continue on to the “City of David”. The oldest part of Jerusalem, it was a settlement during the Canaanite period which David is said to have captured from the Jebusites some 3000 years ago. The area is pitted with archaeological digs as intensive efforts continue to uncover evidence of David’s city, a current source of controversy. Although the City of David is a national park and it is operated, by Elad, a Jerusalem-based foundation which aims to strengthen the Jewish connection to Jerusalem. It also funds the ongoing archaeological work. Tensions have arisen as excavations spread under properties of the predominantly Arab village of Silwan.
From Jerusalem we will head to Bet Guvrin-Tel Maresha National Park, which serves as a segue into the Hellenistic period of the history of the ancient Israel. Amongst other things, it contains the remains of a Hellenistic city which played an important role during the period of the Hasmoneans, as well as an amazing network of man-made caves that were used as quarries, burial caves, storerooms, industrial facilities, hideouts and dovecotes. Overnight in Jerusalem.
DAY 4 – Friday 3 May
Stepping back in time to the late Second Temple period, a time many consider Jerusalem’s “Age of Glory,” we will explore the city which was home to a diverse range of Jewish sects. We will visit the Jerusalem Archaeological Park where we will walk amongst remains of ancient arches, the city’s main shopping street, ritual baths and more. The Park also contains a museum which includes exhibits of ancient finds including oil lamps, pottery and coins, as well as a 3D-model of ancient Jerusalem. We will, of course, visit the Kotel, the Western Wall, including Azarat Yisrael, the highly controversial egalitarian prayer space. Our visit will include a tour of the Western Wall tunnels. The day will end with an optional visit to Machane Yehudah, Jerusalem’s marketplace, where you will experience the hustle and bustle of locals stocking up and getting ready for Shabbat. This evening we will gather for dinner in the hotel to celebrate Shabbat. Overnight in Jerusalem.
DAY 5 – Saturday 4 May
This morning you will have an opportunity to attend a Shabbat service at one of Jerusalem’s many and varied synagogues, visit family and friends, or simply relax. You will be able to pre-register for a Shabbat lunch at the hotel, followed by a pre-paid visit to the Israel Museum. In the late afternoon, we will gather for a study session focusing on the period of Second Temple Judaism, at the conclusion of which we will farewell the Shabbat with a havdala ceremony. Overnight in Jerusalem.
DAY 6 – Sunday 5 May
Continuing with our focus on the late Second Temple period, we will visit Qumran, where we will learn about the life and times of the Dead Sea Sect. This will be followed by a visit to Masada, where we will explore the last stand of the Jewish rebels against Roman rule in the Land of Israel in 74CE and consider how different understandings of the story might inform contemporary Israeli politics and diplomacy. The day will end with some free time at one of the Dead Sea beaches. Overnight in Jerusalem.
DAY 7 – Monday 6 May
Our day will begin with a study session devoted to the period following the destruction of the Temple in 70CE, culminating in 136CE with the failed Bar Kochba revolt. In preparation for our visit today and tomorrow, to a number of significant Christian sites, we will also learn about key events in the life of Jesus. Building on the study session, will visit Herodium, several kilometers from Jerusalem, a site which spans both the late-Second Temple and post-Destruction periods. Built by King Herod in the late Second Temple period as a small town and palace fortress, in the period after the destruction of the Temple it served as the secondary headquarters for the Bar Kochba revolt. Indeed, archaeological excavations at Herodian uncovered important evidence for the revolt.
Returning to Jerusalem, we will commence our visit to sites connected to the life and times of Jesus. The Church of St John the Baptist is, according to Christian tradition, the site where John the Baptist, the precursor of Jesus, was born. The Church of the Visitation honors the visit paid by the Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus, to Elizabeth, her cousin and the mother of John the Baptist. According to tradition, this is the site where Mary recited her song of praise, the Magnificat, one of the most ancient Marian hymns. The day will end with an optional walking tour of Meah Shearim, one of the oldest Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem and populated by various Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) communities. Overnight in Jerusalem.
DAY 8 – Tuesday 7 May
Today we continue our visit to various sites connected to Jesus in both the New Testament and later Christian tradition: Mitzpeh Rehavam, at the top of the Mount of Olives which is associated in the New Testament with a number of key events in the life of Jesus, including his ascension to heaven. The Via Dolorosa is the street along which Jesus walked toward the site of his death. The Church of the Holy Sepulcher is the traditional location of Jesus’ crucifixion, death, burial and resurrection. The Cenacle is the site of the Last Supper and the Dormition Abbey is where Mary, the mother of Jesus, died. Not far from the Abbey, we will conclude our tour with a visit to a site, which, according to a tradition beginning in the 12th century considered by some to be the burial place of King David, a figure of central importance in both Jewish and Christian tradition. In anticipation of Yom Ha’atzmaut, we will visit the “Alone on the Wall” museum devoted to the battle for Jerusalem’s Jewish Quarter in 1948. Following an early group dinner in the hotel, we will attend a local Yom Hazikaron ceremony and also reflect on the significance of both Yom Hazikaron and Yom Haatzamaut, as well as the juxtaposition between the two. Overnight in Jerusalem.
DAY 9 – Wednesday 8 May
Moving into the Muslim phase of our story, the day will begin with a visit to the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism. Referred to by Muslims as Haram al-Sharif (the Noble Sanctuary), this is the third holiest site for Islam, in which the Dome of the Rock and Al Aqsa Mosque are located. We will explore the Islamic history of the compound, and the Islamic connection to the city of Jerusalem, or Al-Quds. We will continue with a short tour of the Muslim Quarter which will include a meeting with a local resident; following which we will depart for Tel Aviv to participate in Yom Ha’atazmanut celebrations. Overnight in Tel Aviv.
DAY 10 – Thursday 9 May
Today, as we head towards the Galilee where we will spend the next few days, we will pick up the thread of our story in the post-Destruction period. In the aftermath of the upheaval and chaos with which the Jews had to contend after the fall of Jerusalem in 70CE and the failed Bar Kochba revolt in 135CE, the Jewish political and religious centre shifted from Judea to the Galilee, where Jewish life entered a new phase with the onset of the Rabbinic period. We will visit three important sites connected to this period – Caesarea, Bet Shearim and Tsippori – and examine the new relationship between Rabbinic Judaism and continuing Roman rule during its successive pagan and Christian phases. Overnight in Moshav Ramot.
DAY 11 – Friday 10 May
This morning we will head to nearby Safed (Tzfat) where we will have the opportunity to visit historic synagogues, shop in beautiful artists’ galleries and even taste some authentic Yemenite food. Safed played an important strategic role during the period of the Crusades, but it was a time when the Jewish story in the land of Israel receded into the background. However, with the onset of Ottoman rule in the land of Israel, Safed became a major centre of Jewish life in the aftermath of the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492. Whilst in Safed, we will learn about the important role that it played in the development of the Jewish mystical tradition.
Following our tour of Safed, we will head to the Golan Heights. Time permitting, we will see the Talmudic village of Katzrin and extend on the previous day’s exploration of the Rabbinic period. We will also visit two important lookout points: Mizpe Gadot, where we will explore the situation of the Israeli communities below the Heights between 1949 and 1967; and the ceasefire line with Syria at the Mt Bental Lookout. We will also discuss what is currently a hot topic in Israeli geopolitics – the question of whether Israel’s unilateral annexation of the Golan in 1981 should be formally recognized as falling under Israel sovereignty. In the evening we will come together for a group dinner to celebrate Shabbat. Overnight in Moshav Ramot.
DAY 12 – Saturday 11 May
Another Shabbat of rest and relaxation, including a group lunch. In our late afternoon study session, we will explore the different faces of Zionist thought and ideology, thereby introducing the next rung in our journey through the ladder of time: the emergence of Zionism as a modern movement of national self-determination. Overnight in Moshav Ramot.
DAY 13 – Sunday 12 May
Building on the previous day’s study session, we will visit a number of sites – Kinneret Cemetery, Rosh Pina and Kfar Giladi – connected with modern Israel’s first three waves of migration: the First, Second and Third Aliyot. At these sites, we will examine how the chalutzik (pioneering) ethos of these migrations gave practical expression to the different faces of Zionist ideology. We will then continue to Jerusalem for the next stage of our journey. Overnight in Jerusalem.
DAY 14 – Monday 13 May
Today, our visits to various sites are connected to the period of the British Mandate – the King David Hotel, the YMCA, the Palace Hotel (today the Waldorf Astoria), and the Underground Prisoners Museum, which used to serve as the central British jail Palestine. As the events associated with the final years of the British Mandate occurred against the backdrop of the Shoah, we will spend time at Yad Vashem, the Holocaust museum and remembrance centre. As part of today’s tour, we will also visit the Supreme Court where we will explore some of the seam lines in Israeli society today, followed by a short visit and photo-op outside the Knesset, at its famous menorah. Overnight in Jerusalem.
DAY 15 – Tuesday 14 May
This morning we depart Jerusalem for the Negev, out first stop being the grave of Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first Prime Minister. We will then continue to Mizpe Revivim, one of three pioneering outposts that were surreptitiously established in the desert during the last years of the British Mandate, the aim being to secure a Jewish foothold in the Negev. Here we will explore the concept of modern-day Zionist chalutzik (pioneering) vision and settlement, and its challenges. We will have lunch in Yerucham, in the home of a Mizrahi cook, who will tell us about her family’s life in the town, followed by a meeting with a Bedouin speaker who is a resident of a nearby unrecognized village. In the late afternoon we will head to Sderot. Overlooking the Gaza Strip, we will get some sense of a town living under the constant threat of rocket attacks. Overnight in Beersheba where we will also have a group dinner in the hotel.
DAY 16 – Wednesday 15 May
As we leave Beersheba, we will stop at the Park of the Australian Soldier, commemorating the ANZAC defeat of the Ottomans. Taking up the theme of the road to Independence, we will continue to the memorial at Latrun, one of the key battle sites of the 1948 War. Upon arrival in Tel Aviv, we will have a tour of the Israeli Museum in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Centre, which focuses on contemporary Israeli history and society. We will then visit Independence Hall, where Ben-Gurion issued the Declaration of Independence. Here we will also learn about the 2011 social justice protest movement. Our final stop will be at Levinsky Park, in southern Tel Aviv, currently home to more than 38,000 African refugees, the first major wave having arrived in 2006. The day will end with an optional walking tour of Old Jaffa. Overnight in Tel Aviv.
DAY 17 – Thursday 16 May
On this day trip to Jerusalem, we will focus on the geopolitics of Jerusalem as a microcosm of the wider Israeli-Palestinian conflict. We will critically explore and deconstruct the notion of Jerusalem as an “undivided capital” by visiting various sites connected with the city’s modern history, including: Haas Promenade, which overlooks the walls of the Old City; the Bell Outpost next to Kibbutz Ramat Rachel, a key battle site of 1948; the seam line, dividing western and eastern Jerusalem; the Mt. Zion Cable Car Museum, the cable car having been used by Zionist forces in 1948; Ammunition Hill, a key battle site of 1967; the neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, controversial because of Israelis who aim to evict Arab residents of previously Jewish owned properties; and an overlook of the wall section of the Israeli barrier dividing Shuafat Refugee Camp from Pisgat Zeev. At Sheikh Jarrah, we will meet with a local Palestinian activist involved in the controversy. Overnight in Tel Aviv.
DAY 18 – Friday 17 May
If the question of Jerusalem which we examined yesterday is perhaps a key obstacle on the Israeli side to reaching an agreement with the Palestinians, the question of the so-called Palestinian right of return is perhaps the key obstacle on the Palestinian side to reaching an agreement with Israel. Exploring the theme of “Return” we will commence our visit at the Tomb of Rachel. According to a prophecy in Jeremiah, Rachel the Matriarch, who is distraught when foreseeing her people being exiled to Babylon, Is assured by God that her descendants will return to the Land. We will view an audio-visual presentation at Kfar Etzion, the first Jewish settlement between Jerusalem and Hebron for almost two thousand years, from which Jews were banished, and to which they returned, three times. We will also visit the Lone Oak which could be seen from high points in “Israel proper” which were close to the Green Line, and was a symbol for nineteen years, before 1967, of yearning and a desire to return on the part of the Gush Etzion (Etzion Bloc) exiles, of which Kfar Etzion was a part. We will continue onto a Palestinian village, which, similar to Kfar Etzion, was depopulated in 1948, and discuss Palestinian narratives of return, including the idea of the “right of return.” Back in Tel Aviv, we will come together for dinner in the hotel to celebrate Shabbat. Overnight in Tel Aviv.
DAY 19 – Saturday 18 May
On this final day of the tour, in the morning you will have an opportunity to attend a Shabbat service at a local synagogue in Tel Aviv, visit family and friends, or simply relax. You will be able to pre-register for a Shabbat lunch at the hotel, followed by a pre-paid visit to Ben Gurion’s house. In the late afternoon, we will come together for our final study session, leading into our farewell dinner. Overnight in Tel Aviv.
DAY 20 – Sunday 19 May
Hotel checkout and departure.
(subject to final confirmation)
Jerusalem: King Solomon Hotel
Ramot (Galilee): Ramot Resort Hotel
Beer Sheba: Leonardo Negev Hotel:
Tel Aviv: Herods Hotel
The above hotels may be subject to revision depending on room availability at the time of making reservations. However, if bookings will need to be made for alternative hotels, they will be of a similar standard to the above.
ACCEPTANCE OF TERMS AND CONDITIONS WILL BE REQUIRED WHEN COMPLETING REGISTRATION
TERMS AND CONDITIONS
- Touring can involve a considerable amount of walking and stair climbing in places visited and it is important that tour participants have a level of physical fitness that allows them to take part in such activities without the need of assistance from others.
- “Ramah Programs in Israel” is responsible for making arrangements for the tour services offered here, including transportation, sightseeing, meals and hotel accommodation. FBI Travel acts only as agents for passengers in the making of arrangements with carriers, hoteliers, and others for the tour. Accordingly FBI Travel cannot accept liability for any act of omission, whether negligent or otherwise of those carriers, hoteliers or others providing services in connection with the tour over whom we have no direct or exclusive control.
- Shalom and FBI Travel do not accept responsibility for any damage to property or person(s) incurred during the course of this tour.
- Shalom and FBI Travel are not liable and accept no responsibility for any direct or indirect loss, financial loss, consequential loss, loss of enjoyment, pain & suffering, damage, injury, accident, delay or irregularity occasioned to the individual, whether caused by act, omission, negligence or otherwise while participating in this tour.
- Shalom and FBI Travel strongly recommend that individuals insure themselves against medical expenses and loss of personal possessions, and any other foreseeable loss or expense.
- It is the responsibility of tour participants to obtain suitable advice from a recognised health authority regarding any vaccinations or applicable health precautions.
- Tour participants are responsible for ensuring that they have a valid passports, visa and permits which meet the immigration and governmental requirements of the country of travel. Passports must be valid for at least six months upon return into Australia from overseas travel..
- Before travelling overseas Shalom and FBI Travel recommend you to register your travel and contact details online or at the local Australian embassy, high commission or consulate once you arrive so you can be contacted in an emergency.
- Upon registration, payment will be required of a $2500 deposit per person. Further payments instalments will follow in the lead up to the tour. Payment of the single supplement will be added to the second instalment. For each instalment you will be invoiced for the equivalent Australian dollar amount based on the exchange rate at the time of invoicing. FBI Travel reserves the right to slightly vary the equivalent Australian dollar amount, as a buffer for any increase in the rate from point of invoice to paying the German supplier.
- In order for this tour to proceed on the basis of the quoted price, we will need firm commitments from a minimum of 16 people. You are therefore advised not to make any flight bookings until you are advised that the tour is definitely proceeding.
- Deposits will be held by FBI Travel until the first instalment is transferred to “Ramah Programs in Israel,” after which time deposits and subsequent payments will not be refunded if you wish to cancel your registration. Deposits held by FBI Travel will be returned if the tour does not go ahead due to lack of numbers.
Places on the tour are strictly limited and will be filled in order of receipt of registration forms. Successful applicants will be notified once the tour group is filled. Prospective tour participants should not make any flight arrangements until advised that the tour is definitely proceeding and that their registrations have been accepted.