are limiting the 2015 trip to 40 people. The
finalized dates for the upcoming 2015 trip are in
October 30th - November 9th, 2015. FYI:
This just might be the last trip I lead...for a
Are you in? Or do
you know of anyone who might be interested in going?
please forward this website
to the right people.
and what is included in the trip is listed below. Plus, we will email you
a document responding to FAQs.
POTENTIAL FUTURE TRIPS
for info...and to be put on the list of
interested in a future Israel trip.
Many of our seasoned travelers from previous trips to Israel have
commented this this is the best tour they have ever
experienced...anywhere. We work hard to make this a
reality for each group.
We are planning some new experiences this year. One idea includes some
optional hiking along a segment of the famous
Jesus Trail (from Nazareth to
An all-time high for tourism was set in 2010 with 3.45 million tourists
arriving in Israel throughout the year. The previous
record-breaking year was 2008 with 3 million tourists.
2010 saw an increase of 14% from 2008.
T O U R L E A D E R Joel A. Freeman, Ph.D.
Haim Gutin, (Israel Commissioner for
Tourism, North/South America) said, “What an
amazing time for Israel. We are so very thankful for
all of our dear Christian friends who contributed to
making 2010 the best year ever for tourism to Israel.”
February 2012 tourism figures outstripped
the previous record set in February 2010 by 4 percent,
and were 6% higher than last February. An estimated
388,900 tourists have come to Israel since the
beginning of 2012.
A trip to Israel is safe, affordable, and
transforming. Israel is the land of the Bible and it
connects you with the roots of your faith in a way
that is truly life-changing. You’ll
never be the same.
"We welcome you to the promise of a life-changing
experience. Get ready for the next trip." -- Joel A. Freeman
T H E T E A M
(tour guides, hotels, transportation, et al)
Raz Zabar is an officially trained
Israeli tour guide and he will be providing the
direction for the entire tour. He runs his own date
farm. Come on this trip
with a lot of questions, because he possesses a
deep/wide reservoir of historical, biblical and
geographical knowledge. You
will learn much from him on this trip. Joel Freeman
will help to fill in with some added geographical,
and topographical information, along with spiritual
Basketball Metaphor:Raz does the play-by-play. Joel provides the color commentary.
Raz Zabar and Joel Freeman
Iftah Burman (MELA
Iftah Burman is an
officially trained and registered Israeli tour
guide. Iftah runs the
East Learning Academy and is extremely
knowledgeable about history, the Bible, and the
Palestinian / Israeli situation.
Israeli guides are the best trained guides in the
world. We absolutely love both Raz and Iftah. As we
get closer to the Oct/Nov 2016 tour we will know
exactly which one will be our guide. They
both are a lot of fun. The best two guides
in all Israel. And we're not kidding...
Pastor's Appreciation Month -- Give the gift of a
trip to the Holy Land to your pastor and spouse. I
like to tell people that ten days in Israel is
almost like two semesters of intensive Bible School
There's nothing quite seeing what is being read in the Scriptures.
And this trip will make the Bible come alive like
nothing else can.
you are a member of a congregation, drop the hint
with a few people to see if the idea gathers some
traction. Let us know how we can help...
INSIDE ISRAEL -- watch 3 minute film trailer
We believe that people who travel to
the Holy Land:
Are in search of a deeper understanding of their
faith -- physically, spiritually & emotionally.
Desire to add color & depth to the faith story
that has already shaped their lives.
Long to see, touch, & encounter real places &
real people that bring real meaning to the Bible.
(Below are some live web cam shot of
the Western Wall & the Old City, Jerusalem).
that groups (large or small)
that travel together:
Gain spiritual enrichment in learning together
“on site” as they walk where Jesus walked, follow in
the steps of Paul, and view the Promised Land as
Build community by strengthening bonds among
members, bringing together generations, and reaching
out to non-members.
At the Western Wall
with a bunch of kids gathered around Bobbie Williams (NFL
player for 13 years).
He attracted attention pretty much everywhere we went.
"Visiting Israel is something everybody should experience."
Williams (NFL Ravens Champion)
"I took a trip to Israel with Joel Freeman in 2014 and our
time was an experience beyond my wildest dreams. Joel orchestrated a tremendous
experience for our group which included me -- a former NFL chaplain -- and one
of our Super Bowl winning players and his family. If you're a professional
athlete, Joel understands the unique travel needs you and your family will have.
We had top tier accommodations all the way! Thanks Joel for a life-changing
experience." -- Rod Hairston, NFL Chaplain
(retired), Baltimore Ravens
MEMORIES FROM PREVIOUS TRIPS
Exhilarating. Exhausting. Educational.
2014 group with Israeli guide,
Iftah Burman (right), in front of the Western Wall. The kid
taking the picture almost cut Rod Hairston (Chaplain
for NFL Baltimore Ravens) out of the picture (left).
"This was my first group trip and it was a great
experience." -- Angie
was overwhelmed, awestruck, humbled, and inspired -- all at
the same time. Not only will the Bible come alive as you read it, but
you will also gain a
perspective of the nation of Israel
-- past, present and future. " -- Bill
2012 group with Israeli guide, Raz Zabar
explaining the significance of King David's City
"The 2012 trip to Israel was conducted with a great deal of
thought and planning that far exceeding my expectations. I
am still baffled of how well this trip went. I am even
getting “goose bumps” while I am typing this. With all the
noise of the troubles Israel faces I never once felt unsafe
or even thought that the planned locations of the trip put
us in harm’s way. For the price that I paid I received way
more that it was worth. All of the sites were my favorite
because they had their own story which was fascinating and
breathtaking to me. I absolutely hated group trips before
this one because of past experiences but knowing Joel,
trusting his judgment and embracing his friendship I took
the challenge and loved every moment of the trip and group
that I was so honored to be with during this trip. Joel and
Raz were/are AWESOME together and this synergy, coupled with
the grace of God, is what made the trip so beautiful and
honorable. I am so blessed and humbled to know God, Joel,
Raz, and the group that I was so fortunate to spend time
with. Thank you Joel Freeman from the bottom of my heart."
2012 group with Meron Reuben
(former Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations)
after he had
provided us with an fascinating overview of the challenges
faced by the State of Israel
"Thanks for a great trip. We
really enjoyed being with your group. Everyone was
really friendly and good to be with. We are home now
and catching up on our naps. Keep us tuned in to
your future trips to Israel. Thanks again for your
effort in making the trip worthwhile." -- Oscar
2012 group in a field of
flowers, which will be desert within weeks
"Thank you for the wonderful trip.
Prior to going on the trip I did not know exactly
what to expect. I suppose I thought it would be like
other vacations we have taken to other parts of the
world. It was not at all anything like any other
trip I have taken. It was a surreal trip into all
those Bible stories I learned as a child. It helped
me to put them into a historical sequence instead of
individual stories. I guess I loved Masada the
best. I can relate to a mother hiding her children.
I loved floating in the Dead Sea and wished we had
had an extra day there. I loved seeing the River
Jordan and participating in the Baptism. I was
amazed to find out that the Sea of Galilee was
really just a lake. I guess I expected the Sea of
Galilee to be larger. I loved being in the places
where David hid and slew Goliath and lamented the
death of Saul. It was interesting to learn about
Herod and to find out that Jesus was really born in
a cave. It has inspired me to be sure my
Grandchildren learn all of these Bible stories as
well. I have told them to include at least
one Bible story to the bed time stories we read when
they spend the night. All in all it was a wonderful
experience and I love that we had great leaders we
could count upon. On your trip I felt I was able to
sit where it made me comfortable and I could talk to
whom I pleased and I could get to know people as I
wished. Thank you for picking Raz. He was great. I
would definitely recommend this trip to my friends.
It was the most unique vacation I have ever taken."
2012 group on top of Masada -- Herod's ancient
fortification near the Dead Sea.
The black line indicates the original walls before
the reconstruction of those walls.
"We had a wonderful experience in
Israel! We are so glad that our friends invited us
to take this trip. Thank you for all you did to make
this trip a success. Raz was great! We truly enjoyed
meeting and interacting with him. We are enjoying
reviewing all the photos we took (1,000+). I am
annotating each one. It will take me several more
days (weeks?) to get it all done, but worth the
effort as I am happily re-living the trip while doing
it." -- Jim and Rita
2012 group with the Mount of Olives in the background
"Kudos for creating our superb
Discovery Tour of Israel (Spring 2012)! Joel, thanks
to your attention to detail and hands-on approach.
Our Israel tour was a rare in-depth spiritual
journey -- plus a comprehensive view of Israel's
past, present and critical future. We didn't just
visit Israel; we brought the meaning of the Holy
Land home with us. Thanks again for the journey
of a lifetime." -- Terry and Carolyn
Off to another site! Thoughtful gazes and naps on the bus!
"Funniest Camel Ride" -- optional experience from a previous
trip to Israel
"A visit to Israel is an unforgettable experience. It's the
trip of a lifetime and so much more than I expected. The
sites transported me to events of thousands years past --
the Old Testament through the New Testament. It's all about
God. In Israel I understand that this is the birth place of
three faiths -- Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The
differences in culture and theology are hard to ignore, but
the richness of the land and the resilience of the people
are undeniable. Beauty, history, landscape and culture will
draw me back to Israel one day, but as I wait, I will share
Israel's story with my own beloved country. And, I will hope
that it draws you to visit one day soon." -- Miriam
Joel & Shirley Freeman at En Gedi
What Motivates Us to Lead Trips to Israel?
It takes an inordinate amount of time, energy &
“brain-damage” to put together a group trip to Israel.
Every traveler has legitimate questions and needs and
we try to anticipate as many in advance as possible.
Some issues are more detailed than others.
The process starts about 10-11 months prior to each trip. And there are
endless discussions with tour operators, our travel
agent and guides. We are always searching for the best
pricing, coupled with the most excellent hotels, food
and customer service. One could be exhausted before
the tour even starts in Israel. Plus, the Middle
Eastern region of the world ain’t the safest place on
So, why do we bother leading annual trips to the Holy
Land? Good question. We do not even have to hesitate
with our response.
- It’s because of the impact each trip has on the
lives of every person who takes the journey.
We get the joy of watching the decision-making process
every person goes through before they sign on to such
- It’s seeing the excited looks on people’s faces when they
learn the behind-the-scenes historical backdrop to many
sites throughout the region.
- It’s knowing that each person who has experienced
the Holy Land will now not only “read” the
Bible, but they will be “seeing” what they are
- It’s the testimonials we receive from people, months
after they have taken a trip to Israel.
We put a lot of thought into
developing a trip that most of the other larger tour groups
are not able to visit. We welcome you to be a part of
the next trip (March). It's going to be an
What's so Different About this Israel Trip?
There are many
options when it comes to traveling to Israel.
Our tours are different.
We keep the numbers
small, which makes us much more nimble and we
connect much better as a group than groups
with, let's say, 2-5 tour buses.
We are very
experienced. Raz Zabar is a registered Israeli
tour guide. Very intelligent. Loves people. A
military man. Knows the land from various
disciplines -- geographical, topographical,
archaeological, Scriptural, historical, etc.
Raz is not jaded. He approaches each tour with
a great passion that you can feel -- as if it
was his first tour group.
We plan surprises every
trip. For instance the former Israeli
Ambassador to the United Nations showed up
during our last trip to give our group a
90-minute briefing about the situation in the
Middle East. Extremely enlightening!!!
We have a lot of fun!
Each group develops its own personality. When
people travel together excellent
friendships, camaraderie and fond memories
If we happen to have
extra time, we even throw in an extra
previously unplanned site, if our group is
willing and able.
We go to the
archaeological site near David's City and
actually get our hands dirty searching through
pails of dirt excavated from under the Temple
Mount. In past trips some have found jewelry,
a first Temple coin, marble, etc.
Make contact as soon as possible so that
your spot on the trip will be secured for you. First
come, first served. Every person who has been on
this trip tells us that we should have charged more
for the trip. But we are committed to keeping the
pricing as inexpensive as possible -- at the same
time never skimping on the quality of hotels, food,
travel & customer service."
2015 Trip Theme
The Three Kings:
King Herod – King David – King Jesus
Here is a
tentative overview of the itinerary for this upcoming memorable trip to the Holy
fly from the USA (JFK) to Tel Aviv via
They are six hours ahead of NYC time in Israel. Since Tel Aviv is located in the northern region of
Israel, we will spend the first 3-4 days in and around
the Sea of Galilee region. This itinerary is an
overview. We will try to slip in a few surprises to
give everyone a sense of adventure throughout the
day, we will arrive in Tel Aviv afternoon. Once we are all on the bus with our luggage,
we will stop off at Caesarea to get a quick
view of the beautiful seaport built by Herod. And then
we will travel to our first hotel. The evening will be
spent eating and sitting by the Sea of Galilee,
watching the sun go down over the hills. Absolutely
will be in one hotel in the Galilee/Tiberias
region (Ramot Resort) for three days, taking day trips around the
region. And then when we move south, we will work out of one hotel
in the Dead Sea region and then only one more in
Jerusalem for the rest of
the trip. This makes it easier for everyone to
settle down in one familiar place
in each region.
Capernaum, Bethsaida and Mt. of Beatitudes
(feeding of 5,000) is where Jesus spent a lot of
time with His disciples. Peter, James, John and
Philip came from this region.
will travel up to Caesarea Phillipi (Banias) right
where the Jordan River begins...coming right out of a
cave at the base of Mt. Hermon. This is where Jesus
challenged His disciples with "Who do you say that I
am?" within a short time before he was crucified.
will go over the Nazareth and visit an authentic 1st
century village. We will also visit the actual site
(synagogue) where Jesus quoted from Isaiah 60
(Luke 4:18). We will
also visit the authentic site, Mary's well, where most
probably Jesus actually went to get water for the
family as a youngster.
Raz Zabar, our seasoned
Israeli tour guide
will get a boat ride across the Sea of Galilee in a
large boat, with a stop in the middle. We will have a
devotional message and singing for 10-15 minutes in
the middle of the Sea of Galilee while
surveying the scenery, which hasn't changed much since
the 1st century.
After 3-4 days in the north we will travel south by
bus and will stay one night at a beautiful hotel on
the Dead Sea. On the way we may even be able to swing
over and visit some special sites.
Raz and Joel with
group at En Gedi
will then visit Masada (see picture below), the place where the Romans
built a ramp up to a high rocky escarpment and over
900 zealot Jews killed themselves. Masada has
traditionally been one of the more memorable places
for most first time visitors to Israel.
will visit En Gedi, where David escaped the hands of
Saul. We will see wild mountain goats and other wild
animals. We will then visit the Dead Sea. If it is
warm and if enough people want to swim (float) in the
Dead Sea, we will stop for this highly unusual
will visit the Qumran Caves (see photo below). Eleven of the caves hid
all of the Old Testament scriptures (except for
Esther) and many other significant historical
documents. This is my personal highlight of the trip.
might even get over to visit Jericho. We'll see. We
will then make our way to Jerusalem. This part of the
trip brings on a rising crescendo of excitement as we
drive closer and closer. We all sing the famous song,
"Jerusalem, Jerusalem" along with a CD playing the
song. The excitement builds. And then we see it.
Jerusalem, the City on a Hill.
explains the significance
of another site in the Galilee region.
For the next four days we will be in and around
Jerusalem, staying at a beautiful hotel in Jerusalem. We will visit the top of the Mount of
Olives. We will walk along the Valley of Kidron
where Jesus walked from the Upper Room to the
Garden of Gethsemane. First time visitors will be
astounded by the close proximity of every site in
will see the Judgment Hall and the Via Dolorosa (Way
of Sorrow). We will visit two site claiming to be
Golgotha, with a long stop in one of them outside of
the current City of Jerusalem where we have communion,
a short devotional, and a time of reflection. We will
see what many claim to be the actual tomb of Jesus.
You will be the one to determine if it is the genuine
tomb or not.
While in Jerusalem we will visit the Wailing Wall and
will also be able to travel down the wall underground
to a spot where we will be approximately 30 feet from
the traditional site of the Holy of Holies in the
will also be sifting through some of the
archaeological dirt dug out from under the Temple
Mount. Each visit to this hands-on experience has
produced some pretty incredible historical items --
jewelry, pottery shards, mosaic pieces, bones and
final morning we will go to the top of the Mount of
Olives and will take our time to review the scenery
before us and then to recap what we have experienced
thus far. We will then take a bus up through the Judean
Hills. Perhaps we will stop at the commonly held site
where David and Goliath met. Perhaps we will stop at
the town where John the Baptist was born. Or we will
visit Emmaus. We'll make
some special plans just prior to that day.
When we arrive in Tel Aviv, we will have a final
dinner together and reflect on what God has
accomplished in our hearts while on a trip
then fly home, a little older and wiser. And with a
greater desire to study the Bible -- knowing that now
the Scriptures will jump alive like never before as we
study about places we have actually visited. Plus you
will now have some new "traveling buddies" you
will want to keep in touch with on Facebook!
WHAT YOU CAN BRING WITH YOU ON THIS TRIP:
Many of us will meet as
strangers at the beginning of the trip and will part
at the end of the trip as
Raz, Joel, the bus driver and other helpers will
supply excellent customer service, clear
communication, smiles...and hugs if necessary.
There are unpredictable aspects to traveling abroad. And travel to
another country with others we did not previously know
can be quite stressful for some travelers and an
adventure for other travelers.
Raz and Joel at the
It's all about the
curiosity-driven life. We hope you pack your
"adventurous spirit" for your trip to Israel!
You will have a great time on this trip if you bring along your great attitude,
a sense of humor and
an adventurous spirit.
adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered.
An inconvenience is an adventure wrongly considered."
Israelis have a "sense of security and … of
prosperity." They are generally a happy lot. A
recent poll found 93 percent of Jewish Israelis
proud of be Israeli. Yes, Iranian nuclear weapons
loom and confrontation with Moscow is possible, but
things have never been so good.
thanks to Efraim Inbar of Bar-Ilan University for
some of the following information, let's count the
Israel has more children per capita than any
other advanced country.
Women need to give birth to 2.1 children to
sustain a country's population; Israel has a
birthrate of 2.65, making it the only advanced
country to exceed replacement. (The next highest
is France at 2.08; the lowest is Singapore at
0.79.) While Haredis and Arabs account for some
of this robust rate, secular Jews are the key.
Israel enjoyed a 14.5 percent growth of gross
domestic product during the 2008-12 recession,
giving it the highest economic growth rate of
any OECD country. (In contrast, the advanced
economies as a whole had a 2.3 percent growth
rate, with the United States weighing in at 2.9
percent and the Euro zone at minus 0.4 percent.)
Israel invests 4.5 percent of GDP in research &
development, the highest percentage of any
Due to major gas and oil finds,
Walter Russell Mead observes, "the Promised
Land, from a natural resource point of view,
could be ... inch for inch the most valuable and
energy rich country anywhere in the world."
These resources enhance Israel's position in the
Natural gas from Israel's Tamar
field has just begun flowing to customers.
With Syria and Egypt consumed by
internal problems, the existential threat they
once posed to Israel has, for the moment, nearly
disappeared. Thanks to innovative tactics,
terror attacks have been nearly eliminated. The
IDF has outstanding human resources and stands
at the forefront of military technologies; and
Israeli society has proven its readiness to
fight a protracted conflict. Mr. Inbar, a
strategist, concludes that "the power
differential between Israel and its Arab
neighbors is continuously growing."
The Palestinian diplomatic focus
that dominated the country's politics for
decades after 1967 has receded, with only 10
percent of Jewish Israelis considering
negotiations the top priority. Mr. Kerry may
obsess over this issue but, in the acerbic words
of one politico, "Debating the peace process to
most Israelis is the equivalent of debating the
color of the shirt you will wear when landing on
Even the Iranian nuclear issue
may be less dire than it appears. Between the
vastly greater destructive power of Israel's
nuclear arsenal and its growing missile defense
system, military analyst Anthony Cordesman
predicts that an exchange of nuclear weapons
would leave Israel damaged badly but Iranian
civilization destroyed. "Iranian recovery is not
possible in the normal sense of the term."
Maniacal as the Iranian leadership is, will it
really risk all?
Successes of the "boycott,
divestment, and sanctions" movement are pretty
meager (Stephen Hawking snubbed the president's
invitation! A United Nations body passed another
absurd condemnation). Israel has diplomatic
relations with 156 out of the United Nations'
193 members. Looking at multiple indices, Mr.
Inbar finds that, globally, "Israel is rather
In public opinion surveys in the
United States, the world's most important
country and Israel's main ally, Israel regularly
beats the Palestinians by a 4-to-1 ratio. And
while universities are indeed hostile, I ask
handwringers this question: Where would you
rather be strong, the U.S. Congress or the
campuses? To ask that question is to answer it.
Ashkenazi-Sephardi tensions have
diminished over time due to a combination of
intermarriage and cultural cross-pollination.
The issue of Haredi nonparticipation is finally
Israelis have made impressive
cultural contributions, especially to classical
music, leading one critic, David Goldman, to
call Israel a "pocket superpower in the arts."
-- article by
Daniel Pipes, President of the Middle East Forum
~ O V E R V I E W O F
T R I P ~ Step back in time...
we require an up-front deposit? In order for us to get the
flight and ground travel/hotel costs, we
actually have to provide advance guarantee to airlines that all of the
seats will be purchased and to the hotels and bus
company we must guarantee that all of the food, ground
travel, park, museum, and hotel costs are going to be covered. This
is a big responsibility.
That's why we need an up-front deposit
from each person, along with the payment schedule you
will see below. The payment schedule is for your
budgeting convenience. If you want to pay more at any
time, you can do so and we will keep a record of all
payments. We will place all of the funds for this trip
in a separate account and will release funds when
required to do so by the airlines, hotels and bus
With rising fuel costs and taxes we
have fought hard to keep the pricing as low as
possible. You may find moderately less expensive
10-day trips to Israel, but when you compare the
quality of the hotels, the food, the specialized
customer service, and some of the unique experiences
we provide on this trip -- you will realize that our
price is a bargain.
cost of the Israel trip is $3,975. What do
you receive for your money?
R/T flight on Delta Airlines (coach), all ground
travel (air-conditioned bus), excellent hotels (based
upon shared accommodations in twin-bedded rooms and
private showers or baths) , a remarkable Israeli
registered tour guide (Raz Zabar), and food (breakfast and
supper every day). We are still looking at the hotels. Here are the hotels we
stayed at during the last trip:
Wait, there's more! Also included in price:
Six National Park entrance fees, City of David
(Mt. Zion) tour, 3-D movie, & Temple Mount
Archaeological Sifting Project, Tower of David light
show, Western Wall tunnels, boat ride on
Sea of Galilee, Nazareth Village, Masada cable
car ride up/down, and entrance to all churches
in Jerusalem and Galilee. Wait, there's even more -- Plus, this includes a
festive farewell dinner on the last evening in
(This tour is based upon rates, fuels
costs, taxes, tariffs and ground costs at the
time of booking the flights.)
have seen pricing at least $1,000 more for other
Israel trips...offering less...jamming travelers into
2-3 buses. Kinda like herding cats. This is NOT what
F L I G H T I T I N E R A R Y
"DELTA AIRLINES" TICKETS
Departing NONSTOP from JFK Intl Airport (NY) on
Airlines October 30th: Leave NY (JFK) at 11:55pm (Flight
#468) and arrive in Tel Aviv the next afternoon,
October 31st, at
Returning NONSTOP from Tel Aviv to JFK
Intl Airport (NY) November 9th: Leave Tel Aviv at
12:05am (Flight #469) and
arrive at NY early the same day at 5:17am
Each traveler is responsible to get to JFK International Airport. We
will supply a list of all travelers well in advance so
that you can connect with other travelers in your
region. Perhaps some who live in the same region will rent a van together and
leave it at the JFK Airport in
long-term parking (online payment for long-term
parking at airports is always cheaper). Flight
times are always subject to change.
BAGGAGE: Delta allows one free checked bag (up
to 50 pounds...23kg...verify this for yourself prior to the
trip) and one
small carry-on. Please weigh your bag to make sure
that it does not weigh over 50 pounds. You will be
responsible for any cost charged by Delta for
excess weight or additional luggage.
(We have worked hard to keep the price as low as
possible): $3,975 per person.
What's covered by $3,975?
1. Non-stop, R/T air travel from JFK to Tel Aviv
(includes tax & fuel surcharges as of 1/2015)
2. Ground travel (includes cost of driver
and tour bus)
3. Hotel rooms and food (includes breakfast/dinner)
4. Israeli registered tour guide for entire trip
5. Entrance fees to all parks and museums
Make checks out to: The
Freeman Institute, Box 305, Gambrills, MD 21054.
PAYMENT, GROUP SIZE &
$1,000 deposit per person
(minimum $500 deposit allowed) is due
ASAP. Your only financial risk on the deposit: $100.00 of the deposit per
a non-refundable administrative fee...unless you can
find people to fill your seat(s). (Payment
is to The Freeman Institute...by check or cash. If you
want to pay with credit card, 3% will be added to
cover processing fee.)
We are keeping this trip to 40 travelers because it
makes for a much better opportunity for everyone to
get the most out of the trip. We want to
retain a more intimate family atmosphere that is
missed when more than one bus is utilized. If you
know of people who might be interested in traveling
on this trip, please send them to this website. In
the unlikely event of the number of passengers
falling below 10 travelers, the airfare may
increase, as group pricing will no longer apply. We
have set aside enough seats with the airline by
placing a down payment for each ticket (your
ticket). But once ticketing is finalized (in
September) and the full price is paid, your flight ticket is
non-refundable and non-changeable.
GENERAL WEATHER DESCRIPTION:
October/November is nice season of the year (Fall), with very
comfortable weather. That's one of the main reasons we
chose this time of year for our annual trips to the
Holy Land. Temperature in Tel Aviv is usually between
60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Jerusalem and the Golan
Heights are approx. 5-6 degrees cooler, and The Dead
Sea region is usually 5-6 degrees warmer. Modern,
large-windowed air-conditioned/heated motor coaches --
designed for sight-seeing -- will be used for all
ground travel in Israel.
WHAT TO WEAR: Think layers. You will
definitely want to bring a fleece or jacket.
It will be chilly in the morning when you start out,
then warm up to short sleeves weather, and then cool
off again in the evening. On some of the days you may
want a long t-shirt and light jacket, while on other
days a short sleeve T-shirt will do. So, bring a good
range of generally light clothes, with comfortable
walking shoes. There will be no need for any fancy
The evening dinners will be in very nice open
seating dining rooms, with an incredible choice of
food to fill your own plate. Business casual wear is
appropriate. You may want to pack a swimming suit for
a hotel swimming pool or just in case the entire bus
wants to stop and take a float/swim (weather
permitting) in the Dead Sea! Remember that your
checked suitcase needs to be under 50 pounds, so pack
accordingly. Some airlines charge for an extra checked
bag and/or an overweight bag.
PASSPORT: Photo copies of valid United
States passports for all passengers must be received
by July30, 2015 for a ticket to be issued for
that passenger. If you do not have a valid US
passport, please start that process right away at your
local Post Office. We will notify you of the best
address to mail a photocopy of the first page -- in plenty of time to
share the info with the airline.
IMPORTANT: The expiration date on any passport
must be no earlier than May 1, 2016.
HEALTH REGULATIONS: No vaccinations are
required. Water is safe to drink, but most people
drink bottled water. You will always be reminded to
bring bottled water when walking any distance.
PAYMENT SCHEDULE (info
for 2015 Trip):
-- ASAP: Deposit of $1,000.00 per person to
guarantee your seat on the plane. Checks can be made
out to: The Freeman Institute, Box 305, Gambrills, MD
Deposit of $1,000 is preferred ($500 is
This is a low-risk deposit. ($100 per person is a
non-refundable administrative fee for canceling...up
to 90 days before departure. But if you have to
cancel up to 90 days prior to the trip, they are even
willing to waive the $100 admin fee if you can
find people to replace the exact number of seats you are giving up.)
-- March 5th, 2015: If deposited only $500, you must have another amount of $500 per person.
-- May 22nd, 2015 (160 days before trip): You must have
another amount of $1,000 per person
-- June 22nd, 2015 (130 days before trip): You must have
another amount of $1,000 per person.
-- July 15th, 2015 (100 days prior to trip): You must
have the final amount of $975 per person.
Total: $3,975.00 per person
(each payment date mentioned above is important)
NOTE: I have to submit a final list of
passengers to the airline by September 20th.
The payment schedule mentioned above is designed to make it easier for
some travelers to better afford the trip. Knowing the
payment schedule in advance, many can place the funds
in an envelope every month so that there are no
surprises when the payments are due.
Five main elements make up this trip:
1. R/T air travel
2. Ground travel (tour bus),
3. Hotel rooms and food (breakfast/dinner)
4. Israeli registered tour guide
5. Entrance fees to parks and museums
You are given one unified price, but we have to
address all five aspects separately
behind the scenes if anyone needs to cancel.
IMPORTANT: In case of cancellations, the following
CANCELLATIONS: In the event of
cancellation from registration date to 90 days before
departure, there is a $100 per person non-refundable
administrative fee...unless you can fill your seat(s).
Thereafter the following charges
* 89-50 days prior to departure the charge is 50%
of total cost.
* 49 days prior to departure the
cancellation penalty of 100% of the total cost of the
tour will be charged. No refunds whatsoever! Trip
cancellation insurance is suggested.
* No shows or
cancellation after date of departure will receive no
If cancellation is due to health or illness in the
immediate family of the traveler, and can be supported
by a Doctor's Certificate, this may be waived. Air
travel cancellation insurance is recommended. While is
is not required, if you can find a replacement for
your seat(s) it would be much appreciated.
ITINERARY CHANGES: Changes -- deviations from
the main flight itinerary are not recommended. Why? We
are required to have a certain number of travelers
booked before the airlines will grant us the group
discounted rate. Any deviations must
be requested in writing via
If you leave early or return individually and not with the group
there is a $100 surcharge plus an additional airfare
differential for the deviation. Group fares generally do not
permit upgrades to first class. But sometimes they
will open up for a limited number who wish to use
their frequent flier miles. Any passengers wishing to upgrade may
arrange their own airfare. An airline credit of $1,000
off the total cost of the trip will be given to those
passengers who wish to make their own airline
bookings. It is requested that they seek to make the
arrangements as close as possible to the itinerary for
this trip. Any additional ground travel arrangements
and cost to catch up with the rest of the group or to
leave early/later will
be each traveler's responsibility.
NOT INCLUDED: Passport fees; phone calls;
valet/laundry service; overweight or excess baggage on
airplane; and all other items that are
strictly personal in nature; flight
insurance (highly recommended); any beverage (please
note that the custom abroad is to include coffee or
tea with breakfast only); it is an extra charge when
served mineral water, sodas, wine or liquor; expenses
within the USA or Canada; and tips. TIPS: This is an
important part of the trip. Tips are a tangible way of
saying "thank you." We suggest that
you bring $100 in $1 bills for tips throughout the
trip. (Also, a minimum $100 tip per traveler for our
registered Israeli guide, Raz Zabar,
is customary. Raz works very hard before and during
the trip to make it a stress-free experience for you.
Plus, you will learn much from Raz and will feel
honored to give him such a tip. View the
tip guide below and plan ahead. The tip for Raz and
the bus driver will be collected at the end of the
Tipping Guide: Bus Driver: $5.00
per person per day Restaurant Wait Staff:
$1.50 per person Hotel Porter: 50
per bag per person Hotel Room Maid:
$1.00 per person per day
Any Additional Local Guides: $2.00 per person per day
RESPONSIBILITY: The Freeman Institute, Joel
Freeman, and Raz Zabar accept no responsibility for
expense on any personal purchases made while overseas.
Any personal purchases are the full responsibility of
MOBILE PHONE: It is important that we have one
mobile phone for every 3-4 travelers. Sometimes we are
shopping in a crowded market for a couple of hours,
with a designated meeting time and place set up in
advance. If someone gets lost or disoriented, it is
always good to know that we can call their cell to
help guide them back to the rest of the group. Call
your cell provider to determine the best way to
upgrade your current cell phone for this international
trip. Please let us know if you are willing and able
to bring your cell.
SINGLE or DOUBLE OCCUPANCY (Hotel): If you are
a person traveling alone on this trip, you need to
realize that prices mentioned for this trip are based
upon double occupancy hotel rooms. There is an extra
charge for one person staying in a room ($700). If you are
traveling alone you may want to reach out to friends
and family to see if there is someone you know who is
willing and able to travel with you on this trip. That
way you will be staying in a double occupancy room
(covered by the basic cost of the trip) with someone
TRIP INSURANCE OPTIONS:
It's ultimately your choice. But we highly recommend taking out comprehensive travel
insurance, which should cover emergency evacuation,
cancellation, delay, illness, loss of damage to
personal belongings and luggage etc. It is relatively
inexpensive. Check for yourself. You can purchase
trip insurance at any time during the entire process
prior to the trip, which will cover all costs (flight,
hotels, ground travel, etc.). Here are two credible options for
you to consider:
CONTACT INFORMATION: Joel A. Freeman:
-- The Freeman Institute, Box 305, Gambrills, MD
NOTE: Before every trip...I (Joel) always get
calls from nervous travelers who have just seen images
of a car/bus bombing or a fiery protest on CNN or Fox. I
do not want to downplay any of these images or fears, but there
always seem to be situations covered by the press
prior to every trip. We will be going on this trip unless Raz (a
military professional) or the US Department of State
states that it is not safe for US Citizens to travel to Israel
during this period.
The last trip I took was preceded by terrible
reports and fiery images on the TV. When our group arrived
in Tel Aviv, there was complete safety and none of the
people we met in Israel throughout the trip expressed
a bit of concern. It's kind of like the way people from Europe
express their concern about visiting Baltimore or DC because of
the reports they have heard in their news about the
crime and the murders in the region.
Safety and Security are Paramount:
1. The safety and security of the
participants on this tour is our number one concern.
2. Working closely with our Israeli
partners, we are constantly monitoring the security
well as the mood of the situation and
react swiftly to it. We do not approach or enter the
Strip or any areas of the Palestinian Authority
in any way or manner.
3. We receive real-time information
from the police, armed forces and security services.
4. The group has a mobile phone for
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