The Holy Land 2015
A Step Back In Time: the Israel trip of a lifetime
 


"israel trip, joel freeman, raz zabar, mount of olives, Jerusalem, Galilee, golgotha, bethlehem, masada, dolorosa, hermon, jordan river"

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:::::::  March  13th - 23rd, 2015  :::::::
(tentative dates)

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E X E C U T I V E   O V E R V I E W

   We are limiting the 2015 trip to 40 people. The tentative dates for the upcoming 2015 trip are March 13th-23rd. This just might be the last trip I lead...for a while.

   Are you in?  Or do you know of anyone who might be interested in going? Email me

   If so, please forward this website
to the right people.

   The cost and what is included in the trip
will be all listed below. Plus, we will email you a document responding to FAQs.


ANNUAL TRIP

Email for info...and to be put on the list of
people interested in the 2015 Israel trip.
 


  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 Capernaum).

  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 and registered 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, biblical, historical, and topographical information, along with spiritual application.

   Basketball Metaphor: Raz does the play-by-play. Joel provides the color commentary.


Raz Zabar and Joel Freeman



Iftah Burman (MELA Seminars           Guide


   Iftah Burman
is an officially trained and registered Israeli tour guide. Iftah runs the Middle East Learning Academy and is extremely knowledgeable about history, the Bible, and the Palestinian / Israeli situation.

TWO GUIDES: Israeli guides are the best trained guides in the world. We absolutely love both Raz and Iftah. As we get closer to the March 2015 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...

   Noah Tours: We have worked with a few tour companies over the years. Each one has their strengths, but in our experience Noah Tours is the best all-around tour company in Israel.  Guy Timberg, the owner, has assembled a wonderful team of professionals who stop at nothing to provide the best possible customer service. Noah Tours does a great job of taking care of all the aspects once we arrive in Israel: Hotels, bus, food, entry to parks/museums, etc.

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).

   We believe 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 Moses did.
  • 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."
                       
-- Bobbie Williams (NFL Ravens Champion)

 

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

"I 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 greater
perspective of the nation of Israel -- past, present and future. " -- Bill


2012 group with Israeli guide, Raz Zabar (right), 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."  -- Marcus


 
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
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"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." -- Sue


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.

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"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

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"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 Annual 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 the planet.

  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 an adventure.

  - 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 reading.

  - 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 unforgettable adventure!

israel
 

What's so Different About this Israel Trip?

  There are many options when it comes to traveling to Israel.
Our tours are different.

  1.   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.
     

  2.   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.
     

  3.   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!!!
     

  4.  We have a lot of fun! Each group develops its own personality. When people travel together excellent  friendships, camaraderie and fond memories emerge.
     

  5.   If we happen to have extra time, we even throw in an extra previously unplanned site, if our group is willing and able.
     

  6.   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."   

                                                            -- 100,000 Blessings, Joel & Shirley -- Email
 

___________________________________________
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 Land:

  We will fly from the USA (airport to be determined) to Tel Aviv via an airline to be determined. 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 trip.

  The first 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 stunning!

   We 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.

   We 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.

   We 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

   We 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
   We 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.

   We 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 experience.

    We 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.

   We 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.


Joel Freeman 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 this region.

   We will see the Judgment Hall and the Via Dolorosa (Way of Sorrow). We will visit two site claming 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 former Temple.

   We 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 coins.

   The 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 throughout the Holy Land.

   We 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!

Israel Trip Itinerary Map


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   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 friends. 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 Jordan River

   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.

"An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered.
An inconvenience is an adventure wrongly considered
." --
G.K Chesterton

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H A P P Y   I S R A E L

   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.

   With thanks to Efraim Inbar of Bar-Ilan University for some of the following information, let's count the ways.

  • 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 country.
     

  • 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 world.
     

  • 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 Mars."
     

  • 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 well integrated."
     

  • 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 being addressed.
     

  • 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

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~ O V E R V I E W   O F   T R I P ~
Step back in time...

   Why do 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 company.

   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.

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This is what did for the 2014 trip. Things may change for the 2015 trip.

   The total cost of the Israel trip is $3,975. What do you receive for your money? R/T flight on United 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). Here are the hotels we will be staying at during this trip:

                    Galilee/Tiberias -- staying at Romot Resort -- 3 nights
                    Dead Sea -- staying at Leonardo (Dead Sea) -- 1 night
                    Jerusalem -- staying at Leonardo Hotel (Jerusalem) -- 4 nights


   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 Israel. (This tour is based upon rates, fuels costs, taxes, tariffs and ground costs at the time of booking the flights.) -- COMPARE: We have seen pricing at least $1,000 more for other Israel trips...offering less.
 

F I N A L I Z E D     F L I G H T     I T I N E R A R Y

  1.  INTERNATIONAL "UNITED AIRLINES" TICKETS (2014):


    Departing NONSTOP from Newark Liberty Intl Airport on United Airlines March 14
    : Leave Newark at 10:55pm (Flight #090) and arrive in Tel Aviv the next afternoon, March 15, at 3:20pm

    Returning NONSTOP from Tel Aviv to Newark Liberty Intl Airport March 24: Leave Tel Aviv at 10:40pm (Flight #091) and arrive at Newark early the next day at 5:00am


    Each traveler is responsible to get to Newark 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 will rent a van together and leave it at the Newark Airport in long-term parking (online payment for long-term parking at airports is always cheaper). Flight times are always subject to change.

    BAGGAGE
    : United 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 United for excess weight or additional luggage.

     

  2. PRICE (We worked hard to keep the price as low as possible):
    $3,975 per person, covers R/T airfare via United Airlines, ground travel by bus, hotels, tour guide, food (breakfast and supper), and all museum/park entrance fees...including airline tax tax and fuel surcharges as of June 2013.  (Taxes and fuel surcharge are subject to change until tickets have been issued.). Make checks out to: The Freeman Institute, Box 305, Gambrills, MD 21054.
     

  3. PAYMENT, GROUP SIZE & WEATHER CONDITIONS:

    A deposit of $500.00 per person is due ASAP. $100.00 of the deposit per person is a non-refundable administrative fee.  (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 15 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 November) and the full price is paid, your flight ticket is non-refundable and non-changeable.


    GENERAL WEATHER DESCRIPTION
    : March is the nicest season of the year (Spring), 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 61 to 75 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. 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 clothes. 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.

     

  4. PASSPORT:
    Photo copies of valid United States passports for all passengers must be received by November 15, 2013 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 ship them all to the airline.
    IMPORTANT
    : The expiration date on any passport must be no earlier than September 2014.

    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.

     

  5. PAYMENT SCHEDULE (info for 2014 Trip):
    -- ASAP: Deposit of $500.00 per person to guarantee your seat on the plane. Checks can be made out to: The Freeman Institute, Box 305, Gambrills, MD 21054.

    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 seats you are giving up.)

     -- Aug. 10th, 2013: You must have another amount of $500.00 per person.
     -- Nov. 10th, 2013 (130 days before trip): You must have another amount of $1,000.00 per person.
     -- Dec. 10th, 2013 (100 days before trip): You must have another amount of $1,000.00 per person.
     -- Jan. 15th, 2014 (50 days prior to trip): You must have the final amount of $975.00 per person.
                   -- Total: $3,975.00 per person (each payment date mentioned above is important)

    The payment schedule is designed to make it easier for 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.

    Two main elements make up this trip: 1. air travel 2. ground travel/hotel/food. You will see one unified price, but we have to address both aspects separately behind the scenes if anyone needs to cancel.

    IMPORTANT: In case of cancellations, the following penalties apply:

    CANCELLATIONS: In the event of cancellation from registration date to 90 days before departure, there is a $100 per person non-refundable administrative fee.
    Thereafter the following charges apply:
    * 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 refunds.

    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
    EMAIL. 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.
     

  6. 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 trip.)
          Tipping Guide:
              Bus Driver: $5.00 per person per day
                Restaurant Wait Staff: $1.50 per person
                  Hotel Porter: 50 cents per bag per person
                    Hotel Room Maid: $1.00 per person per day
                      Any Additional Local Guides: $2.00 per person per day


    PASSENGER RESPONSIBILITY: The Freeman Institute, Joel Freeman, and Raz Zabar accept no responsibility or expense on any personal purchases made while overseas. Any personal purchases are the full responsibility of each passenger.

    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. 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 you know.

     

  7. 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. 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 options for you to consider:
     

     

  8. CONTACT INFORMATION:
    Joel A. Freeman: 410-729-4011 / EMAIL -- The Freeman Institute, Box 305, Gambrills, MD 21054.

  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 officially 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 situation as
           well as the mood of the situation and react swiftly to it. We do not approach or enter the Gaza
           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 contact.
 
 

 

____________________________________________________
Images From The Holy Land
____________________________________________________

LIVE WEB CAMS



Click photo above for Live
WebCam of
Western Wall
 

Click photo above for Live
WebCam of the
Old City Jerusalem
 



Joel explaining to a group on the
bus where we are going next

_____________________________________________________

Wailing (Western) Wall


What the Wailing (Western Wall) looked like in the late 1800s
(below)

Masada -- Herod's Palace

Sermon on the Mount

Qumran Caves

Sea of Galilee

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ A Blast to the Past ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Garden of Gethsemane -- late 1800s


Sea of Galilee Overview from near Arbala -- late 1800s


Kidron Valley -- late 1800s


Mary's Well -- No doubt Jesus came here to draw water for his mother -- late 1800s


View of Nazareth -- late 1800s


Mount of Olives -- View from Jerusalem -- late 1800s

________________________________________________________________________

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freeman institute Box 305, Gambrills, Maryland 21054
TEL 410-729-4011   Cell: 410-991-9718    FAX 410-729-0353
EMAIL

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© 2010-NOW Freeman Institute

 

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