Today’s world is increasingly in peril.  Resources are running thin as our modern economy of scale meets ever-growing challenges, preventing us from overcoming the rough situations we face.  At the center of these profound obstacles, many nations also find themselves under growingly indifferent or incendiary political leadership which at times acts to further exacerbate our mutually-shared ecological problems.  In spite of these challenges, millions and millions of people understand that in order to survive, we as a species must adapt ourselves and our economies to a more sustainable approach to daily existence.

As a small nation which has always found itself under tremendous pressures and without many natural resources, Israel has, early-on, developed its most abundant resource-human intellect and innovation. Today, this same human intellect has propelled Israel to the forefront, becoming a global leader in the areas of sustainability, innovation, ecologically-oriented living and social awareness. We invite you to encounter the people, ideas, and models of just how Israel – the original ‘start-up’ nation –  is leading the world towards a more stable paradigm.

Program highlights 

  • Encounters with innovators, creators, and key agents of change promoting awareness of sustainability
  • Experience high-energy outdoor adventure activities in settings of pristine natural beauty
  • Unique culinary encounters with the best sustainably-sourced, fresh ingredients
  • Visit eco-oriented models for sustainable urban living
  • Exposure to history and archaeology
  • Discover the science and vision driving the move towards a sustainable world led by pioneering academics at the Technion-Israel Institute for Technology’s Sarona campus
  • In-depth briefings on geopolitics, security challenges, and multi-cultural coexistence

 

What’s included:

  • 8 nights’ accommodations in five-star properties
  • Daily breakfasts at hotels
  • 7 lunches
  • 7 dinners
  • Full guiding services of an expert tour educator
  • Site visits
  • Speakers
  • Airport transfers for participants arriving and departing at suggested times
  • Transportation in an air-conditioned coach

 

Day 1: Arrival in Israel, sustainable development

Day 2: Jaffa-Tel Aviv, from antiquity to modernity and the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology

Day 3: Exploring the treasures of the Mediterranean coast

Day 4: Israel’s breadbasket-experience the Galilee and the Golan Heights

Day 5: In the footsteps of the past and the ascent to Jerusalem

Day 6: Jerusalem then and now

Day 7: Dead Sea encounters to Negev nuances

Day 8: The Arava-Innovation in the desert

Day 9: Life in the desert and departure

 

Day 1: Arrival in Israel-Sustainable Development

  • Morning arrival in Israel. Upon arrival, we will be met and assisted by our tour educator and escorted to our awaiting coach transportation.
  • Upon departing from the airport, proceed to the nearby Hiriya site. Once the main landfill for the Tel Aviv metropolitan area for over six decades, this literal mountain of garbage has now been responsibly and sustainably renewed into a beautiful park oasis. We will meet with an on-site ecologist who will discuss the impact of Israeli waste ecology and landfill renewal, as well as enjoy a panoramic overlook across the Tel Aviv metropolis, welcoming us to this incredible place and time in Israel.
  • Next, we proceed to the city of Lod, a unique peripheral location where sustainable urban planning is being exercised by a dynamic group of local residents and community organizers as they create a new hybrid community where people from various socioeconomic levels live alongside one another in an example of innovative urban creation in the ever-changing landscape of Israeli culture.
  • Travel to the city of Tel Aviv.
  • Upon arrival to the city, we will visit Green in the City, a community-led urban agriculture ‘farm’ situated on the rooftop of the central Dizengoff Center mall. Here, we will participate in an urban agriculture workshop as an ecologically-sound and sustainable solution for urban lifestyles, and meet with the endeavor’s sustainability director, Sheanna Schechterman.
  • Proceed to our hotel accommodations for check-in.
  • After some much needed rest and relaxation, enjoy a delicious welcome dinner at the trailblazing Meshek Barzilay restaurant. A creation of Merav Barzilay-one of Israel’s first CSA (community-supported agriculture) entrepreneurs, the restaurant is one of the city’s leading field-to-plate restaurants, prominently located in the city’s trendy Neve Tzedek neighborhood.

Overnight: Tel Aviv

 


Day 2: Jaffa-Tel Aviv: From Antiquity to Modernity & The Technion-Israel Institute of Technology

  • After breakfast at our hotel, we proceed to Tel Aviv’s Yarkon Park. Known as Tel Aviv’s ‘central park,’ the Yarkon Park follows the banks of the meandering Yarkon river, which boasts a wealth of flora and fauna thriving in an urban setting, as well as provides an example of the emphasis in modern Israeli urban ecology and planning on developing open green spaces which are utilized by wide segments of the public.
  • Beginning in the park, we will enjoy a bike ride which will take us from the confines of the park all the way south along the nearby beachfront promenade (tayelet) to the city of Jaffa.
  • Upon arrival to Jaffa, enjoy a walking tour of the Old City and experience engaging encounters with local residents who call this unique city, with its complex history, home.
  • Enjoy lunch at the Jaffa Port Market, where fisherman bring in their daily catch from the Mediterranean Sea.
  • Next, drive via Rabin Square, where in 1995 Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated by an extremist in the pursuit of peace.
  • Continue to the recently renovated Sarona entertainment district. Once a thriving German-Templar village established during the 19th century, this historic area is now home to a vibrant entertainment and business district and serves as a fantastic example of urban renovation and renewal.
  • At The Technion-Israel Institute of Technology-Sarona Campus for Continuing Education, partake in a lively and innovative workshop on the topic of Sustainability and Food Systems, led by renowned Technion researcher Dr. Tamar Trop and other recognized leaders in the field. Covering the main sustainability challenges to our troubled global and regional food systems, the workshop will explore main, exciting and innovative examples of communities working to create food systems change. Workshop lectures will include:
    * Introduction to Sustainability: This segment will cover key knowledge areas of sustainability theory and practice including population, ecosystems, global change, energy, agriculture, food, and water.
    Sustainable Food Systems: This segment will provide a brief review of the current state of local, regional, national and global food systems, food demand, food production, food loss, and food security.
    * Urban Agriculture: This segment covers how urban agriculture can contribute to the smart, inclusive and sustainable development of cities; how it can create vital urban spaces which have new social, cultural and ecological qualities, and which are also economically viable. It will seek to explore the definition of UA, its challenges, rebirth, applicable functions and opportunities, and its many types and forms.
  • This evening, we enjoy dinner at Chef Ran Shmueli’s popular and delicious Claro restaurant. This open-kitchen farm-to-table restaurant is beautifully integrated inside of a historical building at the newly renovated Sarona complex.
  • Return to hotel.

Overnight: Tel Aviv

 


Day 3: Treasures of the Mediterranean Coast

  • After an early breakfast, we check-out of our hotel accommodations and depart Tel Aviv, heading north along Israel’s coastal highway.
  • At Kibbutz Sdot Yam, board an Israeli Navy-style commando tornado boat for a high-speed thrill ride over and across the waves of the Mediterranean Sea offshore from the ruins of the ancient city of Caesarea.
  • Next, explore the 2,000-year-old Roman amphitheater, Crusader harbor and 12th-century ramparts at Caesarea. This ancient city, now archaeological park, is located on the Mediterranean Sea and was constructed by Herod the Great between 22 and 10 BCE. Named for Caesar Augustus, Caesarea was one of the most splendid cities in the country during the Roman-era and was the capital of the province for almost 600 years.
  • Afterwards, proceed to nearby Mount Carmel. This mountain, which plays a central location to many stories in the Bible, was the site of a massive fire in 2010. Meet with representatives of Israel’s Jewish National Fund (JNF) and the national parks authority to hear the story of the fire and learn about forestry management in Israel.
  • Travel to the mountain village of Kfar Tikva. A unique model of community living in Israel, the village encourages people with disabilities and special needs to develop and realize their potential. Located in the village, Tulip Winery takes special care to employ residents of the community in its wine production process while encouraging involvement and promotion of joint activities. Enjoy a tour, wine tasting, and lunch at Israel’s largest boutique winery-known for producing many fine and full-bodied varietals.
  • Driving via Israel’s northern port city of Haifa, we travel to the Rainbow Arch. This Upper Galilee natural phenomenon will provide the perfect setting to enjoy a mountain hike and rappelling activity. Enjoy the spectacular view of our surroundings while hanging suspended mid-air off of this massive stone bridge formed by a collapsed limestone ‘karst’ cave.
  • Next, visit the ancient city of Akko (Acre). Akko features a multitude of fortresses, citadels, churches and mosques all depicting the history of the many rulers to mention a few – Canaanites, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Crusaders and Mamelukes – who governed and fought for this city throughout its vibrant history. Its colorful Oriental markets, museums and beaches are a few more of the city’s attractions. The old city of Acre has been designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage site. Walk through the underground Crusader Knight’s halls.
  • Have dinner at the home of Evan Fallenberg with Akko residents: Coexistence in action. Writer/translator Evan Fallenberg bought an old home in Akko and in the process of renovating it, learned about the storied history of both the city and the house, befriended his Christian and Muslim neighbors, and became a proud resident himself.

Overnight: Haifa

 


Day 4: Israel’s Breadbasket-Experience the Galilee and the Golan Heights

  • After breakfast, we check-out of our hotel and depart, heading east across the Galilee-Israel’s breadbasket and an interwoven patchwork of diverse villages, farms, and beautiful green vistas.
  • Located in Israel’s northern ‘Galilee panhandle’ region, Agamon HaHula Nature Reserve is a birdwatcher’s paradise. This fertile landscape plays as a way-station and home to a myriad variety of migrating birds as they make their way from northern Europe and Asia towards their winter homes in Africa (and vice versa). Experience the sight of literally thousands of different species of birds large and small as we traverse the expanse of the park in a safari wagon with a local naturalist. Learn about the draining projects conducted here by Israel in its early days and their long-term effects on the local and national ecosystem.
  • Experience a lively bike ride along the paths adjacent to the Upper Jordan River, as it winds its rolling way south. At a certain point, switching our method of transportation, we enjoy a kayaking adventure as the river streams its way towards the Sea of Galilee.
  • At the local Dobrovin Estate Farm, learn about the early agricultural successes of the first pioneers as they utilized new and old methods to till the land under the toughest of circumstances. Enjoy a Hummus-making competition in the style of reality television and a farm-style lunch.
  • Afterwards, we will ascend the Golan Heights. This strategic plateau overlooking most of the Galilee was conquered by Israel during the Six Day War in 1967 and since then has played a vital role in the security and prosperity of the country not only by providing an essential geographical buffer bordering Syria to the east, but also in playing host to a substantial local economy of great diversity which has known increased success in recent years, despite its proximity to the ongoing civil war in Syria and the threat of ISIS.
  • Using off-road ATV’s, we ascend the Golan’s Mount Bental together with former intelligence officer and senior official on Arab affairs Avi Melamed and enjoy a fantastic vantage into bordering Syria from the top of this ancient volcano-turned forward operating base during Israel’s 1973 war. Standing here on the border-a mere 40 miles from Damascus-we will discuss the innumerable inner rifts within Syria, the potential for the ‘Sinaization’ of the Golan, the sources and impacts of Assad’s allegiances and alliances from the FSU to Iran and how this impacts Israel’s current and future behavior and outlook.
  • End the day at Kibbutz Ein Zivan’s Pelter Winery, which crafts diverse and high-quality wines influenced by Australian concepts and attitudes. Here, brothers Tal & Nir Pelter use grapes of the same variety grown in different locales to enrich the depth and diversity of their wines. Bonus: Visit the Pelter Distillery, where craft spirits are created using local ingredients such as Golan apples and Majhoul dates!
  • Proceed to our Kibbutz guesthouse for check-in and dinner.
  • After dinner, we meet with a Kibbutz member to hear about the unique ways of life on the Kibbutz and the early Kibbutz’s impact on the development of both the local landscape and the State of Israel.

Overnight: Kibbutz Guesthouse

 


Day 5-In the Footsteps of the Past & the Ascent to Jerusalem

  • After breakfast, we check-out of our accommodations.
  • Visit Capernaum is located on the Sea of Galilee and was the center of Jesus’ Galilee ministry.  Jesus lived here for a substantial period, healing the sick, preaching in the synagogue, and performing miracles.
  • Tabgha is the traditional site of the miracle of the loaves and fishes and post-resurrection appearance of Jesus. An early-Byzantine church was discovered in 1932 and was rebuilt in 1982 as the Church of Multiplication of Loaves and Fishes.  Mosaics were discovered including a view of marshes and water birds, and a basket on which was featured images of loaves of bread and the two fishes.
  • Enjoy a boat ride on the waters of the Sea of Galilee.
  • Next, we depart the region, heading south through Israel’s Jordan Valley. A part of the great Syrian-African rift valley system, the Jordan Valley forms Israel’s border with the neighboring Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.
  • Visit Naharayim, the site of the region’s first electric power plant. Designed by pioneering Israeli engineer and businessman Pinchas Rotenberg, Naharayim power plant was unique on the scene in the early 20th century as it harnessed the hydropower of the Jordan River to generate energy to power Israeli towns and cities, instead of burning coal or other fossil fuels, as was the norm at the time.
  • Make a brief stop at renowned Israeli sculptor Yigal Tamarkin’s ‘The Valley Memorial‘, a uniquely designed monument to the soldiers killed in battles in the Jordan Valley. Together with our tour educator, we will explore the contentious issue of the potential final status of the Jordan Valley as a part of Israel in any future peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
  • Passing via Jericho, we ascend the eastern flank of the Judean mountains to enter the city of Jerusalem. Stopping at the Haas Promenade, we enjoy a stunning panoramic sunset overlook onto the entirety of the Old City of Jerusalem and its surroundings.
  • Hotel check-in.
  • Free evening at leisure.

Overnight: Jerusalem

 


Day 6: Jerusalem Then and Now

  • After breakfast, we set out from our hotel to tour the Old City of Jerusalem and its significant sites as relate to the three great monotheistic religions. Explore the four quarters of the Old City-Christian, Muslim, Armenian, and Jewish and visit sites important to all residents of the city-including the Western Wall, the Via Dolorosa and Church of the Holy Sepulcher, and more.
  • Next, proceed to the Machane Yehuda food and spice market, one of the most beautiful markets and most familiar icons in Israel. Enjoy the flavors, aromas, colors and smells of some of the best locally grown and cultivated produce and food available anywhere as we partake in a tasting tour lunch in this vibrant location.
  • Next, we will enjoy a formal tour of the Knesset, which will include an overview of the unique coalition system of representative democratic government which facilitates Israeli democracy, and how it enables a delicate balance of often opposed interests which relate to Israel’s many sectors and their politics.
  • While at the Knesset, we will an opportunity to meet with a selection of Knesset Members who are active on environmental matters.
  • Afterwards, we travel right outside the city to Moshav Beit Zayit to visit the Kaima Farm. This organic CSA community proudly supports the development of at-risk youth and engages in all types of organic agriculture, including hydroponic greenhouse farming. While there, we will hear how this unique endeavor operates according to a unique outreach approach based on a hybrid of commerce, vocational training, and non-profit modalities to help at-risk youth turn their lives around. Kaima Farm works by synthesizing education, environmental stewardship and social business into one cohesive model.
  • Return to Jerusalem. Over dinner at a local restaurant, we will meet with Talia Schneider to hear about the world of Kabbalistic Permaculture. Israel’s permaculture guru is a Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) woman, with a particularly Kabbalistically-informed take on the concept of ‘shefa,’ divine plenty, and our giving-and-taking with the planet.

Overnight: Jerusalem

 


Day 7: Dead Sea Encounters to Negev Nuances

  • After breakfast, we check-out of our accommodations and depart Jerusalem, descending down to the Dead Sea region, the lowest spot on the surface of the Earth.
  • Hike up the ‘Snake Path’ to summit Masada (or ascend via cable car for those not interested in hiking). Tour the remains of King Herod’s desert retreat and fortress preserved over thousands of years by the dry conditions of the Judean desert. While here, learn about the history of this fascinating place, a symbol of the ancient sovereignty of the Kingdom of Israel and hear about the tale of its violent destruction and the last stand of Jewish patriots in the face of the Roman legion. Additionally, explore the motif of collective memory in the Zionist epic as we discuss the notion of Masada as an ethos to the Zionist narrative and its place in Israeli society and collective identity.
  • Enjoy swimming and ‘floating’ at the Dead Sea, the lowest place on the surface of the Earth. Have lunch at the Dead Sea.
  • Next, we will proceed to the Negev development town of Dimona, where we will encounter the Black Hebrew Israelite community. Many Black Hebrew congregations were founded in American cities during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In the 1970’s, led by their pioneering leader Ben Ammi Ben-Israel, this one-of-a-kind community, against all odds, immigrated to Israel. Adherents believe themselves to be members of one of the lost tribes of the Kingdom of Judah and today follow a strict vegan and organic lifestyle. Meet with members of the community and hear about their incredible story, the challenges they continue to face in 21st century Israeli identity politics, and see up close how a group of determined individuals can live sustainably in the desert in the face of intense difficulties.
  • Drive to Kibbutz Sde Boker and hear the story of this unique community’s settlement of the desert as an equal society, and learn about its most famous member, Israel’s first Prime Minister David Ben Gurion.
  • Visit the picturesque burial site of Prime Minister David Ben Gurion looking out towards the breathtaking view of the biblical stream of Zin.
  • Next, proceed to the development town of Mitzpe Ramon. Located at the edge of the impressive Machtesh Ramon (Ramon Crater), we check-in to our luxury accommodations.
  • Dinner at hotel.
  • Optional: Evening stargazing activity in the Machtesh, unencumbered by any light pollution whatsoever.

Overnight: Isrotel Beresheet Hotel, Mitzpe Ramon

 


Day 8: The Arava-Innovation in the Desert

  • After breakfast, we depart and travel further south, towards the Arava region. Here, looks can be deceiving as what seems to be a sparse desert forming the border between Israel and Jordan is in reality a fertile hotspot, spurned by inspired residents totally devoted to breathing innovation into everything they do.
  • At Kibbutz Ketura, meet with Yosef Abramowitz, president and founder of Energiya Global, a world leader in the development and management of utility-scale solar fields in emerging markets. An immigrant to Israel from the United States, Yosef is a passionate believer in the transformative power of solar energy for our planet. Together with him, we will view the company’s first solar field (which was also the first commercial-scale solar field in the Middle East), capable of satisfying one-third of the total energy needs of the nearby resort city of Eilat.
  • Next, at nearby Kibbutz Elifaz, we participate in an invigorating and beautiful bike tour amongst the sands of the Arava.
  • Afterwards, we travel to the adjacent Kibbutz Lotan. Known for pioneering various techniques of living sustainably in the desert, our visit here will begin with an organic desert lunch. Recognized as a community committed to desert ecology, we can participate in a diverse array of activities at their Center for Creative Ecology.
  • At the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies, we will have a meaningful encounter with students and staff from across the Middle East and the world. Together, we will explore their sustainable practices and methods towards promoting awareness and knowledge of desert ecology and study, and their effects of breaking down human-created barriers against coexistence.
  • Return to Mitzpe Ramon
  • Dinner at hotel.

Overnight: Isrotel Beresheet Hotel, Mitzpe Ramon

 


Day 9: Life in the Desert & Departure

  • After breakfast, we check-out of our accommodations.
  • Enjoy a morning jeep tour and rappelling activity inside the cavernous expanse of the Ramon Crater.
  • Next, visit the Ramon Crater Visitors Center and learn about the immense geological forces which created the Ramon Crater, one of only 5 erosion craters on earth (there are two others in Israel!).
  • Enjoy lunch at Hadasaar Natural Living restaurant, an organic, farm-to-table restaurant in Mitzpe Ramon specializing in locally-sourced cuisine.
  • Proceed through the Negev highlands to visit the Kornmehl Goat Cheese Farm, where we will meet with French-trained goat cheese makers Anat & Daniel Kornmehl; Taste their personal interpretations of famous French varieties set amongst ancient remnants of farming terraces dating back to the Bronze age.
  • At Hatzerim, visit Netafim. Tour the world’s largest drip-irrigation company and global leader in smart-drip and micro-irrigation and hear about the impact Israel continually makes on agricultural sustainability in both the developing and developed worlds.
  • Transfer to Ben Gurion airport for our international departure back home.

 

*Itinerary is subject to change pending circumstances beyond our control.

From USD 3,500 per person sharing a twin room, land package.

Supplement for accommodations in a single room USD 1,400

Based on a minimum of 15 paying passengers per group.

 

 

 

 

 

Dr. Tamar Trop

Lecturer, researcher, and consultant in sustainability and natural resource management.  Dr. Trop has a B.Sc. in Physical Geography and Atmosphere Sciences from Hebrew University, and a M.Sc. and a Ph.D. in Urban and Regional Planning from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology. Tamar is a lecturer at both Haifa University and the Technion, and her interests lie in the area of sustainability.

 


Avi Melamed

Avi serves as the Salisbury Fellow of Intelligence and Middle East Affairs for the Eisenhower Institute, and is an expert on current affairs in the Arab and Muslim world and their impact on Israel and the Middle East.  He is a former Israeli intelligence officer and senior official on Arab affairs.  Fluent in Arabic, English, and Hebrew, he has held high-risk government, senior advisory, intelligence and counter-terrorist intelligence positions in Arab cities-often in very sensitive times-on behalf of Israeli government agencies.

 


The Pelter Family-Pelter Winery

Sam Pelter immigrated to Israel from the USA in 1970 and together with his wife Tiva, established a farm in the agricultural community of Tzofit where all his family members could work on the farm-raising greenhouse flowers, peanuts, and olive trees.  His son, Tal Pelter, returned from viniculture studies in Australia and together with brother Nir founded Pelter Winery in 2001. Four years later, the family moved their base of operations to the Golan Heights.  Today, their proximity to their vineyards allows them to stay connected with the land: planting, sampling, pruning, cultivating, and harvesting their award-winning and sustainable product.

 


Talia Schneider

Talia is one of Israel’s foremost experts on permaculture, an approach to food production and sustainable living first developed in Australia.  She is the country’s first teacher of the method, and is the only author of Hebrew-language literature on its principles and has translated several key English texts into Hebrew for local interest.  As per Talia’s own estimation, she has provided permaculture instruction to over 1,000 students.

 


Hadas & Saar Badash-Hadasaar Natural Life, Mitzpe Ramon

Hadas & Saar Badash are the founders and operators of ‘Hadasaar Natural Life’, located in the Spice Route Quarter of Mitzpe Ramon, a semi-isolated development town located in Israel’s Negev desert.  With its unique setting and design, Hadasaar provides a unique community gathering place for shopping, recreation, and information about the desert and sustainable living.  Hadas and Saar strive to promote sustainable awareness within the dynamic and creative conditions which exist in the isolated desert settlement.

 


Anat & Daniel Kornmehl-Kornmehl Goat Cheese Dairy Farm, Negev Highlands

Anat and Daniel Kornmehl, graduates of the Faculty of Agricultural Science, Hebrew University, established the Kornmehl farm in October 1997. Daniel Kornmehl acquired his experience as a cheese maker in both Israel and in France. He places emphasis on keeping to the traditional values of cheese making, while adapting them to the local environment to create cheeses that are personal interpretations of famous French varieties.

Anat and Daniel believe that the health of their goats and the quality of their milk, antibiotic and hormone free, comes from the permanent attention that they give to the goats’ living conditions and good food.

 

 

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