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Need High Quality Tour Company for Our 1st Trip to Israel

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Dear Fodorites,

My wife and I are planning our first trip to Israel and were wondering what tour company(ies) you would tour companies you would and any specifics you may want to add. Below is some information to assist you in your recommendations to us. Thank you in advance.

Age: Early to mid 50's.
Religion: Reform Jewish. Prefer a Jewish focused tour, but also interested in historical sites of other religions (e.g., Dome of the Rock).
Length of Trip: 14-16 days.
Date of Trip: Mid May 2014.
Size of Tour Group: Would prefer a Group no larger than 20 if possible. We ruled out private tour guides.
Type of Trip: It appears that most of these tour companies have similar itineraries...I may be wrong.
Type of Tour: Adult Tour...not too much running around after all it is a vacation, not track. We are into History (War), Museums, Architecture, Beaches, Good Food, People. Love meeting new people from different backgrounds.

Thank you in advance. Todd

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    If looking at 'group' tours, then you have to expect them to be similar as the operators have over the years determined where the tour visits are the areas tourists wish. Some tours do put emphasis on Jewish sites, but toss in some of the other religions; while others might gear more to the Christian sites. Likewise, for these tours to get all in, they are overall hectic.

    Believe the only way to slow things down, select where you wish to visit, as a few days based in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and/or Haifa or the Galalee... using a guide for daytrips from any of these at your pace.

    Two companies I'm aware of:
    Isram - which has set tours with choice of hotels at all budgets; also has mini-packs as if staying in Jerusalem a few day included tours/sightseeing.

    Gate1 - also with set tours, but might have more 'options' that inclusions.

    I'm sure there are others, as a good guidebook on Israel will probably list a few from which to select. So if only a group is of interest, you'll have to compare a few offerings to determine which best suits your needs/budget.

    Good luck!

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