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I am just starting to do my reading, but tell me where to start on planning a trip to "the Holy Land" (for 2006)

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Mar 27th, 2005, 05:53 AM
  #41
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Rex, I don't think you will need to read Hebrew -- all road signs and other things that travelers will need to know are almost always in Hebrew, English, & Arabic. However, as others have said I think in Israel as elsewhere it makes a HUGE difference if you can speak a few words and phrases.
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Mar 27th, 2005, 12:30 PM
  #42
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<<things that travelers will need to know are almost always in Hebrew, English, & Arabic>>

I guess I'm just a polyglot snob... but I just feel like the ability to read some of a language adds a dimension to visitng a country that you cannot get in any other way.

I'm not talking about "need to"... only about "want to, like to..."

Going back and reading the origins of this discussion, I see that it began with a recommendation from a very good friend, who has visited Israel often, and who DOES send his children to Hebrew school.
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Mar 30th, 2005, 08:06 AM
  #43
 
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Hi, Rex! I just got back from Israel on March 9th, so I can't resist adding my two cents' worth.

On the language issue: Though not Jewish, I've studied Hebrew on an off (mostly off) for a few years. Yes, Hebrew is a lot like Japanese (I imagine--I never studied Japanese)in that the alphabet makes reading very difficult. That's why speaking is easier than reading, unlike European languages. You absolutely don't need it for traveling there, but I agree with your basic philosophy about languages and recommend you give it a whirl, even if you only come away with a few phrases. Language tapes would be a practical way to learn the phrases. To tackle written Hebrew, I think you'll find you need a teacher. Before I started lessons, I tried to learn a little Hebrew on my own and was defeated by the alphabet--too many letters look very much alike, and I couldn't figure out how to practice writing most of them because they were too tricky to "draw." (There's a Hebrew script that's more writable but it looks very different from the formal letters you see on most signs. There's also a "block" version of the formal letters that's easier to write but it's not used in newspapers and rarely on signs.) [Having learned a bit of Arabic, too, I find the Arabic letters easier to decipher, believe it or not, unless the writing is "decorative"--which happens a lot.] So you see, this gets quite complicated, but I think you'd enjoy learning how the language works (both Hebrew and Arabic, which is closely related, work with three-letter roots; the vowels change in a patterned way to convey changes in tense and other meanings.)

On what to see: you've gotten excellent advice and I don't think I can improve on it; the problem will be editing it down. I'd agree that on a trip of short duration you may need to skip Petra in Jordan but, that said, it's a magical place. Hot, but magical. But Israel proper is rich in must-sees, particularly Jerusalem and the Sea of Galilee; Baniyas on the Golan is one of my favorites, but there are many, many others. Visiting Bethlehem (or Jericho)would depend on the security situation, and it's hard to forecast what that will be like in 2007.

On where to stay: much depends on your budget. On this trip I stayed at the De La Mer in Tel Aviv, very friendly staff, clean but tiny rooms, fantastic cooked-to-order breakfasts, only $70 a night; and at the Eldan in Jerusalem, across the street from the King David, a fraction of the King David's price (about $100/night), comfortable rooms (significantly larger than the De La Mer), good breakfast buffet. But if your budget allows a splurge, do consider the American Colony--it's beautiful (particularly the center courtyard), wonderful food, a piece of Jerusalem history, close to the Garden Tomb, within walking distance of the Old City.

I'd encourage you to go with your BIL.

Hope this helps,
Carolyn K.
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Aug 25th, 2005, 05:30 AM
  #44
 
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Don't know where you are in your planning by now, Rex. I am a newcomer to this forum but a repeat Israel traveler. I do go with a bit more of a "budgetminded" approach than what some here apparently do, however, it has never cut down on the wonder of it all. I sent you an email regarding a trip I am putting together for autumn 2006 thinking that you might be interested. I am a fellow Hoosier. I LOVE ISRAEL! Gate 1 travel has been enormously helpful to me (Roberta Yesowitch) and the best guide in Israel (Ezra Eini) (yes, my saying he is "best" is based only on my own experience....and I have had other guides.....)has been my guide on two of my trips and will be our guide next fall. It will be a 12 day trip and our hotels will be in the Galilee, Dead Sea and Jerusalem.

Kathy
Paragon, Indiana, USA
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Aug 25th, 2005, 06:03 AM
  #45
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See above...

Author: rex ([email protected])
Date: 03/09/2005, 05:26 pm

Thanks for the post. Since you and others have expressed an interest in my plans, I need to update this post, and say that the trip will probably now get postponed until at least autumn of 2007.
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Aug 25th, 2005, 06:12 AM
  #46
rex
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oh... and p.s.

Let me try to entice you to become part of the Ohio River Valley (IN-KY-OH) "in crowd" - - see

http://www.fodors.com/forums/pgMessa...2&tid=34465251

and

http://www.fodors.com/forums/pgMessa...2&tid=34598144

and keep your eyes open for Part Trois in 2006 (in Brown County, Indiana?)

David?

I'll be sure you get included on notifications for the 2006 GTG.

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Aug 25th, 2005, 08:08 PM
  #47
 
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Hi Kathy,
I was checking on movement of threads I've participated in, and this one popped up when I clicked on my name

I am a new convert to travel to Israel, last month I went to Petra and Israel for 9 days, with family, my first time. It was a life-changing experience. We had a guide with us the whole time, the rest of my family had used his services before, and having such a wonderful guide absolutely is essential to the enjoyment, enhancement, and impact of the trip.
I currently have a dvd of some of my trip pictures, hosted for a few weeks at
www.meaningful-memories.com/Elaine

rex, I do hope your own trip comes to pass.
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Aug 26th, 2005, 05:16 AM
  #48
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Thanks, elaine...
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Aug 26th, 2005, 01:58 PM
  #49
 
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By reading the Old and New Testaments. ZZ
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Dec 10th, 2005, 07:17 AM
  #50
 
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I visited Israel and Palestine in March with a Christian group. The primary focus of the trip was to show the plight of the Palestian Christians in the Holy Land, but we were also able to see most of the important Christian sites. The group was a mix of people from the UK, Sweden, Canada, and the US. We also had a Jewish women from the US whose daughter taught at one of the universities. Our guide was a Christian women from Texas who is married to a Jew and on most of the days we had a Palestinian priest travelling with us. I don't attend church but most of the rest of the group did. Anglicans, Lutherans, and Quakers were among us and there was probably other denominations as well. As you can see we were quite a mix. We stayed four of the seven nights at the St.George church in east Jerusalem. On two of the evenings we walked one block to the American Colony for drinks. I didn't see the rooms but the bar is nice! I always felt safe. Old Jerusalem is very close, maybe a 5-10 minute walk. The Taybeh beer factory tour was my daughter's favorite stop and we ordered Tahbeh for the rest of the trip. I think we got through most check points because we were traveling with a priest and our guide spoke English, Arabic, and Hebrew. We visited Hebron, Bethlehem, Jenin, Taybeh, and many other very interesting places. We even visited a Bedouin camp. In Hebron, we were suppose to meet up with two members of CPT, Christian Peacemakers Team, so that they could take us into the center of town but there had been a disturbance that day and the soldiers could not let us through. The two gentlemen talked to us during our lunch about the situation in Hebron and their responsibilities. Both men became teary eyed as they spoke-it was really touching. We had lunch or a meeting with 3-4 of the mayors of the towns we visited and we were always shown around by one, or more, of the local priests. After the organized tour, we hired a driver recommended by the people at St. Georges and went to Masada and the place close to that where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found. We had lunch in Jericho and were the only customers in the restaurant. We got great service! After lunch, the waiter sat with my brother and nephew and shared his water pipe while my daugher and I shopped. It was a wonderful trip but obviously not the kind most people want to take, however, if anyone wants me go into more detail I'll get out my notes. We have pictures, also.
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Dec 28th, 2005, 12:46 PM
  #51
rex
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Refreshing this thread... as I did once earlier... with this message...

========================

See above...

Author: rex ([email protected])
Date: 03/09/2005, 05:26 pm

Thanks for the post. Since you and others have expressed an interest in my plans, I need to update this post, and say that the trip will probably now get postponed until at least autumn of 2007.
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Dec 30th, 2005, 01:07 PM
  #52
 
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elaine, please what is the contact information for your guide? thanks.
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