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News
Grand Hotels Chain - Long Stay Special
Book minimum 4 nights and enjoy special discount!
Utopia Orchid Park – Central Israel
Visit Utopia Orchid Park located in the heart of the Sharon region, an enchanting tropical rain forest with thousands of orchids from around the world, tropical plants, a myriad of animals and even carnivorous plants.
Tomcars Merom Golan - Upper Galilee
Click here to read about the Tomcars Merom Golan, the biggest motor enclosure located in the Upper Galilee. The enclosure offers many activities such as Tomcars, horse riding, hybrid bikes and jeep tours.
Herbert Samuel Hotel - Jerusalem
Click here to read about the Herbert Samuel Hotel, which is located in the heart of Jerusalem and surrounded by historic centers and dynamic cultural institutions.
Naama Ester : Performance Artist - All Over Israel
Click here to read about Naama Ester, a performance artist of traditional and well known Israeli songs.
Special Blacksmith’s workshop – Mattat : Upper Galilee
Click to read about some of the interesting tours in the Upper Galilee, from an ice cream making workshop, to a fascinating tour in the vineyard to a hands on experience workshop in a blacksmiths shop.
Unique Kibbutz Tours – Ramat Rachel: Jerusalem
Choose a tour of interest to you. Agricultural, archeological and farm tours on offer. Click here for further information.
New Boutique Spa Hotel - Sea Life : Naharia
Read about Sea Life, a new prestigious boutique hotel located at the water front of the Nahariya-Achziv shore.
New Sea rooms – Ein Gev Resort: Galilee
Click here to read about the new luxurious rooms in Ein Gev Resort: the Sea Rooms.
Naftali Tours Guides – Effi Yaacobi
Naftali Tours is proud to introduce Effi Yaacobi – Licensed Tour Guide.
New tour - Busters Apple Cider Factory in the Elah Valley
Enjoy a tour of the factory and visitors centre and meet the fascinating family behind the project. Enjoy a tasting of their alcoholic ciders and lemonade alongside delicious cheese and fruit platters.
Changes to Daylight Saving Time in Israel 2016
Israel is moving to Daylight Savings Time on 24 March 2016
The Marzipan Museum
Visit the Marzipan Museum, a unique place which provides a colourful and delicious experience.
Sandboarding and Jeep tours in the Negev Desert
Enjoy private jeep tours in the Israeli desert and sandboarding on the Negev dunes.
Adir Visitor’s centre – Galilee
Enjoy a culinary experience of wine and cheese at the Adir Visitor’s centre where you will get to taste the unique flavors of wine and quality cheeses.
Kibbutz Lotan – where spirit and earth meet
The Eco-Jewish community of Kibbutz Lotan links the spirit and the earth teaching about local food production, natural building from mud and straw, alternative technologies and much more.Click for further details and photos of the tours.
Israeli Folk Dancing workshops: All over Israel
Dance Israel is a unique initiative that offers exciting educational encounters and multi-faceted experiences through Jewish and Israeli folk dance. Click for further info and video.
Bike riding tours in the Judean lowlands
Here are some amazing pictures of our Winter tours (Photos taken by Illan Beagan). Click for more information.
By the rivers of Babylon – Jerusalem
The Bible Lands Museum is proud to present a special exhibition focusing on one of the most significant events in the history of the Jewish people – the Babylonian exile.
New presentation – Mitzpe Hayamim
At the foot of Mount Canaan, only a step away from Rosh Pina, lies Mizpe Hayamim Spa Hotel - which many describe as paradise. Click here for a beautiful 13 page PDF presentation of the hotel and its surroundings.
Weekly Tours – Early Bird Specials
Discounts on selected tours for any departure date in 2016.
De Karina Chocolatier - Golan Heights
The chocolate boutique De Karina located in the Golan Heights is proud to introduce you to our chocolate workshop “chocolate and more”, suitable for both kids and adults.
Accessible tourism in Israel
Naftali Tours now offering services for accessible tourism in Israel. Whether you are coming to Israel for your dream vacation or in search of your Jewish, Christian, or Muslim heritage, we plan it to be in your pace.
Special promotion – Mitzpe Hayamim
Click here for free spa treatment at Mitzpe Hayamim Resort Hotel.
Olea Essence visitors Centre – Galilee
Visit the Olea Essence olive oil press, a unique place in the ancient Jewish city of Qatzrin in the Golan Heights.
Golan Heights Winery : Professional Wine Tour - Galilee
Learn about the Golan Height’s unique terroir, the art of raising grapevines and the history of the Winery.
Naftali Tours Guides – Murray Allon
Naftali Tours is proud to introduce Murray Allon – Licensed Tour Guide.
The cradle of Christianity : A new tour at the Israel Museum - Jerusalem
The Israel Museum invites the Christian community to explore its new and exciting tour: the cradle of Christianity – see in real life what you’ve read in scriptures.
An inspiring moment from Yardenit baptismal site - Galilee
Visit the Yardenit Baptism in the Jordan River site. Here you are able to once again plunge into the atmosphere of spirituality and connect with the Holy Land.
Invitation to The Year of Mercy : Holy Door - Jerusalem
On December 8, 2015, Pope Francis inaugurated the Jubilee Year of Mercy in the Papal Basilica of Saint Peter in the Vatican.
Wine Workshops - All over Israel
Enjoy a time to focus on the beautiful things in life and end your day in the best way with a fun wine workshop.
Ruppin Apartments - Tel Aviv
Enjoy a stay at one of the luxurious apartments in the Ruppin Apartment Hotel located at the heart of Tel Aviv.
Paamonim Apartment Hotel - Jerusalem
The Paamonim hotel is a modern luxurious apartment hotel located at the heart of Jerusalem next to the city’s shopping and entertainment areas, facing the magnificent view of the Old City.
Jewish Orthodox Hospitality – Jerusalem
Learn about the traditional lifestyle. A unique and fascinating opportunity to spend an evening in an orthodox Jewish family home. Click for brochure and video.
Naftali Tours Guides - David Schoenfeld
Naftali Tours is proud to introduce David Schoenfeld - Licensed tour guide.
A Tour and lunch at Nes Ammim Village – Galilee
Enjoy a tour at the Nes Ammim Village and a kosher lunch at the Ness Ammim Restaurant.
Christmas and New Year's Dinners at The American Colony Hotel - Jerusalem
The American Colony Hotel invites you to enjoy a wonderful Christmas Eve dinner, Christmas buffet & New Year’s Eve dinner and party at the legendary Arabesque restaurant. Click to read PDF brochures.
City of David : New tours in the ancient city - Old Jerusalem
Click to read PDF about a variety of fascinating tours in the ancient city from walking tours, riding on a Segway to an archaeological excavation.
Agricultural Tours in Southern Arava - Jordan Valley
Click to read the PDF about interesting agricultural tours in Southern Arava.
New Jordan Visa Regulations - Arava Border
Arava Border will no longer be giving entry visas to Jordan of all kind January 1st 2016 . Please click to read a brief about the new regulations.
Travel Notes

Israel Travel Tips

“Shalom”. Welcome to Israel. This fascinating country has a rich history and wonderful scenery for you to explore.

Visa and passport
Visas are usually issued for three months but vary according to nationality. Some nationalities do not require a visa or will be issued one upon arrival. Check with nearest Israel Embassy or Consulate for current visa requirements. Passports valid for six months beyond the duration of stay, an onward or return ticket, and proof of sufficient funds are required by all.

 

Ben Gurion Airport

Israel authorities have now developed the “Electronic Gate Pass” as a technological solution for those passengers wishing not to have their passports stamped with an Israel visa.  The card is printed at the passport control and includes the principle details of the traveler. The tourist will be asked to keep the card at hand at all times.

 

Land borders
An Israeli visa is issued upon arrival. f you wish not to have your passport stamped with an Israeli tourist visa - prior to Israeli passport control look for the 17L form. Fill this out and have it stamped (carry this around with you while in Israel as proof of tourist status).

 

This loose leaf document is proof of tourist status and entitles you to hotel services and car rentals without VAT, as well as at specially registered duty free shops throughout the country.

SECURITY
Please be aware of any restrictions imposed by Israeli local authorities, and ensure that you do not enter any unauthorised areas. If unsure of the present situation, please seek advice from your tour guide or our local agent. Australians travelling to or resident in Israel should have comprehensive medical and travel insurance policies that include provision for medical evacuation by air.

BEFORE DEPARTING

Health
No vaccines are required for entering Israel. Certain immunizations or boosters are sometimes recommended. Consult your local doctor if you have any concerns.
Israel has excellent medical facilities, and tourists may go to all emergency departments and first-aid centers. Health centers are marked by the red Star of David on a white background. However, any medical form of treatment can be expensive. Medical travel insurance is recommended.
Tap water is normally chlorinated, and whilst relatively safe, may cause mild abdominal upsets. Bottled water is available and is advised. Milk is normally pasteurized and dairy products are generally safe for consumption.

Fitness
Even if your tour does not involve set walks or sporting activities, all sightseeing normally requires a moderate amount of walking around historical / cultural sites, so a good level of fitness will ensure you get maximum enjoyment from your visit.

Passport / Visa
Travellers are responsible for ensuring that their passport is valid for the entire duration of their stay abroad. In fact, in many countries, passports should be valid for at least 6 months after your planned travel period. Similarly, you are responsible for ensuring that you have all the correct visas for any countries that require them. Please check with your travel agent if unsure. Keep a photocopy of your passport, visa, air ticket and insurance policy (with emergency numbers) in a place separate from your actual documents.

Insurance
Please ensure that you have comprehensive travel insurance to cover possible loss of possessions, illness and injury during your holiday. Many countries do not have national health systems and medical expenses can be astronomical. In particular, hospitalisation and air evacuation costs can be extremely high in many countries and the Australian government is not in a position to assist financially in these circumstances.


Currency
The local currency is the New Israeli Shekel (NIS) at approx. 4.0 shekels to $1USD exchange.ATM machines are widely available for withdrawing shekels. $US Dollars are accepted at all money changers. You will be given the opportunity to withdraw or change cash. $USD is accepted at many tourist shops. Have shekels handy for buying small items such as water and lunches.

Itinerary
Ensure your next of kin or friends have a copy of your travel itinerary in case they need to contact you urgently. Keep them informed regularly, especially if you change your travel plans.


Photo by Maayan Sasson

ON YOUR HOLIDAY

Food & Drink
It is possible to drink the water in Israel, although bottled mineral water is also available. In all main cities you will find numerous side-walk cafes where most nationalities of food are represented.  Specialities include: humus, shashlik and kebabs.

Hygiene
It is also advisable to carry a pack of wet wipes with you, as these are very useful when travelling. Some public toilets are very basic and we recommended you travel with tissues and wet wipes.

Diabetes
Clients with diabetes should ensure that they carry any necessary medicines or food with them.

Sun & heat
Pace yourself. Rest when possible & avoid the heat of mid-day in Summer. Wear a sun hat & sun cream.

Local currency
New Israeli Shekel.  This is divided into agorots.  Denominations are 1, 5, 10 agorot coins and half shekels = 50 agorot.  Tourists may bring an unlimited amount of foreign currency into the country.  Currently this does not have to be declared.  Some shops do not accept credit cards, therefore please take sufficient quantities of USD travellers cheques and USD cash.  You may exchange shekels back to USD at any bank, however on departure a maximum of USD100.00 may be exchanged, after customs and passport control.  (Please change all shekels prior to departing Israel). You should shop around if unsure of exchange rates & commission levels. Small denominations of USD are always useful, when seeking bargains or giving tips. On a day-to-day basis, try to avoid carrying more cash than you need for immediate purposes to reduce the potential loss from pick pocketing. If unsure, enquire at your hotel about safety deposit boxes.

Tipping
Tipping is an important source of income for service providers in Israel. Please note the following recommendations:

Private guide driving a minivan - $30-$60 per car per day
Transfers - $10-$20 per car per transfer
Porterage at hotels - $1 per bag in / $1 per bag out
Table service at restaurants - 10%-12% of the bill

The Sabbath

The Sabbath begins at sunset on Friday around 5.00pm until sunset on Saturday - around 5.00 to 6.00pm.  Many shops and restaurants are closed, as well as all banks. It may be difficult to exchange money on the Sabbath, but ATM’s are available everywhere for cash withdrawal. It is wise however to ensure that you have sufficient cash available.

Clothing
Covered shoulders and knees are recommended when visiting holy sites (churches, synagogues and the Western Wall). Wear casual and comfortable clothing while touring and a good pair of shoes. Some sites such as Masada and Jerusalem Old City will require up to 2-3 hours walking on uneven ground.
For protection against the sun, a large sunhat, sunglasses and sun protection cream are advised. A large scarf can be useful.  Comfortable flat walking shoes are essential.  Avoid very brief clothing as the norm is semi-conservative attire particularly in Jerusalem, but in Tel Aviv, clothing is more relaxed particularly near the beach.  (Long shorts are often worn to Masada, as it is often warmer there than in Jerusalem or Tel Aviv) A light jacket is recommended for evenings as most hotels and restaurants are air-conditioned.


The photo belongs to Ministry of Tourism www.goisrael.com
Photo by Dana Friedlander

Climate
 Mediterranean, with a pleasant spring and autumn. Winters in the north can be cool. Rain in winter is widespread, particularly in Jerusalem. Snow is rare. Summers can be very hot, especially in the south. The Red Sea resort of Eilat has a good climate for beach holidays all the year round.

Video / Photography
At some sites you may be charged an additional amount if you wish to film with your video. Protect cameras from dust with lens caps & cases. Use high-speed film as flash photography is prohibited in many temples. Photography is completely forbidden in some areas. (Ask your guide for advice).

Shopping
In the Old City of Jerusalem and other Arab market places, bargaining is a standard practice.  However, in modern shops prices are fixed.  Avoid bargaining for anything you have no intention of purchasing.  Most stores in Israel are open daily from 9.00am-5.00pm.  On Fridays and the eve of Jewish Holy days shops close around 2.00pm and Jewish shops are closed for the Sabbath.  Muslim shops are closed on Fridays while Christian ones are closed on Sundays.

Language
Hebrew is the most widely spoken language in the country, and Hebrew and Arabic are the official languages of Israel, although other languages, especially English are widely spoken.

Alcohol / Duty Free
The following goods may be imported into Israel without incurring customs duty (alcohol and tobacco can only be imported by persons aged 17 years and over):250 cigarettes or 250g of tobacco products; 1l of spirits and 2l of wine; 250ml of eau de cologne or perfume; gifts up to the value of US$150.

Business Hours
Stores are generally open from Sunday through Thursday 08:00-19:00 and Friday 08:00-14:00. Shops in hotels are often open until midnight. Due to the variety of religions in Israel, there are different shopping hours depending on the venue: Muslim shops close on Fridays, Jewish shops on Saturdays and Christian shops close on Sundays.

Electricity
230 volts AC, 50Hz. Three-pin plugs are standard; if needed, adaptors can be purchased in Israel.

Israel Distance Table - Click here for distance table.


The photo belongs to Ministry of Tourism www.goisrael.com
Photo by Noam Chen


ISRAEL AGENT
 
Naftali Tours is the Tour Company that is handling your arrangements in Israel. If you require any further assistance, please contact them at the following address:

 

Naftali Tours
5 Hahilazon Street,
Ramat Gan, Israel

Daytime contact:   
Naftali Steg or Amalia Snyderman

Office hours:
9am – 5pm Sunday to Thursday
TEL  +972 3 522 4142
FAX  +972 3 522 4143

Emergency contact: 
Rami Saba                +972 546 396 959

Naftali Steg                  (Mobile) +972 545 552 734
Amalia Snyderman       (Mobile) +972 509 776 778

If you have a problem or complaint, it is easier if you can try and solve it on the spot. If not possible, please contact our LOCAL AGENT IMMEDIATELY, who are there to assist you, either at the office or on the after hours numbers. When given the opportunity to assist with a problem, our local agent will be pleased to assist you in any way possible. Please note it is not possible for us to remedy problems AFTER your tour has been completed.

Additional Tours
All drivers and guides are on contract to our local agent. Therefore if you wish to arrange any additional arrangements please do so directly with our local agent. No responsibility will be taken for any additional arrangements made directly with any guide or driver.


SOME INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT ISRAEL

Geography & Population
Israel is on the eastern Mediterranean, bordered by Lebanon and the Syrian Arab Republic to the north, Jordan to the east, and Egypt to the south. The autonomous Palestinian Authority Region lies mostly on the west bank of the River Jordan. The Gaza strip, in the south of the country, is also administered by the Palestinians. The country stretches southwards through the Negev Desert to Eilat, a resort town on the Red Sea. The fertile Plain of Sharon runs along the coast, while inland, parallel to the coast, is a range of hills and uplands with fertile valleys to the west and arid desert to the east. The Great Rift Valley begins beyond the sources of the River Jordan and extends south through the Dead Sea (the lowest point in the world), into the Red Sea, continuing on into Eastern Africa. Population: 6.7m (estimate 2005)

Capital: Jerusalem      Population (Including East Jerusalem) .75m (2005)

Government: Republic. The state of Israel was founded in 1948.
Head of State: Shimon Peres since 2008.
Head of Government: Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu since 2009.

Religions: 77% Jewish, 15% Muslim, with Christian, Druze and other minorities.

The Jewish religious day is Saturday – Shabbat – and begins at nightfall on Friday until nightfall on Saturday. Most public services and shops close early on Friday as a result. Muslim and Christian holidays are also observed by the respective populations. Thus, depending on the district, the day of rest falls on Friday, Saturday or Sunday.

Tourist Sites
Jerusalem - a brief history
King David made Jerusalem the capital of his kingdom in 1003 BC.  In 586 BC Nebuchadnezzar the King of Babylon conquered Jerusalem putting it’s people into exile, and destroying it’s Religious Temple.  Fifty years later when Babylon was conquered by the Persians, King Cyrus allowed the Jews to return to their homeland and granted them autonomy. A Second Temple was built on the site of the First.  Alexander the Great conquered Jerusalem in 332 BC.  Led by Judah Maccabee, the Jews defeated the Seleucids and rededicated the Temple (164 BC). Jewish independence was re-established under the Hasmonean dynasty, which lasted for more than a hundred years, until Pompey imposed Roman rule on Jerusalem. King Herod the Idumean was installed as ruler of Judah by the Romans and ruled (37-4 BCE).  The Crusaders conquered Jerusalem in 1099, massacred it’s Jewish and Muslim inhabitants, and established the city as the capital of the Crusader Kingdom.  Crusader rule over Jerusalem ended in 1187, when the city fell to Saladin the Kurd.  The Ottoman Turks, whose rule lasted for four centuries, conquered Jerusalem in 1517.  Suleiman the Magnificent, rebuilt the city walls (1537), constructed the Sultan’s Pool, and placed public fountains throughout the city.   Jerusalem began to thrive once more in the latter half of the nineteenth century.  In 1917 the British army led by General Allenby conquered Jerusalem.  From 1922 to 1948 Jerusalem was ruled by British authorities.  In 1948 British Mandate was terminated, and Israel proclaimed independence, with Jerusalem as it’s capital.

 

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