Israel

Experience Jerusalem, sacred to three major religions. Visit Yad Vashem, a living memorial to the Holocaust. Journey to Masada and float in the Dead Sea. Travel to Bethlehem and Ramallah in the West Bank. Visit a Druze village in the Golan Heights and explore cosmopolitan Tel Aviv.

Dates
Feb 24 - Mar 6, 2020  (11 Days)
Cost

$7,475 per person, double occupancy

For more Information
travel@commonwealthclub.org

(415) 597-6720

Monday, February 24
U.S. / Tel Aviv, Israel

Depart on flights to Israel.

Tuesday, February 25
Tel Aviv / Jerusalem

Upon arrival at Ben Gurion Airport, transfer to Jerusalem and check into our centrally located hotel. As most flights arrive in the evening, there are no group activities this day. Herbert Samuel Jerusalem.

Wednesday, February 26
Jerusalem

After a tour orientation, explore the Old City of Jerusalem and sites important to the three major monotheistic religions. Visit the Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount, one of the most important sites to Muslims. Walk portions of the Via Dolorosa and enter the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, said to be the site where Christ was crucified and buried. Following lunch visit the Western Wall. Then enjoy free time to browse the alleys and shops. Tonight gather for a welcome dinner. Herbert Samuel Jerusalem (B,L,D)

Thursday, February 27
Jerusalem / Bethlehem

Experience Yad Vashem, a powerful living memorial dedicated to the Holocaust. Visit the West Bank with our Palestinian guide, starting with Bethlehem to see the Christian holy sites, including the Church of the Nativity, said to mark the place of Jesus’ birth. Tonight explore Mahane Yehuda, once a popular fruit and produce market, it’s now a hub of gourmet food stalls, restaurants and cafes. Herbert Samuel Jerusalem (B,L)

Friday, February 28
Ramallah / Jerusalem

We continue to Ramallah, the provisional capital of the Palestinian Authority, where we hear from Palestinians about the issues they face and their hopes for a settlement in this long, unresolved issue. Return to Jerusalem in the late afternoon. Herbert Samuel Jerusalem (B,L)

Saturday, February 29
Masada / Dead Sea

This morning we drive to Masada, the location of the mountaintop fortress where Jews sacrificed their lives rather than succumb to the Romans. The importance of Masada remains in the psychological and political mindset of many Israelis. Then travel to the Dead Sea, the lowest point on the earth. Swim or ­ float in the relaxing salt waters and experience the health benefits of its natural minerals. Herods Dead Sea Hotel (B,L,D)

Sunday, March 1
Safed / Galilee

Travel north today stopping in Safed, a charming city known for being a center of art and religious mysticism. Continue to the more rural area of Upper Galilee. Learn about the important role of kibbutzim in the development of Israel in the 20th century. Merom Golan (B,L,D)

Monday, March 2
Galilee / Golan Heights

This morning meet with an officer from the IDF (Israel Defense Forces). Then hear from people in a Druze village in the Golan Heights area. Druze are an Arabic-speaking sect found primarily in the mountainous areas of northern Israel, Syria and Lebanon. Their religious practices and beliefs are known to few outsiders. In the late afternoon visit a winery and learn about Israel’s growing wine industry. Merom Golan (B,L,D)

Tuesday, March 3
Nazareth / Caesarea / Tel Aviv

Journey to Nazareth, the largest Arab town within Israel’s pre-1967 borders. See the Church of the Annunciation, believed to be where archangel Gabriel visited Mary. We also visit an Arab tech firm. Continue to the coast and explore the archaeological site and Roman city of Caesarea. Arrive in Tel Aviv in the early evening for dinner on your own. ­The Hotel Carlton (B,L)

Wednesday, March 4
Tel Aviv / Jaffa

Visit Jaffa, also known as Yafo in Hebrew, a mixed Jewish-Arab town, just south of Tel Aviv. Enjoy lunch on your own and time in the ­flea market with its wonderful mix art and antiques. Then continue to the Rabin Center, named after Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. Enjoy dinner at one of Tel Aviv’s seaside restaurants. ­The Hotel Carlton (B,D)

Thursday, March 5
Tel Aviv

Learn about Tel Aviv’s various neighborhoods and architectural styles. See Bauhaus architecture, Dizengoff Street, Neve Tzedek, and the Florentine district. Enjoy a free afternoon to visit galleries, the beach, or rent bikes to travel the coastal path around Tel Aviv. Gather tonight for a special farewell dinner. ­The Hotel Carlton (B,D)

Friday, March 6
Tel Aviv / U.S.

After breakfast at the hotel, transfer to the airport for flights home or continue on our Petra post-trip extension. (B)

Petra Extension: March 6 - 8, 2019

Travel to the “Rose City” of Petra where caves, temples, and tombs were carved from blushing pink sandstone in the high desert of Jordan. After an overnight in Petra, visit Mt. Nebo and Madaba en route to Jordan's capital city, Amman. Overnight in Amman.  

Cost
$7,475 per person, double occupancy
$1,470 single-room supplement

Included
All activities as specified; airport transfers on designated group dates and times; transportation throughout; accommodations as specified (or similar); meals (B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner) per itinerary; bottled water on buses and during tours; special guest speakers; local guide; gratuities to local guide, driver, and for included group activities; pre-departure materials; Commonwealth Club representative with 15 travelers.

Not Included
International air; meals not specified as included; optional outings and gratuities for those outings; alcoholic beverages beyond welcome and farewell dinners; travel insurance (recommended, information will be sent upon registration); items of a purely personal nature.

Optional Post-trip Petra Extension
$1,475 per person, double occupancy
$285 single-room supplement

Included
2 nights hotel accommodations in Jordan; 2 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 2 dinners; flight from Tel Aviv to Eilat, Israel; Jordanian guide and driver; Jordanian visa; bottled water on tour vehicles and at meals; transfer to Amman airport at end of tour.

Not Included
Gratuities to Jordanian guide and driver; personal items and optional activities; meals other than group meals as outlined in the itinerary; alcoholic beverages.

Detailed itinerary for the Petra extension provided on request and included in trip confirmation packet.

What to Expect

To enjoy this program travelers must be in overall good health and able to walk 1-2 miles a day (on average) and be able to stand for several hours during touring. Participants should be comfortable walking on uneven surfaces such as dirt paths and cobblestone streets, and getting on and off tour buses without assistance. In keeping with the Commonwealth Club’s mission of being a non-partisan platform, this tour will provide insight and access to political and community leaders, and stakeholders from both sides of difficult issues. We ask that all participants who join this trip do so with open minds, the spirit of listening, and a desire to understand different points of view.

Trip Educators
Jerry Sorkin
Jerry Sorkin has been involved with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for more than three decades, having quietly brought together people from both sides of the issue. Conversant in both Arabic and Hebrew, Jerry has traveled extensively throughout the Middle East and North Africa, returning to the U.S. in 2016, after being based more than six years in Tunisia. He has organized and led many trips to Israel, all using his unique contacts to provide an exclusive.

The Commonwealth Club (CWC) has contracted with Iconic Journeys Worldwide (IJW) to organize this tour.

Reservations
A $1,000 per person deposit, along with a completed and signed Reservation Form, will reserve a place for participants on this program. The balance of the trip is due 90 days prior to departure and must be paid by check.

Cancellation and Refund Policy
Notification of cancellation must be received in writing. At the time we receive your written cancellation, the following penalties will apply:

  • 91 days or more prior to departure: $250 per person
  • 90-60 days to departure: $1,000 deposit
  • 59-1 days prior to departure: 100% fare

The tour can also be cancelled due to low enrollment. Neither CWC nor IJW accepts liability for cancellation penalties related to domestic or international airline tickets purchased in conjunction with the tour.

Trip Cancellation and Interruption Insurance
We strongly advise that all travelers purchase trip cancellation and interruption insurance as coverage against a covered unforeseen emergency that may force you to cancel or leave trip while it is in progress. A brochure describing coverage will be sent to you upon receipt of your reservation.

Medical Information
Participation in this program requires that you be in good health. It is essential that persons with any medical problems and related dietary restrictions make them known to us well before departure.

Itinerary Changes & Trip Delay
The itinerary is based on information available at the time of printing and is subject to change. We reserve the right to change a program’s dates, staff, itineraries, or accommodations as conditions warrant. If a trip must be delayed, or the itinerary changed, due to bad weather, road conditions, transportation delays, airline schedules, government intervention, sickness or other contingency for which CWC or IJW or its agents cannot make provision, the cost of delays or changes is not included.

Limitations of Liability
CWC and IJW its Owners, Agents, and Employees act only as the agent for any transportation carrier, hotel, ground operator, or other suppliers of services connected with this program (“other providers”), and the other providers are solely responsible and liable for providing their respective services. CWC and IJW shall not be held liable for (A) any damage to, or loss of, property or injury to, or death of, persons occasioned directly or indirectly by an act or omission of any other provider, including but not limited to any defect in any aircraft, or vehicle operated or provided by such other provider, and (B) any loss or damage due to delay, cancellation, or disruption in any manner caused by the laws, regulations, acts or failures to act, demands, orders, or interpositions of any government or any subdivision or agent thereof, or by acts of God, strikes, fire, flood, war, rebellion, terrorism, insurrection, sickness, quarantine, epidemics, theft, or any other cause(s) beyond their control. The participant waives any claim against CWC/IJW for any such loss, damage, injury, or death. By registering for the trip, the participant certifies that he/she does not have any mental, physical, or other condition or disability that would create a hazard for him/herself or other participants. CWC/IJW shall not be liable for any air carrier’s cancellation penalty incurred by the purchase of a nonrefundable ticket to or from the departure city. Baggage and personal effects are at all times the sole responsibility of the traveler. Reasonable changes in the itinerary may be made where deemed advisable for the comfort and well-being of the passengers.

Registration
Commonwealth Club of California-CST# 2096889-40