Israel & Palestinian Territories
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 the Palestinian Territories, into the West Bank cities of Bethlehem and Ramallah. Visit a Druze village in the Golan Heights and explore cosmopolitan Tel Aviv. Hear from incredible guest speakers throughout the trip.
Depart on flights to Israel.
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.
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)
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. After a pre-dinner discussion, 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)
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.
Herbert Samuel Jerusalem (B,L,D)
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. Return to Jerusalem in the early evening.
Herbert Samuel Jerusalem (B,L)
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)
This morning meet with an officer from the IDF (Israel Defense Forces). Then hear from people in a Druze town 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)
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)
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,L,D)
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)
After breakfast at the hotel, transfer to the airport for flights home or continue on our Petra post-trip extension. (B)
Cost and Details
$7,995 per person, double occupancy
$1,725 single-room supplement
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.
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.
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.
During this program, you will hear from an array of guest speakers, and take part in discussions facilitated by our tour leader Jerry Sorkin. You are also accompanied by two expert guides, one lead guide for the touring throughout Israel and another for your visits to the Palestinian Territories.
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 experience.
A Palestinian, who carries a U.S. Passport, Rami Nazzal is a resident of East Jerusalem and the son of Drs. Nafez and Laila Nazzal. Traveling extensively with his parents as they taught at world-renowned universities, Rami gained an insight into the cultures of the world. Attending the Anglican International School in West Jerusalem, and later graduating in Business Management and Tourism from the University of Utah in 2003, he lived in Boston for seven years before returning to his childhood home in Jerusalem and has worked for TIME Magazine since 2010. With extensive journalistic experience for outlets like The New York Times, TIME, Reuters, Der Spiegel, the ability to simultaneously interpret English and Arabic, and connections with the most influential in the State.
Rami’s lifelong dream is sharing with people from all walks of life, the reality on the other side of the border. His knowledge and exposure allow people the opportunity to discover the reality of Palestinian society and to gain a raw and authentic lens of the complex political and emotional terrain of Palestine and Israel.
Terms and Conditions
The Commonwealth Club (CWC) has contracted with Iconic Journeys Worldwide (IJW) to organize this tour.
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:
- 120 days or more prior to departure: $250
- 90-119days or more prior to departure: $500
- 89-60 days to departure: 50% fare
- 59-1 days prior to departure: 100% fare
The tour can also be canceled 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 the trip while it is in progress. A brochure describing coverage will be sent to you upon receipt of your reservation and can be viewed on the Travel Insurance Services website.
We require membership to the Commonwealth Club to travel with us. People who live outside of the Bay Area may purchase a worldwide membership. To learn about membership types and to purchase a membership, visit our membership page or call (415)597-6720.
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. COVID-19 protocols and requirements will be provided on registration and prior to departure. COVID-19 vaccination (including one booster) is required.
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 of 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.
Commonwealth Club of California-CST# 2096889-40