8 Fabulous Food Tours in Israel

In the 1950s, a very young Israel experienced severe food shortages. But in an amazingly short time, Israel’s desert was blooming with fresh produce prized in the Western markets. Israel’s dairy cows gave a record amount of milk, the ancient wine industry was resurrected to international praise and Israeli gourmet chocolate received global recognition.

Fresh honey on the breakfast bar at the Olive Tree Hotel, Jerusalem.

Fresh honey on the breakfast bar at the Olive Tree Hotel, Jerusalem.

Simply put: The food in Israel is wonderful. Most tourists eat most if not all of their meals in their hotels. In “8 Fabulous Food Tours in Israel” Touchpoint Israel will stir your appetite to get out and explore the varieties of food available in Israel.

If you want to buy a shofar …

Blowing the shofar on Rosh HaShanah 2016. Photo: open source Wikimedia Commons.

Blowing the shofar on Rosh HaShanah 2016. Photo: open source Wikimedia Commons.

Many of our participants want to buy a shofar (ram’s horn) as a souvenir of their visit to Israel. Whether you intend to actually blow the shofar or simply display it in your home/office, this article “4 Shofar types: How to choose the perfect shofar?” may help you make a better decision on what to purchase.



New: Basic Economy Restrictions

Just when you thought airlines had done everything they could to make flying as torturous as possible, they have thought of something else … Basic Economy. One of the new efforts to “provide more options for passengers” that many airlines have embraced is a new category of economy, which they identify as “Basic Economy.” It has even less flair than Economy. “Is that possible?” you might be wondering. In a word, YES. And, unfortunately, many group contracts are issued for Basic Economy.

Apparently too many passengers have protested that they had no idea of the latest restrictions that are found in Basic Economy, so airlines are requiring travel agents to tell their clients about Basic Economy. (Don’t say, you haven’t been warned.)

United Airlines
1. No seat selection: Seats are assigned by United at check-in and families and groups traveling together are not guaranteed to sit together.

2. No full-sized carry-on bag: A passenger may travel with only one personal item that fits under the seat in front of him or her.

3. No changes and no refunds: Ticket changes and refunds are not allowed except as stated in the United 24-hour flexible booking policy.

4. No upgrades and certain MileagePlus® member benefits are not available: MileagePlus® members, including Premier® members, will not receive Premier qualifying credit or lifetime miles; paid, earned, complimentary or mileage upgrades; or Economy Plus® seating benefits.

Delta Airlines
1. No Seat Assignments until after check in.

2. Passengers traveling together including families may not sit together.

3. No Refunds or Exchanges.

4. Last Zone boarding.

5. No paid or complementary upgrades.

6. No preferred seats including with medallion status

American Airlines
1. Only 1 carry on item that fits under the seat in front of you; you will have no access to overhead bins.

2. Seats assigned at check-in.

3. Fees to choose a specific seat.

4. Not eligible for upgrades.

5. No flight changes or refunds.

6. Board in last group.


Holocaust Remembrance Day 2017

From sundown April 23 until sundown April 24, 2017, Israel will observe Holocaust Remembrance Day (Yom HaShoah). During this time, the nation turns their attention toward the six million Jews who were killed at the hands of the Nazis and their accomplices. All forms of public entertainment close and a solemnity falls over the nation.

The photo collection of victims of the holocaust. Photo: ©2017 Craig Dunning

The Hall of Names at Yad VeShem in Jerusalem. Photo: ©2017 Craig Dunning

No cemeteries, no headstones, no traces were left to mark the loss of the six million Holocaust victims. The Hall of Names at Yad Vashem is the Jewish People’s memorial to each Jew murdered in the Holocaust – a place where they are commemorated for generations to come.

No tour of Israel is complete without a visit to Yad VeShem. Make sure that your group leader requests that Yad VeShem is included in your itinerary.

The Dead Sea: Fast Facts

The following Dead Sea facts are provided by Dead Sea Divers.

Heath Johnson of Paris, Texas laughs at the sensation of floating in the Dead Sea. (Photo: ©2015 Craig Dunning)

Heath Johnson of Paris, Texas laughs at the sensation of floating in the Dead Sea. (Photo: ©2015 Craig Dunning)

• It is famous for being the lowest location (lake) on the planet (420 meters below sea level; at the present).

• The saltiest body of water on Earth.

• Located in the deepest part of the Syrian-African Great Rift Valley.

• The Dead Sea is the terminal lake of River Jordan.

• The Dead Sea comprises 2 basins: the northern basin is the deepest (713 meters below sea level) whereas the southern basin is very shallow.

• Known also by the names: Tongue lake and the Salt Sea.

• The Dead Sea level withdraws ,on average, 1 meter per year.

• Concentration of salts is up to 10 times higher than sea water, 34% compared to 3.5% in the sea /ocean.

• In addition to the salt, the Dead Sea water contains chlorine, bromine, sodium, potassium and magnesium providing many healing qualities.

• In the past, nobody believed that life could exist in the Dead Sea. Today we know for fact that Halophilic bacterium and algae lives in this tough environment.

• The curative properties of the Dead Sea have been recognized since the days of Herod the Great over 2000 years ago.

• The Dead Sea is 80 kilometres (50 miles) long, approximately 14 kilometres (9 miles) wide. The northern and larger part is very deep, reaching at one point a depth of 430m (1320 feet). The southern bay is, on the contrary, very shallow, averaging hardly a depth of 4m (13 feet).

• Although sparsely populated and serenely quiet now, the Dead Sea area is believed to have been home to five Biblical cities: Sodom, Gomorrah, Adman, Zebouin and Zoar.