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August 21, 2014 / 25 Av, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘tourism’

4.8 Million Israelis Traveled Overseas in 2013

Thursday, June 12th, 2014

4.8 million Israelis traveled overseas in 2013, according to a report in Yisrael Hayom.

That’s an amazing number, considering there are only 8 million citizens in Israel. It’s also the highest ratio of travelers to citizens in the world.

It’s was a 11.6% increase from 2012, up from 4.3 million. The average traveler’s age is 40, and 900,000 Israelis traveled out more than once.

July and August accounted for 1.7 million Israelis abroad. If you add in the holidays in September and October, that number jumps to 2.7 million. An astounding one-third of the country was overseas at the same time.

With numbers like that, it’s no wonder Israel never feels crowded.

Quite interesting, the time when most Israelis stop flying out of Israel are during wars and national emergencies, when the number of travelers out of the country drops dramatically and people choose to stay in Israel.

Go figure.

Done Deal: China’s Bright Food Buys Israel’s Tnuva

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014

The Chinese government’s ‘Bright Food’ group inked the deal this morning (Thursday) to purchase Israel’s national dairy company, Tnuva, from Apax Partners for NIS 8.6 billion.  The Israeli government had no part in the deal.

Apax, which owns a 56 percent stake in the firm, will make a cool NIS 4 billion on the deal, and will not be required to pay any tax, according to a report posted on the Globes business news website.

The national kibbutz movement, which owns 23 percent of the company’s shares, did not sell. But Mivtach-Shamir Food Industries, which owns 21 percent of the company, is still negotiating, according to the report.

In a statement released to media, Bright Food said, “We are proud to acquire Tnuva. For us this is a long-term sound investment that will help Tnuva become a company that enters global markets. It is our intention to continue to keep Tnuva as an Israeli company and continue cooperating with all relevant local bodies including employees, farmers, and cattle farmers to faithfully serve the Israeli consumer.”

Under the terms of the deal, Tnuva’s CEO will be Israeli and its chairman of the board will be Chinese, from the Bright Food group. Its center of operations will remain in Israel as well.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has been deeply invested in strengthening ties economically and diplomatically with China, and bilateral commercial ventures have risen over the past several years. Tourism projects between Israel and China has increased as well.

However, it is not clear what would happen if diplomatic relations between Israel and China were ever to falter, or if for some reason Israeli consumer regulations differed from those preferred by the Chinese food conglomerate.

The bottom line remains: What will happen to Tnuva — and by extension, to the Israeli dairy consumer — if relations between the two countries go sour?

Israel Tourism Ministry Prepares to Welcome Pope Francis

Monday, May 19th, 2014

The Israel Ministry of Tourism is investing approximately NIS 10 million ($2.9 million) in marketing initiatives and infrastructure projects before, during and after the visit of Pope Francis to Israel, on May 25-26 May.

The marketing investment is centered around the dedicated website for the Catholic Pilgrim (www.holyland-pilgrimage.org), including live streaming of the Pope’s visit and utilization of the most advanced online marketing tools, both on the web and on the various social media platforms. The marketing targets source countries for Catholic pilgrimage – USA, Brazil, Italy, Spain, Poland, Germany and France.

In addition, last month the Tourism Ministry ran an online Instagram promotion in advance of the Papal visit, where contestants from around the world were asked to upload a 15-second video on Instagram, sharing with the Tourism Ministry why they wanted to visit the Holy Land. The winning video was uploaded by Gustavo Aldolfo Franco Picaza from Venezuela and landed him a free trip to Israel.

The 22-year-old Venezuelan with the winning Instagram message will visit Israel later this week as a guest of the Israel Tourism Ministry.

Hundreds of journalists are expected to arrive from around the world to cover the event and the Ministry of Tourism will be offering support and hosting services to them.

Israeli Tourism Minister Dr. Uzi Landau stated that Israel will welcome the Pope with open arms. “We welcome the Pope as a visitor of the highest importance, the most important religious leader for Catholics around the world. We are greatly honored by his choice to visit Israel. We will continue to welcome the faithful with open arms, as they choose to visit Israel in the footsteps of the Pope.

The Tourism Ministry, which invests in the maintenance and conservation of Christian sites on an ongoing basis, has invested tens of millions of shekels in recent years in the development and infrastructure of Christian sites, including, among others, the Yardenit baptism site on the River Jordan, the Sea of Galilee trail and promenade, Mount of Olives, Via Dolorosa, Ein Karem and pilgrimage routes in Jerusalem, Nazareth and more. Improvements and upgrading in the area of Rachel’s Crossing and at the Room of the Last Supper that had been planned for later in the year have been carried out in advance of the Pope’s visit.

As a result of the visit to the Holy Land by Pope Francis, who is a popular and significant figure for the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics, the ministry estimates an increase of tens of thousands in the numbers of Christians visiting Israel. Christian tourism, which accounts for about 60% of all incoming tourism, is expected to increase by about 10% in 2014 as a result of the pope’s visit.

Record Breaking Month for Tourism

Tuesday, May 13th, 2014

A record 385,000 visitors entered Israel in April, according to statistics released Tuesday by the Ministry of Tourism.

Three hundred forty two visitors stayed at least one night in Israel,  14 percent more than April 2013 and 31 percent more than in April 2011.

Overall, the ministry said 1.16 million visitors entered Israel (including day visitors) between January and April, a 5 percent rise over last year.  Of these, 1.05 million were tourists (meaning they stayed overnight in Israel). Nine hundred thousand people arrived by air, 45,000 came on cruise ships and 60,000 crossed Israel’s land borders. 

“The first quarter of 2014 brings with it new tourism records and upward trends. we hope that the record for incoming tourism into Israel will be broken again this year, as in the previous two years. We anticipate that the visit of Pope Francis at the end of May will cause a significant spike in incoming tourism and we welcome the faithful with open arms. Those that come to Israel will discover a country not only blessed with so many holy sites, but also spectacular landscapes, rich in history, culture and night life,” said Tourism Minister Dr. Uzi Landau.
 

Beaches are Open, Time for Sand and Fun in the Sun!

Thursday, May 1st, 2014

Israel’s beach season began officially Thursday morning, May 1, with a bright sunny day and breezy skies.

Lifeguards are out in force at 140 beaches, according to government officials, all of which are open to the public across the country. In many areas, separate beaches are available for observant Jews.

Recently a new separate beach opened up at the Dead Sea in Ein Bokek, according to Chabad-Lubavitch emissary Rabbi Shimon Elharar. (For more information about that beach and kosher facilities in the Dead Sea area, Rabbi Elharar can be reached at +972-54-777-0695.)

The season this year is scheduled to end after the High Holidays, on October 23, 2014.

Health officials remind Israelis, new immigrants, visitors and tourists to use an effective sun block when at the beach. The sun’s rays in the Mediterranean region can be stronger than one might be used to elsewhere, and the risk of a burn or other damage could be higher. The strongest and most damaging “sun hours” of the day are between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.

Enjoy yourselves and have a great season!

Tunisia Leader Facing Flack Over Jewish Pilgrimage to El Ghriba

Thursday, April 24th, 2014

Just one day after Tunisia’s leader urged officials not to make a fuss over normalization of ties with Israel, the country’s parliament voted to “interview” its tourism minister for deciding to allow Israelis to participate in the annual Lag B’Omer pilgrimage to El Ghriba synagogue on the island of Djerba.

The elected National Constituent Assembly (NCA) has announced it will question Tourism Minister Amel Karboul over the decision to allow Israelis to enter Tunisia.  Also to be “interviewed” will be Security Minister Sefar Ridha, according to international media reports.

“Our problem is not with our Jewish brothers who come for the pilgrimage but with the Zionist entity that occupies Palestinian territories,” said leftist Democratic Alliance head Mohammed Hamdi.

Since the country’s Jasmine Revolution in January 2011, Tunisia has struggled with a massive economic crisis.  Interim Prime Minister Mehdi Jomaa warned the parliament Tuesday it was in Tunisia’s best interest to “make the tourist season a success, because tourism is one of the activities that brings immediate cash to the country.”

Of those activities, Jomaa noted, tourism professionals have determined “the pilgrimage to Ghriba must be successful for the tourist season to be successful.” He added, “This is a tradition known to us – the pilgrimage has been taking place for years.”

The tourism industry in Tunisia employs some 400,000 people and accounts for seven percent of the GDP.  Jomaa’s decision to create a policy of tourism “transparency” means that Israelis can for the first time use their official passports to enter the country for the pilgrimage, rather than a specific Tunisian embassy-issued document.

Tunisia had “offices of interest” in Tel Aviv in 1996, and Israel had one in Tunis as well. Those ties were established just two years after the closure of Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) headquarters which had existed in Tunisia for the twelve years prior.  But the fragile ties established between Tunisia and Israel were torn apart in October 2000 when the PLO succeeded in launching the second intifada in Israel – prompting Tunis to freeze ties in a protest against Israel’s efforts to quell the violence.

For years Jews have gone to Tunisia for the pilgrimage, with or without formal Israeli-Tunisian diplomatic ties. But an Al Qaeda terror attack on the synagogue in 2002 left 21 people dead, and killed the tourist event for the next decade. The Jasmine Revolution and the Arab Spring did the rest.

Rediscovering Hebron’s Jewish Past

Friday, January 10th, 2014

Back in the 1960s an archeologist from the United States, Prof. Philip Hammond, from the Princeton Theological Seminary, excavated in Hebron, in the area call Tel Rumeida, during the summer months of 1964, 1965, and 1966. He discovered many interesting artifacts on the south eastern side of the Tel, including the remains of walls so large and so old, that he called them “Cycloptic walls.”

Hammond’s findings were later documented by Prof. Jeffrey Chadwick of the Brigham Young University in his doctoral thesis. (See: Discovering Hebron, Jeffrey R. Chadwick, BAR 31:05, Sep/Oct 2005).

Later excavations were continued by Dr. Avi Ofer, between the years 1984-1986. He discovered what was called one of the most important archaeological finds, a tablet with writing on it, from the era preceding Abraham, probably a list of animals, perhaps utilized for sacrifice.

In 1998, archeologist Yuval Peleg literally fell into an underground room, near the present entrance into the neighborhood, where he discovered dozens of artifacts, including jars, jewelry, and other artifacts from the late Bronze era, that is, post-Patriarchs and Matriarchs.

However, perhaps the most astounding discoveries were those of Emmanuel Eisenberg, leading excavations for the Israeli Antiquities Department, in 1999. Among his finds were a 4,500 year old wall, that belonging to the early bronze era, which on a Biblical timeline is the time of Noah, and stairs, also over 4,000 years old, leading from the valley below into the ancient city of Hebron.

Eisenberg can also chalk up another amazing discovery: that of a home, 2,700 years old, from the time of King Hezekiah. In the vicinity of this home, also found were five seals, call ‘the King seals,’ bearing the impression of a bird, or a beetle, with the word ‘lemelech’ meaning ‘belonging to the King, written above the impression, and the word ‘Hebron’ in ancient Hebron, below it. These seals were embedded on the bottom of handles on clay jars containing food, to be distributed to soldiers in the then Judean army, who were fighting a war against Sancheriv, who also invaded Hebron and burned it to the ground. Stone pillars discovered at the site are stained with patches of black, which Eisenberg determined were from the remains of the fire which burned down Hebron.

The 1999 excavations revealed artifacts from 4,500 years ago, to about 1,500 years ago. One of the time periods unaccounted for is that of 3,000 years ago, when David began his reign as King of Judea in Hebron, where he ruled for 7 and a half years, before ascending to Jerusalem, establishing it as the eternal capital of the Jewish people. The present understanding, was explained to us by Eisenberg, is that most probably David founded the first City of David on the highest point of Tel Hebron, an area yet to be examined.

Until now. Until Sunday of this week. A few days ago Hebron joyfully greeted back Emmanuel Eisenberg, representing the Israeli Antiquities Agency, and Dr. David ben Shlomo from the Ariel University, who are jointly heading up renewed digging on Tel Hebron. The areas presently being excavated are labeled ‘plots 52 and 53,’ on the center-south-west section of Tel Hebron. The area is between 5 to 6 Dunam, that being some 1.5 acres or 6,000 sq. meters. The time needed to complete the excavation is dependent on the findings at the site, but it is possible that they could be completed by the end of this calendar year.

These renewed excavations are tremendously exciting. The thought of uncovering the original city of David, or even his palace, is mind-boggling. Why so? Hebron is the roots of Judaism, it is the roots of all of monotheism and I also call it the very beginnings of humanity. That being the beginning of the end of human sacrifice, with the belief of one G-d, a Deity rejecting killing of men, women and children as a means of worship. With Abraham, mankind starts to leave the barbarity of such acts and begins praying to one G-d. This is Abraham’s legacy.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/rediscovering-hebrons-jewish-past/2014/01/10/

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