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November 27, 2014 / 5 Kislev, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘tourism’

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.

Christians Lead Record Year for Tourism in Israel

Thursday, January 9th, 2014

Israel’s Tourism Ministry’s aggressive pitch to bring Christians to visit Israel has paid off with another record-breaking year for visitors, led by Americans and Russians who accounted for nearly 35 percent of tourists.

Three-quarters of the tourists visited Jerusalem, and 68 percent arrived at the Western Wall, Israel’s most popular attraction.

Only 28 percent of the visitors in 2013 were Jewish, reflecting the ministry’s campaign aimed at Christians, who accounted for 53 percent of incoming tourists. Half of them were Catholic.

Tourism now accounts for approximately 56 percent of the work force.

December saw an even greater increase in the number of visitors, with a 14  percent rise over the same month in 2012.. A visitor is defined as one who stays at least one night in a hotel. The number of day visitors decreased last month.

The average U.S. visitor spent $1,865 per trip, not including the flight.

German Grandmother Celebrates 104th Birthday by Dead Sea

Wednesday, January 8th, 2014

German tourist, Eleonore Kastner, affectionately known as Oma Ella, celebrated her 104th birthday in a Dead Sea hotel with 40 friends and family who traveled with her to Israel for the special event.

Since she turned 100 four years ago, Oma Ella had decided that the time had come to “live a little.” She has been celebrating her birthday each year in a different corner of the world together with her family. For her 100th birthday, Kastner celebrated at the Vatican.

During the following years, she marked 101 in Monaco, 102 in Austria and 103 in Munich.

Kastner, a devout Christian, has visited and prayed at Christian holy sites in the Holy Land, even traveling on a donkey to reach an isolated monastery in the Judean desert.

Kastner, who was born in 1910 in Kelheim, Germany, has accomplished some ground-breaking feats in her older age. She is thought to be the oldest person to tour the Himalayas and meet with the Queen of Bhutan, and is the oldest member of the Eurovision Club that travels to every song competition.

In addition, the German grandmother is considered to be the oldest person to have a Facebook page which she has already updated since arriving in Israel with a video greeting. She also appears in YouTube videos celebrating with youth at beer festivals in Germany, enjoying fairground rides and dancing to contemporary music.

And her secret for longevity? “Be healthy and enjoy a sweet schnapps every day!” is Kastner’s motto.

After she married in 1932, Kastner moved to Amberg, Bavaria where she raised four children, only one of whom is still alive. Her elder brother, who was born in 1906, was murdered in the Dachau concentration camp in 1943 after resisting the Nazi occupation.

During her visit to Israel, the Tourism Ministry presented Kastner with a birthday present: a silver-bound Bible along with a certificate of appreciation, nominating her as an ambassador of good will for tourism to Israel.

Ritz-Carlton Opens Hotel in Israel, Rents Suite for $2,500 a Night

Monday, December 16th, 2013

Israeli hotels have literally gone ritzy with this week’s opening of the $175 million Ritz-Carlton hotel in Herzliya adjacent to Tel Aviv, on Sunday. Rooms are available anywhere from $300 to $2500 a night, and its restaurant is kosher.

The Waldorf Astoria won will follow suit with the opening of its luxury hotel between Jerusalem’s Old City and the downtown area.

“The Ritz-Carlton chain is happy to open its first hotel in Israel and provide its guests from all over the world the opportunity to enjoy the service whose name precedes it and the award-winning guest experience,” said Ritz-Carlton president Hervé Humler.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/ritz-carlton-opens-hotel-in-israel-rents-suite-for-2500-a-night/2013/12/16/

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