1. An Outdoor Exploration of Water, Farming and Trees in Israel
Sataf Spring Nature Reserve, near Jerusalem, A guided hike in one of the natural gems of Israel; explore issues related to water, sustainable agriculture, and trees in the Land of Israel. The Israeli Ministry of the Environment stated, “Preservation of the country’s scant water sources may be the greatest challenge facing Israel today.” The educator will provide a historical background to Jerusalem’s 3,000 years of water challenges, including how the water supply in the Jerusalem hills is quite limited. We will discuss how today, the Golan plateau functions as “a vast water tower for greater Jerusalem,” channeled through Israel’s National Water Carrier. Following the guided hike, if desired, we will explore Biblical sources on water conservation in relation to this contemporary challenge and discuss possible solutions for Israel in the 21st century.
The Sataf Spring Nature Reserve contains an orchard of fruit trees indigenous to Israel, an ancient wine press, and organic garden plots cultivated using traditional techniques. Participants can also enter the hewn-out spring, crawl through the passage way and exit at the other side.Day: Thursday | Hour: 12:00 | Duration: 3.5 Hrs excluding travel time to and from site
Capacity: 10 participants minimum
Costs: 120 NIS (or $35) / person, including transportation | Transportation: Bus
Meeting Point: Near the Central Bus Station | Maps: YesService Provider: Eco Israel Tours | Tour guide: Yonatan Neril | Phone number for questions: 054-723-4973
2. The Machane Yehuda Market and Israel in the Age of Globalized Food
The Machane Yehuda Market is one of the great markets of the world. It testifies to the greatest abundance the land of Israel has ever seen. The market is also an interesting window into contemporary environmental issues related to the production and consumption of food. In this tour of the Machane Yehuda Market through an ecological lens, the Eco Israel Tours educator will describe the emergence of globalized food in Israel in the past thirty years, and discuss what is fueling the growth of this phenomenon.
This tour will explore the significance of this new development in the context of broader Israeli society and global environmental issues including, but not limited to: climate change, rainforest depletion, and species loss. The educator will also discuss the emergence of organic produce and health food stores in the market in recent years. This tour will also include an exploration of local and global food through the lens of Bible teachings.Day: Thursday | Hour: 09:00 | Duration: 2 Hrs
Capacity: 11 participants minimum
Costs: 60 NIS (or $15) / person | Refreshments: Taste of foods from various vendors
Meeting Point: Outside of the Natural Choice Bakery near the corner of Agripas St. and Shilo St. | Maps: YesService Provider: Eco Israel Tours | Tour guide: Yonatan Neril | Phone number for questions: 054-723-4973
3. Arava Power Company, Kibbutz Ketura
Contemporary Israeli society is at the forefront of the global effort to shift from non-renewable energy sources to safer, sustainable, and renewable sources. Israel is using creativity and advanced technology to promote this shift. We will see some of Israel’s exciting projects on-site, including innovative solar facilities located at Kibbutz Ketura in the Arava Valley, between the Dead Sea and Eilat.8 am: Depart Jerusalem via chartered bus
11:30 Arrive at Kibbutz Ketura. Participants will be greeted with a cold drink and introductory discussion about Kibbutz Ketura, its history, ideological orientation, unique attributes and directions.
12:00 Lunch in the kibbutz dining room
12:45 Walking tour (or bus tour, depending on weather ) to visit the following sites (among others):
Algatechnologies, an algae factory, which produces Astaxanthin, a valuable antioxidant derived from the pigment of a single cell, fresh water algae. Visitors view the algae growing in an extensive network of glass tubes, and learn about the life cycle of the plant and the exciting and lucrative uses of Astaxanthin.
The Ketura date grove, whose 3,000 stately trees provide a yearly harvest of 500 tons of some of the most desirable desert dates in the world. Guests come away with a newfound appreciation for these miraculous trees and learn about the diligent, year round care which is necessary in order to assure continued production.
Ketura’s experimental orchard, home to plants and trees from the world over which have been successfully adapted to our demanding climate. Many of these plants have exciting medical applications.
Preceding a visit to our solar panel field, we will meet Dr. Tareq Abu-Hamed, director of the Center for Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation of the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies. He will give an overview of the efforts to bring clean energy to the Middle East and we will tour, with him, the Bryan Medwed Renewable Energy Park and research facility. We will then visit the Arava Power Company’s initial solar panel installation site, which is the first solar photovoltaic sun field in the Middle East. Today close to five megawatts of electricity flows to the Israeli electric grid– turning our oldest enemy – the sun – into our newest friend and benefactor.
The tour concludes with a visit to Ketura’s oldest and most distinguished resident: Methuselah, the 2050 year old date seed germinated into a date palm.
4 pm: Depart Ketura
7:30 pm: Arrival in JerusalemDay: Thursday | Hour: 08:00 | Duration: 7 Hrs (Including Travel)
Capacity: 30 participants minimum
Costs: 235 NIS / person | Refreshments: Lunch
Meeting Point: YMCA | Maps: Yes | Transportation: Chartered busService Provider: This program is being operated by Eco Israel Tours and led at Ketura by Keren Kolot – Desert Educational Experience. | Tour guide: Yonatan NerilPhone number for questions: 054-723-4973
4. Ein Kerem – The Ecological House and Yemenite Experience
Bus tour to Ein Kerem, Meet the local activists who have taken over the restoration of the old agricultural terraces of the Ein Kerem wadi, in the memory of a young boy who lost his life tragically. Over 8 years they have successfully transformed the once-trash-filled ravine into a little piece of paradise, that hosts neighbors, schoolkids, visitors from outside the city and from all over the world. hear their experience of saving a 3,000 year old heritage site from the 21st century developmentDay: Thursday | Hour: 09:00 | Duration: 3 Hrs
Capacity: 30 participants minimum
Costs: 200 NIS / person | Refreshments: Meal at the Ancient house
Meeting Point: YMCA | Maps: YesService Provider: Orly Ben Aharon | Tour guide not included, can be added for 700 NIS per group
5. Essence of a pilgrimage in Jerusalem including Armenian mosaic
Tour description is coming soonDay: Thursday | Hour: 09:00 | Duration: 5-6 Hrs | Transportation: Walking tour
Costs: TBD / person | Refreshments:
Meeting Point: Jaffa Gate | Maps: NoService Provider & Tour Guide: Avner Goren
6. ceremony of the swifts at the western wall
The Common Swift is a unique bird that spends most of its life on the wing.
It feeds on flying insects, which it hunts in the air, it drinks while flying, it sleeps on the wing and it even mates on the wing at the beginning of the breeding season. The Common Swift spends most of the time living in South Africa in dense colonial groups and at the beginning of spring starts migrating north to its breeding sites.
During mid-February it arrives in Israel, which is known to be one of its first breeding sites, and migrates back to Africa at the beginning of June, immediately after its nestlings have fledged.
It is a small bird, weighing only 35 – 45 grams, but is a superior flier, an aerial acrobat. It has a thin, short body and impressive, long, scythe-like wings with an outstanding aspect ratio.
Ever since humans have started building cities, the Common Swift has found our buildings perfect for nesting sites including ancient holy sites such as churches, synagogues, mosques and temples, and has become dependent on us.
The Western Wall in Jerusalem serves as one of the oldest Common Swift nesting sites in the world.
A special study to map the nests was conducted in 2002 by the researcher, Mr. Ulrich Tigges and by the late Prof. Mendelssohn during which 88 nests were noted. This study map served as a guideline during the work of strengthening the Western Wall, keeping the nests unblocked.
However, the future of the Common Swift is not secure at all and their future is at risk.
The FRIENDS OF THE SWIFTS Association, the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel, and Tel Aviv University are working together to promise the future of the Common Swift by all available means: saving existing nesting sites, designing and building new ones, special educational programs in schools, assisting Wildlife Rehabilitation Centers, and PR activities to increase public awareness of this special bird and the problems it faces.Day: Thursday | Hour: 18:00 | Duration: 1 Hrs | Capacity: N/A
Costs: Free | Refreshments: no Meeting Point: TBD | Maps: N/ATour guide: Amnon Hahn | firstname.lastname@example.org
Yossi Leshem sponsoring
7. Discover the history and the future of local sustainability projects in Jerusalem, through the eyes of the city’s community gardeners”
Walking tour from YMCA to the “Or b’Zamenhof” Community Garden (5 min. walk), where we will meet members of the community who created a garden, where there were once only trash and rubble. We will hear about the process of building a garden and of the community that came to be around it. The friends of Zamenhof Community Garden will tell of their fight for the right to have a flowering oasis in the rapidly developing city center.This is the story of a dramatic struggle by a community that came together to keep their garden from being sold to the highest real estate bidder.
From “Or b’Zamenhof” we will proceed to the Nature Museum Community Garden (15 min. walk), walking through the Liberty Bell park, while talking about the rise of the community gardens movement in Jerusalem. At the Nature Museum Community Garden we will hear about the history of this special site, the community that grew from the garden, and about ways to grow food (and make compost!) in the city. We will also hear about the “Jerusalem Green Revolution Compost Project” – the big success of a small local initiative and learn about the challenges of promoting sustainable garbage solutions in a complex city like Jerusalem.Day: Thursday, Apr. 25th | Hour: 15:30 at YMCA | Duration: 3 Hrs
Capacity: 10 participants minimum
Costs: Free tour Meeting Point: YMCA | Maps: NoService Provider: Community Gardens of JerusalemTour guide: Guided by Community Gardens of Jerusalem staff.
8. Connect the visitor, the holy site and the local communities
Pilgrimage to Jerusalem is not just a meeting with history, with the stones that reflect past events, but a direct encounter with the thousands of people who visit the holy sites every day, who pray and bless and cry in an attempt to link themselves with the transcendental via the city’s sites. The pilgrimage experience also brings the visitor into contact with the communities who inhabit the holy places, who administer them, who pray there daily, and who maintain the religious life of the city throughout the year. Pilgrimage to Jerusalem exposes the visitor to the vast diversity of religions, narratives and traditions that the city encapsulates.
How can we connect the visitor, the holy site and the local communities in responsible tourism?
A visit to the central sites of the Christian Quarter, the Patriarchates, monasteries and churches, guided by Hana Bendcowsky and Dr. Tina Blomquist from the Jerusalem Center for Jewish-Christian Relations (JCJCR). The tours will be conducted in English.Day: Thursday, Apr. 25th | Hour: 10:00 | Duration: 3 Hrs
Capacity: 15 participants minimum
Costs: Free tour Meeting Point: Jaffa Gate |Service Provider: Jerusalem Center for Jewish-Christian Relations (JCJCR)>Tour guide: Hana BendcowskyTour Registration: Hana Bendcowsky, email@example.com, 054-2103314