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January Travel News from Israel

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2008 BREAKS RECORD FOR ISRAEL TOURISM

2008 saw an all-time high of 3 million visitors traveling to Israel, more than in any year since the independent State of Israel was founded in 1948.  The United States is Israel's number-one source of tourism, with the United Kingdom, Russia and France the runners-up. Close to three quarters of a million North Americans visited Israel in 2008 -- also a record.

 

AIRLINES INCREASE SERVICE TO TEL AVIV'S
BEN GURION INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

bengurionairport1This year, more than 70 airlines are offering flights to Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion International Airport.  With more than 20 flights a day between North America and Israel and vice versa, airlines are increasing their efforts just in time for Tel Aviv's 100th-anniversary celebrations this year.

 

1,300-YEAR-OLD GOLD COINS UNCOVERED IN JERUSALEM

1300yearoldcoinsLast month, the Israel Antiquities Authority discovered more than 250 gold coins near Jerusalem's City of David.  The coins are believed to have been minted at the beginning of Heraclius' reign, in the 7th century, one year before the Persians conquered Byzantine Jerusalem.  The stash of coins was found during ongoing excavations, amid the ruins of a large building built 1,300 years ago.

 

AUSTRIAN AIRLINES LAUNCHES NEW BOEING 767 TO TEL AVIV

austrianboeing1Austrian Airlines has unveiled plans to expand its current seating capacity on its Tel Aviv route by 30 percent, beginning in May 2009. The airline will upgrade to large-capacity Boeing 767's with 235 passengers

 

 

TEL AVIV TOURISM SEES ALL-TIME HIGH

telavivpromenade1The city of Tel Aviv has experienced an all-time high in tourist stays in 2008, surpassing the previous record set in 2000. Tel Aviv anticipates an increase in tourism this year as it celebrates its centennial in April.

 

H&M TO OPEN STORE IN ISRAEL

H&M, the fashionable Swedish clothing brand, has announced plans to open its first store in Israel in 2010. H&M currently has 68,000 employees in more than 1,600 stores in 34 countries, and in recent years it has launched low-cost lines by celebrity guest designers Madonna, Kylie Minogue and Stella McCartney.

 

A MONTH OF MUSIC IN EILAT

eilatmusicfestivals1Eilat, Israel's Riviera-on-the-Red Sea, will offer tourists and music lovers a double billing this February with the 8th Red Sea International Music Festival and the 4th Eilat Chamber Festival. The Red Sea International Music Festival (February 26-28) features world-renowned Maestro Valery Gergiev conducting more than 290 musicians, the Mariinsky Choir and the orchestra of St. Petersburg's Mariinksy Opera Company. The Eilat Chamber Music Festival (February 23-29) will take place at Herod's Forum and offer master classes and performances by violinists Maxim Vengerov and Julian Rachlin, pianist Itamar Golan and special guests Sir Roger Moore and Georgian conductor Giya Kancheli.

 

PERFUME VIALS FROM JESUS'S ERA UNEARTHED IN ISRAEL

Vials of perfume similar to those believed to have been used by Mary Magdalene to wash the feet of Jesus have been unearthed by a team of Franciscan archaeologists in the Galilee town of Magdala. The perfume bottles were found intact at the bottom of an ancient mud-filled swimming pool, alongside hair and makeup objects.

 

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Testimonials from our Travelers

Hi Sara,

Good to hear from you.  Our trip was smooth and far exceeded the expectations of every single person in our group.  Ziv served our group well as our guide.  Everyone that I talked to from the group found the trip inspiring in many different ways and certainly informative on many levels.  We realized that we only scratched the surface of Israel and hopefully there will be a group in the next few years who will go, possibly with some of the same people who went this time.  We’ll wait to see and keep sharing about our experiences.  We’ve got two talks scheduled here at All Saints, one in May and the other in September, about the trip and we’ll see who might be interested in being part of a trip in the future.

Thanks again for coordinating a great trip for us.
Mike