The Israel stand wins the Award for the Best Small Stand Exhibit at the Sydney Travel Expo 2011!
Thank you to The Israel Travel Centre, with a rather modest budget to work with, your team expertly got it all together and gave us the best time of our lives! I've been to Israel on 3 previous occasions, yet, this was my first time to organise and lead a tour, and seeing the faces of my people throughout the whole week gave me comfort to know that I had done the right thing by joining up with ITC.
Also, in all my 4 trips, this tour was special because we actually had a guy waiting for us upon our arrival. He helped us through passport control, customs etc, and handed us over in so short a time- amazing!!! Never had that VIP-like treatment before; it was so efficient. Having an Aussie like Joe as tour guide certainly made the day for us.
I'm now being inundated with requests for next year.
One thing I liked about working with your team was their willingness to accommodate some of our requests. Like the visit to the Holocaust Survivors' Home in Haifa, planting a tree, a visit to the Knesset (from the menorah), and a visit to a congregation whose pastors I am associated with - Kehilat Beit Asaph in Netanya. All this added to the spiritual experience of my people. The whole tour, from start to the end, was excellent. We loved the food (nothing like falafel...), and the hotels were lovely - especially the Kibbutz Nofey Gonen, a beautiful place)!!
Vicky, I have decided ITC is the only travel agent I will use for any trip to Israel in future. Finally, thank you for helping me to take my very first tour to Israel. It will not be my last. I wish you many blessings...
Rev. Seik Pitoi
What an amazing trip! I am still processing the tour. Israel is the most amazing country - modernity alongside ancient, people from all over the world, food. Fantastic. AND it has borders. Australia doesn't have borders. So very strange to an Aussie.
Would like to chat to you. Easier to share my excitement and joy over the phone.
The trip was such a blessing. Friends who had been to Israel told me would change my life; and it has.
Thank you so much for making arrangements.
St Peter & Emmaus Church
Joondanna WA 6060
I wish all things going well with you both in life and at work.I came back to Melbourne from Israel about a week ago, I had most wonderful experiences in the Holly Land, with both culture and peoples of Israel.
I would like to say thank you very much to you and the tour team in Israel, as you all has been excellent.
Keep up the good work.
I understand you are away, so will email our thanks for arranging such a lovely few days in Jerusalem for Peter and me.
We loved our time there and were actually blown away by the place and places we visited. It was amazing.
Our tours were very interesting and our guides were wonderful..so informative and fun.
The hotel couldn’t have been more comfortable and central.
With Best Wishes,
I have to thank you for providing invaluable inspiration and helping me plan the very best holiday anyone could ever have.
That is no exaggeration; everything went along perfectly and EVERYONE I met; from the El Al flight to Tel Aviv to every hotel and tour I went on was delightful.
All three Israeli's I met on the plane including the hostess offered me their Israel addresses and/or phone no's in case I had "any trouble at all in Israel". They told me they would actually collect me if I had any trouble. Unbelievable kindness!! and I had never met them before. Later in the trip I was invited to attend the home of a world famous Rabbi and Rebbetzin who each Shabbat provide for the poorest in Jerusalem as well as many Yeshiva students. I spent some 10 courses + dancing with some 75 Rabbis and rabbinical students!!
Walking Hezekiah's Tunnel, deep underground, thigh deep in cold water, in perfect darkness was a real adrenalin rush and I loved the Generations Tour and Light and Music Shows-very sad in places and energising.
On the temple Mount Sifting project, I found the oldest piece found that day-a piece of Caananite pottery and a decorated piece of Mamluk pottery. The Caananite pottery is the red striped piece in the bowl reserved for the best finds. Afterwards, the archaeologists and myself only had lunch together.
I loved Ein Gedi Kibbutz and from there, visited David's Falls, the Dead Sea Spa, ancient synagogue mosaics, ancient Balsam Terraces (above) and Masada.
Later in the trip I visited Capernaum, Akko, Caesaria and Rosh Hanrika which was so beautiful with the dazzling blue ocean entering the limestone caves.
Perhaps I can later tell you more and share more photos as it is impossible right now. I would like to thank you for all of your amazing liaising with your Israeli colleagues who were sooo giving in their advice and help generally.
Its good to be back after along and tiring but blessed and super tour of Jordan & Israel. We all arrived safely with memories of an unforgettable tour. Each and every one of us enjoyed at full. All the arrangements were fine and satisfactory, in particular, the hotel, food, visitation/travel and comfort in Galilee/Tiberias was super and every single person in the group applauded it.
e guides were excellent in their knowledge, experience, manners, co-operation and presentation.
We never felt frightened or unsafe at any time. The security arrangements were visible on the roads which brought a sense of safety to the visitors and locals at all times.
I also had the opportunity to meet Shilgit from your office in Israel and she remained in touch from time to time. This was much appreciated by all in the group.
So, all in all the tour was fantastic and all your arrangements were great and satisfactory.
Thank you very much for all this. Now I look forward to the trip next year around the same time.
With Kind regards
President-Rapture Ready Ministries Inc.
We really enjoyed our trip - even with the Gaza situation. A detour going down to Masada was the only change. Even went to Bethleham. Petra lived up to expectations and Jerusalem would be in my ten top cities.
Thank you for your organisation of our trip. The Israeli company that you used were excellent. The comprehensive list of pick ups with mobile phone numbers was excellent.
Naturally security was tight and tedious at times - but we felt safe and would not expect anything less.
Jordan was more relaxed but the scenery was very dramatic. We liked Wadi Rum - not all people would appreciate it.
Anyway thanks again. I like working online.
I'm back in cairo now, and the tour was fantastic. I emailed Dedi and he was more than helpfull. I want to thank you for a great, professional and hassle free holiday. Every thing you organised worked like clockwork, I will be sure to recommend you and Naftali (but i will refer to you) to all my friends.
It was sad leaving Israel, i think i could quite easily move there, Egypt is ok, but actually getting to israel, talking with people and being amongst a civilised and beautiful community (ok, every country has it's problems but Israel is just so much nicer and cleaner than egypt) was unbelievable. It was a great feeling to get in touch with that side of my heritage, to feel a part of something bigger... awesome!
I'll definately be coming back over the next year or two, though next time for longer. I think i really need at least a couple of months to see everything i want to.
Have been so busy since we got back, Love the photos and the website is great too. We had such a great time and our travelling companions were fantastic. The highlight of course was our tour of Israel. What a great country. We spent three days in Tel Aviv, as you know. What a great holiday venue and the hotel was great; we even swam in the Med. Jeff was a great guide and we would recommend him to anyone.
Christine & Brian
The trip was marvellous. All of our group were most impressed by the whole trip.
I want to thank you for giving us Jeff as a guide. He could not have been better. He adapted well to us,and as I said to him, he was going to have to change his approach with the group of pilgrims he had following us. There was nothing I would have changed about the trip. I am now trying to sort out the photos and video.
Say hello to Tanya for me and thank her for her contribution to our trip. You can be certain that I will be highly recommending you to anyone who intends heading over that way. Once again, thanks for the enormous amount of work you put into our trip.
To Vicky Gonda
Jetset (Rose Bay)
Israel Travel Centre
Thank you so much for organizing a wonderful tour of Israel – we enjoyed the trip very much and were amazed at all the archeological sites we visited.
We are still reading literature and brochures on the different places and learning new aspects of our tour! We have a keen desire to keep reading about Israel!
Really enjoyed Jerusalem so much and we would love the opportunity to return to explore the Old City in more detail. The Shalom Hotel was very impressive and the presentation was first rate but maybe a Hotel closer to Jaffa Gate would have been a little easier to explore the local sites after tours. Eilat was a wonderful resort with Kings City – “The Children’s Theme Park” and had a lovely front beach and I believe a warm winter which would be great! Wonderful place to go to relax so must keep this in mind – of course, wonderful designed swimsuits in many shop window displays and wish I could have indulged there!
The Anzac Day and Beersheba Day meant so much to us and we are still reliving these times! Letters of appreciation have been sent to people we have met on these occasions.
Once again, Vicki, thank you for your personal helpful assistance and great planning for the wonderful tour of Israel. Have taken over 1000 digital photographs and would love to share these with you the highlights of our trip later on
Please thank all your staff for their attention to detail and personal service – it was a fantastic tour!
Thank you for everything you did and for putting up with the trouble that my work place gave you!!
Israel ROCKS, I loved it……..It will not be my last time….I didn’t want to leave; I wished I stayed longer after the tour! The tour was just me, a couple from Canada and the tour guide all in a VW van…….
It was awesome….more personal and didn’t have to wait for 50 people to board the bus!!
Thank you thank you.
I am already planning my next year trip… You will be organising that for me..for sure!!
Enjoyed Israel isn’t the word..I fell in love with it!!
Israel through the Eyes of a Child
After a magical time in London and Paris, I did not know what to expect from Israel. Numerous people had told me that it would be an incredibly unique and eye-opening experience, and now I had the chance to form my own connection with Israel and discover what it was that everyone talked about.
Probably the most important thing to do in Israel is visit places which you can connect with – for example I found it particularly moving at Yad Vashem because of a personal connection to a Holocaust survivor. The first night we spent in Israel we visited the Wall. There are no words to describe the feeling when you first see the Wall – enhanced even more so by the fact that we visited at night when it was lit up and golden. You feel as if you are going to heaven, or have finally reached the destination you have been journeying to your entire life.
I could have spent a lifetime at the Wall, so I would recommend that you prepare your note first before going so as to make it as meaningful as you wish it to be. It is also very rewarding to give tzedakah (money/charity) at the Wall because it makes you feel as though you have done an exceptionally good deed.
Afterwards, we went on the Tunnels Tour next to the Wall. For me personally it was very exciting and the explanation of the history of the wall using an electronic construction was particularly helpful in the way of sorting out the events chronologically. The Tunnels Tour is definitely a must.
While in Jerusalem you should also take some time to walk around the main market areas as there are some rare finds and, of course, magnificent jewellery! It is also a unique and rich cultural (and eating) experience. Things also work out a little cheaper when using Israeli currency, and Jewish gifts are just about everywhere.
On the second day we took a tour bus to Mount Masada. I would definitely recommend having a guide with you as there are many bits of information about Masada which we could not have learnt without one. While on your way to Masada there are many other interesting things to observe, i.e. the Bedouins, Israeli plantations and you might even catch a faint glimpse of Jericho.
We did not climb Masada as it was incredibly hot that particular day; however you will not understand how amazing the walk actually is until you have seen it.
And by the way, if you are planning to visit the Dead Sea afterward and are looking forward to a cool, refreshing swim...you’re in for a surprise!
WARNING: When going to the Dead Sea, bring a wetsuit and goggles. I made the mistake of actually tasting the water – an experience I could have done without. You also get this strange stinging sensation while in the water but it is such an amazing feeling to actually float on water! Also try covering yourself in mud – you can forget about getting it out of your cossie afterwards, so forget a fancy bikini. An icy pole after your swim is a must – need I say more?
The next day it was Saturday. Boy was it weird when there wasn’t a single car on the road (besides the Arab taxis in the centre of Jerusalem). It’s nice just to walk around when all is peaceful and you don’t have to wait for traffic lights. Having said that, it’s preferable to stay in a hotel with a pool over Shabbat so you have something to do when you get too hot to walk around.
During our visit we also visited the Time Elevator, which, aided by the electronic chairs was very fun and typically American. Do not expect a rich cultural experience – it’s kind of like watching a movie on a big screen, but it’s still something to put on your itinerary.
There are definitely some unique (and delicious) eating experiences to be had in Jerusalem. Even the pasta and salads are better there, but the portions are colossal. If you keep kosher at home, indulge yourself in meat at restaurants! It is certainly a nice feeling.
If I had only one word to describe Jerusalem it would be: me. It seemed as though every place we visited I had a personal connection to and the memories of our visit will stay with me forever. Hopefully next year I’ll be there again, and as they say: l’Shana haba’a b’yerushalayim!