Sar-El Tours & Conferences - 'For the Lord your God brings you into a good land.' (Deut 8:7)

September 2013
Sar-El News Scroll

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Shalom from Israel!  With the Jewish New Year upon us we wish all of our friends a "Shana Tova U'metuka" - a Happy and Sweet New Year!  We hope you enjoy reading the below news and please feel free to pass this on to your friends and family.

God Bless,
Samuel Smadja


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What's New In Israel
Image courtesy of Viator

Incoming tourists create new record

within the first half of the year with more than 240,000 tourists arriving in the month of July alone; a grand total of over two million visitors since the beginning of the year. This is a 1% rise since last year, and an 8% increase since 2011, a fact which reflects the appeal and charm of the country which as the Minister of Tourism, Uzi Landau comments, is "leading the tourists to vote with their feet". He vows to further increase the number of tourists coming to Israel and maximize Israel's potential in the tourist industry; one of the integral components to economic growth.  

Image courtesy of JPost.
King David's Palace has recently been unveiled along with several royal storehouses within a fortified city at Khirbet Qeiyafa overlooking the valley of Elah, believed to be the biblical city of Shaarayim. Archaeologists and researchers from the Hebrew University and the Israel Antiques Authority have worked on the site for the last seven years, and believe it to be the most impressive example of a fortified city within the Kingdom of Judah during King David's time. Artifacts found at the excavation site include many with the official seal impressed upon them and others from Egypt. Plans are to open the site along with the Nature and Parks Authority, in order to allow visitors to learn about the history of Israel during King David's reign.


Samford University Professor James Riley Strangehas uncovered the ancient Jewish village Shikhin, within the Lower Galilee close to Nazareth. Working alongside Professor Strange, are Professor David Fiensy from Kentucky Christian University and Professor Mordechai Aviam of the Kinneret College and the Institute of Galilean Archaeology in Israel. International volunteers, many from the aforementioned institutions are helping to unearth treasures found at the site including indications of pottery manufacture, and the remains of an ancient synagogue and houses. The site is reported to indicate much about the life of a Jewish Galilean village and the economic climate during the period of time when both the Judaism of the Talmud and Christianity were in their respective beginnings. 
Points of Interest
Yvel Design Center

Imagine the setting: a stunning state-of-the-art visitors' center in Motza Illit, a quaint village where centuries ago pilgrims to Jerusalem would stop for a night. The YVEL Design Center, the site of Israel's prestigious prize-winning jewelry, sits alongside the Megemeria School of Jewelry and Design, a homemade philanthropic venture which teaches the art of jewelry to new immigrants from Ethiopia. This center is indeed one of Israel's most precious gems.


Stop in for a guided tour of the school, a visit to the factory and showroom displaying hand-crafted, quality jewels and pearls worn by celebrities and royalty alike. Enjoy a glass of local boutique wine in the original wine cellar while witnessing this unique combination of quality Israeli creation and social-impact investments.


The Yvel Design Center offers the following experiences: 

  • The Precious Jewels Garden Tour: A romantic stroll through a beautiful garden with fruit trees, flowing streams and natural Gem stone rock sculptures 
  • 3D Movie: Dive into the world of pearls in a unique 3D experience exploring the jewelry making process 
  • The Megemeria School: Visit the Megemeria School of Jewelry & Art, a philanthropic jewelry school dedicated to the Ethiopian immigrants of Israel.
  • Production Facility Tour: An impressive overview of the jewelry manufacturing process.  The Yvel factory is organized by craft, with artisans collaborating according to their individual profession, including diamond setting, goldsmith work, product development, pearl stringing, quality control and more. 
  • The Yvel Showrooms: Tour the Yvel showrooms to view the award-winning, one-of-a-kind treasures from each of Yvel's pearl and gemstone collections, trying on favorites, selecting gifts and asking questions.  Special offers on the fine Yvel collections. 
  • The Yvel Wine Cellar: Discover your favorite Israeli wines while tasting our extraordinary cellar selections and enjoying the fruitful bounty of excellent wines from the heart of the Judean Hills.  
Hosting Options at the Yvel Design Center:

- Receptions for groups

- Auditorium or lectures or special      

  screenings - up to 60 people

- Large Patio to hold special events - up to    120 people sitting and 200  

  people for cocktail

- Special events in the VIP room - up  

  to 80 people

- The Yvel Wine Cellar - Wine lectures     

  and workshops - up to 25 people

- Event in the main Yvel show room -  

  up to 150 people

- Workshops for children


The visit includes a 45 minute guided tour in different languages and is suitable for groups of up to 200 people and individuals.  The Yvel Design Center is located on the outskirts of Jerusalem and is easily
accessible for the disabled with ample parking for buses and cars.  Hours of operation are Sunday - Thursday 8:00 a.m - 4:00 p.m. (16:30).  Have your local travel agent contact our office to include a visit to the center on your next Israel tour.



Jesus Trail: Horseback Riding Adventure


Sar-El Tours is very excited to introduce a new opportunity to  experience Israel: exploring the Jesus Trail on horseback. A variety of trail rides are available, ranging from a 2 hour ride up to a 2 days ride for beginners to the experienced.



The "Jesus Trail", is one of most "holy" trails in the world, connecting Nazareth, the home village of Jesus to Capernaum, the place where Jesus lived and ministered together with his apostle Peter. It is believed that over 2000 years ago, Jesus and the Apostles actually walked along this trail.

Whilst trekking along these same hills and paths, riders will see many beautiful and well-known sites of importance during Jesus' ministry, riding alongside the Sea of Galilee and finishing at Capernaum. Other famed locations that are featured along the trail include: Hitin Horns, (where the last battle of the Crusaders, took place in the Holy Land, on 1187 A.C), and the beautiful Arbel Cliff.

jesustrail2A second option is a trek that starts at Yavniel Valley, and ends at the Jordan River. Riding in the direction of Jordan, the trail passes through the Yaela Grove, the site where Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite, killed Sisera. It then crosses the fertile Jordan Valley heading towards the Jordan River. Upon reaching the Jordan River, riders will cross with their horses, swimming it, in the summer. There is no better, more personal way to experience Israel's beauty than to be outdoors. In nature, outside of the air-conditioned tour bus, you can savor the fresh desert air, appreciate the rocky terrain of the Galilee and admire the stunning views from biblical mountain tops after a long ride.  

Sar-El News
Sar-El Online Academy for Biblical Languages.
You may have heard the expression, "language is a key that opens the door to a new culture."  We at Sar-El are happy to present to you the opportunity to learn Hebrew while on tour in Israel! With over 7 million speakers worldwide, Hebrew is one of the oldest languages in the world and now, in association with E-teacher we can provide the chance to have an on-site Modern Hebrew lesson during the evening at your hotel.  You will learn basic communication skills in a relaxing and interactive environment that can then be experimented with while on tour. Such a lesson can further expose and connect guests to the vibrant Israeli culture and enrich their visit. Once returning home, it is easy to continue online with the foundational skills acquired in Israel from your own computer.


 After online registration, you can participate in live, online individual or group classes. These classes are run in Hebrew-to-Hebrew, an effective, well-recognized method of teaching here in Israel. All tutors are qualified to teach Hebrew as a second language and video conferencing allows the students and teachers alike to connect and interact with one another. Students receive accompanying material by means of a multimedia application on their own computer screen and can submit homework prior to the next class.


Group classes vary in intensity according to the groups' ability with lessons taking place either weekly or twice-weekly, whereas private lessons proceed at the student's own pace. In total, the course covers 5 levels from the beginners' level to the highly advanced.  Who knows, on your next trip you will already be able to read your Hebrew map!  For more information, please have your local travel agent contact our office.





A Word from Samuel

Shana Tova to you all! As we begin the holiday season we are reflecting over the summer period and we anticipate an equally successful coming year. As always, we look forward to seeing many of you with us in the coming months.


Despite the surrounding turmoil in our neighboring countries, I am glad to report that Israel remains an island of security. As mentioned in our Israel News section, Israeli incoming tourism levels are higher than they have ever been; a reflection of the fact that business continues as normal and even more so. In fact, Israel has been a beacon of hope to many suffering refugees, particularly those from Syria. Quietly behind the scenes and out of sight of the media, hospitals in the northern region of Israel have been treating seriously wounded Syrian refugees (Haaretz). To date, over $3 million has been spent to provide medical care for over 120 Syrian nationals.  Of which, $1 million has been allocated to Syrian refugees sheltering in Jordan where both Israelis and Jordanians are working in unity; proof that Israel remains willing to help those in need regardless of the nations' history (Haaretz & Jpost).


For the current situation, we will be providing regular security updates accessible on our website.  

I want to encourage you that our God is great and despite the problems all around us, He is faithful: "In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world" (John 16:33). Israel will always face problems but life continues; God is in control in the big and small. I pray that the LORD blesses you in this New Year; and that He gives you peace as you trust in Him.




Blessings and Shalom,

Samuel Smadja

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