Booking Your Flights

Please note that once we have given you the official clearance, you are free to proceed to make your airline bookings to and from TLV (Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv). Please wait for our notification by email.


NOTE: KEY DAYS CONCERNING YOUR ARRIVAL AND DEPARTURE FROM ISRAEL:

  1. DAY 1: Your travel period en route to Israel. This may be one day or, if you plan other travels, it could be several days.

  2. DAY 2: Called Arrival Day, this day is always Sunday. It is the day all pilgrims have arrived and are assembled and accounted for at TLV. This is the day the tour of Israel officially begins.

  3. DAY 13: This day is always Thursday. The tour officially ends on the evening of this day, after a Farewell Dinner.

  4. DAY 14: Called Departure Day, this day is always Friday. This is the day you book your return flight back to your home city or book another flight to extend your tour to some other destination.


HERE ARE SOME IMPORTANT POINTERS TO KEEP IN MIND:

  1. In order to connect with the group at Ben Gurion International Airport (TLV) on DAY 2, Arrival Day, Sunday, you must arrange your travel schedule so that your flight touches down at TLV no later than 12:00 noon on that day. Pilgrims arriving earlier will be waiting for you in the Arrivals Hall while you go through immigration and then gather your luggage. When the group has assembled at or near Exit #24 in the Arrivals Hall (veer right as you exit the luggage area and enter the Hall), we will depart from TLV by bus shortly after noon that day. Please be there on time. If you anticipate being late (not recommended), please let us know so that we can help you arrange safe transportation to the Dead Sea.

  2. If you are arriving directly from a North American city, you will have to allow for one extra Travel Day. Plan your departure from North America on Saturday (DAY 1) or one day prior to your Arrival Day at TLV in order to arrive in Israel by noon Sunday (DAY 2).

  3. Choosing an air carrier, which flies either direct or offers only one stopover in North America is preferred as to avoid lengthy layovers in Europe and is less tiring for the traveller.

  4. Once you have confirmed your flight arrangements, please let us know those details by emailing us the single page with your airline, flight number, arrival and departure times etc.. This is the only way we will be able to keep track of your comings and goings - an important detail when assembling and dispersing a group of people.

  5. Upon arrival at TLV, you should be wearing your name tag provided - on the strap around your neck. That will help us to find each other and assemble together. Also, have your hiking boots, sunscreen and hat handy upon arrival, as we will be hiking that afternoon.

  6. The recommended 'return home' Departure Day from Israel is after mid morning of the second Friday (DAY 14). This will allow one final night (your Thursday night hotel room is included) in Jerusalem to get a good rest before flying home. If you do not mind forgoing sleep on the final night (the Thursday/Friday), you may book a flight home anytime after Thursday midnight or 12:01 early Friday morning, DAY 14.

  7. There will be one free shuttle provided (using our own bus) from the hotel in Jerusalem to TLV. The timing of that shuttle will be based upon the flight on DAY 14 booked by majority of our pilgrims. People on other flights who choose not to use our bus to TLV will have to find commercial rides with a taxi or shared rides with a Sheroot (small van), at their own expense.

  8. Some people choose to fly in earlier than the Arrival Day (Sunday, DAY 2) in order to acclimatize and some like to leave later than the suggested Departure Day (Friday, DAY 14). You have the freedom to do that but it is your responsibility to ensure your flight arrangements agree to the recommended tour Arrival and Departure Days mentioned above.

  9. If you need hotel recommendations while in Israel, outside of the tour dates, please go to Helpful Links at the top of the Fifth Gospel Encounters home page on our website for hotel suggestions in Tel Aviv. At the conclusion of your trip, if you prefer, you may also be able to extend your stay at our hotel in Jerusalem (subject to availability). If you desire this kind of assistance, we recommend you to our travel agent, Ari Bauer, in Toronto. He can be reached by Phone: 1 (800) 267-9994 Ext 415 or Email: ari@dantours.com Hotel costs and bookings outside of the tour dates are your responsibility.

  10. If you are thinking of adding another excursion before or after our Israel excursion and you would like some assistance, please contact our travel agent, Ari Bauer, in Toronto. (See above #9 for contact details.) Tell him you are travelling with Fifth Gospel Encounters and the date of the trip you are taking.

What To Bring

  1. Small NIV Bible.

  2. Your FGE supplied spiral wound packable Preparation Study Manual and Journal with room for notes.

  3. Pens, a highlighter and a Sharpie pen with permanent ink.

  4. Camera.

  5. Small Flashlight or Head mounted Petzl light recommended.

  6. Light weight collapsible walking sticks (optional).

  7. Therma-Rest bum pad for sitting on rocks during teaching.

  8. Sunglasses.

  9. Sunscreen.

  10. Swimsuit.

  11. Passport (and visa, if required). Canadians do not require a visa. Passport must be valid for six months AFTER your return date to your home country.

  12. Photocopy of passport to be kept separately. Please scan and email (as a .pdf attachment) a copy of pages #2 & #3 of your passport to Cam Huth at cam@fifthgospelencounters.com. This will serve as a backup in case of loss of passport.

  13. Supply of energy snacks (granola bars, trail mix etc. to eat while hiking – lunch time can be unpredictable).

  14. Personal first-aid kit (band-aids, ointments, Imodium for diarrhea, Pepto-Bismol, Tylenol, Ibuprofen, Gravol, moleskin for blisters, personal or allergy meds (in original containers) and Puffers etc.).

  15. Water supply while hiking (Camelback or Backpack with water bottles held on by carabineers or waist belt with twin one liter bottles.)

  16. Small bottle of laundry soap.

  17. Tissue packs (Trail stops and some bathrooms are out of paper).

  18. Purell – hand sanitizer.

  19. Small alarm clock (recommended).

  20. USD cash to cover personal purchases. Credit cards are accepted at most major outlets but not usually in markets. ATM machines are not readily available.

  21. A facecloth and a small towel.

  22. Canadiana: Canadian flag, lapel pin for shirt etc.

  23. Your name tag issued by Fifth Gospel Encounters with your Study Manual.

  24. Consider duck tape for foot "hot spots". No kidding!


CLOTHING SUGGESTIONS & COMMENTS FOR WOMEN

  1. There are some occasions where you will hike in shorts and tank top but then you must be able to carry in your pack something to cover your knees and shoulders for a section of the hike.

  2. Therefore, bring a wrap that can be put over shorts or shoulders temporarily. This wrap must cover below mid calf when tied around your waist.

  3. Some people highly recommend 3/4 Capris.

  4. Pants with zipper legs that turn into shorts is a convenient way to accomplish the coverage when needed as well as being cool when needed.

  5. A shirt with 3/4 length sleeves or a T-shirt (in which you would be comfortable wearing while you hike in the heat).

  6. A blouse or shirt you can put on over the T-shirt you have been hiking in, to cover your shoulders.

  7. Covering the knees and shoulders is the most that is required at any given time. Women never need to be concerned about covering all the way to the wrists and ankles.

  8. Please note that you could potentially be in a sleeved shirt for hours hiking in the heat.


CLOTHING SUGGESTIONS & COMMENTS FOR BOTH MEN & WOMEN

  1. Pants with zipper legs that turn into shorts is a convenient way to adjust on the move for temperature changes when needed.

  2. No flip flops or sandals for hiking will be excepted. No open toes. There are a few occasions when proper "hiking sandals" with closed toes can be worn.

  3. A wide brimmed hat is essential for keeping the sun away and to help maintain normal body temperature.

  4. Clothing should be light in weight and colour, airy and loose fitting. Long sleeves and long pants are recommended for controlling body temperature and keeping the direct rays of the hot sun off arms and legs. Some people prefer shorts and T shirts. Although such apparel may seem cooler, it does not shield the body from the heat of the sun as aptly. In dry or desert conditions, light cotton is fine. In any conditions, a light weave of 100% nylon or 100% polyester or a combination works very well. (Blue jeans are NOT recommended.)

  5. A thin, light Jacket or a wind breaker is useful.

  6. A clear rain poncho is also necessary since rain is very possible in May or October in Israel. Dollar stores sell disposable packs for a clear plastic poncho.

  7. Footwear is critical. Be sure your hiking boots are well broken in. Although “off-road runners” can work for some, a better option is a light hiking boot which offers ankle support and protection from rocky trails. Socks are important as well. Wearing a light polyester sock (which wicks away sweat) inside your thicker hiking sock will help the wear and tear on your feet during the heat of the day.

  8. Have light and cool footwear to change into when you return to the hotel at night to give your feet a rest. Use water shoes, sandals etc.

  9. Pack clothes that you can wash in the sink and dry quickly.

  10. If you are going on our fall trip please note that, once we leave the desert, temperatures will drop at this time of year. We suggest you bring an extra fleece layer especially for mornings when there could be a slight chill in the air.

Helpful Links


Travel Consultants

VIDEOS OF INTEREST:


Places to Serve or Rest in Israel


HOTELS RECOMMENDED FOR PILGRIMS WHO ARRIVE EARLY:


Other Notes of Interest

Helpful Hints

A FEW TIPS FOR PILGRIMS HIKING IN ISRAEL

  1. It is wise to consult your physician prior to the expedition if you have a history of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes or shortness of breath (asthma) while exercising.

  2. Take the time now to prepare yourself for climbing and hiking in mountainous and desert terrain with occasional deteriorated trails. May and October can be hot months in Israel and the sun can be relentless. We will be out in the sun for long periods on some occasions. Heat stress and elevation changes can be managed with proper preparation ahead of time.

  3. Daily walking before you leave is the best way to prepare for this Expedition. Gauge your fitness level by walking several miles a day. Some people use a step counter. 15,000 steps per day to prepare would be a useful guideline. Try to include a minimum of a 150 meter elevation gain each day in your daily routines to maintain elevated heart rates. If you wish to simulate the heat, wear a jacket even on hot days and carry a 10 – 15 pound back pack. Cardio training is very important. Train for strenuous climbing by stair stepping, lunges and aggressive walking/hiking in the boots that you will wear when you are in Israel.

  4. Bottled water is supplied. Be prepared to drink at least two liters of water every day. We recommend the Camel back as a water dispenser for personal hydration since you can drink on demand as you walk and you can carry at least a couple of litres each day. Some people prefer a waste belt to carry two of one litre jugs. Drink a quantity of water prior to each hike and then sip water regularly during the hike before you become thirsty.

  5. Bring salt tablets or some other electrolyte replacement powder, preferably non-sugar, to add to your water in low quantities each day. Eating salty foods is also helpful to replenish salt lost in the heat of the day through sweating.

  6. Keep toilet tissue handy in day pack for emergency pit stops.

  7. Organize clothes and backpack or waist pack supplies each evening before bedtime.

  8. Be prepared to get wet on any given day; we will give you notice the night before if there is a possibility of getting wet the next day.

  9. Footwear is critical. Be sure your hiking boots are well broken in. Although “off-road runners” can work for some, a better option is a light hiking boot which offers ankle support and protection from rocky trails. Socks are important as well. Wearing a light polyester sock (which wicks away sweat) inside your thicker hiking sock will help the wear and tear on your feet during the heat of the day.

  10. Have light and cool footwear to change into when you return to the hotel at night to give your feet a rest. Use water shoes, sandals etc.

  11. Wear sunscreen regularly for added protection on sensitive skin. Re-apply sunscreen as needed throughout the day.

  12. Regarding prescription medications, be sure to take enough for the duration of the expedition and consult your physician about any changes that you should anticipate while on the expedition. It is recommended that you pack these medications in your Carry On luggage.

  13. For a consultation on the specifics of travel medicine, you can go to http://www.tripprep.com or http://www.doctortravel.ca and locate a travel medicine agency near you.

  14. Treat minor problems or blisters without delay. Let one of the leaders know what you need. Treatment is available immediately on the trail.

  15. Phone Cards may be purchased in Israel and are usually the most affordable way to call home if needed.

  16. Luggage requirements are one piece per person at 51 lbs or 21 kilo plus a carry on.

  17. Electrical power is 220 volts at 60 Hz. A Type H, 3-pin converter or a universal adapter would be required to adapt to the Israeli wall outlets. (Israeli 16 A/250 V earthed). You are looking for two round pins.

  18. Time in Israel is 10 hours ahead of Pacific Time (PST or PDT).

Reading List

1. SCRIPTURE: (REQUIRED)

Genesis, Exodus, Joshua 1-8, Judges 13-18, 1 & 2 Samuel, Matthew or Mark, Acts 1-10

2. MEMORIZE SHEMA: (REQUIRED)

Hear, O Israel: The LORD is our God, the LORD alone.

You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart,

and with all your soul, and with all your strength."

(Deuteronomy 6:4-5)

"... 'You shall love your neighbour as yourself.'"

(Matthew 22:39b)

3. UNDERSTANDING THE JEWISH CULTURE: (RECOMMENDED)

The Sabbath by Abraham Joshua Heschel. The introduction offers a personal and insightful account of the sabbath in Heschel's home, written by Susannah Heschel. The book itself is a brilliant description of the sabbath in Jewish culture and an exploration of God in relation to space and time.

Gospel According to Moses: What my Jewish Friends Taught Me About Jesus by Athol Dickson. This book investigates some of the primary theological differences between Christianity and Judaism — as well as the common ground.

While Shepherds Watch their Flocks by Dr. Tim Laniak – a lavishly illustrated journey into the world of shepherds—shepherds of the biblical world and the spiritual shepherds of the church. Forty days of reflections will give readers an opportunity to think biblically about their calling to serve the Chief Shepherd.

Watch the mini series Masada with Peter O’Toole.

4. MODERN HISTORY AND CURRENT EVENTS: (OPTIONAL)

Our Father Abraham: Jewish Roots of the Christian Faith by Marvin R. Wilson

This volume is a deeper read. It delineates the link between Judaism and Christianity, between Old and the New Testaments, and calls Christians to re-examine their Hebrew roots so as to effect a more authentically biblical lifestyle.

Epicenter by Joel Rosenberg – The politics of the Middle East can be murky and confusing. But one thing is certain: the eyes of the nations are riveted upon Israel and her neighbours, the epicenter of the momentous events shaking our world and shaping our future.

Blood Brothers by Elias Chacour – The unforgettable story of a Palestinian Christian working for Peace in Israel. Learn another side of the narrative and feel the complexities of the Israeli/Palestinian challenge for a homeland.

What To Do in an Emergency

NOTE: if you miss the Rendezvous time at Ben Gurion Airport for your expeditions or your flight is delayed and you need to contact us for any reason, please call one the following people and mention Fifth Gospel Encounters and the name of Cam Huth:


A If you are calling Israel from overseas:

Call anytime: day or night:

Kobi Arava - OUR GUIDE - 011-972-52-249-0023 or 011-972-54-490-0160.

Call office hours weekdays:

Rachel Nag - OUR ISRAM - 011-972-3-694-7777


B If you are calling from within Israel:

Call anytime: day or night:

Kobi Arava - OUR GUIDE - 052-249-0023 or 054-490-0160

Call office hours weekdays:

Rachel Nago - OUR ISRAM 03-694-7777