Israel: Possible Picks

Following is a sampling of plans that target popular reasons for visiting the Holy Land. Prices are per person, double occupancy, and include daily Israeli buffet breakfast plus some other meals.

50th Birthday
Israel's first five decades became the theme of a new tour by Isram World of Travel, based in New York.
Israel's Jubilee Celebration is an 11-day trip that includes nine nights in deluxe hotels, air on El Al, traditional Sabbath meals, a spa stay, a seaside dinner in Tiberias and the usual sightseeing.
Added to this, however, are sites connected with Israel's pioneer days.
These include Tel Aviv's Independence Hall; the detention camp at Atlit, where British Mandate authorities detained Holocaust survivors who wanted to migrate to the Holy Land before Israel was born, and a Jeep ride along the "Burma Road," a rough bypass created in the heat of battle to liberate Jerusalem during the 1948 War of Independence.
Price: Starts at $3,242.
Departures: Remaining departures this year are on July 23, Aug. 6 and Oct. 15.

Bar/Bat Mitzvah
Coming-of-age celebrations for Jewish teens are a specialty of the Israel Tour Connection in Livingston, N.J.
The ceremony -- known as a bar (for a boy age 13) or bat (for a girl age 12 or 13) mitzvah -- is an occasion for families to celebrate together.
Scheduling the observance in Israel calls for arranging religious ceremonies, travel, lodgings and tours for extended-family groups.
Activities are added to suit the interests of younger travelers that might include wind-surfing in Eilat, tubing or kayaking on the Jordan River, exploring army tanks or investigating caves. Large family groups are offered FIT arrangements, and small groups will be combined according to the ages of other family members.
There are 11- and 15-day trips. Both feature deluxe accommodations. The 15-day trip includes overnight stays in Eilat and at the Dead Sea.
New this year is an option for first-class, rather than deluxe accommodations for cost-conscious travelers, that saves an average of $600 per person.
A $275 fee is charged for the religious ceremony (which can be held at a variety of sites) and the services of a Conservative rabbi.
The celebrant travels and stays free.
Price: Starts at $2,190, land only or $3,166 with air on El Al for 11 days and $2,859 and $3,675 respectively, for the 15-day trip.
Departures: 17 scheduled departures throughout the year; 11-day trip departs on Thursdays.

Pilgrimage
A specialist in Christian or Jewish tours in either English or Spanish travel since 1978, Tuchman Meditours in Miami added a bargain trip, an eight-day Budget Journey to the Holy Land, with first class accommodations and air on El Al, among its new offerings for '98/'99.
Price: Starts at $1,399.
Departures: Dec. 9 and Jan. 13.
The firm's policy on pilgrimages is that one person travels free for every five full-paying passengers, a benefit to clergymen who arrange groups.

FITs
Ariel Tours in Brooklyn, N.Y., which specializes in land-only FIT arrangements to Israel and has hosted several entertainment and political luminaries, was very successful this year with its winter air-and-land package and is updating it for the summer.
In the meantime, its land-only tour of the month will take advantage of jubilee events that occur within the appropriate timeframes.
The firm, which deals only with agents, has updated its Web site, www.arieltours.com.

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Average temperature at the beach along the

MEDITERRANEAN SEA
January-April: 64
May: 71
June: 77
July: 82
August: 86
September: 83
October: 80
November: 73
December: 66

DEAD SEA:
January-April: 69
May: 77
June: 90
July: 98
August: 98
September: 87
October: 86
November: 80
December: 73

RED SEA
January-April: 69
May: 76
June: 72
July: 98
August: 98
September: 80
October: 76
November: 77
December: 75

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