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How to Register
All communication is through email. If you'd like to join the tour, please email me. I'll add you to the interest list, and then contact you personally. Once you're in the system, updates are sent periodically. If your email address changes, be sure to let us know!
You're registered only once your deposit (or full payment) has been received. Also send in your personal details (scroll down). If you're applying for a new passport, register now and send passport when you have it.
$250 saves you a place on the tour. If you decide to join the post-tour, the deposit is an additional $100. See the Payment section below for how to send this.
DEPOSIT DUE. (After 1 February we need to check that there is space.)
FULL PAYMENT DUE DATE: 1 February 2019
Everyone on the BST should send in the following details:
- Full legal name (as it appears on your passport)
- The name you would like to appear on your name badge (first name and surname).
- Your country or countries of citizenship.
- Passport number
- Passport expiration date. Israel will not let you enter the country if your passport doesn't have at least 6 months remaining.
- Your birthday: day, month, and year
- Please also send us the name of the city and nation where you reside.
The price for the 2019 BST (27 May-3 June 2019) is $1899. Late registration (after 1 December) is $1950. The prince includes hotel, all breakfasts and dinners, admission fees to sites, tips, porters' fees, transportation by private coach, and airport transfers. All you need to bring with you is money for lunches (approx. $10-15/meal) and gifts. Payment in full is due 1 Feb. If you have not paid in full by 1 Feb, the deposit may be forfeited (even if you have paid in part) and your space will be given to someone on the waiting list. (Sorry, no exceptions.)
Price based on double-occupancy in hotel rooms. If you're coming alone, or would prefer a single room, there is a $600 single room supplement. If you prefer a roommate, we will do what we can to connect you with another tour member coming alone -- but we cannot promise. After the final payment deadline, room changes cannot be guaranteed.
Full payment for main tour and post-tour is due 1 February.
Payment is most easily made by check (US and UK citizens), credit or debit card, PayPal, money order, bank wire, or Western Union.
Checks: make out to T&R and mail to 2256 Rushmore Dr., Marietta GA 30062. (Britons: use exchange rate for day you post check, for example at xe.com. Or pay with any major credit or debit card (+2.5%), or by PayPal (+4.5% processing). Debit & credit: send your details (no., exp., amount) in two separate emails (for security). For international bank wire (there is a $35 bank charge), contact us. Or pay by Western Union (no extra charge). Choose the method best for you, and email your choice.
The deposit of $250 is due. If you are paying in full, of course, the deposit is included in your total. (Please read this, even if you are sure you won't cancel.)
You can view the cancellation policy here. (Please read this, even if you are sure you won't cancel.)
Travel Insurance (US members)
Travel insurance is available as a separate package at an extra cost. The cost of travel insurance is approximately $210 to $350, depending on length of tour, tour inclusions, etc. Tour participants may call our agents' associate office in New Jersey, Prime Travel, to purchase travel insurance and obtain the exact rate for your tour. The travel insurance policy is a contract between traveler and Insurance Company (Travel Guard, Allianz etc). Tutku Tours has no role in booking or in the payment of the travel insurance. When you call to inquire about travel insurance, please mention your group name.
Prime Travel’s Phone number: 1-201-825-1600. Contact Person: Mrs. Armagan Ayata or Mr. Sal Kesedar.
Post-tour Bethlehem - Jerusalem - Valley of Elah (3-6 June 2019)
There is an option to extend 3 days in order to take in several sites we are unable to make during the main (7-day) itinerary, including Bethlehem (Church of the Nativity), the Herodion, the Citadel (Tower of David), Yad Vashem (holocaust memorial), Burnt House Museum, Jerusalem Model, Shrine of the Book (Dead Sea Scrolls), Israel Museum, and the Valley of Elah (where David slew Goliath) or another site. We will be staying in the Prima Royale Jerusalem for the first two nights, and the Leonardo Plaza in Ashdod for the final night. Price $899. (If you're in a single room, $1220.) Last year 45 persons signed up. This year we are currently at 5. If you're interested, let us know by email.
Our hotels are in Tel Aviv (first night only), Tiberias, on the Sea of Galilee (the next two nights), and Jerusalem (the next four nights). Category: European 4-star. Price based on double-occupancy. What better (advance) family Christmas present than a trip to the Holy Land?
- Tel Aviv- 27-28 May - Metropolitan Hotel
- Tiberias- 28-30 May - Nof Ginnosaur Hotel
- Jerusalem- 30-3 June - Grand Court Jerusalem
- Post-tour: 3-5 June - Prima Royale Jerusalem
- 5-6 June - Leonardo Plaza Ashdodd
For info on Israeli voltage and electrical plugs, click HERE.
May is a lovely time of the year. This is the Mediterranean dry season, and temperatures are very pleasant, around 20-25 in the daytime (68-77 F), and around 15 (59 F) at night. Bring a light jacket or sweater. Dress is casual. However, when we visit synagogues, church buildings, and other holy sites, shoulders and knees must be covered.
Getting to Israel
Fly into Tel Aviv (airport code TLV). While you are responsible for getting yourself to Israel, our agents will meet you at the airport on the 27th and take you to our hotel. They will also drive you from Jerusalem back to the airport at the end of the tour (the 3rd, or the 6th of June, if you're on the post-tour). These airport transfers are included in the price of the tour.
The tour is 27 May 3-June. Arrive no later than 1600 on 27 May, as we need all participants to join the opening dinner. The welcome dinner in Tel Aviv is on the evening of 27 MAY, and the closing dinner is in Jerusalem on June 3rd -- you'll stay that night and fly out sometime on the 3rd. (If you're flying through the night, you'd leave home on the 26th to land on the 27th.) Breakfast on the 3rd is included; return home anytime that day -- unless you're joining us for the post-tour.
Opening dinner / orientation
At the opening dinner on the 27th, you will receive written materials, including your BST name badge, to be worn at all times during the tour. Steve and I, as well as the Tutku representative, will answer any further questions at this time.
Regardless of how tired you may feel — esp. for those who have traveled 10 or 20 hours to Israel — make yourself stay awake so that there’s no chance you’ll miss the welcome dinner. If you end up taking a nap, we suggest you keep it short (2-3 hours) — otherwise you’ll make it difficult for yourself to get onto Israel time. Scroll down for suggestions on overcoming jet lag.)
Please do not arrive to Tel Aviv any later than 4 pm (1600) on 27 May. You will miss the opening dinner and orientation.
Airfare is not included in the tour price -- mainly because participants are coming from multiple countries. (The 2016 tour drew from 21 nations, and the 2017 tour from 20, and 2018 from 13.) If you're flying from North America, flights are usually in the $900-$1500 range.
If you don't do a lot of international travel, you may appreciate these suggestions for overcoming jet lag.
If you want to arrive early (on the 26th or before) or leave later (4 June onward), that is fine. Our agents can help you, or you can book your own hotel for those extra days. Sorry, airport runs are included only for the 27th and 3rd (6 June for post-tour), although the agents will be happy to work something out (extra cost).
Note: If you are arriving early (middle of the night or early morning) you may want to contact our agents and pay for an extra night, as a rooms are not guaranteed before early afternoon. (More often than not, they are ready, but we cannot promise this.) Tutku Tours will be happy to extend your reservation so that your room will definitely be ready when you arrive.
Tutku are available at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Changing money (buying shekels)
Of all the countries I've visited, Israel has the fairest money exchange. (There is negligible different between the buying rate and the selling rate.) You can change your money at the airport, while you're waiting for your luggage to arrive, or at any bank or exchange bureau. (Hotels also change money, but the rate is not quite as favorable.)
Some people are uneasy about international travel, and especially about travel to the Middle East. Of course security is a priority -- and Israel is by far the safest country in the Middle East. In fact, to be honest, in recent years there has been far more violence in Germany, France, Belgium, and the United States than in Israel.
In leading tours to Israel for nearly 20 years, we’ve never had an incident. The Israeli government backs the tourist agencies, so that if there is a legitimate need to cancel an entire tour, full refunds are available
Here the contact numbers in the event you need to be reached urgently while in Israel, or if there is an issue and you need to talk to someone after you have arrived.
TUTKU ISRAEL OFFICE: Mr. Ofek Lapid (Amsalem Tours) – Mobile Ph: +972-54-670-3625
PRINCIPAL GUIDE: Isaac Karasenti - 052-3751156
OPERATIONS: Ms. Sema Ankarali – Mobile Phone: +90-532-296-9396
PRESIDENT: Levent Oral - Mobile Phone: +90-532-296-6921
Who may come?
The tour is open to everybody, believers and seekers alike. Children age 12 and above are welcome, provided you believe they are mature enough to appreciate the sights.
There is a fair amount of walking around the various sites, including hilly terrain, so fitness is desirable, and good walking shoes are a must. Due to the amount of walking, and the sometimes uneven terrain, this is not a tour for young children -- or for wheelchairs or baby strollers.
Photos: 2016 BST (above, on Mount of Olives)
2018 BST (below, in Garden of Gethsemane)
- You will find lots of ideas at Tripadvisor.
- If you're looking for a comprehensive guidebook, I like the DK Eyewitness Travel volume.
- If you want something more historical, Steve and Leigh Kinnard lived in Israel for more than a year and have suggestions. Just shoot him an email.
- We both like the work of Bargil Pixner (With Jesus Through Galilee, With Jesus in Jerusalem).
- You might also enjoy Randall Price’s The Stones Cry Out (archaeology).
- On the formation of modern Israel, read Alison Weir's short book, Against Our Better Judgment: The Hidden History of How the U.S. Was Used to Create Israel.
- BST members also like In the Footsteps of Jesus: A Chronicle of His Life and the Origins of Christianity (2nd edition, National Geographic, 2017).
Next, take a look at the following list of podcasts (with notes, in most cases), along with one text file, that you might find interesting. Here are the files:
- OT Archaeology : The major OT discoveries are faith-building, illuminating the biblical world.
- NT Archaeology : Similarly, NT discoveries also confirm and illustrate the faith
- Bogus Claims in Archaeology : How can we know what to trust?
- The Long-list City of Bethsaida : Along with Chorazin and Capernaum, Bethsaida is one of the three cities in “the evangelical triangle.”
- Further articles on archaeology : Explore further if you really have a large archaeological appetite!
THE ISRAELI/PALESTINIAN CONFLICT
- Questions about Modern Israel: Is political Israel still the people of God? What is Zionism? What happened in 1948? Is there still a biblical Israel today? Will the Battle of Armageddon take place in Israel? Should we expect a mass conversion of Israel in the last days? Israel or Palestine -- who are the bad guys?
- Interview with a Jihadist: The story of an evangelical whose entire view of Palestinians has been formed by an unfortunate combination of what he’d heard on the news and in church. His entire mindset changes. After I read his book, I asked him if he’d record a podcast for me. Here it is!
- The Wolf Will Lie Down with the Lamb: A Palestinian Muslim tells his story of getting to know Israelis as real people. Deeply moving. (This man is now a peace activist!)
- A Mass Conversion of Israel?: Most evangelicals look to a mass conversion of Israel in the “end times.” Is this even possible?
- Or check out David Bercot's lessons on Israel in prophecy, or his teaching on Dispensationalism, here.
For further recommendations (from our guides -- I have not read all of these)
- Startup Nation, Dan Senor & Paul Singer
- From Beirut to Jerusalem, Thomas Friedman
- Jerusalem: A Biography, Simon Sehag Montefiore
- From Time Immemorial, Joan Peters
- Palestine Inside Out, Saree Makadisi
- History of Modern Palestine, Ilan Pappe
- One Palestine Complete, Tom Segev
- Son of Hamas, Mosab Hassan Yousef
- Unorthodox, Deborah Feidman
- Gertruda's Oath, Ram Oren
- My Promised Land, Ari Shavit
- The Kingdom, Arabia, and the House of God, Robert Lacey
- Jewish Pirates of the Caribbean, Edward Kritzler
- But He Was Good to His Mother, Robert Rockway
- Gideon's Spies, Gordon Thomas
- The Prime Ministers, Yehuda Avner
- Once Upon a Country: A Palestinian Life, Sari Nusseibeh
- Commander of the Exodus, Yoram Kaniuk
- Fast Facts on the Middle East Conflict, Randall Price
- Arab & Jew: Broken Spirits in a Promised Land, David Shipler
- The House on Garibaldi Street (on capture of Adolf Eichmann)
- Underground Jerusalem, Sir Charles Warren (archaeology  -- pdf).
- Mossad, Michael Oren & Nissim Mishal
- Let There be Water, Beth Seigal
- Confessions of a Good Arab (Jewish-Arab marriage, Yoram Kaniuk)
- De Niro's Game, Rawi Hage
- The Blue Mountain, Meir Shalev
- The Source, James Michener
- Noddy & Big Ears Go to Town
- The Green Prince (about Son of Hamas)
- Living in the Shadows (Al Jazeera)
- bridgetgabriel.com (Lebanese refugees in Israel)
For more photographs, please visit me at Facebook or Instagram.