Mission Travel is a Christian owned & operated full-service travel agency. Our Holy Land division provides unique and customized travel arrangements for groups and individuals to the Holy Land. Having served the church missions and missionary community for years with discount international airfare, our Holy Land division began as an answer to many requests for this service. We have deep ties to the best tour operators to ensure the quality, value, safety and experience of your trip is unrivaled.
Whether you are a pastor, a group leader or someone who would like to travel alone or with family to visit the Holy Land, we have the product just for you. Call or email us for a complimentary quote and consultation today!
Our staff has decades of experience traveling to and arranging Holy Land trips for a wide variety of groups. We have sent thousands of travelers throughout the Holy Land, enriching their spiritual walk with God as they experience the beauty and significance of Israel and the Bible lands. We will work with you, the pastor or group leader, to prepare an itinerary to fulfill your vision for your Christian Holy Land group travel to Israel. You may want to visit only traditional biblical sites, or experience a more in-depth study tour, or perhaps assist in an archaeological dig - it will all be discussed with you in order to design the perfect itinerary for you and your group.
For the individual who wants to travel to Israel alone or with their family, we offer many prearranged tour packages as well as privately escorted tours. If you want to visit the Holy Land we have the tour package for you! Contact us for a custom quote and consultation today!
ISRAEL FAST FACTS:
Location: Situated along the Mediterranean Sea, Israel is part blue — fringed coastline, part desert scrub, with craggy heights and inland seas, fertile valleys and spectacular vistas. While the fulfillment of many age-old dreams, it is a small country with a total area of only 8,108 square miles, just about the size of New Jersey. It is bordered by Syria, Jordan, Egypt and Lebanon.
Geography: Moving east from the sea, the land of Israel is first a sandy, fertile coastal plain leading to rolling lowlands sloping up to hills, then a mountainous spine running north to south. This drops suddenly and precipitously into the Rift Valley, a geological fault that reaches from Turkey to East Africa. It is a setting of contrasts: the profound silence of the Negev, the unexpected buoyancy of the Dead Sea (some 1,300 below sea level), the stark beauty of its hills and mountains, and the fruitfulness of the Plain of Sharon with its rich agricultural yield.
This picturesque combination of coastal plain and valley, mountain and desert, holds most of its population in the northern and central parts: Tel Aviv and Haifa in the west along the Mediterranean, split by the Sharon plain along the center, both geographically and spiritually.
Climate: Israeli summers are generally about six months, extending from April to October. The period is hot and virtually rain-free. During this time, Jerusalem is usually cooler and less humid than other parts of the country because of its elevation. The winter season, from November to March, is generally mild but can be colder in the hilly areas. Sun seekers can pursue their goal year-round in Israel just by moving to different parts of the country. The estimated temperatures are:
Time Zone: The time difference is 7 hours ahead of EST time zone.
Population: As befits a country that is a center of worship to three of the world's great religions — Judaism, Christianity and Islam — Israel is homeland to a wealth of ethnic groups. With a population of over 7.5 million people, the majority (approximately 75%) are Sabras — Jews native —born in Israel. The rest of the population includes Arabs, numbering among them Palestinians, Bedouin, Druze, Moslems and Bahais. The Christian population includes many Arabs, as well as Greek Orthodox, Roman Catholics, Maronites, Protestants and Armenian Orthodox.
Religion: Because Israel is a Jewish state even though many Jews are only marginally observant, Jewish law plays a role in daily life. The Jewish Sabbath begins at sundown on Friday and lasts until sunset Saturday. During this time, public activity is noticeably reduced. Buses do not run (except in Haifa), however taxis and private cars do. Most businesses and restaurants are closed. During religious Jewish holidays, such as Rosh Hashana (the Jewish New Year) and Yom Kippur (The Day of Atonement), which occur in the fall months, and Passover in April, most public services are also curtailed. The other religions represented in Israel all have complete autonomy.
History: If it is possible to be brief about a region that has figured so prominently as a spiritual center for so many groups of people, this ancient land has been coveted, fought over, conquered and re-conquered since before recorded history: various rulers have included the Persians, Greeks, Romans, Babylonians, Byzantines, Arabs, Crusaders, Ottomans and British. Yet the foundations of Jewish tradition and law in Israel emanate from the period of the patriarchs. The modern state of Israel began with the Balfour Declaration of 1917 which recognized a Jewish national home in Palestine mandated by the British. Subsequent Jewish immigration and settlement from that time culminated in the independence of the state of Israel being declared on May 14, 1948 by David Ben-Gurion, Israel's first prime minister. Following a war to maintain its independence and several succeeding conflicts with surrounding states, Israel signed the Camp David Peace Treaty with Egypt in 1979, providing for the normalization of relations between the two countries, the first pact between Israel and an Arab country.
Gained Independence: Israeli Independence Day is celebrated during the month of April or May, depending on where the date falls according to the Jewish calendar.
Government: Israel is a parliamentary democracy with its power resting between three main bodies: the Legislature (Knesset), the Cabinet (led by the Prime Minister), and the Judiciary. Elections are held every four years but the Knesset may call for an early election. The President of Israel is elected by the Knesset for a five-year term.
Language: Hebrew and Arabic are the official languages of the country, while English is also widely spoken. Road signs are in Hebrew, Arabic and English, with tourist information also available in French and German. Because of the diverse immigration, other languages spoken include Spanish, Russian, Polish, Yiddish, Hungarian and many others.
Attractions: Rich in culture and history, as well as religious significance, Israel features over 3,500 registered archaeological sites, museums, major repertory theater companies, dance companies, the renowned Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra as well as many chamber orchestras.
For sightseers, Jerusalem mixes ancient ruins, marketplaces and shrines with modern facilities and designs. Tel-Aviv is the bustling city on the shores of the Mediterranean with lovely beaches, fine restaurants, and an active nightlife.
The Galilee region is Israel's agricultural and industrial center and contains the biblical town of Nazareth as well as the ancient Jewish holy cities of Tiberias and Safed. The Negev Desert, vast and rugged, is a spawning ground of desert science and agricultural innovation. Haifa is a modern port city and Israel's "Silicon Valley". Eilat, on the Red Sea, is a resort area with luxury hotels and some of the finest underwater diving in the world.
Requirements: American tourists must hold a valid U.S. passport to gain entry into the country. All passports must be valid for at least 6 months after return of tour dates. It usually takes from 4-6 weeks to obtain a passport; therefore, it is important to apply for one if you are considering travel to Israel. Your local post office has the necessary forms and information needed to apply for a passport or renewal for a passport that has expired. No visa is required for U.S. citizens. Visitors from certain countries will need to obtain a visa for entry into Israel. If you are not a citizen of the U.S. and do not hold a U.S. passport, please contact proper agency to obtain travel visa.
Health: There are no vaccinations requirements for visitors to Israel, however, it is advised that you consult your physician to discuss your tour plans. Israel has excellent medical facilities should the need for health care arise. It is also advised to keep a copy of your medical history with you at all times.
Customs & Check-In
Regulations: Every tourist may bring certain articles into Israel without payment of duty providing they are for personal use only. Such items are eau de cologne or perfume not exceeding ¼ of a liter (0.44 pint), wine up to 2 liters and other alcoholic beverages not more than 1 liter, tobacco or cigars no more that 250 grams or 250 cigarettes, and gifts up to $125.00.
Luggage: You are entitled to 2 pieces of hand luggage weighing a total of 24 kg (52 pounds) — 1 piece of hand luggage weighing up to 16 kg (35 pounds) and another weighing up to 8 kg (17 pounds). Each passenger may also take a carry-on bag that will fit under the plane seat or overhead compartment. It is encouraged that you travel as light as possible for your own benefit and to avoid additional costs for overweight luggage.
Hotels: Israel boasts the most modern and best serviced hotels in the Middle East. Many American chains have established themselves in Israel including Sheraton, Best Western, Hilton, Ramada, Sonesta and Hyatt Regency. Israel also boasts resorts, health spas, private apartments, holiday villages, youth hostels, and a large chain of guest houses and Kibbutz Inns.
Things to Know
Current: The electrical current in Israel is 220 volts. Appliances such as curling irons, hair dryers, and electric shavers etc. that have been purchased in the U.S. are 110 volts. It is recommended to purchase a "converter" from your local electronics or luggage store in order to transform the current. Failure to do so will result in damage to your appliance.
Dining: Restaurants feature every type of cuisine from French, Italian, Middle Eastern, Moroccan, Argentine, Greek and Chinese. Fresh fish and local produce are a specialty. While many restaurants are kosher, there are many fine restaurants throughout Israel which are not.
Currency: Israel's currency is the New Israeli Shekel (NIS) which came into effect in 1985. Money can be exchanged at the airport and local banks.
Shopping: Israel is a world diamond center so exclusive jewelry and gems are high on every shopping list. Other merchandise includes oriental carpets, antiques, brass, high fashion swimwear and clothing, leather goods and art work including paintings, sculptures, ceramics, silverware and olive wood.
Duty-free shops are located at Ben-Gurion Airport and most hotels. In addition to the shops and stores, many colorful bazaars and market places may be found throughout Israel.
V.A.T.: Value Added Tax (V.A.T.) A tax on the estimated market value added to a product or material at each stage of its manufacture or distribution, ultimately passed on to the consumer. V.A.T. for items purchased in approved stores is refundable at the airport upon departure from Israel. Visitors must ask for the V.A.T. Refund Form when purchases are made and follow the exact procedures specified in order to receive refund.
Clothing: Dress in Israel is fashionable and on the norm very casual. Modest clothing will be required at all holy sites.