|Length of Tour:||8 Hours|
|Tel Aviv Departure:||6.30 am - Hyarkon48 Hostel (map)|
|Jerusalem Departure||8.30am - YMCA King David Street (map)|
|Return||4.30pm to Jerusalem • 6.00pm to Tel Aviv|
|Cost:||From Jerusalem 480 NIS/Shekels
From Tel Aviv 580 NIS/Shekels
|Masada entrance fee (70 NIS) and lunch not included • Passports needed|
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|Masada photo: http://www.truthnet.org|
After leaving Jerusalem to the east, you'll drive through the large settlement of Ma'ale Adumim and continue through the Judean Desert past Jericho to the northern edge of the Dead Sea, then south along the shore.
At the En Gedi beach you'll have the option of dipping in the water. The Dead Sea has a unique high salt content that reputedly has healing powers for psoriasis and other ailments. During the past few decades the Dead Sea has been steadily drying up due to the lack of replenishment from the Jordan River which begins at the Sea of Galilee. Israel uses the sea of Galilee as a reservoir and due to the demands of the growing Israeli population, and the lack of sufficient rainfall, virtually no water is allowed to flow to the Jordan River and the Dead Sea. The ecological ramifications of this are profound, and unless a solution is reached soon the Dead Sea may dry up within 25 years.
The next stop is Masada where you'll have an opportunity to ride the cable car to the hilltop fortress and explore the ruins. Masada embodies one of the founding ideologies of the state of Israel. The story tells us that the small band of Jews committed suicide rather than being taken by the Romans. The story of 960 Jewish rebels in 70 C.E. challenging the might of the Roman Empire is taught to every Israeli. Children are brought on a school trips to the site and the story is used to instill patriotism and the idea that it is better to die than be conquered. The suicide rebels are heroes to Israeli society. Until recently many Israeli army units were also brought to Masada as part of their indoctrination.
You'll have lunch at the Masada visitor's complex.
From there the group continues around the southern edge of the West Bank, past Arad and Israel's nuclear facility at Dimona, and enters the Occupied Territories just north of Be'er Sheva.
During the drive back to Jerusalem through the West Bank you'll see the settlements of the Gush Etzion block, will pass through Palestinian villages and agricultural areas, and the 25-ft. (8 meters) high wall around Bethlehem,. You'll learn about the ongoing settlement expansion, segregated Arab and Israeli roads, and the impact of the Occupation on Palestinians.
Please note that lunch and the entrance fee to Masada are not include in the tour fee. Your guide will be an expert in the political geography and ecological issues of the region but is not a Government licensed tour guide and is not permitted to conduct a tour inside Masada itself.
Bring hat, sunscreen, beach shoes.