General Information

The State of Israel, an independent nation in southwest Asia, is located between the eastern shores of the Mediterranean Sea and the head of the Gulf of AQABA, an arm of the Red Sea. Israel was established on May 14, 1948, as a Jewish state. Israel is considered the Holy Land for Christians, Jews, and Muslims. The country has currently a population of 8.7 million inhabitants.
Freedom of religion and the inviolability of the holy places and centers of worship for all religions are guaranteed by law. For the Jewish population, supreme religious authority is vested in the Chief Rabbinate.

The country has currently a population of 8.7 million inhabitants Around. 1.8 million (20.8 per cent) are Palestinian citizens of Israel (including Muslims, Palestinian Christians, Circassians and Druze), compared to 6.4 million Jews (74.8 per cent), with a small proportion of ‘others’ (non-Palestinian Christians and members of other religions).

Archeology

There are archaeological sites in Israel literally everywhere you turn, and it is no wonder when you consider how many rules the land has been under over the course of thousands of years. Sites like the Western Wall, the Belvoir Fortress, Qumran and Shivta are just a few archaeological sites among many found in Israel, all of which offer an exciting glimpse into history and tell a detailed story. And last but not least, the Dead Sea and the fortress of Masada are part of the must-see sites

History

The people of Israel (also called the “Jewish People”) trace their origin to Abraham, who established the belief that there is only one God, the creator of the universe). Abraham, his son Yitshak (Isaac), and grandson Jacob (Israel) are referred to as the patriarchs of the Israelites. All three patriarchs lived in the Land of Canaan, that later came to be known as the Land of Israel. The name Israel derives from the name given to Jacob (Genesis 32:29). His 12 sons were the kernels of 12 tribes that later developed into the Jewish nation. The name Jew derives from Yehuda (Judah) one of the 12 sons of Jacob (Reuben, Shimon, Levi, Yehuda, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Yisachar, Zevulun, Yosef, Binyamin)(Exodus 1:1). So, the names Israel, Israeli or Jewish refer to people of the same origin.

The descendants of Abraham crystallized into a nation at about 1300 BCE after their Exodus from Egypt under the leadership of Moses (Moshe in Hebrew). Soon after the Exodus, Moses transmitted to the people of this newly emerging nation, the Torah, and the Ten Commandments (Exodus Chapter 20). After 40 years in the Sinai desert, Moses led them to the Land of Israel, that is cited in The Bible as the land promised by G-d to the descendants of the patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Genesis 17:8).

The first king, Saul (c.1020 BCE), bridged the period between loose tribal organization and the setting up of a full monarchy under his successor, David, whom Jesus was a descendent of.

Jesus Christ’s entire life and ministry took place in Israel. He has been born in Bethlehem, raised in Nazareth and being crucified and raised from the dead in Jerusalem.

Israel had to fight many enemies, and eventually after the exile by the Romans at 70 CE, the Jewish people migrated to Europe and North Africa. They began to return to the land that was Israel in the 1800’s and continued to do so leading to the establishment of the Jewish state in 1949.

Languages

The Israeli population is linguistically and culturally diverse. Hebrew is the country’s official language, and almost the entire population speaks it either as native speakers or proficiently as a second language. Its standard form, known as Modern Hebrew, is the main medium of life in Israel. Arabic is used mainly by Israel’s Arab minority which comprises about one-fifth of the population. Arabic has a special status under Israeli law.

Russian is spoken by about 20% of the Israeli population, mainly by the large immigrant population from the former Soviet Union, and English is a known foreign language by a significant proportion of the Israeli population as English is used widely in official logos and road signs alongside Hebrew and Arabic. In addition, the 19th edition of Ethnologue lists 36 languages and dialects spoken through Israel.[1]

According to a 2011 Government Social Survey of Israelis over 20 years of age, 49% report Hebrew as their native language, Arabic 18%, Russian 15%, Yiddish 2%, French 2%, English 2%,[2] 1.6% Spanish, and 10% other languages (including Romanian, German and Amharic, which were not offered as answers by the survey). This study also noted that 90% of Israeli Jews and over 60% of Israeli Arabs have a good understanding of Hebrew.

What Do Our Clients Say About Us?

  • Linda Arnold

    My first pilgrimage to The Promised Land was with Christian Tours and the entire trip exceeded my expectations. I liked it so much that my husband and I signed up for another tour the following year and took 5 family members with us! Okay, so if that wasn’t enough we signed up again this year and took 4 more friends! Yes, that is three years in a row!

    When I go back to Israel, I will only travel with Christian Tours. Outstanding guides, exceptional drivers, and first rate service. Christian Tours is truly excited to be a part of your incredible, experience in the Holy Land and care about every little detail.

  • David Chavers

    Christian Tours provided very personalized service to us. Two of our group flew in from Egypt ahead of the others by about 8 hours. The two were settled into the hotel, picked up by car by Susan herself and driven to the airport to meet the rest of the incoming group and ride the bus back to the hotel as a group. No extra charge, ''just part of it'' they told us. There were six employees on hand to meet us at the airport to make sure everything went smoothly.

    I could continue, but this email cannot do justice to the service and accommodations Christian Tours provided us. I guess the strongest statement I can make is that we are returning with another group this coming year. The thought of using someone else has not even crossed our minds. These people took care of business, and became our friends in the process.

  • Gina

    I must tell you I give both Christian Tours and Mordi my highest recommendation – Donna and I had an amazing trip. The personal service, hotels, attention to detail and most of all the flexibility of Mordi (he learned I like frozen coffees – so there was always a stop somewhere) to change up the itinerary when timing/location deemed necessary.

    Now a special word about Mordi – his knowledge and passion for Israel is so evident in his spirit it is a joy to spend time with him. He has a great sense of humor (which I’m sure he needed with us) and loved sharing his Jewish faith and Israeli heritage during our unending questions.

    Yoav – a note of thanks for all your help with our pilgrimage – I know you did all the legwork for the sites, hotels and details. It was flawless and we appreciate all your hard work. You’re the best!

    Again, thank you Christian Tours – it was a life changing experience and you made it happen.

    Next year, in Jerusalem!