MERCL Announces Miracle Mission Trip

ACT NOW: Reserve your Place in MERCL’s 2016 Israel TuBishvat Mission!

Come see the beautiful, inspiring, peaceful and welcoming nature of Israel – so unlike the picture portrayed in the news.  MERCL, CIPAC’s sister think tank, is launching a whole new type of mission to Israel, January 22- February 1, 2016, which includes TuBishvat, Israel’s Birthday of the Trees January 25, a perfect time to add Israel’s contributions to the environment, nature, water and energy to the other special highlights we usually showcase.

You, your family and friends are invited to come join me on this unique Israel mission of a lifetime – at a special all-inclusive price of only $3,498  (including Air from Washington DC or Los Angeles, land, tips and taxes, based on no less than 20 people, subject to any unexpected changes in airfares). Download your reservation here

Why are we going to Israel and why is this mission out of the ordinary?

1As with prior missions we have specific study objectives, this year (1) to examine how Israel finds time, energy and resources to be among the world’s leaders in safeguarding the environment, conserving and producing abundant fresh water and becoming energy independent – all amid unending struggle for survival in the most dangerous region on Earth; and,  (2) to update our strategic preview of how the  threats to Israel’s and America’s security from radical actors on the Middle East stage can be defused and neutralized. Insider briefings are paired with on-the-ground study of battles and lessons learned from past wars and peace efforts, plus visits to Israeli defense forces at land, sea and air bases.


2This mission is not  just about war and diplomacy; along with key Christian and Jewish points, we visit biblical sites, see archaeological finds and meet Israelis of all kinds, led by a unique guide who has served us often, in air conditioned coaches with good drivers, as we tour historic Hebron, Jerusalem, Coastal, Galilean, Judean and Samarian communities. Along the way, we observe, in the most beautiful season,  the flowers, plants, birds,  livestock and wildlife of the Bible, all of which Israel has worked hard to preserve – and even restore – since  the foundation of the modern state. The true identity of the “lilies of the field, wild goats, eagles, unicorns and dragons”, among others mentioned in English Bible, is revealed with actual names, while we view them in their native habitats.

3Witness Israel’s emergence as a model of 21st century innovation, science, technology and business, despite threats of terror and war, as you marvel at her success in safeguarding the nation’s air, land and waters, and even becoming energy and water independent. Adding to our knowledge will be experts on Israel’s innovations in these areas and in diplomacy, intelligence, security, the economy, ethnic, religious and cultural diversity – maybe even secret Bible codes.

The strategic view we receive and the lessons we learn will infuse our action plan to advance US and Israeli security and well-being with new energy. Another thing we always do is to assure Israelis of our solidarity and commitment to Israel’s security and well-being. You will see places, hear views and do things that even most diplomats never experience – and receive insights most have never considered. This will help make you an inspired citizen advocate to influence Congress when you return home. And we always have a lot of fun in Israel. Joy comes from singing in English and Hebrew on the bus, climbing Masada (or cheering the climbers if you feel less energetic and take the cable car to the top), riding a camel or giving a snack to a curious young ibex. If you wish, we will arrange for you to donate blood at one of Israel’s Red Star of David (like our Red Cross) centers – and I will join you in doing so. In fact, you can help shape the mission by telling us what aspects of Israeli life and culture you’ve always wanted to experience.

Where will we go and what kinds of things will we do and see? Here’s an itinerary outline:

4From our luxury beach hotel in Tel Aviv, the heart of Israel’s largest urban complex and our first stop for two nights, we plan to see ancient Yafo (biblical “Joppa”), Israel’s “Independence Hall”, other historic and cultural sites and museums, visit with a brave general who risked his life repeatedly to save Israel – and perhaps tour Israel’s world-famous Rehovot Agricultural Research Center and a desalination plant nearby..



Next we go South through Beersheva to  the Sde Boker desert research center, a secret Air Base and stay at a Mitzpe Ramon Inn built by a famous Israel general for his officers. En route see the almond trees blossom and the desert bloom while you even may plant your own tree!  

5Leaving Mitzpe Ramon, we head North along the Mediterranean via Herzliya, Caesaria, Hadera, Rishon Letzion and Haifa (where we board ship at Navy base). After a tour of Megiddo, (“Armageddon”), we head for a Tiberias boutique hotel on the Sea of Galilee (Lake Kinneret) for two nights.




We sally forth to Katzrin (Golan region capital), Gamla “Masada of the North”, IDF armor base, “Golan answer to Stonehenge” and other sites to see the history, archeology and vital importance of the region.

Galilee delights include Capernaum, Chorazin, Mt. of Beatitudes, Tabgha, Ein Gedi “Jesus boat”, wonderful boat ride on the Sea, St. Peter’s fish luncheon at seaside restaurant, and warm springs baptismal service for those who wish to do it.

6Departing Tiberias, we look into the amazing Beit Shean ruins, track the Jordan to Sde Eliahu “Bio-Bee” Kibbutz, and proceed through ancient Jericho, before ascending to Jerusalem, Israel’s eternal capital, for our last four nights. Along with planned visits to the Temple Mount, the Kotel (“Western Wall”) and the amazing underground passages along this ancient foundation wall of the Jewish Temple, we will have a communion service in the beautiful Garden Tomb. We will see such New City sites as Yad Vashem (Israel’s Holocaust Memorial), the Knesset, (Israel’s parliament) and Mt. Herzl.

We will spend a day at the Dead Sea, including Qumran, Ein Gedi and Masada. We plan to visit Hebron and other sites in Judea and Samaria our last full day, followed by a gala dinner and a good night’s rest before returning home.


7Along the way, as we visit such modern New Towns as Sha’are Tikva, Ariel and Maale Adumim in Judea and Samaria, we enjoy tasty Israeli refreshments. Shopping spots include Eli’s Megiddo jewelry shop, Jerusalem’s Old City and Ben-Yehuda street mall, nature reserves and archeological sites.


It makes a big difference with whom you go on such a once in a lifetime journey. As Hebrew speakers steeped in the history and culture of the People and the Land, we have visited Israel often since living and working there for seven years. No one gives you a more memorable mission or a more reasonable package. You’ll meet new friends, get your questions answered and fulfill your own quest.

Now is the time for you to connect with Israel – and real Israelis – or to reconnect if you haven’t been for awhile. If you agree, I encourage you to make a quality decision to just do it!  Then all such details as family situation, funds and leave from work will fall in place.


To sign up for this special limited time offer or to ask  travel questions, call Ofra, our Israeli tour organizer, at 888-836-2828 or email her at Her web site is: To reserve, send $250 to Galilee Travel, 6521 Wilmett Road, Bethesda, MD 20817-2342 or pay it via PayPal at , from which we will remit to Ofra.  For other matters like itinerary and special requests, touch base with me at 202-425-4009 or


I look forward to greeting you at the airport as we depart – or upon your arrival in Israel. Let’s make this the best Israel mission ever!

                                                                                                                                                                     Richard A. Hellman Esquire