Israel has evidence of the earliest migration of hominids out of Africa. Canaanite tribes are archaeologically attested since the Middle Bronze Age, while the Kingdoms of Israel and Judah emerged during the Iron Age. The Neo-Assyrian Empire destroyed Israel around 720 BCE. Judah was later conquered by the Babylonian, Persian and Hellenistic empires and had existed as Jewish autonomous provinces. The successful Maccabean Revolt led to an independent Hasmonean kingdom by 110 BCE, which in 63 BCE however became a client state of the Roman Republic that subsequently installed the Herodian dynasty in 37 BCE, and in 6 CE created the Roman province of Judea. Judea lasted as a Roman province until the failed Jewish revolts resulted in widespread destruction, the expulsion of the Jewish population and the renaming of the region from Iudaea to Syria Palaestina. Jewish presence in the region has persisted to a certain extent over the centuries. In the 7th century CE, the Levant was taken from the Byzantine Empire by the Arabs and remained in Muslim control until the First Crusade of 1099, followed by the Ayyubid conquest of 1187. The Mamluk Sultanate of Egypt extended its control over the Levant in the 13th century until its defeat by the Ottoman Empire in 1517. During the 19th century, national awakening among Jews led to the establishment of the Zionist movement in the diaspora followed by waves of immigration to Ottoman Syria and later Mandatory Palestine.
The three major monotheistic religions – Christianity, Islam and Judaism – have significant ties to this part of the world and enduring examples of their presence await discovery. From palace complexes and ancient fortifications, to man-made catacombs and Roman ports – we delve deeply into the rich history woven into the fabric of this country.
Over the millennia, Israel has felt the tread of conquerors and settlers: Canaanites, Israelites, Egyptians, Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Crusaders, Ottomans, and even Imperial Britons, all of whom have left their signature. Join us and discover the incredible archaeology of Jerusalem, uncover the tragedy of Masada, and visit Jericho, one of the oldest cities in the world.
Country Information - Israel
- Currency - The currency of Israel is the Israeli new shekel
- How to Dress - Israel is a progressive and relaxed country and casual clothing is suitable for almost all settings. Jeans, T-shirts, shorts and comfortable walking shoes are ideal for most situations and sites within the country. If you are traveling in Israel casual dress is also very common. For those travelers who plan to visit religious sites such as churches, mosques, and the Western Wall, it is advisable to avoid short skirts, short shorts, and sleeveless shirts. Women are not meant to show off their shoulders, knees, and chest when visiting these sites. If visiting Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Nazareth of other cities with religious attractions, it is best to bring long, lightweight layers to cover up and adjust comfort level based on the temperature. If visiting Jewish religious sites, men should cover their heads with a kippah. It is usually marked with a sign when men must cover their heads, most notably at the Western Wall.
- Cultural Differences - The Israelis like to negotiate with chutszpah. The Israelis are very family orientated and meet regularly for Shabbat dinner. Israelis speak loudly and quickly. They give the impression that they are in a rush or frustrated. Israelis often yell as though they were all worked up when in fact they are speaking in quite a normal tone of voice. In Israel, male-female relations are equal in most areas (politics, the army, and private life). Women have the same civic rights as men and you can find women in the government that have the same political prerogatives as their male colleagues. Women have the same status as men in the Israeli army and can rise to high-ranking positions (officers, fighter pilot, etc). The same holds true for the police force.
- Language - The languages of Israel is Hebrew
- Tipping - It is commonplace to add a tip for good service. Up to 10% - 12% is acceptable. Archaeological Tours will take care of gratuities to restaurant staff, local guides and drivers