Centennial Mission to Israel 2023 > Centennial Mission Personal Tracks of Interest*

Centennial Mission Personal Tracks of Interest


On Thursday, July 6, 2023, participants will leave their original bus group to join a track of interest. Some tracks carry an additional fee, and all tracks will include a visit to the recently renovated and renamed ANU Museum — the Museum of the Jewish People (formerly the Diaspora Museum). For personal tracks that carry an additional fee, the participant’s bill will be adjusted accordingly. If we are unable to confirm a spot on the track, their bill will also be adjusted accordingly.

Click below to review detailed descriptions of available tracks of interest. Please note that ALL the tracks’ components are subject to change due to availability and accessibility at the time of the mission.

Israel 101 for First Timers

No additional cost

  • Visit the Palmach Museum for an experiential showcase of the Palmach legacy through the stories of individuals and groups. Visitors join the group of young Palmach recruits from its establishment and advance through their story until the end of the War of Independence. The museum presents a fascinating personal story accompanied by three-dimensional decor, films, and a variety of documentary materials.
  • Tour, tasting, and lunch at: winery/distillery/brewery
  • Ramparts walk, one of the Old City’s hidden treasures. Take a walk that winds along the top of the walls, affording stunning views of the neighborhood of Yemin Moshe and West Jerusalem as well as several major churches. Catch glimpses inside the cloistered Armenian Quarter, the Valley of Hinnom, the Judean Desert, the Arab Shuk (market), the Garden of Gethsemane, the ancient graveyard on the Mount of Olives, and Muslim homes inside the Muslim Quarter.
  • Visit the Hurva synagogue, originally built in the 1860s on a site where smaller synagogues had been erected and destroyed over the centuries. The Hurva (or by its full name the Beit Ya’akov Synagogue in the Courtyard of the Ruin of Rabbi Yehuda Hassid) became the most magnificent and important synagogue and the center of life in the Jewish Quarter. Two days after the Jewish Quarter fell in May 1948, the Jordanians turned the synagogue into a pile of rubble for the second time in its history. A commemorative arch was erected at the site in 1977. It was later restored to its former glory and the newly rebuilt Hurva Synagogue was dedicated in 2010.
  • Photo-op at the Knesset Menorah, the official symbol of the State of Israel, which stands in the area in front of the Knesset gates, was designed by the Jewish English sculptor Benno Elkan, and was donated to the Knesset by the members of the British Parliament on April 15, 1956. The subjects depicted on its reliefs are drawn from the Jewish tradition.

Innovation & Business

No additional cost

  • The future is here: get an insider look at Israel’s next exciting start-ups with a visit to AnD Venture Capital. AnD Venture invests in pioneering early-stage start-ups and builds them into companies that make a difference. The firm founded and managed acceleration programs for tech giants including Google, Microsoft, Amdocs, and Deloitte. It deployed over $400M of VC funding and built companies from Seed to Unicorn. AnD’s team is composed of a unique group of world-class professionals driven by their desire to empower high-impact founders creating meaningful solutions​.
  • Lunch with serial entrepreneur Ophir Herbst for a firsthand briefing of his latest Startup: Sequentifyrevolutionized approach to DNA sequencing. DNA sequencing has become a key technology in many areas of biology and other sciences such as medicine, forensics, and anthropology.
  • FoodTech: get a firsthand look and see how Israel’s renowned innovation capacity has addressed the global food challenges with an exclusive visit to Redefine Meat which uses cutting-edge, science-based technologies to produce high-quality delicious plant-based meat that’s not only good for the environment but is also kind to animals. Visit the company and meet with CoFounder and CEO Eshchar Ben Shitrit.

A Taste of Israel

Additional cost $150 per person

  • Guided culinary tour of the hidden secrets of Levinsky Market, a cultural gem in the heart of the hip neighborhood of Florentin in southern Tel Aviv. Levinsky Market has turned, almost inconspicuously, into the best spot in the city for shopping, drinking, and most importantly: eating. Out of Tel-Aviv’s urban swamp, from the neglect and the mess, this market has elevated to the top of every foodies’ list of most desirable delicacies. The tour will track the shifts in the neighborhood’s culinary landscape over time, surmising that what is to come will be even more dramatic. We will smell, touch, taste, drink, shop, ask questions, and try to get some answers. The tour includes the praised gazoz by chef Benny Briga, the Pereg spices empire, the Lupo Delicatessen-sco and Yom Tov Delicatessen, the sensational magic of halva flavors, and more!
  • A special hands-on cooking lesson, preparing “Knafe,” a sweet and yummy Arabic dessert, in Abu Gosh with Blend.Ar participants. Israeli Jews and Arabs rarely interact, and if they do, often it is in a tense setting. The program, supported by GMW, brings Israeli Jews from all sectors and Arabs together through immersive direct experiences of Arab culture and meaningful interactions. The participants live in an Arab village and experience Arab culture firsthand.
  • From the Vineyard to the Glass:” follow the wine production process at Domaine Du Castel vineyard. In 1988, almost by chance, Eli Ben Zaken planted the first modern-day vineyard to be found in the Judean Hills, in the backyard of his home in Ramat Raziel. Within four years’ time, family and close friends came together to harvest the grapes that would become the winery’s very first wine – Castel Grand Vin 1992. The winery moved to its new location in Yad Ha’shmona in 2015 – to a new, beautifully designed building, located across the way from the new vineyards in Ma’ale Ha’hamisha. After 23 harvests in the Ramat Raziel winery, the Ben Zaken family wanted to ensure the longevity and continuity of their family legacy and of Domaine du Castel.

The IDF & Security Challenges: Keeping Israel Safe

Additional cost $250 per person

  • Fly the world’s most advanced combat flight simulators and learn the values and organizational tools which the Israeli air force holds so valuable. The dedicated team of senior IAF fighter pilots (res.) and former combat flight simulator instructors will guide you and teach you the tools for excellence embedded within the Israeli air force as well as let you experience the unique prevailing spirit that fighter squadrons hold true. The Squadron’s fleet of simulators run on Lockheed Martin, manufacturer of the F-16 and F-35, proprietary software. This advanced technology allows for a simulated flight experience that is closest to the real thing. Using advanced network technology developed by The Squadron, it is possible to fly simultaneously with other simulators and execute missions in a group setting. Training flights are recorded and documented, allowing for in-depth analysis of each flight.
  • Lunch
  • Security briefing by a geopolitical expert: The current threats facing Israel and the country’s security-awareness and high-level of preparedness at Beit Aryeh lookout. Situated just on the other side of the security barrier (to the east) and a 10 min drive from the city of Shoham. From here we can see right below us the runways of the Ben Gurion airport, the coastal line, the Dan Block-Tel Aviv Region to the west, and the mountains of Judea and Samaria to the East.
  • Confidential visit to the IDF’s Home Front Command Headquarters, to better understand the revolutionary ability to respond to multiple national emergencies. The Home Front Command system generates a situational picture of the entire country — linking together first responders, the government, the Home Front Command’s rescue teams and local authorities. This real-time picture allows decision-makers to immediately see which parts of the country are in the most urgent need of assistance and displays more than 250 layers of data. It allows local council heads to focus their time on responding to emergencies, rather than trying to keep up with figuring out what’s going on.

Israeli-Palestinian Relationship: Understanding the Conflict and Areas of Mutual Co-existence

Additional cost $175 per person

  • Meet your expert scholar-of-the-day and start with a briefing: Expanding the Abraham Accords – is the Palestinian case holding the Saudi-Egyptian-Israeli deal?
  • Get ready with a special (short) Arabic lesson at Blend.Ar (supported by GMW), in Abu Gosh. Israeli Jews and Arabs rarely interact, and if they do, oftentimes it is in a tense setting. The program brings Israeli Jews from all sectors and Arabs together through immersive direct experiences of Arab culture and meaningful interactions. The participants live in an Arab village and experience Arab culture firsthand.
  • Private and secure visit to Ramallah the boom town of the West Bank. The city of 70,000 people sits at about 3,000 feet above sea level. Its name means “God’s Mountain”. As, bit by bit, the likelihood of East Jerusalem being the capital of Palestine is fading, Ramallah is emerging as the de facto capital of the country. It feels secular and relatively sophisticated, and there’s no question that it’s Palestinian. The PLO headquarters is here. Yasser Arafat is buried here. And it’s busy with NGOs and international agencies working on Palestine’s problems. As many Palestinian Americans have moved back home and live here, there are lots of American accents.

The Road to a Shared Society: Living Together in Israel

No additional cost

  • Opening by Muhammed Darawshe, Director, Center for Equality & Shared Society, Givat Haviva: the development of a joint vision for a shared society for Jews and Arabs in the State of Israel
  • In the heart of a beautiful village of Abu Gosh that has become the symbol of coexistence, the Hinam Center has set up a unique Center for Tolerance. Located in a 150-year-old stone building, lying on an area of 500 square meters, the center houses a Beit Midrash, Midrasha, conference and cultural center, and research department, as well as the Hinam Center’s headquarters. Hinam aims to reduce polarization and alienation, and with them their derivatives: racism, discrimination, and hatred, that are one of Israel’s greater challenges. The foundation of the programs run by the center is the belief that only a real and direct acquaintance with the other – their world, culture, and life – can lead to a softening of the attitude towards them and recognition of their legitimacy and place in society.
  • Abu Gosh style lunch at Hinam
  • Meet the people of Project Rozana, an international initiative raising funds for the transport and treatment of critically ill children from the West Bank and Gaza in Israeli hospitals, and also funding the training of Palestinian doctors, nurses, and therapists in Israel, to improve and expand healthcare in Palestinian communities.

History & Archeology: Exploring an Ancient Country

No additional cost

  • Visit Israel’s new must-see attraction the beautiful Roman-era Lod mosaics at the newly opened Lod Mosaic Archeological Center. Crafted towards the end of the Roman period (37 B.C.E.–324 C.E.), the mosaics originally paved the entry hall to an elite residence in a wealthy neighborhood of Lydda (Lod’s ancient name). Unusual in their quality, construction, and contents, and state of preservation, the mosaics are evidence of the incredible wealth of their original patron. About 17 meters long and about 9 meters wide, comprised of colorful surfaces depicting fruits, mammals, birds, fish, flora, and even sailing vessels – the design was influenced by that of North African mosaics.
  • Lunch and wine tasting at family-owned winery Bravdo. In 1999 Professor Ben Ami Bravdo and his former student Professors Oded Shoseyov, both faculty members of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem decided to establish Karmei Yosef Winery that produces BRAVDO wines. The winery is located in the heart of the vineyard at the foothills of the majestic village of Karmei Yosef. The Shoseyov family began growing grape vines 120 years ago. The cool summer nights and the limestone-rich soil at the 50 acres Shoseyov estate are known to produce fine wine grapes back to the time of the Solomon’s kingdom. The wine is produced with advanced technology implemented both in the vineyard and the winery. The grapes are grown and harvested at optimal conditions to maximize their fruit flavor.
  • Special tour of the new excavations under the police station (Kishle) at Jaffa Gate (not open to the public). The site known as the “Kishle” was erected in 1834 by Ibrahim Pasha who governed the Land of Israel (Palestine) from Egypt. When the Ottoman Turks regained the area in 1841, the “Kishle” continued to serve as a military compound. During the period of the British mandate, it was used as a police station and prison where some members of the Jewish underground were also incarcerated. Archaeological excavations have unearthed remains from as early as the 6th century BCE and walls from the time of King Herod as well as evidence from the Middle Ages. Of particular importance is the discovery of a wall from the First Temple Period which adds to our knowledge about the route of the city wall of those days and adds a dramatic element to a visit to the site. Additionally, the impressive findings from the Second Temple Period complement the monumental remains in the Citadel courtyard

Adventure Israel: Caving and Rappelling

Additional cost $125 per person

Must wear sneakers and wear/bring sunscreen.

  • Explore the caves of Beit Guvrin National Park. The people who lived at Beit Guvrin thousands of years ago left behind plentiful testimony to their existence both above and below ground. The real excitement of this site lies in the cool interior of some of the hundreds of caves, which first served as quarries for the people of Hellenistic Maresha to build their houses in. Beneath those houses are storerooms and cisterns. One cave had hundreds of niches where pigeons were raised; in another you can see an ancient olive press. The colorful Greek-style frescoes of the Sidonian burial cave and the Musicians’ Tomb are another attraction. Beit Guvrin’s dramatic Bell Caves still bear the marks of the diggers, who penetrated the surface through small holes and left behind bell-shaped caverns.
  • Lunch and wine tasting at Flam winery. Flam winery was established in 1998 by Golan and Gilad Flam and their mother Kami, with the vision of producing wine at the highest international quality. Golan and Gilad absorbed their love for wine from their father, Israel, one of the country’s wine industry pioneers. Their mother, Kami, has contributed greatly to the development of the family’s winery, harnessing her business experience for the task. The younger sister to the Flam clan, Gefen, joined in and added her young and innovative approach.
  • End your day with the most exciting experience: rappelling off the Old City Walls! Enjoy this fun, challenging, and unforgettable experience.

The "Fast" Track: 17 Tammuz Fast Day

No additional cost

  • Depart to Jerusalem
  • See the new and exciting finding under the Great Bridge. A magnificent structure from the Second Temple period that was very well preserved was discovered in the new excavations in the Western Wall Tunnels. This public structure, decorated with many impressive architectural details, along with one of the largest ritual baths ever uncovered, was discovered under the bridge which led water to the Temple in the days of the Second Temple. The structure’s level is at the foot of the Temple Mount near the main road of stores that were outside the Temple gates where the nation passed before their ascent to the Temple Mount. Many components were preserved in this structure that are characteristic of the magnificent construction of the period. Apparently, the structure was built by Jews about 30 CE, approximately forty years before the Second Temple’s destruction, however, what this space was used for remains a mystery.
  • Get a bird’s eye view of the Kotel from buildings overlooking the Western Wall.
  • Visit the newly renovated Davidson Center which reopened in March after having been closed for the last 3 years for renovations. Located in the Old City of Jerusalem, at the foot of the Temple Mount, we will explore the theme of the Temple City of Jerusalem through a unique combination of ancient archeological finds, innovate technology, artistic depictions, and interactive galleries.
  • Dinner will be available at sundown to break your fast.