Omega Tours & Travel https://omegatours.com.sg Experience the Lands of the Bible Wed, 28 Sep 2022 07:52:18 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=6.1.1 https://omegatours.com.sg/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/fav.png Omega Tours & Travel https://omegatours.com.sg 32 32 When is the Best Time to Visit Israel in 2023? https://omegatours.com.sg/when-is-the-best-time-to-visit-israel-in-2023/ Wed, 28 Sep 2022 06:26:24 +0000 https://omegatours.com.sg/?p=8857 When is the Best Time to Visit Israel in 2023?

Really, any time of the year is the best time of the year to visit Israel. The weather in Israel is actually quite moderate, so any time is a good time for you to comfortably travel throughout the country, but each season offers advantages.

Visit Israel in the Spring

March to May

Spring is a busy time in Israel with the celebration of Purim in March, the Passover taking up a week in April, the commemoration of Israel Independence Day and Memorial Day as well as the Jewish festival of Shavuot in May. Since so many locals are outside having fun during spring, expect some places to get crowded. Late spring is also a wonderful time to enjoy Israel’s picturesque nature spots, trails and landscapes.

Purim

Purim Celebrations

Visit Israel in the Summer

June to August

Although it gets pretty hot during the day in the summer months in Israel, there are still plenty of things that you can do to beat the heat. It is the best time to hit the countless beautiful beaches in Israel, with some of the best beaches located within the vicinity of Tel Aviv. You can consider travelling to the many oases, streams, nature springs, and adventure spots in the high mountains for a breath of fresh air as well as gorgeous views. Scuba diving in the depths of the Red Sea is another great way to spend your summer in Israel.

Tel Aviv

Tel Aviv Beach

Visit Israel in the Fall

September to November

The fall in Israel offers moderate temperatures, with warm days and cool nights. It is the time of many festivals, both religious and non-religious. The High Holiday seasons of Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot occur between September and October. It can be a special experience for you to see and watch as the festivities and celebrations unfold, especially in Jerusalem. For birdwatchers, you must visit the wetlands of the Hula Valley in November to see the migratory birds.

Hula Nature Reserve

Hula Nature Reserve

Visit Israel in the Winter

December to February

If you do not mind wearing a moderately heavy coat and are prepared for some rainy days, it is a nice time to visit Israel in December and January. The crowds of the fall have gone, so you will have more space when you visit the most popular attractions. For those who plan to go skiing, snowboarding, mountain biking and sledding, travel up north to Mount Hermon in the northernmost tip of Israel, the only snow-capped mountain of the country. For hikers, late winter is a great time to explore the hills of Judea, Galilee and the Golan Heights that are covered with wildflowers and grass, just bring your rain gear.

Mount,Hermon

Mount Hermon

For more information on our destinations, click on the following: Israel | Jordan | Turkey | Greece

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Corinth Archaeological Site https://omegatours.com.sg/corinth-archaeological-site/ Tue, 13 Sep 2022 06:08:13 +0000 https://omegatours.com.sg/?p=8823 Corinth Archaeological Site

Surrounded by fertile plains and blessed with natural springs, ancient Corinth was a powerful city-state with two harbours, making it one of the richest cities of the era. In the Roman period, the city was a major colony. Corinth was a place of religious variety, with the worship of Greek and Roman gods and goddesses, local deities, and cult heroes. Today, the ancient city lies in ruins.

Acrocorinth, CorinthAcrocorinth

Paul’s Ministry

Corinth was important in the missionary activity of the apostle Paul. There, he met and worked with the Jewish tentmakers Aquila and Priscilla, and he began preaching in the synagogue every Sabbath trying to persuade Jews and Greeks (Acts 18:1-4). But the Jews opposed Paul and became abusive. Nevertheless, he founded Christian assemblies there.

After these things Paul departed from Athens and went to Corinth. And he found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla (because Claudius had commanded all the Jews to depart from Rome); and he came to them. So, because he was of the same trade, he stayed with them and worked; for by occupation they were tentmakers. And he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and persuaded both Jews and Greeks. – Acts 18:1-4 (NKJV)

Temple of Apollo

The site today is dominated by the imposing Temple of Apollo, one of the oldest and most important temples in Greece. It had 6 columns on each narrow side and 15 columns on each long side, with each Doric monolith column over 7m high. At present, only 7 columns remain standing.

Temple of Apollo, Corinth

Fountain of Glauce

The Fountain of Glauce, a water supply installation, consisted of four reservoirs and four draw basins. According to Greek narratives, Princess of Corinth, Glauce was to be married to Jason who abandoned his wife Medea who spread poison to the veil of Glauce. When Glauce put it on, it took fire and Glauce threw herself into the fountain in a vain attempt to put out the fire. Hence, the fountain was named after her.

Fountain of Glauce, CorinthFountain of Glauce. Photo Credit: Joyofmuseums Wikimedia Commons

Bema

Most of the other surviving buildings date from the 1st century CE in the Roman era. The Agora was once surrounded by public buildings, small temples, shops, and the famous bema where officials gave public addresses and heard legal cases. The Bible tells us that the Jews made a united attack on Paul and brought him to the bema for judgement by Gallio, the proconsul of Achaia (Acts 18:12-17).

Berma of St Paul, CorinthBerma of St Paul. Photo Credit: Berthold Werner Wikimedia Commons

Discover Greece with 3 Nights Iconic Aegean Cruise (Limited Seats Available)

Join us and visit and explore the places where Paul preached to the ancient Greeks in our Discover Greece and Aegean Cruise Tour.

Tour dates: 12 Mar 2023, Sunday – 22 Mar 2023, Wednesday

Click here for tour details. Register today!

 

For more information on our destinations, click on the following: Israel | Jordan | Turkey | Greece

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Aboard the Aegean Cruise https://omegatours.com.sg/aboard-the-aegean-cruise/ Wed, 31 Aug 2022 08:47:54 +0000 https://omegatours.com.sg/?p=8799 Aboard the Aegean Cruise

The 3-night all-inclusive cruise aboard Celestyal Olympia is an affordable way to island hop and see the Greek islands in the Aegean Sea. It is a hectic and busy cruise, with ports of call at Mykonos, Kusadasi, Patmos and Santorini, but it is perfect for sampling the various islands, history, and culture. Their specially designed shore excursions are central to the Celestyal experience.

Patmos – Visit to St John’s Monastery and Grotto of Apocalypse

Patmos is mentioned in the Book of Revelation. See the Cave or Grotto of the Apocalypse where Apostle John is said to have received a vision from Jesus. Next, walk along picturesque alleyways winding up to the Monastery of St John and see the Byzantine Church of St John adorned with important frescoes from several periods of history.

I, John, both your brother and companion in the tribulation and kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was on the island that is called Patmos for the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. – Revelation 1:9 (NKJV)

Cave of the Apocalypse, Patmos IslandCave of the Apocalypse, Patmos Island

Monastery of St John the Theologian, Patmos IslandMonastery of St John, Patmos Island

Kusadasi – Visit to Ephesus

Ephesus, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World and one of the Seven Churches of Revelation, is a fabulous open air archaeological wonder. Wander through the Agora, the magnificent and restored Library of Celsius, the marble-paved Main Street of Curetes, the Great Theatre and the excellently preserved Terrace Houses.

Ephesus (Selcuk)Curetes Street, Ephesus

Ephesus (Selcuk)Library of Celsius, Ephesus

Santorini – Visit to Oia Village

Santorini, with its soaring landscapes and whitewashed houses, is described as one of the most beautiful places on the planet. Oia Village is perched on the rim of the Caldera, the remains of a volcanic eruption. Stroll the marble-paved alleys, visit the adorable shops, and capture the moments on camera.

Santorini at nightSantorini at night

 

Discover Greece with 3 Nights Iconic Aegean Cruise

Join us and tour across the endless blue seas and extraordinary mountain ranges of Greece, on foot and aboard the Aegean Cruise.

Tour dates: 12 Mar 2023, Sunday – 22 Mar 2023, Wednesday

Click here for tour details. Register today!

 

 

For more information on our destinations, click on the following: Israel | Jordan | Turkey | Greece

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Let’s travel to Greece in 2023! https://omegatours.com.sg/lets-travel-to-greece-in-2023/ Wed, 17 Aug 2022 05:14:31 +0000 https://omegatours.com.sg/?p=8783 Let’s travel to Greece in 2023!

Greece is blessed with an exceptionally beautiful nature and striking landscape. Greece has a long history and innumerable stunning monuments to prove it. It was in Ancient Greece that philosophy has its roots, where democracy was born, where theatre came to life, and it was home to both the ancient and the modern Olympic Games.

Athens
Athens

UNESCO world heritage sites

Greece offers the world over 100 outstanding archaeological sites, with theatres, public assembly buildings, temples, public markets, revealing a history exceeding 5,000 years. Greece is home to some very interesting UNESCO world heritage sites: the beautiful monasteries in Meteora, the amazing Acropolis in Athens, the Byzantine monuments of Thessaloniki and the many archaeological sites scattered all over the country.

Meteora
Meteora

Thessaloniki
Thessaloniki

Greek Islands

The thought of Greece conjures up images of the islands and the splendid beaches. Santorini is probably the most famous island in all of Greece. Greece has also some incredibly beautiful sunsets and crystal blue waters. Aboard the Aegean Cruise is one of the best ways to explore the different islands at every port.

SantoriniSantorini

 

In The Footsteps of Paul

Greece is also home to the noteworthy route that Apostle Paul took to spread the word of God in a time when polytheism was practised. This route comprises of places such as Kavala (Neapolis), Philippi, Thessaloniki, Veria, Athens, and Corinth.

Kavala
Kavala

St Paul's Tribune, Veria
Veria

Discover Greece with 3 Nights Iconic Aegean Cruise

Join us and tour across the endless blue seas and extraordinary mountain ranges of Greece, on foot and aboard the Aegean Cruise.

Tour dates: 12 Mar 2023, Sunday – 22 Mar 2023, Wednesday

Click here for tour details. Register today!

For more information on our destinations, click on the following: Israel | Jordan | Turkey | Greece

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Tree Grown From 2,000-Year-Old Seed Has Reproduced https://omegatours.com.sg/tree-grown-from-2000-year-old-seed-has-reproduced/ Wed, 27 Jul 2022 02:39:49 +0000 https://omegatours.com.sg/?p=8720 Tree Grown From 2,000-Year-Old Seed Has Reproduced

“The righteous will flourish like a palm tree.” Psalm 91:12 (NIV)

In 2005, a team of researchers first tried to germinate a 2,000-year-old seed found in 1963 by archaeologists from the ancient fortress of Masada.

Judean Date Palm Seed

2,000-year-old date seed. Photo Credit: Guy Eisner

It sprouted and the researchers named this Judean date palm Methuselah, after the oldest man in the Bible who lived to the age of 969 (Genesis 5:27). Methuselah is a father. It has been successfully pollinated with another date palm, which is producing offspring.

Methuselah

Methuselah in 2019. Photo Credit: Arava Institute

Date palms once flourished in the valley from the Galilee in the north to the Dead Sea in the south. They were an important source of food, shelter, and medicine. Over the centuries, the Judean palm was decimated by years of war and foreign conquest. Some 800 years ago, the Crusaders destroyed the last remaining specimens, rendering the plant extinct.

The seeds of Judean date palm turned out to have remarkable longevity. Over the following years, the scientists were also successful at growing six more trees from seeds found mostly from Masada or Qumran where the world-renowned Dead Sea Scrolls were unearthed. Scientists pointed out that the Dead Sea, being the lowest point on Earth, has a special thick atmospheric layer that protect the seeds from harmful cosmic radiation.

Qumran National Park

Qumran National Park

You can see these amazing Judean date palms at Arava Institute Research Park in Kibbutz Ketura.

For more information on our destinations, click on the following: Israel | Jordan | Turkey | Greece

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Western Wall Tunnels https://omegatours.com.sg/western-wall-tunnels/ Wed, 13 Jul 2022 08:52:02 +0000 https://omegatours.com.sg/?p=8643 What to do in Israel | Western Wall Tunnels

You will surely see the Western Wall when you visit the Old City of Jerusalem. The Western Wall is the only remains of the retaining wall surrounding the Temple Mount, the site of the First and Second Temples of Jerusalem, held to be the most significant site in the world for the Jewish people.

Western Wall

Western Wall

To celebrate the arrival of Shabbat, there is always a large crowd at sunset on Friday. The Western Wall Plaza is a popular site for bar mitzvahs which are usually held on Shabbat or on Monday and Thursday mornings. This is an excellent time to visit as the area is lively with families singing and dancing as they approach.

Western Wall

Western Wall Tunnel Tour

The part visible to all at the Western Wall Plaza is a small section (70m) of a much larger, mostly underground wall that stretches almost 500m long. Its greatness is truly awed when you descend underground to the Western Wall Tunnels. Walking through the tunnels, it is possible to see an ancient aqueduct, water pits, old cisterns, and Second Temple-era homes. You also get to touch the original and special stones from various periods. Many of these building stones are huge. The largest of these is the Western Stone, measuring up to 13m long and weighing over 500 tonnes.

Western Wall Tunnel

Western Wall Tunnel

Western Wall Tunnel


If you are interested in a deeper look at the history of the Western Wall and Temple Mount, then this tour is worth 75 minutes of your time.

For more information on our destinations, click on the following: Israel | Jordan | Turkey | Greece

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The Temple Mount Sifting Project https://omegatours.com.sg/the-temple-mount-sifting-project/ Wed, 29 Jun 2022 07:39:33 +0000 https://omegatours.com.sg/?p=8615 What to do in Israel | The Temple Mount Sifting Project

In 1999, Wakf bulldozers illegally ascended the Temple Mount and surreptitiously removed 9,000 tons of ancient soil, laden with countless invaluable artifacts, without proper archaeological care, and dumped close to 400 truckloads of it all as “garbage” in the Kidron Valley.

Two archaeologists realised that this dumped soil is a potential treasure-trove of archaeological information about the Temple Mount. In 2004, they founded the Temple Mount Sifting Project which has grown into the world’s largest communal antiquities salvage effort, attracting hundreds of thousands of volunteers and tourists from across the globe, and unearthing over half a million valuable finds.

Temple Mount Sifting Project Photo Credit: Photo Credit: Ana al’ain Wikimedia Commons

Every bucket of earth that is sifted contains fragments of pottery, glass vessels, metal objects, bones, worked stones and mosaic tesserae stones, spanning from the First Temple period to the present. Every stone has a historical meaning and background. They might have been used in the Temple, in the streets of ancient Jerusalem, the same stones that probably kings and prophets had walked on.

“For her stones are dear to your servants; her very dust moves them to pity.” Psalms 102:14, NIV

Temple Mount Sifting Project
Photo Credit: Photo Credit: Ana al’ain Wikimedia Commons

The Temple Mount Sifting Project is a splendid way to experience the work of an archaeologist while helping find artifacts that continue to shape the understanding of the history of this ancient and holy place. The opportunity to search through piles of history is surreal. Every bucket is filled with potential and the anticipation of what will be found is exciting for every participant. Each find made is exhilarating, whether small or large. For the geologists and archaeologists, the hard work of cataloguing is just beginning. For the tourists, it is fun, educational, and relaxing – dump each bucket onto a wood-framed screen mounted on plastic stands, rinse off any soil with water from a garden hose, and then pluck out anything of potential importance. A great way to spend an hour or two!

Temple Mount Sifting Project

Temple Mount Sifting Project

For more information on our destinations, click on the following: Israel | Jordan | Turkey | Greece

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City of David – Where King David Built His Kingdom https://omegatours.com.sg/city-of-david-where-king-david-built-his-kingdom/ Wed, 08 Jun 2022 00:00:27 +0000 https://omegatours.com.sg/?p=8515 What to see in Israel | City of David

Do you know that the City of David is older than the Old City of Jerusalem? In fact, it’s considered the birthplace of Jerusalem, the place where King David built his kingdom.

City of David

City of David

The entrance of the City of David is decorated with a harp, closely associated with David who took a harp and played with his hand to calm King Saul from his bad moods (1 Samuel 16:23).

“And so it was, whenever the spirit from God was upon Saul, that David would take a harp and play it with his hand. Then Saul would become refreshed and well, and the distressing spirit would depart from him.” -1 Samuel 16:23 (NKJV)

City of David

Descending the stairs into the Large Stone Structure, the possible remains of King David’s palace or the Jebusite fortress that David captured. The foundations are visible at the top of the massive Stepped Stone Structure, believed to have served as a retaining wall for the palace or the fortress.

Archaeological site, City of David

At the bottom of the massive wall is the House of Ahiel (based on the finding of a potsherd with the name Ahiel), a four-room house designed with a kitchen, storerooms, residential rooms, and a place for the cattle. In one room, a limestone toilet seat was embedded in the plaster floor, with a cesspit beneath it. The house had a central courtyard that was open to let in light since there were no windows in the house.

City of David

Hezekiah’s Tunnel

The Hezekiah’s Tunnel was first designed to bring water from the Gihon Spring to the Siloam Pool, as documented in the famous paleo-Hebrew inscription that was etched into the tunnel wall, describing the excavators, working from opposite ends, calling to each other near the completion of the project. Visitors get to wade through this tunnel. It is wet, dark, and exhilarating! If this dark and winding tunnel is too daunting, an adjacent Canaanite tunnel provides a well-lit and dry-shod alternative. Both tunnels lead to the ancient Siloam Pool, said to be the place where Jesus healed a man who had been blind since birth (John 9).

Hezekiah's Tunnel

City of David

HALLELUJAH Nighttime Presentation

Not to be missed is “Hallelujah”, a spectacular multi-sensory night show displayed on the ancient walls of the City of David, telling the story of the rebirth of ancient Jerusalem, under the open night sky.

For more information on our destinations, click on the following: Israel | Jordan | Turkey | Greece

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What is the meaning of Gethsemane? https://omegatours.com.sg/what-is-the-meaning-of-gethsemane/ Wed, 25 May 2022 05:19:21 +0000 https://omegatours.com.sg/?p=8453 What to see in Israel | Garden of Gethsemane

The Garden of Gethsemane is a remarkably beautiful garden, across the Kidron Valley on the Mount of Olives, where Jesus went with His disciples to pray after the Last Supper just before He was betrayed and arrested (Mark 14:32-41).

 “Then they came to a place which was named Gethsemane; and He said to His disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” – Mark 14:32 (NKJV)

Mount of Olives, Jerusalem

Mount of Olives, Jerusalem

What is the meaning of Gethsemane?

The name “Gethsemane” is made up of two Hebrew/Aramaic words “Gat Shemanei” which means “olive press”, suggesting that the garden was an olive grove complete with an olive press where harvested olives were processed, crushed and the olive oil extracted.

Today, the garden has manicured and tended flower beds surrounding a protected area that includes eight magnificent ancient olive trees, with some said to be at least 900 years old, still producing olives.

Garden of Gethsemane

Garden of Gethsemane

Adjacent to the garden is the Basilica of the Agony, also known as the Church of All Nations, that enshrines a slab of rock where Jesus is believed to have been praying before His arrest. The church was constructed with support from 12 different nations, thus the name “the Church of All Nations”.

Church of All Nations

Church of All Nations

Inside of Church of All Nations

For more information on our destinations, click on the following: Israel | Jordan | Turkey | Greece

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How did the Dung Gate get its name?  https://omegatours.com.sg/dung-gate-the-gates-of-jerusalem/ Wed, 11 May 2022 03:10:10 +0000 https://omegatours.com.sg/?p=8251 Dung Gate | The Gates of Jerusalem

The Dung Gate is one of the gates in the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem, built in the 16th century by Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent. Until the end of Ottoman Rule, the gate was merely a tiny doorway in the wall for pedestrians and pack animals to pass through. It was enlarged by the Jordanians who controlled the Old City between 1948 and 1967. After the Old City of Jerusalem was reclaimed by Israel paratroopers in the Six-Day War, the gate was restored.

Dung Gate, Jerusalem

How did the Dung Gate get its name? 

The Dung Gate is first mentioned in Nehemiah 2:13 where the prophet examined the walls of Jerusalem which had been broken down and its gates which had been destroyed by fire. The gate is so named because of all the scattered rubbish and soil dumped out into the Valley of Hinnom below, each time Jerusalem was destroyed. When the First Jewish Temple was still in place, all the garbage and ash from sacrifices were taken out of the city through this gate into the valley to be burned.

After dark I went out through the Valley Gate, past the Jackal’s Well, and over to the Dung Gate to inspect the broken walls and burned gates.” – Nehemiah 2:13 (NLT)

Today, the Dung Gate is the main entry to the Jerusalem Archaeological Park and Davidson Centre, home to archaeological finds and displays from the First and Second Temple periods. The Dung Gate is the most convenient of the Old City of Jerusalem’s seven gates for visiting the Western Wall and the Jewish Quarter.

Dung Gate, Jerusalem

Dung Gate, Jerusalem

Dung Gate, Jerusalem

Photo Credit: Ludvig14 Wikimedia Commons

For more information on our destinations, click on the following: Israel | Jordan | Turkey | Greece

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10 Interesting Facts About Israel https://omegatours.com.sg/10-interesting-facts-about-israel/ Wed, 27 Apr 2022 01:55:03 +0000 https://omegatours.com.sg/?p=8174 10 Interesting Facts About Israel

Israel may be a tiny country in the Middle East region, but it has many interesting facts. Here is our list of 10 remarkable facts.

Fact #1

Israel is the only country to have revised a dead language and made it the national language. Eliezer Ben Yehuda developed a modern Hebrew vocabulary, combining brand new and ancient Hebrew words. Hebrew became the official language of the Jews in 1922, a testament to the hard work and success of Ben Yehuda and his fellow Zionist pioneers in spreading the language.

Fact #2

The Mount of Olives is the oldest continuously used cemetery in the world. Many Jewish people since biblical times have requested to be buried here, hoping to be first in line when the Messiah comes on the Mount of Olives. Many ancient monumental Jewish tombs line the hillside.

Jewish Cemetery, Mount of Olives

Fact #3

Israel is one of the few countries in the world that has a mandatory military service requirement for women. Women have served in the Israel Defense Forces since its establishment in 1948. Today, women make up about 40% of conscript soldiers and 25% of the office corps.

Israel Solider

Fact #4

Scientists in Israel managed to grow fresh dates from 6th century seeds found at Masada and Qumran. Hannah, one of the Qumran trees, was pollinated by Methuselah, a 2,000-year-old seed found in excavations in Masada and grew dates, a type that has not been tasted since the times of Jesus and the Maccabees.

Fact #5

In Israel, a meal without a salad is not a meal. You can find Israelis eating Israeli salad for breakfast or dinner or as a side dish for lunch. Traditional Israeli salad is made from fresh cucumbers, tomatoes and onion. Israeli salad goes well with some of the best Israeli foods such as shakshuka, in a pita together with falafel, sabich or any other street food, or as a side during a picnic or BBQ.

Israeli Salad

Fact #6

Israel Postal Company receives letters from around the world and from people of all religious denominations that are addressed to God or Jesus. Israel Post keeps the letters in a department until they are placed once a year, ahead of Rosh Hashanah, into the cracks of the Western Wall.

Western Wall

Fact #7

Israel has five out of seven natural erosion craters in the world. Ramon Crater in the Negev desert is the world’s largest, measuring 40km long, about 2 to 10km wide and up to 500m deep. Ramon Crater forms Israel’s largest national park, a place for hiking, camping and other outdoor activities.

Ramon Crater

Fact #8

The glue on Israeli postage stamps is kosher. These stamps are certified kosher by the chief rabbis of Israel.

Fact #9

Israel is the biggest junction in the world for migratory birds. Every spring and fall, over half a billion birds touch down at Israel’s nature reserve and marshes to rest and refuel. People from around the globe flock to Israel to see a high diversity of feathered species from desert birds to wetland fliers to migrating flocks.

Hula Nature Reserve

Fact #10

Israel is number 1 in the world in water recycling. About 90% of the wastewater generated in Israel is recycled and reused mostly for agriculture and trees. About 60% of the domestic drinking water supply in Israel is provided by desalination.

 

For more information on our destinations, click on the following: Israel | Jordan | Turkey | Greece

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Passover 2022 https://omegatours.com.sg/passover-2022/ Tue, 12 Apr 2022 02:29:48 +0000 https://omegatours.com.sg/?p=8149 Jewish Holiday in Israel | Passover 2022

Passover 2022 begins at sundown Friday, 15 April and ends at nightfall on Saturday, 23 April 2022, that is, the Hebrew calendar dates of Nissan 15-22. Passover or Pesach is an annual weeklong festival commemorating the Biblical story of Exodus where God freed the Israelites from slavery in ancient Egypt.

Israelites leaving Egypt. Photo Credit: Sue Bentley / FreeBibleimages.org

The Story of Exodus

Moses went to Pharaoh and asked that he let the Israelites go free from Egypt. Pharaoh said no, so God sent down 10 plagues to force the king to change his mind. The tenth and final plague was the most drastic: the killing of the firstborn sons by the angel of death. The Israelites were spared from the plague because Moses told them to mark their door posts with lamb’s blood so that the angel of death would pass over them. Thus, the name “Passover”. Pharaoh’s son died from the plague. In his grief, Pharaoh ordered Moses and the Israelites to leave Egypt.

Israelites marking their door posts with lamb’s blood. Photo Credit: Sue Bentley / FreeBibleimages.org

The people were happy but mistrustful of Pharaoh, afraid he would go back on his word again. In their haste to leave Egypt, the Israelites could not let their bread rise and so they brought unleavened bread and followed Moses into the desert. In commemoration of this, Passover is also called the Festival of Unleavened Bread where only flat unleavened bread or “Matzo” is consumed.

Seder

Passover is celebrated with great pomp and ceremony, especially on the first night, when a special family meal called the seder is held. During the seder (meaning “order” in Hebrew), family members eat, pray, drink, sing, discuss current social justice issues and tell stories as prescribed by the Haggadah, the Passover book.

The Sedar plate holds five or six items, each of which symbolizes a part of the Passover story. Parsley symbolises the new spring. Charoset, a sweet mixture of apples and honey, represents the mortar that the Israelite slaves used to construct buildings for Pharaoh. A bitter herb, often horseradish, associates with the bitterness of slavery. A second bitter herb, often Romaine lettuce, is used. A roasted lamb shank bone serves as a visual reminder of the sacrifice that the Israelites offered immediately before leaving Egypt. A roasted or hard-boiled egg represents a sign of new life.

Want to greet your Jewish friends a happy holiday? The greeting for Passover is simply “Chag Sameach!” (Happy Holidays) or “Chag Pesach Sameach!” (Happy Passover Holiday).


For more information on our destinations, click on the following: Israel | Jordan | Turkey | Greece

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Purim The Most Fun Jewish Holiday https://omegatours.com.sg/purim-the-most-fun-jewish-holiday/ Wed, 16 Mar 2022 00:00:19 +0000 https://omegatours.com.sg/?p=7618 Purim The Most Fun Jewish Holiday

Purim 2022 begins at sundown on Wednesday 16 Mar 2022 and ends at nightfall on Thursday, 17 Mar 2022, that is, on the Hebrew date of Adar 14. Purim, also called the Festival of Lots, is a Jewish holiday that commemorates the saving of the Jewish people from the cruel Haman in the ancient Persian Empire; a story recorded in the Biblical Book of Esther. Purim celebrates the strength and resilience of the Jews.

Purim

In the 4th century BCE, the Jewish people lived under the rule of the Persian King Ahasuerus who had his wife, Queen Vashti, executed for refusing to follow his orders. The king decided to arrange a beauty pageant to find a new wife. Esther, a Jewish girl, caught his attention and became his new queen.

Esther crowned as queen. Photo Credit: Sweet Publishing / FreeBibleimages.org

Meanwhile, the Jew-hating Haman was appointed prime minister of the empire. Fuelled by his hatred for Mordecai, the leader of the Jews and cousin of the new queen, Haman convinced the king that the Jews were rebellious and should be exterminated. With the king’s consent, Haman threw lots to determine the date for the execution.

Haman speaking with the king about the Jews. Photo Credit: Sweet Publishing / FreeBibleimages.org

Queen Esther asked the king and Haman to join her for a large feast. During the meal, Esther revealed that she was a Jew and pleaded for the Jews. She accused Haman of plotting the annihilation of her people. The outraged king ordered that Haman be hanged and that Mordecai be appointed the new prime minister. His first decree granted all Jews the right throughout the empire to defend themselves against their enemies. On Adar 13, the Jews mobilised and killed many of their enemies. After an exhilarating victory, the Jews rested and celebrated on Adar 14.

King and Haman went to the banquet Esther had prepared. Photo Credit: Sweet Publishing / FreeBibleimages.org

Haman was led out to be executed. Photo Credit: Sweet Publishing / FreeBibleimages.org

 Jews gathered to defend themselves. Photo Credit: Sweet Publishing / FreeBibleimages.org

Mordecai recorded these events and sent letters to the Jews asking them celebrate this victory every year. So the celebration was called the Feast of Purim. Photo Credit: Sweet Publishing / FreeBibleimages.org

Purim begins with a day of fasting and reading the Book of Esther in the synagogue on the eve of Purim. On Purim (meaning “Lots” in Hebrew), the Jews exchange gifts and make donations to the poor. They eat a celebratory feast as well as triangle-shaped foods such as kreplach and hamantaschen pastries (“Haman’s ears”). When Jews meet each other, they say “chag Purim sameach” or “Happy Purim”. The day is filled with lots of fun, customs and traditions such as dressing up, carnivals and drinking.

Hamantaschen pastries

 

For more information on our destinations, click on the following: Israel | Jordan | Turkey | Greece

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Beauty of the Olive Tree https://omegatours.com.sg/beauty-of-the-olive-tree/ Tue, 01 Mar 2022 02:20:03 +0000 https://omegatours.com.sg/?p=7185 What to see in Israel | Beauty of the Olive Tree

“ …a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive oil and honey…” (Deuteronomy 8:8, NKJV)

The olives trees in Israel have been around for centuries. It is mentioned many times in the Bible, indicating the great significance of the olive tree in biblical times. It is one of the seven species in the Land of Israel. The olive tree is extremely symbolic for the Jewish people. An olive branch stands on either side of the seven-branched menorah in the emblem of both the State and the Israel Defense Forces. The dove that returned to Noah’s ark carried an olive branch in its mouth to symbolise the end of the flood and the return of life to earth. Today, the olive branch is an international symbol of peace.

Olive Tree

Olive oil has been more than just a food to the cultures of the Mediterranean region. It has been used for lighting, cooking, medicinal purposes, and moisturising skin. The oil of its fruit has anointed the noblest heads throughout history. Olive wreaths have also been given out to crown victorious athletes of sport as well as victorious generals of war.

The olive tree is among the oldest known of cultivated trees in the world. It can grow up to 6m high. Its trunk is thick and twisted with a silvery foliage. It has long roots that penetrate down to the deep, damp layers of the soil, making it capable of surviving through Israel’s dry summers. Its flowers appear in late April and during May. Olive trees start providing fruit when six years old and over. Its fruit grows during the summer, remaining green until November when it ripens, and its colour becomes purple black. It contains a high ratio of oil and is rich in Vitamin A.

Olive Tree

In Israel, olive trees grow wild and are also cultivated. They are known to live longer than most other fruit trees. Some of the ancient trees now growing in the Galilee and the Garden of Gethsemane in Jerusalem are thought to be at least 900 years old and beyond. Olives are now one of the most important fruits grown in Israel, with olive plantations in the mountains of the Galilee, on the coastal plain, and in the mountains of Samaria and Ephraim. While wild olives are reproduced from seeds, cultivated olives are planted using shoots that grown at the base of another olive tree. Psalm 128:3 uses this imagery in comparing children to olive shoots around the table.

Garden of Gethsemane

Olive Trees at Garden of Gethsemane in Jerusalem

Olive Tree

Olive shoots around the Olive Tree

Where can I buy Olive Oil products?
Today, many people recognise the health benefits of a diet rich in Extra Virgin Olive Oil, and at the same time, are embracing a revival in the culture of bath and body products that use olive oil and oil extracts as their primary ingredients.

Olea Essence from the Sea of Galilee has an offering of olive oil and olive-based skincare that is eco-responsible and fully natural. You can check out this collection of products at Rock Gifts & Book Centre at The Star Vista #02-07 or visit their website https://rockonline.sg/collections/olea-essence

For more information on our destinations, click on the following: Israel | Jordan | Turkey | Greece

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Zedekiah’s Cave (Solomon’s Quarries) https://omegatours.com.sg/zedekiahs-cave-solomons-quarries/ Tue, 15 Feb 2022 03:34:41 +0000 https://omegatours.com.sg/?p=6792 What to see in Israel | Zedekiah’s Cave (Solomon’s Quarries)

There are several stories about the mysterious Zedekiah’s Cave, a 5-acre underground limestone rock quarry under the Old City of Jerusalem. The stones for Solomon’s temple may have been hewn from this cavern, which is why the site is sometimes called Solomon’s Quarries. By Jewish tradition, it is the cave through which King Zedekiah snuck out of Jerusalem, escaping the Babylonians, hence its name Zedekiah’s Cave. Herod the Great used this quarry for his numerous construction projects including the renovation of the Second Temple.

Zedekiah’s Cave

The stones quarried from the cave are known as Melekh stone which is a high-quality type of limestone which had been used to craft many of the magnificent buildings in Jerusalem since biblical times. Suleiman the Magnificent apparently mined the quarry to build the present-day city walls. The cave was later sealed to prevent enemy attacks and its existence forgotten.

Zedekiah’s Cave

The cave was rediscovered in 1854 when an American missionary named James Turner Barclay discovered the entrance after his dog ran into a small opening that had been revealed by heavy rainfall. In the 1880s, a German religious cult moved into the cave but was eventually evacuated by the German Consul in Jerusalem after many fell ill from living in the damp conditions. The Freemasons believed that King Solomon was the Grand Master, and they regarded this cavern as the ideal location to hold their first ceremony in 1868. The Freemasons of Israel continue to hold an annual ceremony in it every year. The last known use of the quarry was for the building of the clock tower that once stood above the Jaffa Gate in Jerusalem.

Jerusalem Clock Tower at Jaffa Gate

Jerusalem Clock Tower above Jaffa Gate / Photo Credit: MadainProject

At first, Zedekiah’s Cave was a small, natural cave. It became a quarry, possibly the largest quarry of Jerusalem in antiquity, and a large space was created following the many quarrying operations carried out there for centuries. After the narrow entrance, the cave slopes down into a vast auditorium-like chamber that leads into many “galleries” carved out by ancient stonecutters. At the back of the cave is a tiny spring known as “Zedekiah’s Tears” in keeping with the tragic story of the blinded king who shed upon losing his kingdom and seeing his sons executed by the Babylonians.

Zedekiah’s Cave

Zedekiah’s Cave

Today, the cave is a major venue for concerts and cultural performances throughout the year. The concert area inside the cave provides a unique experience for both artists and audiences with its exceptional acoustics.

Zedekiah’s Cave

For more information on our destinations, click on the following: Israel | Jordan | Turkey | Greece

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Jewish Quarter in the Old City of Jerusalem https://omegatours.com.sg/jewish-quarter-in-the-old-city-of-jerusalem/ Tue, 18 Jan 2022 02:48:23 +0000 https://omegatours.com.sg/?p=6695 What to see in Israel | Jewish Quarter in the Old City of Jerusalem

 

The Cardo Maximus

The Cardo Maximus or simply the Cardo was Jerusalem’s main street during the Roman and Byzantine times. It was the north-south thoroughfare running from the Damascus Gate through the middle of the city to the Zion Gate. It was the commercial avenue of Jerusalem for almost 500 years.

Cardo Maximus
Photo Credit: Carole Raddato Wikimedia Commons

In the 2nd century, the Roman Emperor Hadrian rebuilt Jerusalem as a Roman polis called Aelia Capitolina and added the Cardo in the north of the city. In the 6th century, the Byzantine Emperor Justinian I extended the Cardo further south to the area of today’s Jewish Quarter, thus linking the two main churches of Byzantine Jerusalem, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the Nea Church. In the 12th century, the Crusaders built a bazaar along part of the road.

Jewish Quarter
Jewish Quarter

Excavations in the Jewish Quarter have revealed a portion of the Cardo exactly as depicted in the famous 6th century Madaba Map, the oldest surviving detailed cartographic depiction of Jerusalem. The Byzantine map portrays the Jerusalem’s Cardo as a colonnaded Roman-style road. The Cardo was an exceptionally wide boulevard with a central lane, open to the sky, for the passage of carriages and animals. The original roadway was flanked on both sides with colonnaded, covered walkways that fronted on market stalls.

The Cardo Maximus

Madaba Map
Madaba Map

The exposed southern section of the road, 4m below the present-day street level, reveals the Byzantine Cardo level. Archaeologists have uncovered beautiful limestone columns, intricately carved Corinthian-styled capitals and large flagstones that paved the street. Part of the Cardo has been restored to show how the stalls and shops would have been in the ancient times. The shopping section of the Cardo is beneath a beautifully vaulted ceiling and modern stores are housed in the ancient Crusader shops that line the Cardo. Today, visitors can stroll through the Cardo just like the residents of Jerusalem used to in the 6th century.

The Cardo Maximus

The Cardo Maximus

For more information on our destinations, click on the following: Israel | Jordan | Turkey | Greece

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A Bowl of Delicious Hummus and Warm Pita for Dipping https://omegatours.com.sg/a-bowl-of-delicious-hummus-and-warm-pita-for-dipping/ Tue, 04 Jan 2022 02:03:38 +0000 https://omegatours.com.sg/?p=6170 What to eat in Israel | A Bowl of Delicious Hummus and Warm Pita for Dipping

Israelis, Palestinians, Egyptian Arabs, Greek and other Middle Eastern and Mediterranean countries all claim hummus as “their own dish”. No one really knows for sure the origin of hummus.

Hummus is a creamy dip typically made with a blend of chickpeas and tahini, a paste made of ground sesame seeds, and then olive oil, salt, lemon juice and garlic are all added on top. Chickpeas were known to be cultivated in the Mediterranean. They were one of the earliest crops and people in the Middle East have eaten chickpeas since ancient times.

Hummus

Different culture has their own twist on the hummus recipe and their own way to indulge in hummus. In Israel, fresh hummus is smooth and fluffy, made with a lot of tahini. Israel locals “wipe” hummus with fresh pita. Hummus in Israel is not an appetizer; it is usually a meal on its own.

Hummus

Tourists to Israel know that no visit is complete without eating plenty of hummus. Hummus is eaten almost daily – you will find it in most of the Israeli sandwiches and pitas. The important part of hummus is using good quality ingredients and making it from scratch, resulting in a wholesome hummus that is rich in protein, iron, vitamin C, vitamin B6, fibre and potassium. It is a delicious dip that is enjoyed by all cultures.

Hummus

While we wait to travel to Israel soon to enjoy the good, fresh hummus, we can treat ourselves to a hearty hummus meal at Pita Bakery, Israeli cuisine at Miznon Singapore or “hummus in the pan” at Dewgather Café. Perhaps you can try to make homemade hummus on your own. For those who have it convenient and quick, you can find ready-made hummus in our supermarkets. Bon Appetite!

For more information on our destinations, click on the following: Israel | Jordan | Turkey | Greece

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Largest Holyland Model in the World https://omegatours.com.sg/largest-holyland-model-in-the-world/ Tue, 14 Dec 2021 02:17:37 +0000 https://omegatours.com.sg/?p=5723 What to see in Israel | Largest Holyland Model in the World

The Holyland Model is probably the largest model in the world depicting Jerusalem in the year 66 AD when the city was at the height of its glory, shortly before its destruction by the Romans in 70 AD.

Also known as the Model of Jerusalem in the Second Temple period, it was built between 1962 and 1966 by Professor Michael Avi Yonah, a leading scholar in ancient Jerusalem. At the time of the model’s construction, Jerusalem was divided by a border, drawn following the 1948 war. Most of the city’s historical and holy sites, located in and around the Old City, were under Jordanian rule, and Israelis had no access to them. Since there was no access to the sites, the design had to rely on earlier excavations, ancient texts, writings of Flavius Josephus, historical sources, and the Bible.

The model, measuring 2,000 square metres and in a 1:50 scale, was commissioned by Hans Kroch, the owner of Holyland Hotel, in memory of his son Jacob who fell in the War of Independence. The Holyland Model became a popular attraction for both Israelis and international tourists alike. The model features several notable and important structures such as Herodian Temple, Antonia Fortress, Royal Stoa, Southern Wall and Eastern Gate.

When the time came to move the model elsewhere, the Israel Museum was deemed the most appropriate site. In 2006, it was sawn into 100 parts and later resembled in the Museum campus. The relocation of the model from the hotel to Israel Museum has greatly enhanced its status as both a national exhibit and a scientifically accurate representation of ancient Jerusalem.

For more information on our destinations, click on the following: Israel | Jordan | Turkey | Greece

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Jerusalem’s Oldest and Largest Outdoor Market https://omegatours.com.sg/jerusalem-oldest-and-largest-outdoor-market-mahane-yehuda/ Tue, 30 Nov 2021 08:36:17 +0000 https://omegatours.com.sg/?p=5030 What to see in Israel | Mahane Yehuda Market

 

Jerusalem’s Oldest and Largest Outdoor Market

If you are a market person, a visit to Mahane Yehuda is a must. The lively atmosphere is filled with the scent of fresh falafel and the sound of more than 250 haggling merchants, selling everything from aromatic spices to souvenirs. You can do all your shopping here whether it’s for Israeli cheese, halva, pastries, fresh and dried fruits, and gifts. Just about anything you can think of.

Mahene Yehuda Market

Mahene Yehuda Market

It is especially nice to come to the market just before a Jewish holiday such as Passover or Rosh Hashanah. The hustle and bustle of this vibrant marketplace is electrifying. You can feel the holiday is in the air. It is a wonderful way to spend an afternoon moving from food stall to food stall, noshing your way through the market.

The market dates to the Ottoman period. An empty lot, it was developed by local peasants who brought produce to sell in this central location. Slowly the open grounds were turned into an organized market. The peasants took it upon themselves to build their own shops and storage facilities. Over the years, the market expanded and continued to develop. Today, it is a bustling marketplace and a neighbourhood that intertwines food, drinks, music, and shopping. It has also become a yuppie hub with designer boutiques and top chef restaurants. Mahane Yehuda simply represents the heart of Jerusalem, integrating the old and new.

No matter when you visit, the market is crowded. Be prepared for extremely heavy crowds on Fridays when Jerusalem residents are stocking up for the Sabbath. The market is open from Sunday morning through Friday afternoon. It’s free to explore. Come and lose yourself to all the colours, scents, and sounds of the Mahane Yehuda Market.

 

For more information on our destinations, click on the following: Israel | Jordan | Turkey | Greece

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Best 3 Biblical Gardens in Israel https://omegatours.com.sg/best-3-biblical-gardens-in-israel/ Thu, 10 Dec 2020 03:18:32 +0000 http://46.137.234.236/?p=4477 What to see in Israel | Best 3 Biblical Gardens in Israel

Have you ever wondered what bible gardens are and what took place in them? Gardens of the Bible were places of loveliness, sanctuary and sustenance. It is referred to as a place of shelter, recognised as a place of provision of food and seen as a place for quiet retreat. It is also a setting to meet with friends.

Israel has some of the best landscaped gardens with a biblical theme. These gardens feature cultivated collections of plants that are mentioned in the Bible. Some of these biblical gardens also display objects to illustrate biblical stories or to demonstrate how people lived in biblical times.

Tree at Neot Kedumim in Israel

Jesus’s crown of thorns possibly made from this thorny tree which can be seen at Neot Kedumim.

 

1. Neot Kedumim

Take a journey to the world’s only biblical landscape nature – Neot Kedumim, spread across 625 acres of restored land. The reserve is a remarkable place for the family and especially people wanting to get a glimpse into the landscape of ancient Israel, as reflected in the Bible.

Neot Kedumim in Israel

To create the biblical park, thousands of tons of soil were trucked in, reservoirs were built to catch runoff rainwater, ancient terraces, wine presses and ritual baths were restored, and hundreds of varieties of trees and plants were cultivated. You can find the seven species – olives, wheat, barley, figs, pomegranates, dates and grapes. You can see plants and trees, water and agricultural fittings such as cisterns, oil presses, wine presses and threshing floors as they were thousands of years ago. This amazing biblical reserve won an Israel Prize in 1994 as a model of restoration ecology. The park also offers additional activities such as tree planting and sheep herding.

Sheep Herding at Neot Kedumim in Israel

Sheep Herding at Neot Kedumim.

 

 

2. Nazareth Biblical Village

Go back in time to the first century to witness first-hand daily life at the Nazareth Biblical Village in the Galilean city where Jesus once lived and walked. This open-air museum provides a 3D experience focused on showing examples Jesus used in His teaching. The Village is the ideal place for anyone looking for a one-of-a-kind experience where the crossroads of first century and present meet. It makes a biblical first century come alive for visitors.

Synagogue at Nazareth Biblical Village in Israel

Synagogue at Nazareth Biblical Village.

 

You meet costumed staff and pose next to them. All this deepens your experience and captures it as a photographic memory. You see villagers praying in the period synagogue, milking goats and practising their trades. You visit a reconstructed first century tomb, a watch tower, an olive press, a carpenter shop and a weaver’s room. In spring, you smell the blooming wildflowers. Donkeys and chickens roam about the grounds. In summer, you see grapes being pressed for wine and in the fall, you see the olive harvest.

Joseph at Nazareth Biblical Village in Israel

Joseph is busy with his carpentry work at Nazareth Biblical Village.

 

 

3. Yad Hashmona Biblical Garden

Yad Hashmona Biblical Garden gives visitors a glimpse into the spiritual, physical and agricultural world of the Jewish people in the land of the Bible. The lovely biblical garden includes an ancient wine press, an olive press, a burial cave, a ritual bath, an agricultural tower, a Galilean-type synagogue and a Bedouin tent. You find a variety of biblical plants and trees as well as reconstructed facilities from biblical times.

Olive Press at Yad Hashmona Biblical Garden in Israel

Olive Press at Yad Hashmona Biblical Garden.

 

The skilled guides of the garden take you through a journey of biblical stories such Ruth and Boaz, spiritual symbolism and the parables of the New Testament. Not to be missed – the biblical meal with Jesus Passover experience, a sumptuous culinary trip to the past. The meal comprises greens, lentils, meat pottage, stuff chicken, dried fruit and Haroset served with grape juice and tabun baked pita.

Passover Meal Experience at Yad Hashmona Biblical Garden in Israel

Biblical meal with Passover experience.

 

The site is also home to the Yad Hashmona Country Hotel, surrounded by stunning views of the evergreen Judean Hills and the Mediterranean coastal plain. It is a great place for spiritual rejuvenation during your stay at the hotel. In addition, you can visit the nearby biblical city of Kiriath Jearim known for the house of Abinadab that guarded the Ark of the Covenant from the time of Samuel until the time of David.

View from Yad Hashmona Biblical Garden in Israel

View from Yad Hashmona Biblical Garden.

 

Our Lord Jesus says in Song of Songs 8:13 (NLT), “O my darling, lingering in the gardens, your companions are fortunate to hear your voice. Let me hear it, too!”

 

For more information on our destinations, click on the following: Israel | Jordan | Turkey | Greece

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