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Gay-friendly tours of Israel?

Hartford...
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Gay-friendly tours of Israel?

I’m wondering if anyone can share some information/recommendations about gay-friendly group tours of Israel. Because I’m turning 50 in 2015, my partner (who’s 55) and I would like to go next summer (the only time we can travel, as we’re both teachers). While we’re members of a liberal church, we don’t want to go on a Christian tour out of concern that we and/or fellow travelers might feel uncomfortable. On the other hand, we’re not the “party” types and we like to be with a wide mix of people, so an all-gay tour is not for us either. We’d like to see the major sites and travel for somewhere between 1-2 weeks. We were thinking about some of the major tour companies (Trafalgar, Gate1, Cosmos, etc.), but don’t know too much about them. Any and all advice would be most appreciated.

israel
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for Tel Aviv, Galilee, Israel
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1. Re: Gay-friendly tours of Israel?

If you have traveled on your own in other countries and are willing to drive part of the tour you can do it on your own. We'll help with planning and advice. It is easy to tour here, most people know at least some English and are eager to help. It might be cheaper too.

Melbourne, Australia
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2. Re: Gay-friendly tours of Israel?

I am not sure what country you are from, but a company I am looking at tours with is Greek and Mediterranean travel centre (is Australian based).

They have a brochure just on Israel. Even if you are not Australian it may give you some ideas.

http://www.greecemedtravel.com.au/brochures/

Melbourne, Australia
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3. Re: Gay-friendly tours of Israel?

I am not sure what country you are from, but a company I am looking at tours with is Greek and Mediterranean travel centre (is Australian based). I

They are not promoted as been any particular religion ect so they would be friendly to anyone (race, religion, sexuality ect)

They have a brochure just on Israel. Even if you are not Australian it may give you some ideas if you go with the a self tour.

http://www.greecemedtravel.com.au/brochures/

Cincinnati, Ohio
Destination Expert
for Israel
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4. Re: Gay-friendly tours of Israel?

I don't know of any gay-friendly/focused tours. But I am gay, and Shoshi is right -- with some planning and gumption, you can very easily do this on your own. You sound a lot like me -- neither I nor my partner is a late-night/party guy (that pretty much rules out gay night life in Israel, which starts around midnight). You just want an experience where you can be comfortable and not subject to "salvation lectures."

Tel Aviv is the center of gay life in the country, but it is overall very accepting outside of some very religious areas, and even there unless people somehow know, it won't come up. Even Jerusalem has lots of cool, trendy restaurants and nightclubs now, though not much of an organized gay scene.

If it would be of help in planning your trip, I would be happy to send a copy of a free, noncommercial guide to Israel travel that I offer to anyone who asks. It is a 59-page .pdf file, and I recently updated it to reflect a trip I completed in November 2013. To get it, just write me at Labatt@fuse.net, and I will send it as a file attachment via return e-mail. And no strings -- I am not even in the travel business.

The guide is based on my own travel experiences and as said above, I am not in the travel business, so it does not purport to be all-encompassing or a substitute for a more thorough, comprehensive, and professional guidebook. For that, I recommend either Frommer's or Fodor's, and of course, the help of this forum.

My offer goes to anyone reading this, by the way, but you must send me an e-mail, NOT a message on Trip Advisor, as I cannot send file attachments through that medium and will not copy and paste e-mail addresses over to my e-mail program. I get a lot of requests for this guide and this is not my job, so I hope you understand I need it done that way.

I hope that you have a wonderful visit!

Douglas Duckett

P.S. Shoshi above is also a great friend. She came to the country in 1948, and is emblematic of the Israelis I have come to know -- very supportive, very live-and-let-live, and I can't wait to introduce her to my partner for the first time in May! (We've been together for more than 29 years, but this is his first return trip with me since 1999,)

Edited: 24 February 2014, 13:21
Tel Aviv, Israel
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for Israel
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5. Re: Gay-friendly tours of Israel?

Definitely consider doing a trip on your own. You can integrate days of independent exploration with other days on which you might want to tour with a private guide (especially in Jerusalem). If you work with a private guide for even a portion of your touring, he/she should be also be able to help you with itinerary planning for those days of your trip on which you'll be on your own.

Hartford...
3 posts
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6. Re: Gay-friendly tours of Israel?

Thanks to all of you for your sage advice. I'm not sure my partner would be comfortable with a self-guided trip (yet) but I'm going to try. We went to the NY Times Travel Show this weekend and got some additional information about places to visit. I'm so excited about finally going to Israel!

Thank you all so much. Labatt, I will definitely be taking you up on your offer for for your itinerary and will email next. I very much appreciate all the assistance from each of you.

Israel
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7. Re: Gay-friendly tours of Israel?

I think it's difficult to guarantee how other tourists on any particular tour may take to a gay couple. Of course, that is their problem, not yours, but you probably want to enjoy yourselves on vacation and not be a lightningrod for the political opinions of everyone on your tour group.

I concur with those who recommend touring independently. You can always hire a guide for a day here and there. Israel is wwll-suited for independent travellers. The roads are good and (usually) well-marked with English signs. Many attractions have English signs or brochures.

What places would you like to go? We can help with your planning.

Tel Aviv, Israel
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8. Re: Gay-friendly tours of Israel?

Although we are not usually interested in organized tours, about 30 years ago my partner and I did two: one in Japan and one in Burma (now Myanmar).

We traveled with a Canadian tour company which we somehow discovered. We joined the tours there, traveling independently to Tokyo

Nobody had any issues over the fact that we are a gay couple. In fact we discovered that one other man was also gay (traveling solo).

Now, in 2014, I think things could only have gotten better. So choose your tour company, choose the dates you like and come have fun.

The gay part won't be an issue.

Cincinnati, Ohio
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for Israel
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9. Re: Gay-friendly tours of Israel?

I think you're right overall, Jon-Dan, but in Israel you have the issue of tours with lots of strongly religious people who might not take well to gay couples. Now, I am strongly religious, but I am obviously not religiously conservative -- it's that bent that I am speaking of. That is why I think independently touring may be the better choice.

Israel is a different destination. My friend Louis (who is Jewish) had a lovely couple from the South ask him a million questions on our nonstop flight from Atlanta, all of which he answered very patiently, only to have the wife say to him fifteen minutes before landing, "I hope you'll take the chance over the next two weeks to think about Jesus." They didn't even know that Louis and I are gay (not a couple, but lifelong friends) -- that could have taken the conversation in an interesting turn. (For the record, Louis gave a very polite -- but firm -- response, and then said to me later, "I can't believe I flew 8,000 miles to my people's homeland only to get proselytized to by Christians moments before landing.) While I hardly walk around with an "I'm gay!" sign on, I also don't lie or hide (such as when people ask, "Are you married?" or "Where is your wife?" -- I won't negate Brett's existence). So, I have had a couple of times when well meaning Christians decide that this is a chance to "save" me.

Folks who aren't gay often don't get this -- it's not about advertising or "waving a flag"; it's about being honest to who you are and not climbing back into the closet for vacation. Two men traveling together will often get asked by well-meaning people, "are you brothers/friends/work together?" I answer questions honestly. And when I do, I don't want another ten days of cold shoulders from an evangelical group on a tour bus who think I'm a walking/talking sin. Ironically, outside of the ultra-Orthodox community, most Israelis are themselves quite accepting and won't care.

So, I get the OP's concern and wish him all the best in having a great visit to Israel.

CT
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10. Re: Gay-friendly tours of Israel?

Hiya! I found the tours, listed below, upon Google und have no references für either of them. However, if you are interested, feel free to peruse the websites für more information.

I agree, though, that independent travel, a combination of private guide(s) und independent travel, or hiring a private guide für your entire holiday (albeit expensive, if cost is important) may be the best options für all of the reasons discussed above. If you are still considering organized tours, though, below are the links.

Hope they help!

http://hetravel.com/gay-israel-tours/

http://www.pridetours.com/

Take care und have a wonderful hols while in Israel. Also, Happy 50th Birthday in (super) advance! Cheers!

Edited: 03 March 2014, 21:07