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Contact: Hannah Schwartz
JNF National Missions & Tours Coordinator
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JNF June Mission to Israel, Led by Lay Leaders, Tracks Pioneering History

March 13, 2007-- New York, NY -- “In the Footsteps of Israel’s Pioneers: the Jewish National Fund Experience” offers first timers and seasoned travelers to Israel a unique perspective on the country’s pioneering spirit through an eight-day mission led by two volunteer couples.

Scheduled for June 23 to July 1, 2007, the JNF mission itinerary was planned by Larry and Deena Silver of Oldsmar, FL, and Dr. Abe and Betsy Marcadis of Tampa, FL, who will lead the group.

The mission is open to anyone in the U.S. and will leave on El Al Airlines from Kennedy Airport in New York.

“Whether this is your first trip to Israel or you are a frequent visitor, we believe you will see things and gain new experiences that the average visitor never will,” said Uri Smajovits, JNF regional director in northern Florida. “Much of the itinerary includes sites only open to visitors through JNF, as well as visits to places dear to the Silvers and Marcadises that few American know of and, of course, sites that are important to the Jewish people.”

With over 100 years of experience as caretaker of the land of Israel, no one knows Israel better than JNF. JNF missions, arranged through the Travel and Tours Department, allow participants to see a side of Israel that other trips don't, going above and beyond the classic tourist experience and giving a firsthand look at JNF’s critical work to help Israel in its continued growth and survival.

“On this trip, you will walk in the footsteps of Israel's pioneers - from Abraham to the modern-day pioneers who are settling the Negev,” said Betsy Marcadis, vice president of JNF’s Tampa Bay Region. “You will have lunch with Israeli fighter pilots on an air base and taste wine at one of Israel's finest vineyards. You will spend time on a kibbutz and visit the place Russian settlers called home when they began farming the land in the early 1900s. And you will tour Masada and walk Jerusalem's Old City.”

“Along the way,” added Larry Silver, co-president of JNF’s Tampa Bay Region, “we will have the opportunity to talk to Israelis, to learn a little more about how they live their lives and to see their land through their eyes.”


  • Tour the K’han Museum, an old Ottoman farmstead that served as temporary living quarters for Hadera’s first settlers in the late 1800s.
  • Visit Atlit Illegal Immigration Camp and see the restored Galina, an original ship that carried 122,00 illegal immigrants to Israel in defiance of the British blockade.
  • Learn about the origins of the Israeli army and the War of Independence at the Palmach Museum.
  • Meet the modern-day pioneers who are making their home in new communities in the Negev -- fulfilling David Ben Gurion's dream of bringing life to the desert -- and witness how JNF’s Blueprint Negev campaign is dramatically changing the face of the region.
  • See how the JNF security roads on the northern border make a real difference in the lives of the people who use them for safe travel.
  • Observe birds flying over the Hula Valley on their migratory path between Europe and Africa.
  • Meet with prominent Israeli leaders and politicians for insight into the cultural, social, and political events shaping Israel.

The deadline for registration is April 9, 2007. To register online, view the full trip itinerary, and learn about other travel opportunities with JNF, visit

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Jewish National Fund is a non-profit organization founded in 1901 to serve as caretaker of the land of Israel, on behalf of its owners—Jewish people everywhere. Over the past century, JNF has planted over 240 million trees, built over 180 reservoirs and dams, developed over 250,000 acres of land, created more than 1,000 parks, provided the infrastructure for 1,000 communities and educated students around the world about Israel and the environment. Today, JNF is restoring northern Israel, making it home again to its residents, and is putting its century of experience to work with Blueprint Negev, supporting Israel’s newest generation of pioneers in developing the Negev Desert, Israel’s last frontier. For more information on JNF or to plant trees in Israel, call 800-542-TREE (8733) or visit To contact your local office, please call 888-JNF-0099 or visit


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