Gilad Suffrin, who previously served as a police officer before training to become a tour guide, transitioned into working as a private independent guide in 2000 after completing a course with the Israel Ministry of Tourism. Soon after, he launched Israel Tour Guide, a company which specializes in a range of interest-based tours, built around the subjects of history- archaeology, nature, food, ethnic-religious and tours suitable for family. “When I receive a request for a tour, I will call the person to gather some further information on their expectations of the trip,” explains Suffrin. “Whether it’s for intellectual, spiritual or emotional purposes, this background enables me to design an itinerary adapted to their specific needs and desires, whether it’s religion, art, nature or another interest.”

Tour lengths are dependent on group interest and include examples such as, a one week Christian Heritage Tour, a 13 day Family and Bar Mitzvah Tour, and a 15 day General Tour, which includes overnights in Tel Aviv, Jaffa, Western Galilee, Upper and lower Galilee, Golan Heights, Jerusalem and the Dead Sea region. Itineraries also include sights that may not be known to tourists, including hidden places in the markets, tunnels, rooftops and courtyards.

“The idea is not to show Israel as just a collection of sights, but rather to reveal layers of the heritage story that’s important to many, from the past, present and future. It’s exciting and fascinating, yet complicated, and has to be unfolded gently and gradually in order for information to digest,” expresses Suffrin. “I’ve had the pleasure in guiding many fascinating tours over the years, from a nature hike experience to guiding a family from Alabama through biblical sights and going deep into a spiritual journey, reading relevant chapters and engaging in deep discussions.”

Tours are offered in both English and Hebrew and are suitable for small and large groups. “Israel is developing in so many ways, with an influx of new boutique hotels and an increased interest in the culinary industry,” says Suffrin. “There are more tourism attractions appearing all the time which build upon the current journey through cultures and religions. It’s an exciting time for the Israel, a country which develops at such a pace year upon year.”