Gush Etzion, Hevron and Kever Rachel
As a local of the Etzion Bloc area for over 20 years, Leah can show you the popular sites as well as the off-the-beaten path amazing places. And of course, she can fill you in about all the behind-the-scenes stories. Gush Etzion is located between the Tomb of the Matriarch Rachel in Bethlehem and Hebron - famous for the Tomb of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs: Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebecca, Jacob and Leah. The region is rich in Biblical history, inspiring modern stories, spectacular views of vineyards and rolling hills, and fun activities for all ages. *Guiding fees below do not include entrance fees, transportation or meals, if any. All fees are detailed in advance. There may be additional fees for groups larger than 10 adults or one family. Fee per additional with children under age 13 is 150 shekels per tour. Guiding fees are quoted in shekels (NIS). There is an additional fee of 100 shekels per tour for tours during high season (Such as Jewish Holiday Weeks and August). Please see our FAQ page for all terms and conditions. Tours include games, prizes and surprises for kids of all ages as well. Guiding fees include a 15 minute phone consultation, developing a customized itinerary and making any necessary reservations for the tour day, as well as guiding the tour.
Half Day Tour
A half day tour is a great way to learn about Gush Etzion on a guided tour, and then spend the other half of the day enjoying lunch and activities (such as Caliber 3, a mosaic making experience, or woodworking workshop) in the area. A driver with an air-conditioned van would be with you from start to finish including hotel pick up and drop off. The guide would meet you at your hotel and finish the tour before lunch and activities. A popular route is: Kever Rachel, the Lone Oak, Derech Avot, Pina Chama, and Oz V'Gaon.
Full Day Tour
A full day tour is the way to fully explore this amazing area. Driver and guide will meet you at your hotel in Jerusalem for a fascinating and inspiring day. A popular route is: Kever Rachel, Lone Oak and Derech Avot, zipline at Deer Land or visit to Tzomet, lunch in Gush Etzion, Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron.
See options detailed below. Tour will end in Gush Etzion and the driver will take you back to your hotel.
Every tour day, you'll want to be ready to go with the following:
comfortable walking shoes with good treads, a backpack, water, snacks just-in-case, sunhat, sunscreen, and sunglasses. Tissues and hand sanitizer can always be useful for under-stocked bathrooms. There's so much to learn in Israel! Some like to carry a journal or notepad. You'll want to make sure your phone is fully charged to take pictures of all the amazing sites. An extra battery pack to charge devices can help ensure you won't miss out on any moments you would like to capture. If you will be visiting holy sites, you will want modest clothes that cover shoulders and knees or a scarf put on over whatever you are wearing.
Gush Etzion Site Options:
Herodion: a boutique Masada with an amazing cave system to walk though as well. See synagogue and mikvah that Jews built when they fled from Jerusalem just before it was destroyed in 70. See also Herod’s burial place and caves where Bar Kochba’s men hid out while fighting the Romans from 132-135 CE.
Kever Rachel: visit the traditional tomb of the Matriarch Rachel. Modest clothes required.
Neve Daniel Lookout: a great view of from 1000 meters high. Only 2 flights of stairs to walk up.
The Biyar: climb through this ancient water system that brought water all the way to Yerushalayim 2,000 years ago! Bring water shoes with good treads that hold the foot, and flashlights. (You might prefer to bring old clothes because tunnel is somewhat muddy.) And additional tunnel is to be opened soon.
Pina Chama: cozy Corner for the Soldiers. This coffee shop which is free to all those who serve in uniform in the area, is completely run by volunteers and donations. Everyone who lives here is involved in some way with this project to serve slushies, coffee, popcorn, soup and homemade baked goods to show appreciation. Visitors can drop off some cookies (can buy nearby)as well.
Oz V’Gaon: this is a beautiful park with picnic tables, playground equipment (including a small zipline), and a synagogue, which was established in memory of the 3 boys who were kidnapped nearby in 2014.
Lunch in Gush Etzion: Many options. All are kosher and many are Mehadrin (Rabbanut Efrat/Gush Etzion).
Story of Gush Etzion: Visit Kibbutz Kfar Etzion and hear the story of the establishment of Jewish communities here in the 1920s, 30s and 40s, their destruction by the Jordanians in the War of Independence in 1948, and the re-establishment in 1967 following the 6 Day War. See remnants from Kibbutz Kfar Etzion in 1948, the Jordanians who conquered the area, and an ancient olive press as well. This is a one hour presentation that's recommended for ages 13 and up. For tours with children, we can tell the story of Gush Etzion either as a game tour at the Lone Oak Tree or a short walking game tour of the Kibbutz.
ATVs! Great way to really see Gush Etzion. Can also include swimming in a natural spring.
Derech Avot: the Path of the Patriarchs is an ancient road where Avraham, Yitzchak, Yaakov, their families and many others walked on their journeys in the Land of Israel. Today we can see an ancient mikvah and much more there.
Deer Land: If you like real adventure (and heights), try the Omega/Zip Line that is stretched between 2 mountains.
Caliber 3: The entire family can enjoy and learn about fighting terrorism at this special 2 hour seminar. Kids ages 5-18 will shoot real weapons with fake bullets. Ages 18 and up will have a chance to try 3 guns with live ammunition at the range.
Tzomet Institute for Halacha and Technology: Wonderful presentation for all ages about how technology can be used to better enable us to keep Jewish tradition. Great indoor activity.
Kiryat Arba: Tour the Ariel family winery in nearby Kiryat Arba. See their ancient winery and taste wine from the Land of Israel.
Hevron: Visit Ma'arat HaMachpela: the Burial Cave of the Matriarchs and Patriarchs. It's possible to also visit Jewish communities and sites in Hevron such as the Avraham Avinu Synagogue, Beit Hadassa, archaeology of ancient Hevron, the tomb of Ruth and Yishai, and more.
Fruits of the Land of Israel: Enjoy picking cherries, raspberries and blackberries in season (early summer).
Other fun activities: woodworking workshop, mosaic workshop, scribe workshop, and bread making are also great options.
Emek Ha'Elah: Visit nearby site of the battle between David and Goliath.