Some 200 people have already signed up and paid their deposits, with another 300 expressing interest, said Evy Lutin, who is co-chairing the mission with her husband, Marty Lutin. She expects that at least half of those who decide to go will be visiting Israel for the first time.
The 10-day trip, which is priced at $2,950, includes round-trip air fare between Los Angeles and Tel Aviv aboard a charter plane, five-star hotel accommodations in major cities, most meals, top Israeli tour guides and air-conditioned buses. A contribution to the Federation is required, but there is no minimum.
Highlights of the trip include:
* Meeting Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Tel Aviv Mayor Roni Milo and, possibly, poet Yehuda Amichai at his home in Jerusalem.
* Visiting Yad Vashem's Children's Memorial and Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin's Mount Herzl grave site in Jerusalem, and celebrating Shabbat at the Southern Wall.
* Celebrating Israel's 50th anniversary, in Tel Aviv, visiting the renovated ancient port city of Jaffa and, possibly, the Israeli stock market and fashion and jewelry centers.
Some will tour northern Israel, meeting with Golan Heights settlers, taking a security seminar at an army base, visiting Caesarea and Haifa, and staying overnight at kibbutz guest houses. Others will head south, where they'll meet recent Ethiopian Jewish immigrants at an absorption center in Beersheba, visit a Bedouin museum, and possibly meet Palestinians in Gaza.
In Jerusalem, options may include visiting the new Western Wall tunnel, the Jewish Quarters, Masada and the Dead Sea. A two-day extension to the trip will take visitors to the Jordanian cities of Petra, Jerash and Amman.
For more information on the Golden Anniversary Community Mission, call the Federation at (213) 852-7872. -- Ruth Stroud, Staff Writer
includes round-trip air fare between Los Angeles and Tel Aviv