Message to Parents 

Dear Parents,

We hope you are keeping well in these challenging times.

In December we shared with you and the community that we (UJIA Israel Experience in partnership with Habonim Dror) are planning Israel experiences for summer 2021, for those currently in both year 11 and year 12. As promised then, we are now sharing more information on our progress.

Since December, as you will know, the COVID-19 situation has changed and continues to change on an almost daily basis. We have seen the arrival of the new variants, the rollout of vaccines in Israel and in the UK, a new lockdown, schools closing, exams cancelled, the introduction of mandatory pre-flight testing and much more.

As it stands right now there is still uncertainty around the viability of Israel experiences in summer 2021 taking place. This uncertainty includes such issues as border restrictions, insurance for cancellation and curtailment, the availability of flights, the date of and arrangements for examination results day, and crucially COVID-19 protocols on the ground that will ensure the safety of all participants and leaders.

We are still hopeful that summer 2021 will be able to go ahead so another generation of young British Jews can enjoy these amazing programmes in Israel. But, like the rest of the global travel industry, we must be cautious and plan carefully in order to have the confidence that we can ensure the safety of our participants and leaders before opening our programmes for applications. We hope that we will have more clarity in March, and at that time we will report back to you with an update on whether we can open registration.

Please rest assured that UJIA Israel Experience and Habonim Dror are working tirelessly on this. We are also closely monitoring both the UK and Israeli government advice and regulations.

We will keep you updated and if you have any questions or queries at all, please do not hesitate to contact Habonim Dror (harrison@habodror.org.uk). There is an FAQ page on the Habonim Dror website and at www.ujia.org/summer2021.

Best wishes,

Talia Glantz                                                                            Harrison Engler

UJIA Israel Experience Manager                                            Mazkir, Habonim Dror

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Are Israel experiences happening this summer?

At the moment, there is a lot of uncertainty around all travel programmes due to the pandemic. UJIA Israel Experience and Habonim Dror are working hard to overcome these challenges in order to launch and run Israel programmes this summer, but we cannot guarantee anything at this time.

  • Both the UK and Israeli borders are closed, and the Government is advising against travel. How do you expect Israel experiences to happen? When do you expect to know if Israel experiences will or will not happen?

We are monitoring both the UK and Israel border situation closely and are being regularly updated by senior officials in both countries. If it becomes apparent that it is not safe or possible for Israel experiences to take place, then we will let families know immediately. There is no one single date by which we can promise to have made a decision about Israel experiences as the situation is changing constantly. We understand that this is difficult for families and especially young people who are excited to go on Israel experiences, however the nature of the pandemic is that things change fast and, therefore, there is only limited certainty we can offer at this time.

  • How will signing up for Israel experiences work this year?

You will be able to apply for Israel experiences when the programmes are officially launched. You will sign up in the usual way – via a youth movement or youth organisation through the online registration system. We will update you in April about what we hope will be a registration date. If applications are able to open, the deadlines given must be strictly adhered to and there will be no allowances for late applications or payments. We thank parents in advance for their cooperation with this, which will be necessary given the unusual circumstances of this year.

  • Will there be a mass effort to ensure all children going on Israel experiences have been vaccinated?

According to current government guidelines and public health announcements, it doesn’t look likely that chanichimot (participants) aged 16 and 17 will be vaccinated before the summer. We are keeping updated with the latest guidance and will update you accordingly if the situation changes.

  • Will all young people be tested before they go on Israel experiences?

Currently, all children are tested at both the UK and Israeli borders: if a test comes back positive, you cannot fly. Again, it is difficult to know now what the rules and regulations will be in the summer; however, all necessary precautions will be taken. 

  • Will there be insurance?

We are working hard to find insurance for Israel experiences and will not run the programmes if they are not insurable. More information will be shared when we have it.

  • Will both year 11 and year 12 children be in the same group?

Habonim Dror is currently planning separate trips for year 11s and year 12s – for year 11s, a roughly three-week Israel Tour as in previous years, and for year 12s, a new roughly 10-day Israel experience at the end of the summer. Any substantial changes to these arrangements will be clearly communicated to families.

  • What will the year 12 experience be like?

We want to offer an experience for year 12s that both captures something of the magic of “Tour” and recognises that chanichimot (participants) will be a year older and at a different stage in their school, life, and Habonim Dror journeys.. In addition, we have worked hard to make it possible for year 12s to experience both an Israel trip and leading on camp this summer, should they wish. Year 12s will, as far as possible, have the option of either leading on camp, going to Israel with Habonim Dror, or doing both.

  • Will I have to complete the whole sign-up process for my child in year 12 if I did it last year when they were in year 11?

We are working on this and hope that the online application system will be able to transfer many of the details from last year to a new application this year. There may, however, be certain steps of the application process that we ask you to complete again. This may include requiring  a GP to sign off the medical form, and applying for bursaries. Additionally, if any of the details from last year have changed (e.g. if you have moved house, or renewed your passport), you will need to update them.

  • What happens if travel to Israel is restricted or not possible this summer? Will there be alternatives?

We are working as hard as possible to make Israel experiences possible. At the same time we are working on contingency plans and programmes in the event that travel to Israel is restricted in the summer (e.g. UK-based residential camps). Be assured, Habonim Dror is committed to offering programming that is innovative, exciting and meaningful for our youth this summer and will provide updates as the situation develops.

Click here to fill in an interest form

 

Tour Overview

Habonim Dror is Socialist, Zionist and a culturally Jewish Youth movement that has been educating about, and supporting the building of the State of Israel for over 90 years. As a socialist movement, we emphasise the values of equality and inclusivity on Tour. This value is established through the formation of kvutzot (groups) throughout the trip which act as a home away from home. Habonim Dror also believes strongly in the establishment and continuity of Israel and seeks to help our participants find their own Zionist identity throughout Tour. 

On Tour you will travel the entire country, participating in amazing activities such as kayaking down the Jordan River, swimming in the Kinneret, sleeping in a Bedouin tent experience, and floating in the Dead Sea! You will delve deep into your Jewish heritage with a trip to the Kotel, a morning climb up Masada to see the sun rise and a visit to Yad Vashem. Don’t think we’ve forgotten Tel Aviv Beach, the markets or the water hikes either! Additionally, Tour with Habonim Dror has several unique elements. You will have the chance to meet up with Habonim Dror groups from across the world, volunteer in Israeli society, spend a weekend with just your kvutza on a kibbutz and take part in a leadership weekend.

Habonim Dror Israel Tour is run under the auspices of UJIA Israel Experience and is organised through them. Each tour group will be led by two senior madrichimot (leaders), who have undergone a specific training process and bring a wealth of experience within the movement. They will be accompanied by two Israeli madrichimot who provide a deeper understanding about Israeli culture.

Israel Tour is just the beginning of an exciting journey with Habonim Dror. Meet people from all around the country and create lifelong memories. The Journey to becoming a motivating and inspiring leader starts here…

Who is the tour for, and when?

Israel tour is for 15 and 16-year olds (English school year 11, Scottish S4). This years provisional tour dates are 11th July – 2rd August 2021 (subject to change).

Tour details

  • Cost:

    • Early Bird Price: TBC
    • Full Price: TBC
  • Includes:

    • Return travel to and from airport where appropriate. More information will be given nearer the time
    • Flights;
    • Basic travel, medical and baggage insurance;
    • All meals;
    • Private transportation;
    • Tours, hikes and entrance fees;
    • Tour guides;
    • Madrichim (leaders)
    • Accommodation;
    • Security.

Participant reviews

“My Israel tour with Habonim was an unforgettable experience. Tour allowed me to create life long friendships with people from different cities, as well as enabling me to develop my knowledge on the history of Israel and the Jewish people, through touring historic and scenic sights. Habonim showed me the importance of community building and how to be selfless but more significantly made me grow as an individual by realising what is important in life and to not take things for granted. My madrichim were amazing and very inspiring and so I wish to carry on with Habonim and become a leader.” Lily C, Liverpool 

 

“I started in Habo Dror 4 years ago for one reason – to meet the people I would be going on Israel tour with in 4 years time. Best decision I made. Those 3 and a half weeks were the most surreal, breathtaking, enjoyable, and educational weeks of my life so far. There’s too many words to describe the experience. I learnt about the history and past of the holy land, learnt about my Jewish identity more, and understood what it meant to be Jewish. I’ve made so many new friends, created so many memories that will never ever be forgotten and inside jokes that’ll forever make me laugh.” Rachel M, Glasgow 

 

“Going on tour with Habo is a decision I’ll never regret. Having been attending their summer camps for 4 previous years, I really expected the best experience in Israel – and that’s exactly what I got. The madrichim were absolutely wonderful, as were the chanichim, and I made many friends for life along the way. My Kvutzah formed an unbreakable bond as we travelled the country, sharing snacks, kuppah, and life stories together in a comfortable and friendly environment. And as for the experiences, I can safely say that we saw everything Israel had to offer in the best way possible! If given the option, I would happily go again, and highly recommend the life-changing and eye opening experience to anybody thinking of going on tour.” Josh Y, London 

Reviews from parents

“Habonim provided a professional, well organised opportunity for our child to explore the land, customs, people and ways of life in Israel which will leave him with life long memories, experiences, friendships and a love for Israel. The leaders were responsible and caring, enabling the participants to feel at ease. There were plenty of pictures on Facebook and the UJIA website, and a regular and detailed blog of what the chanichim had been doing, which was emailed every few days – great for putting parents’ minds at rest”

“Our daughter came back oozing with confidence, thrilled to have new Jewish friends that will be there for life. Facebook photos were fantastic and an email each night a pleasure to read. Habonim Dror offered a professional, well organized tour.”

“A quote from my son, ‘I didn’t think I would enjoy it as much as I have. I have literally had the time of my life.’ As a parent, it doesn’t get much better than that!”

“My daughter has come back from Tour having had an amazing time, she made so many friends and just seems to have matured so much in her attitude to her Jewish identity and responsibilities to her peers. It is quite a change in such a short time. She is now looking into becoming a leader for the group. I just wanted to thank the organization so much for the opportunity afforded to her to be part of such a wonderful experience.” “Habonim provided a professional ,well organised opportunity for our child to explore the land, customs, people and ways of life in Israel which will leave him with life long memories, experiences, friendships and a love for Israel. The leaders were responsible and caring, enabling the participants to feel at ease. Communication was spot on. There were plenty of pictures on Facebook and the UJIA website, and a regular and detailed blog of what the chanichim had been doing, which was emailed every few days -great for putting parents’ minds at rest.” “Habonim Dror is an organisation committed not only to the Jewish Youth Movement within the UK Europe and Israel, but to act as a moral organisation in the teaching and passing on of a commitment to Zionism and self-respect from generaton to generation.”

More Information

Hidden
The ultimate group experience

Tour with Habonim Dror is a group experience like no other. Each kvutzah (group) runs their own kuppah (kitty) system, encouraging and enabling them to communicate together to make shared decisions and enhance group bonding and mutual respect. The ‘give what you can, take what you need’ policy helps to create an inclusive atmosphere whilst teaching about equality and social consciousness. The kvutzah acts as a family so each Chanichol can feel safe to explore Israel as an individual, and as part of the wider group. The Kvutzah and Kuppah create an inclusive environment characterised by mutual trust and respect. This encourages and enables open discussion, shared decision making and enhances group bonding.

“Kuppah really helped us to understand each other’s needs and the value of money.”

Social Action

Habonim Dror places a huge emphasis on affecting real change in Israeli society. As such, our programme includes working with underprivileged children or refugees alongside other projects which make an impact on society. Volunteering in Israel allows participants to really connect with the country and understand how, as Jews, we can do more to help society, especially in Israel. 

“Volunteering in Israel was amazing – spending time with the refugees was so much fun and I really felt like we were giving something back.”

 

Leadership

Habonim Dror Tour offers unique, comprehensive leadership training whilst in Israel. We bring in special educators to run a Hadracha (leadership) weekend which will start the preparation for becoming a leader. The participants will receive their chultzah (movement shirt) as a symbol of them graduating from chanichol to madrichol. This, along with continued training upon returning back to the UK, creates a group of newly qualified madrichimot (leaders) who can lead and take part in a huge range of activities in their respective communities at home. These include frequent activities for Years 4-10, Summer Machanot, Reunion Weekends and Day Schemes all over the UK. 

“We learnt so much about becoming good leaders, I can’t wait to lead summer camp next year!”

Educational Rationale

Habonim Dror utilises its rich history with Israel and deep connection to Judaism to inform its educational content on tour. It does so through an exploratory and informal approach. It is an experience that poses questions to every participant about their beliefs and provides them with a safe environment to find answers. It allows them to shape their identity on a moral and Jewish level through the educational rationale woven into the whole tour experience. The education we provide is not merely facts and figures, it is about discovering answers for yourself through an active and experiential approach. This ensures not only that the participants return home with a better knowledge of Israel and Judaism, but also with a deeper insight into who they are and want to be.

Fine Print

Cancellation

If you wish to cancel a place on the Programme you must contact us in writing. 

If you cancel a place prior to the deposit payment deadline (7 FEBRUARY 2020) you will be entitled to a refund less the Administration Fee (£175). 

If you cancel after the deposit deadline you will be entitled to a refund according to the following schedule: 

• 61 days or longer prior to departure date: 100% of monies paid less deposit and the Administration Fee; 

• From 31-60 days prior to departure date: 50% of monies paid less deposit and the Administration Fee;

• From 15-30 days prior to departure date: 20% of monies paid less deposit and the Administration Fee: 

• From 1-14 days prior to departure date- no monies refunded 

Payment and Deposit

A £350 deposit is required with the application form. The full balance to be paid by 27 APRIL 2020.

Financial Assistance

Financial assistance, in the form of bursaries and payments by instalment, is available through Habonim Dror and UJIA to provide support to applicants who cannot meet the full cost of the programme. Through bursary funding, Habonim Dror and UJIA aim to offer young people the opportunity to take part in Habonim Dror Israel Tour. If you are in a financial situation where you are unable to afford the full cost of the programme, please tick the appropriate box on the Initial Application Form and you will be sent a link to the Financial Assistance Form. Habonim Dror and the UJIA Bursary Fund will assist individuals to the best of its ability and limits of available funding based on a means-tested process. Habonim Dror and the UJIA Bursary Fund Committee guarantee complete confidentiality throughout the process.

Online Application www.habodror.org.uk

All applications for Israel Tour must be done online. On receipt of the online initial application form by Habonim Dror and minimum deposit of £350, you will receive an email which will contain: 

1. The applicant’s unique link to their full application 

2. GP form and letter 

3. Important Information and Terms and Conditions booklet 

4. Other information concerning your Israel Tour: All deposits (and initial applications) need to be received by FRIDAY 7 FEBRUARY 2020. All application and medical forms need to be completed by MONDAY 24 FEBRUARY 2020. Completed bursary applications must be received no later than FRIDAY 7 FEBRUARY 2020. 

Group Kitty (Kuppah) £150

Please do not send your child with spending money. Habonim Dror has a unique group kitty system (kuppah) as a means of realising our belief in equality. The kuppah system is run by the group, for the group with guidance from the madrichim (leaders). This encourages shared decisions, group bonding, mutual respect, trust and ultimately a more profound friendship. The money is spent on everything that isn’t covered by the programme. This includes, for example, all ‘merchandise’ that the participants design themselves, money to spend in markets etc., extra snacks and drinks, their movement shirts (chultzot), and replacing lost water bottles. Due to valuable feedback from previous years, we have decided to make a significant change to the way kuppah is administered. We require kuppah to be paid before Tour. The principle of ‘give what you can’ will remain intact. Financial circumstances will be taken into account by the bursary committee. 

UJIA Israel Experience is organised by the Jewish Agency for Israel and supported by UJIA. Bursaries provided by UJIA and Habonim Dror. Israel Tours are not ATOL protected. 

Obligations/responsibilities/requirements of your participants

• Medical and application form 

• To attend interviews 

• To attend orientation 

• To attend follow-up activity

Security

The safety, security and wellbeing of the participants is, and always has been, our primary concern. Habonim Dror Israel Tour is planned according to the security directives of the relevant security authorities in Israel, who check all the itineraries regularly and advise on any changes which need to be made.

Please note that at any time up until departure, you may incur the cost of an additional fuel surcharge and airport tax by the airline. UJIA Israel Experience will have to pass any increased charges on to the participants and their families, as per their Terms and Conditions.

Contact

For further questions about the programme please contact Harrison Engler, who is coordinating Tour, on 020 8209 2111. Alternatively please email harrison@habodror.org.uk. UJIA Israel Experience is organised by the Jewish Agency for Israel and the UJIA. Israel Tours are not ATOL protected.

Logos of UJIA, The Jewish Agency for Israel and Israel Experience