Organized by OUTstanding Travel in Collaboration with Gays With Kids

Nadav Peretz, the founder of the Israeli gay travel company OUTstanding Travel met Brian Rosenberg, one of the founders of Gays With Kids, in New York City this past summer, to talk over some ideas. It didn’t take them long to come up with a great idea: a 10-day trip to Israel especially for gay dad families!

When Brian told Nadav he had not been to Israel since 1985, Nadav felt that he just had to arrange for Brian and one of his kids a visit to the Middle Eastern LGBT oasis that is Israel. This past November, Nadav hosted Brian Rosenberg and his 6-year-old daughter Sadie in Israel, to plan the gay dad family trip. Below you’ll find the exciting itinerary. Check here for more information about accommodations and rates.

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Nadav Peretz, founder of OUTstanding Travel

Itinerary for the Gay Dad Family Trip August 13 – August 22, 2017

Day 1: Sunday, August 13 – Jerusalem

Upon arrival at Ben Gurion Airport your family will be greeted by one of our travel reps, who will assist you with your baggage and escort you to the transfer that will take you to the hotel.

Meet the other gay dad families on our trip at a welcome reception and dinner in a private hall reserved for us.

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Sadie, Nadav and Brian in Old City, Jerusalem

 Day 2: Monday, August 14 – Old City Jerusalem

Following an authentic delicious Israeli breakfast, you’ll see history come to life during a walking tour of the beautiful Old City. Historical marvels and spiritual landmarks abound, including the Western Wall, the Tower of David and King David’s Tomb, the room of the Last Supper, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the Via Dolorosa, the Arab market and more. There will be time to wander through the charming Armenian, Jewish and Christian quarters.

You can choose to spend the afternoon getting refreshed back at the hotel pool, or you can visit the underground wonderland of the City of David.

We’ll enjoy a group dinner with a couple of local families back at our hotel.

Day 3: Tuesday, August 15 – New City Jerusalem

Wake the family early for a special pre-breakfast yoga session at the top of the Tower of David museum, which offers breath-taking views of the Old City.

After breakfast, we’ll board a tour bus to the world-renowned Israel Museum. On the way we’ll drive by the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, the Supreme Court and Mount Herzl, some of Jerusalem’s most iconic landmarks.

The Israel Museum has an awesome children’s wing and numerous other exhibits to keep the kids fully engaged. And, dads, you should definitely plan to check out the museum’s highlight: the Dead Sea Scrolls!

After our visit to the museum, we’ll head to the popular Mahane Yeldlua for lunch and shopping. The kids will have fun meandering through the narrow market streets while the dads will appreciate the vibrant and diverse people who contribute to the market’s hustle and bustle.

Before heading back to the hotel, we’ll stop at the exciting Time Elevator, a unique entertaining experience during which the kids learn about Jerusalem’s history.

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Brian and Sadie with Arnon Angel, Dan Goldberg and their kids at their famous Tmol Silshom Restaurant in Jerusalem

Day 4: Wednesday, August 16 – The Dead Sea: The Lowest Place on Earth

Grab your swim gear and hop on the bus as we venture to the lowest place on earth, the Dead Sea!

We begin with a family trek to the Ein Gedi falls where, if we are lucky, we can see some of the local ibex and hyrax hanging out on the cliffs surrounding us. Time and water depth permitting, take a plunge into the crystalline waters of the Ein Gedi fall!

Our next stop will be at the Dead Sea where we will enjoy some time in the water waving hello to our friends on shore as we float on the buoyant water – an experience like nothing else in the world! We will have lunch at the Lot hotel.

Sun-kissed and happy, we will head over to Kfar Hanokdim Camel Ranch to get close and friendly with some local camels! We will enjoy an authentic Bedouin Hafla in the large Bedouin tent, together with the entire family, before falling onto our sleeping bags (or beds) for some sweet desert dreams!

Overnight in Kfar Hanokdim Camel Ranch.

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Dead Sea

Day 5: Thursday, August 17 – From Ancient Warriors to Modern Heroes

Wake up to the beauty of the desert and let the kids run around the complex as you enjoy breakfast, enjoying the amazing desert views.

Time to get close and friendly with those camels! We will each mount our camel and head out for a ride on these noble “ships of the desert.”

We then will travel back in time to visit a secret bullet factory, the Ayalon Institute, located in Rechovot, just outside of Tel Aviv. Dug deep into the ground under a working laundromat, the factory was a key factor in supplying bullets for the fighters in pre-state Israel. Learn the secrets of the place as you visit this underground marvel while hearing about the people who made it all happen!

We will enjoy a light sandwich lunch on-site and then make our way back to Tel Aviv for our first overnight in the “White City.”

Day 6: Friday, August 18 – Tel Aviv

After breakfast we invite you to get caught up in the excitement at the Carmel Market with its traditional Friday shopping rush, and the adjacent Nahalat Binyamin Arts and Crafts Fair. We will take some time to explore the White City of Tel Aviv, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, while strolling along Rothschild Boulevard – a commercial center with major financial institutions, a cultural center with a theater and concert hall, and a culinary center with dozens of top restaurants, all at the same time. Our journey may even take us to visit the lovely Neve Tzedek, the first neighborhood of Tel Aviv, built in 1887, and, in 2017, home to some delicious ice cream!

Explore the historical sites of Old City Jaffa, one of the oldest port cities in the world; walk along the ancient cobbled streets along the Artists Quarter, and stop for a bite at one of the local hummus joints.

Afterwards head on down to enjoy the beach and the glistening Mediterranean waters or take a dip in the pool.

As the sun sets and the city slows down, we will enjoy a truly special Shabbat dinner with local gay families.

Overnight in Tel Aviv.

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Tel Aviv: Beach

Day 7: Saturday, August 19 – R&R Tel Aviv Style

If the kids let you sleep in, start your morning at leisure, with a bountiful breakfast and some time on the beach – splashing in the waves, building sandcastles or playing matkot, an Israeli paddle game.

We will set aside some time today to meet with local gay dad Israeli families to hear about their life in Israel and make new friends “across the seas.” In our age of Facebook and Whatsapp, this is an opportunity to forge bonds that can continue well beyond the trip!

Overnight in Tel Aviv.

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Brian and Sadie with members of the Association of Israeli Gay Fathers

Day 8: Sunday, August 20 – Day at the Water Park

Pack the bathing suits in our day packs and head out for a day of fun at one of Israel’s top water parks!

Overnight in Tel Aviv.

Day 9: Monday, August 21 – Adventure in the Carmel Region

After breakfast, we will leave Tel Aviv and travel north to visit the ancient city of Caesarea, built by Herod the Great and once the seat of Roman rule. View the excavated Roman theater and the aqueduct once used for conveying water to the city. We will visit the Hologram room and have the opportunity to ask questions and hear answers from important figures from Caesarea’s past.

We will then arrive in Haifa and climb Mt. Carmel for a panoramic view of Haifa Bay and the beautiful Bahai Gardens with the impressive shrine and gorgeous world-famous gardens.

We will then head to the German Colony and have a stroll through this old neighborhood built in the middle of the 19th century by the Templers, a Protestant sect from Germany.

After than we will stop at a Druze village for some classic local Druze hospitality and learn about this great Arabic-speaking ethnoreligious group that lives in Israel and serves in its army.

Overnight in Tel Aviv.

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Camel ride to the lowest point on Earth; Nadav, Brian and Sadie at the Dead Sea

Day 10: Tuesday, August 22 – Departure Day

Following breakfast, check out from the hotel and transfer to Ben Gurion International Airport for your flight back home, taking with you everlasting fond memories of your family trip to Israel.

Goodbye and Le’Hitraot (“Until next time!”)

Nadav Answers Some Frequently Asked Questions

Why is Israel a great place for families?

Nadav: “Israel is a small country, and that makes it ideal for family vacations: The short distances between locations make traveling with children very easy. Despite that small size, it offers a great variety of things to do: You can snorkel in the clear waters of the Red Sea in Eilat. You can float on the salty blue waters of the Dead Sea; ride a Jeep in the sand dunes of the Negev desert or through the hills of Judea. You can delve into the incomparably rich history of Jerusalem, a city holy to people of many faiths; or visit the spectacular museums, but I suggest that you make time to check out Jerusalem’s world-class shopping as well, and to discover its many cafés and restaurants. You can swim in the Mediterranean Sea while you’re in Tel Aviv; kayak in the Sea of Galilee near Tiberias or, if you prefer, just take it easy and relax on a beautiful beach instead: The weather in August is going to be beautiful. You may like it so much, you may want to come back next year!”

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Brian and his daughter Sadie near the Western Wall in November 2016

What makes Israel so special to the LGBT community?

Nadav: “First off, Israel on the whole is a very gay-friendly country. Tel Aviv in particular has a very large and visible gay community. Its annual Gay Pride Parade attracts more than 200,000 people! Gays are everywhere in this beautiful city on the sea. It also has a gay beach, Hilton Beach. The city is one of only a handful of cities in the world that has a monument dedicated to LGBT people persecuted by the Nazis during World War II.

“Israel is also progressive in the way it treats LGBT people. Gays and lesbians serve openly in the military; an increasing number of gay recruits do full military service, often in combat units. Unit 8200, an elite intelligence unit is known for its large number of openly LGBT soldiers. In 2013, the Israel Defense Forces even announced that a transgender woman would be allowed to serve in the army as a female soldier, something only very few countries allow. Basically, Israel is an amazing place for the LGBT community, both for those who call it home and for those who are here just for a visit.”

 What is so special about this trip in particular?

Nadav: “This trip is an opportunity to see Israel in the company of families like your own. This family trip to Israel is the first of its kind, with gay families from all over traveling together in Israel, a gay-friendly country like no other. So this isn’t just a trip to a gay locale like San Francisco or Toronto, or a trip for gay families in just any other vacation spot, but rather a true mixture of the two, giving you and your children an opportunity to travel this beautiful land with its rich history and to really see Israel from the perspective of those who call this place home.”

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Light Festival: Jaffa Gate

Will there be an opportunity to meet Israeli gay dad families?

Nadav: “Gay dads from all over Israel will be joining us on various parts of the tour. Whether it is on the tour in the Old City of Jerusalem or during beach time in Tel Aviv, you and your children will have the opportunity to spend time with them and make new friends on the way. These joint activities will allow you and your kids the opportunity to experience Israel from a local gay perspective.”