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JNF mission to mark 45th Jerusalem Day
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JNF mission to mark 45th Jerusalem Day

The Jewish National Fund is recruiting travelers for a May mission to Israel to mark the 45th anniversary of the unification of Jerusalem.

A highlight of the trip will be a celebration on Ammunition Hill, the site of a decisive battle for Jerusalem during the 1967 Six-Day War. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Shimon Peres, and Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkaat are expected to attend the ceremony, which is intended as a centerpiece of the seven-day visit.

Jerusalem Day — the 28th day of the Hebrew month of Iyar — in 2012 will be May 20.

“To the extent that it is possible, we will be following in the footsteps of the Six-Day War,” said Joel Leibowitz, JNF’s Northeast Zone director. “We will start in the Golan Heights, where we will visit battle sites, then go to Jerusalem” to see locations there that played a key role in the conflict.

Licensed tour guides, Six-Day War veterans, and Israeli scholars will shepherd the travelers during the seven days they spend visiting battle sites.

For those not familiar with Israel’s military history and those wishing a refresher course, JNF plans to send a packet of reference materials to people who enroll in the trip.

The JNF mission is seeking people from across the United States. Leibowitz said his organization is advertising “all over the country” in the hopes of recruiting 200 participants. Some 70 people ranging in age from 30 to 70, have already signed up, with three generations of at least one family already planning to attend, he said.

The trip runs from May 15 to 22. In addition to Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, the itinerary calls for tours of the Upper Galilee and of Gush Etzion, the West Bank settlement bloc captured by Israeli forces from Jordan during the 1967 war. A Shabbat observance will be held at the Kotel, the Western Wall in Jerusalem.

The price for the trip, airfare not included, is $3,199 per person for double occupancy, and an additional $1,230 for single accommodations.

“We think this trip applies to everybody,” said Leibowitz. “I think there are things there for a first-time visitor to Israel, but people who have been there multiple times are going to see things they have not seen before.”

Those wishing more information can contact Leibowitz at 973-593-0095 or jlkeibowitz@jnf.org.

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