Women in Travel: How Women in Israel Are Changing Communities

by | Feb 21, 2023

The hikers enjoying the sunrise over the Sea of Galilee from the Golan Heights Israel
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Last updated on March 27th, 2024

Featured image: Israel is a safe place for solo women to explore  | Photo of the Sea of Galilee, Israelby wirestockc on Envato

Making a Journey to Northern Israel Meaninful

By Deborah Lust Zaluda, Chief Growth Officer, Via Sabra

This is a sponsored post from one of the women’s tour companies in our Women’s Travel Directory.

People travel for many reasons. Women travelers, in particular, wish to pursue their passions and to make an impact while traveling.  The power is in the journey, when we can truly have an impact on the community. Each time I travel to Israel, I try to meet different women of the Galilee — women who have chosen to support their families by sharing their culture and their special stories with those they encounter. 

My favourite area in Israel is the Galilee. Reminiscent of Tuscany in its beauty and serenity, the Galilee is the best-kept secret of this small country (though the secret is getting around!), and a dream destination for travel enthusiasts everywhere. Famous for its vast green landscapes with rolling hills and valleys, the Galilee has many quaint small towns, historic sites, boutique vineyards and wineries that offer scenic tours.  This area represents all that is good about Israel — a diverse culture where people live and work side by side. 

Three inspiring changemakers in Israel

Basma Hino, owner of Noor Restaurant and Café

During one recent trip, I met Basma Hino, owner of Noor Restaurant and Café. Basma is a woman of enormous strength and will. Her emotional story begins in 2002 when her husband, Marcel, was injured on a mission during his reserve army service. Marcel went into a coma and died 13 years later. Being from the Druze community, tradition is that it is the husband’s family that controls everything. Basma would have none of that.

After giving birth to her son Nur, she returned to her parent’s home, and even took back her maiden name. Shunned by her community for going against tradition, Basma continued on, learning a trade and becoming a master baker, eventually opening her own restaurant. To this day, Basma fights for her personal freedom and leads the fight for the rights of Druze widows and orphans. And she has no intention of giving up: “I wanted to prove that although I am a widow, I have the strength to run a business, like any man”. 

Basma Hino, owner of Noor Restaurant and Café in Israel

Basma Hino, owner of Noor Restaurant and Café / Photo by Amos Bar Zeev

Karmit Arbel Rumbak, Women Who Wage Peace

Years ago, I met an amazing woman, Karmit Arbel Rumbak. Karmit was working with Green Horizons, an organization that offers educational outdoor activities for youth in Israel. The organization focuses on hiking to foster the development of interpersonal and leadership skills, social responsibility, while promoting Zionist values and connection to the Land of Israel. I recall thinking what a passionate woman Karmit was, promoting her values through all she did. After leaving that job, Karmit chose to become a tour guide so she could continue to share her passion for Israel.

Through her guiding, I was able to learn Karmit’s own personal story – which allows her to continue to build a country she constantly strives to make better. I learned of her incredible work with Women Who Wage Peace, through which she participated in a march to Jerusalem with Palestinian, Jewish, Christian, and Muslim women from across the country – in a call for peace. 

Her motto is: “To make the world a better place, I show inspiring ways of living, people, ideas and places!” And Karmit truly lives her values – she has a deep connection and familiarity with the environment, new trails, special local tastes, inspiring stories, and experiential human encounters.

Karmit Arbel Rumbak with Green Horizons Israel

Karmit Arbel Rumbak, Women Who Wage Peace/ Photo by Anatoli Michael

Sindyanna of Galilee

Sindyanna of Galilee is a female-led non-profit that actively promotes the concepts of “business for peace” and Fair Trade in Israel. The organization was established in 1996 by a group of Jewish and Arab women aiming to improve the literacy of Arab-Israeli mothers. 

With time, it moved to the olive oil business and today exports quality olive oil manufactured by Arab-Israeli women, channeling all of the profits back into Arab women education. Their work at the factory allows them to make a living, improve their status in society, learn Hebrew and new technological skills and meet with a wide array of Jewish and Arab women, all while empowering local olive growers.

Travel to Israel includes unique interactions with women of differing backgrounds and cultures will result in a journey that will create, or strengthen, your connection to this magical place in the most special way. 

How Can Olive Oil Create Hope? / Souce: Sindyanna of Galilee

Things to Think About When Visiting Israel:

1. When is the best time to travel to Israel? Any time! But the weather is particularly beautiful in the spring and fall.

2. How long should you plan to spend in Israel? 10 days is a perfect amount of time to travel the country, though even 7 days can be enough.

3. Is Israel safe to travel? First and foremost, Israel is typically considered very safe, especially for travelers (including solo female travelers). Female travelers in Israel usually find that the people they experience here are respectable to women, and very friendly. It is not typical to receive aggressive unwanted attention, for example. People here also tend to be very helpful (we’re a very communal country). If you get lost and ask for directions, just about anyone will help you find your way.

4. What is the dress code in Israel? VERY CASUAL! Women are typically free to wear whatever their typical clothing is without unwanted attention just about anywhere. The notable exception would be in holy places, where certain dress codes apply to both men and women.

5. What’s the best way to get to Israel? There are non-stop flights from many US cities as well as from just about every European country. There is one main airport, Ben Gurion, located just outside of Tel Aviv. From there you can get just about anywhere via train or taxi (train from Ben Gurion can also take you straight to the Galilee).

Dlz Isreal

Deb Zaluda / Photo credit Deb Zaluda

Deb Lust Zaluda the Chief Growth Officer at Via Sabra, an Israel-based tour operator that offers a number of trips each year catered to women who love to travel. She is a lifelong Chicagoan, growing up, marrying, and raising her own family there. Following a long and successful career as a lawyer, Deb turned her vocational efforts to two of her deepest passions: Israel and philanthropy. Her love for Israel led her to start her own Israel travel business back in 2010. Since then she has continued to work to bring more and more people to Israel to see Israel in new and innovative ways, and she now focuses much of her efforts on Israel travel that combines both philanthropy and experiential travel.  Learn more about Via Sabra in our Women’s Travel Directory.

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