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JEWISH Zikhron Ya'akov

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For those unfamiliar with the term, Aliyah, is the symbolic event of Jews returning to live in Israel, which is considered to be their ancestral homeland. The very first Aliyah settlements still hold a substantial place in the memory of modern Israelis today. One of these initial settlements is Zikron Yaakov, located on the slopes of Mount Carmel, between Haifa and Caesarea. This settlement would become Israel’s premier and most successful winery, a title it still holds to this day. In addition, Zikhron Yaakov played a large part in the success of Zionism. Mountains of Zikhron Yaakov Mountains of Zikhron Yaakov The History of Zikhron Yaakov Unlike a great deal of other Israeli cities, the town of Zikhron Yaakov does not have a substantial ancient history. The town itself is part of the newer age of Israeli history, with roots beginning prior to the establishment of the State in 1948. The story goes that in 1882 around one hundred Romanian Jews made their way from Eastern Europe and founded a settlement on Mount Carmel. The settlement was not entirely a success at first when the population suffered a terrible malaria outbreak. Many settlers either succumbed to illness or migrated to another area of the country.  vineyards of Zikhron Yaakov Vineyards of Zikhron Yaakov The man responsible for putting the settlement back on the map was a French Jew by the name of Baron Edmond James de Rothschild. He was a prominent philanthropist and wine maker back in France. When he laid eyes on the slopes of the settlement he knew that they would be ideal for raising grapes. He re-established the settlement as the town of Zikhron Yaakov, named in memory of his father Isaac, and began the Carmel Winery. At first the winery was a blunder when the grapes succumbed to a parasite that wiped out nearly all the vines, however, Baron was not discouraged. He imported seedling varietals from America that were more resistant to parasite infection and voila, success! The vineyards and winery are still hailed as being some of the best wine on the Israeli market.      Beit Aaronsohn-Nili Museum in Zikhron Yaakov Beit Aaronsohn-Nili Museum in Zikhron Yaakov Other than its established wine history, Zikhron Yaakov played a substantial role in the victory of the British conquest during the early 20th century. The British government supported the Jewish Yishuv movement gaining allies amongst Jews living in Eretz Yisrael. One of the best places to learn about this history is the Beit Aaronsohn-Nili Museum. Nili is an acronym for Netzach Israel Lo Yishaker, roughly translated as “the Jewish nation will live forever.” The Nili organization was in itself a network of spies that collected intelligence for the British forces. This espionage ring was led by Aaron Aaronsohn and several other members from Zikhron Yaakov. Aaronsohn himself was an agronomist by trade but all members of the Nili movement were dedicated to the success of the British and the promise of a Jewish homeland.  The Aaronsohn Family after leaving Istanbul The Aaronsohn Family after leaving Istanbul The First Aliyah Museum in Zikhron Yaakov Another site that commemorates the early days of Zionism and the brave men and women who worked tirelessly to realize that dream is The First Aliyah Museum. The building itself is a national heritage treasure built in 1894 by Baron Rothschild as the administrative center of Zikhron Yaakov. The building was later the site of the historic “First Convention” in 1903. This was when the issues of Zionism were unpacked by Jewish leaders such as Menachem Ussishkin and of course Baron Rothschild. Later on the building was used as a base of operations, hospital, and mosque. In the late 21st century, it was finally converted into a museum to preserve the many phases of its life. First Aliyah Museum in Zikhron Yaakov First Aliyah Museum in Zikhron Yaakov The Amphorae Winery in Zikhron Yaakov Of course, a visit to Zikhron Yaakov would not be complete without a winery tour. Other than the famed Carmel Winery, Amphorae Winery is also known for its distinct blends and unique approach to raising grapes. The winery itself is very young, having only been established in 2000 but since then it has revolutionized the industry. The winery focuses heavily on environmentally responsible practices. There is limited intervention in its fermentation practices while relying mostly on solar energy for its electricity consumption.  Four Women Drinking Wine at Amphorae Winery in Zikhron Yaakov Amphorae Winery in Zikhron Yaakov Innovative practices are common within the history of Zikhron Yaakov. Aaron Aaronsohn, in addition to being the ringleader of the Nili movement, also discovered a wild grain called “mother wheat”. This wild grain is considered to be amongst the first grain strands in the Levant, an ancient source of food. Aarsonnsohn’s discovery of the grain paralleled the entirety of the Zionist movement in the sense of Eretz Yisrael being the homeland of the Jewish people. In fact, the whole Aaronsohn clan played huge roles in the success of the Zionist movement. Sarah Aaronsohn ran the legions of Nili spies when her brother was indisposed. Their parents were also two of the one hundred community members of the original settlement.     Pedestrian Street in Zikhron Yaakov Pedestrian Street in Zikhron Yaakov Zikhron Yaakov is the ultimate symbol for Israeli innovation and Zionist history. From the soil on which its wineries thrive, to the irreplaceable contributions of its early community members, this town is a modern day miracle. It reminds Israel and the world what is possible when good men with unrelenting spirits have a dream to realize.     

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SITES TO SEE

Sites

Ramat HaNadiv

At the southern end of Mount Carmel, between Zikhron Ya’akov and Binyamina, lies Ramat Hanadiv – Gardens and Nature Park – over an area of about 450 hectares, dedicated to the memory of Baron Edmond de Rothschild. At the heart of the Memorial Gardens buried the Baron and his wife. The contrast between the meticulous Gardens and the Mediterranean Nature Park around them, is one of the wonderers of Ramat Handiv. Far beyond its value as a geographical site, Ramat Hanadiv plays a leading role in the management of natural and cultural resources based on sustainable interactions between man, nature and the environment, and encourages understanding and appreciation of this ideal. To fulfil this mission, we invest great effort in innovative management, scientific research, environmental education, and inherent link between humanity and the environment, particularly as it concerns communities. The Memorial Gardens invite the guests into a place of rare tranquility. Visitors may stroll the pathways among the exquisitely landscaped gardens and breathe their fragrance throughout the year. A gracious combination of European formality and Mediterranean-style vegetation, the Gardens reflect the Baron de Rothschild’s legacy of dignity and modesty. Along the paths visitors can view the Nature Park and its characteristic Mediterranean scenery. You are invited to enjoy the rich range of activities that take place in Ramat Hanadiv: to find out the story of “The known Benefactor”‘, to stroll among the flowers in the Memorial Gardens; or to take a walk out to the Nature Park, where the past reflected in the archeological sites, the present shown in the flora and fauna, and the future realize according to the vision of Ramat Hanadiv Ramat Hanadiv is a living memorial to Baron Edmond de Rothschild, operating for the benefit of the Israeli public as a whole and for generations to come.Ramat Hanadiv plays a leading role in the management of natural and cultural resources based on sustainable interactions between man, nature and the environment, and encourages understanding and appreciation of this ideal. Yitzar Hirschfeld has carried out archaeological digs in Ramat Hanadiv over a period of 14 years. The excavations at Horvat ‘Aqav and Horvat Eleq, has unearthed remains from three periods: a small Phoenician shrine, a Herodian estate manor and a Byzantine period villa. It has been hypothesized that there was a spread of malarial mosquitoes in Ramat Hanadiv during the late Byzantine period.

Sites

Beit Aaronsohn – Nili Museum

Nili is an acronym standing for "Netzach Israel Lo Yishaker." The underground Nili network was established in 1915 and operated in Eretz Israel during WWI. Its objectives were: to assist the British effort to conquer Eretz Israel by gathering information; to support the Jewish Yishuv in Eretz Israel in a time of famine and disease; to draw world attention to what was happening in Eretz Israel; and to fulfill the dream of establishing a Jewish State in Eretz Israel. Nili was founded and led by agronomist Aaron Aaronsohn from Zikhron Ya'akov, joined by his sister Sarah and brother Alexander, as well as Avshalom Feinberg from Hadera, brothers Na'aman and Eitan Belkind from Rishon LeZion, Yosef Lishansky from Metula and dozens of others. The organization operated from Athlit, where Aaron's Agricultural Experiment Station was located. British forces sailed regularly between Egypt and Athlit – the British warship Managam frequently came ashore at Athlit to collect the information gathered by Nili members. Information was also passed on via homing pigeon. In the spring of 1917 rumors about the espionage organization circulated around the Yishuv. A number of events led to the exposure of the organization in September 1917: a British coin was found in the market in Ramleh, a homing pigeon failed to complete its mission and landed in the governor's yard in Caesarea and Na'aman Belkind was arrested by Turkish authorities. Following these events, the Turks began a campaign of threats and terror against the Jewish Yishuv in order to apprehend Nili members. Many were in fact caught and tortured. Sarah Aaronsohn committed suicide after undergoing severe torture. Na'aman Belkind and Yosef Lishansky were executed in Damascus. The bravery and heroism of the men and women of Nili helped the British enter Eretz Israel and end the Ottoman rule.

Sites

The First Aliyah Museum

Our museum is located in what was known as the “Administrative Building” built in 1894 by the Baron's delegates and considered to be the largest and most magnificent in the Land of Israel at the time. It served as a managerial center for all the colonies in the area. The building had originally two tall stories, with a balcony overlooking the street. On the second floor was a magnificent hall, paved with white and black marble. In 1903 the momentous national conference called the "First Convention" was organised here. This was the first time in the history of the renewed Yishuv in Eretz Yisrael that all of its advocates gathered to discuss the issues of Zionism. Menachem Ussishkin, a representative of Russian Zionism, came to Palestine to organize the convention just as the Sixth Zionist Congress was arranged in Basel, Switzerland, known as the "Uganda Congress". At the end of that week, Elul 5663, school and kindergarten teachers stayed behind to establish the Hebrew Teachers' Union of the Land of Israel. These gatherings were the first in which women were granted the right to vote. During WWI, the Ottoman authorities turned the building into a military hospital and mosque. When they left the country, the building returned to use as a form of congressional building and later as the Zichron Yaakov elementary school. Between then and its conversion to a museum it was a community center and the local municipality offices. In 1988, the building was declared a "national heritage site" and its renovation took place in the years 1990-1999. About 25 colonies can be identified according to common consensus as having been founded in the first years of aliyah. Some of them became large cities in Israel (Rishon Lezion, Petah Tikva, Rehovot, Hadera). Some have remained small rural towns to this day (Mazkeret Batya, Rosh Pina, Zichron Yaakov, Bat Shlomo) and some failed and have since been abandoned (Mahanayim, Ein Ganim, and the colonies in the Horan, the area not included in the State of Israel). The land on which the colonies were built was partially bought with the money of the immigrants themselves, but the most considerable finances were provided by Baron Rothschild.

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TOURS OF Zikhron Ya'akov

Tours

Caesarea, Zichron, and Haifa Tour

This is a one-day private tour to Zichron Yaakov, Caesarea and Haifa. With a personal guide you will tour the highlights of these sights, representing ancient, modern and multicultural Israel. Tour the ruins in Caesarea and visit the famous amphiteater. Then, journey to Zichron Yaakov, one of Israel’s first settlements and learn about the Jewish pioneers whilst enjoying the quaint atmosphere. Visit the Carmel winery during your Zichron Yaakov private tour before journeying north to Haifa. Here you will enjoy panoramic views over the city where Jews, Muslim, Christian and Bahai peacefully coexist. For a final stop on your private tour, stop at the Druze village Dalit-el-Carmel, it’s a real feast for the senses. Your personal guide will be able to tailor the day to your preferences. This is your private tour so customize it and enjoy it! During the tour we will stop at the following sites: Bahai Gardens in Haifa, Beit NILI, Caesarea National Park, Daliat-el-Carmel, German Colony in Haifa, Zichron Yaakov Wineries, and Muhraka Monastery in Haifa The private tour starts by driving along the coast road to Caesarea. Made famous by Herod, he built a Roman City in honor of Caesar Augustus. On your private tour you will explore the ancient ruins with your personal guide, explaining the history surrounding the aqueducts, homes, stores, hippodrome, Herod’s palace, temples, warehouses and the ancient port. View the crusader fortress, the Ottoman mosque and the Roman amphitheater, which still functions today. You will continue your private tour to Zichron Yaakov, at the southern end of the Carmel Mountain range. Founded in 1882, by Baron Rothschild, it’s one of Israel’s earliest settlements. There are cottages with inner courtyards designed with a European influence. The main thoroughfare of Zichron Yaakov is a cobbled street with quaint cafes and boutique shops. Your Zichron Yaakov private tour will take you to Beit Nili, a base for a spy ring during World War I. Next, a visit to the Ohel Yaakov Synagogue, dating back to 1886. Finally, stop for wine tasting at The Carmel Winery, established in 1885 as Israel’s first winery. This is your Zichron Yaakov custom tour, so you decide the order and the pace. Heading north to Haifa, enjoy the immaculate Baha'i Gardens and take in the panoramic view across Haifa bay. On your private tour, visit the German Templar settlement, then head up to the Muhraka Monastery which sits on the highest point of the Carmel Mountain range. It is believed that the Prophet Elijah took refuge here during the Crusader era. Enjoy some wonderful views of the valley below.On the return journey, stop at the Druze village, Dalit-el-carmel. This is a feast for the senses with a vibrant marketplace packed with delicious food and fresh aromas. Have your personal guide explain the traditional Druze dress and religious beliefs.

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World Jewish Travel Official July 13, 2022

Zikhron Yaakov, Israel: Where the Roots of Zionism Run Deep

For those unfamiliar with the term, Aliyah, is the symbolic event of Jews returning to live in Israel, which is considered to be their ancestral homeland. The very first Aliyah settlements still hold a substantial place in the memory of modern Israelis today. One of these initial settlements is Zikron Yaakov, located on the slopes of Mount Carmel, between Haifa and Caesarea. This settlement would become Israel’s premier and most successful winery, a title it still holds to this day. In addition, Zikhron Yaakov played a large part in the success of Zionism. [caption id="attachment_37801" align="alignnone" width="1200"] Mountains of Zikhron Yaakov[/caption] The History of Zikhron Yaakov Unlike a great deal of other Israeli cities, the town of Zikhron Yaakov does not have a substantial ancient history. The town itself is part of the newer age of Israeli history, with roots beginning prior to the establishment of the State in 1948. The story goes that in 1882 around one hundred Romanian Jews made their way from Eastern Europe and founded a settlement on Mount Carmel. The settlement was not entirely a success at first when the population suffered a terrible malaria outbreak. Many settlers either succumbed to illness or migrated to another area of the country.  [caption id="attachment_37797" align="alignnone" width="1200"] Vineyards of Zikhron Yaakov[/caption] The man responsible for putting the settlement back on the map was a French Jew by the name of Baron Edmond James de Rothschild. He was a prominent philanthropist and wine maker back in France. When he laid eyes on the slopes of the settlement he knew that they would be ideal for raising grapes. He re-established the settlement as the town of Zikhron Yaakov, named in memory of his father Isaac, and began the Carmel Winery. At first the winery was a blunder when the grapes succumbed to a parasite that wiped out nearly all the vines, however, Baron was not discouraged. He imported seedling varietals from America that were more resistant to parasite infection and voila, success! The vineyards and winery are still hailed as being some of the best wine on the Israeli market.      [caption id="attachment_37799" align="alignnone" width="800"] Beit Aaronsohn-Nili Museum in Zikhron Yaakov[/caption] Other than its established wine history, Zikhron Yaakov played a substantial role in the victory of the British conquest during the early 20th century. The British government supported the Jewish Yishuv movement gaining allies amongst Jews living in Eretz Yisrael. One of the best places to learn about this history is the Beit Aaronsohn-Nili Museum. Nili is an acronym for Netzach Israel Lo Yishaker, roughly translated as “the Jewish nation will live forever.” The Nili organization was in itself a network of spies that collected intelligence for the British forces. This espionage ring was led by Aaron Aaronsohn and several other members from Zikhron Yaakov. Aaronsohn himself was an agronomist by trade but all members of the Nili movement were dedicated to the success of the British and the promise of a Jewish homeland.  [caption id="attachment_37794" align="alignnone" width="640"] The Aaronsohn Family after leaving Istanbul[/caption] The First Aliyah Museum in Zikhron Yaakov Another site that commemorates the early days of Zionism and the brave men and women who worked tirelessly to realize that dream is The First Aliyah Museum. The building itself is a national heritage treasure built in 1894 by Baron Rothschild as the administrative center of Zikhron Yaakov. The building was later the site of the historic “First Convention” in 1903. This was when the issues of Zionism were unpacked by Jewish leaders such as Menachem Ussishkin and of course Baron Rothschild. Later on the building was used as a base of operations, hospital, and mosque. In the late 21st century, it was finally converted into a museum to preserve the many phases of its life. [caption id="attachment_37795" align="alignnone" width="1575"] First Aliyah Museum in Zikhron Yaakov[/caption] The Amphorae Winery in Zikhron Yaakov Of course, a visit to Zikhron Yaakov would not be complete without a winery tour. Other than the famed Carmel Winery, Amphorae Winery is also known for its distinct blends and unique approach to raising grapes. The winery itself is very young, having only been established in 2000 but since then it has revolutionized the industry. The winery focuses heavily on environmentally responsible practices. There is limited intervention in its fermentation practices while relying mostly on solar energy for its electricity consumption.  [caption id="attachment_37793" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Amphorae Winery in Zikhron Yaakov[/caption] Innovative practices are common within the history of Zikhron Yaakov. Aaron Aaronsohn, in addition to being the ringleader of the Nili movement, also discovered a wild grain called “mother wheat”. This wild grain is considered to be amongst the first grain strands in the Levant, an ancient source of food. Aarsonnsohn’s discovery of the grain paralleled the entirety of the Zionist movement in the sense of Eretz Yisrael being the homeland of the Jewish people. In fact, the whole Aaronsohn clan played huge roles in the success of the Zionist movement. Sarah Aaronsohn ran the legions of Nili spies when her brother was indisposed. Their parents were also two of the one hundred community members of the original settlement.     [caption id="attachment_37798" align="alignnone" width="1200"] Pedestrian Street in Zikhron Yaakov[/caption] Zikhron Yaakov is the ultimate symbol for Israeli innovation and Zionist history. From the soil on which its wineries thrive, to the irreplaceable contributions of its early community members, this town is a modern day miracle. It reminds Israel and the world what is possible when good men with unrelenting spirits have a dream to realize.     

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HOTELS IN Zikhron Ya'akov

Hotels

Elma Arts Complex Luxury Hotel

Elma is a hotel and arts complex that uniquely combines luxurious hotel accommodation with the best in international music, plastic and performing arts. Spanning more than 100 acres, Elma stands on the edge of the Carmel ridge, overlooking a spectacular view of the Mediterranean coastline and a green patchwork of fields and wooded slopes. The historic building is considered one of Israel’s architectural highlights, and won its designer, Yaacov Rechter, the Israel Prize in Architecture. After years of use following its inauguration in 1968, the magnificent building was gradually abandoned, to a point where it was scheduled for demolishing. It was at that point that Lily Elstein, a scion of the founders of Zichron Ya’acov, came to its rescue. Like her pioneer ancestors, who founded the village a hundred and forty years ago, Ms Elstein decided to undertake a pioneering mission of her own: to breathe life in the abandoned building and transform it into a hotel and arts complex. Ms. Elstein acquired the place in 2005, and founded Elma. After more than ten years of strenuous preservation and restoration work, the Elma Arts Complex and Luxury Hotel opened its gates to reveal its old-new beauty to the world. This magnificent complex boasts 95 well appointed hotel rooms, a fine restaurant, a spa and an enchanting pool overlooking the Carmel mountain and the coastline; but it is also home to a comprehensive world of art, populated by creations from some of the most prominent Israeli artists. There is much to discover at Elma: the expansive galleries, where pictures are illuminated by natural but never direct sunlight; the fascinating sculptures standing in open-air patios or in the beautiful and spacious gardens; the amphitheater (one of four) with a view to the sea and setting sun; and the highlight, two concert halls equipped with the latest in design, acoustics and technology that host local and international top performers and composers. All these make Elma a rare gem of hospitality and art.

Hotels

Zamarin

The charm of Zichron Yaacov comes to life in the "Zamarin Hotel", a unique guest hotel located at the entrance of the picturesque pedestrian zone of the colony. The hotel is located in a classic Templar building and its excellent location, at the beginning of the famous pedestrian street of the settlement, will detach you from 'the routine' and immediately put you in a magical and peaceful atmosphere. Hotel Zamarin is a boutique, intimate hotel that provides a perfect experience spiced with the magic of Zichron Yaacov. The colorful pedestrian zone with cafes, restaurants, art shops and of course the fascinating history of the beginning of the settlement in The land of Israel and Zichron (or its ancient name "Zamarin" in particular. The hotel has 11 guest rooms and suites decorated in a romantic and unique way, king-size beds, quality bedding and attention to the smallest details, in order to give its occupants, the peace and quiet at the highest level. While staying at the hotel you can enjoy the pampering spa, the picturesque promenade within walking distance, the nature that surrounds it, and an experience of enjoyment and being looked after. Our breakfasts are served from Sundays to Fridays at Tishbi Restaurant, which is located about 200 meters from the hotel. On Fridays we arrange hotel guests' arrival time to avoid waiting. These days you can also eat at The Tishbi Winery in Binyamina, which is a short drive from the hotel In the evening the experience continues and the feeling of being abroad comes to life when sitting under the inviting vine shelter Sitting in the evening continues the experience of the quarter and the feeling of being abroad when you sit under the inviting vine arbor. In the winery complex you can also indulge in a wine tasting and tour. As well as enjoying the best pastries, bread and jams baked on site On Saturday's breakfast is served at the hotel individually to each customer and tailored to your requests. You can get a gluten-free meal, but it is advisable to indicate any special request, starting with different types of milk and more. In the lobby you can find a wine bar offering a collection of wines from local boutique wineries, you can sit and enjoy tastings or have a glass of wine and sit outside on the magical patio located in the heart of the hotel with intimate seating areas and rare strawberry tree planted by Baron Rothschild.

Hotels

Yama Wine Spa and Suites

Pleased to meet you. We are Amit and Ariella Ronat, your hosts at Yama - Suites and Wine Spa, and though we have not yet met, there are some things we wish to tell you. 😊 We launched our project in 2009, initially as the first wine spa in Israel (read the full story here…) and from the start it was the ultimate family business. The complex was designed by Ariella’s parents, Eunice and Peter, renowned Jerusalem architects; the full range of treatment options was chosen and implemented by Amit, a qualified physiotherapist; while the management details, large and small, and the ceramic vessels are Ariella’s responsibility. What we wished to create for our guests is the experience that we personally seek out when on vacation... relaxation, indulgence, to cast off the tedium of day to day routine, and on the other hand, to immerse yourselves in the pure ambience of the place. That is the reason why we, as owners, have paid attention to the smallest details. We have personally checked how pleasant it is to pad barefoot on the deck, which herbs to pick from the garden to infuse our tea, the exact angle at which to hang the hammock to catch the cooling breeze and the panoramic heart-expanding view. Each detail, from the bedlinen to the strength of the Jacuzzi current, from the softness of the sofa to the cup of coffee, is an expression of our pleasure that you are our guests. When you stay with us you are part of our extended family, and it is important that you enjoy your break. Attentive to your every request and query, we are happy to advise and direct you to restaurants, attractions, beaches, vineyards and all the other surprises our region offers.

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