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TRUSTED TRAVEL EXPERT Israel
After graduating from Boston University, Joe moved to Israel and was drafted by the Israeli Defense Forces, where he served as a paratrooper. He then received a master’s degree in the Land of Israel Studies program at the University of Haifa—he’s currently working toward a PhD in the same field—and he and his family now live on a kibbutz in northern Israel. But he gained his travel chops by working as a guide, and, based on everything he learned about what sophisticated travelers to Israel really want, he founded Touring Israel. Joe takes great pleasure in helping travelers understand the country’s complicated politics and history by introducing them to locals from varied backgrounds, including Muslim and Jewish journalists, politicians, even an expert on the Tel Aviv fashion scene. He likes to keep his itineraries delightfully unconventional—under his care, you might camp in a Bedouin tent, bike through the Negev desert, or take part in the excavation of 5,000-year-old ruins—and he handpicks the most charismatic guides, who often have advanced degrees. His itineraries might cost more than others, but it’s because his guides are the savviest and most well-connected, so they command high fees (beware of unlicensed guides driving unlicensed, uninsured vehicles, which is not just illegal but unsafe). And when you book a guide or vehicle with Joe, you have them for the entire day–no nickel-and-diming for overtime or extra mileage. For travelers skittish about traveling in the region, Joe and his team are on hand 24/7 to field questions and make any necessary last-minute changes to travel plans. Joe was also included in Perrin’s People, Wendy’s award-winning list of top travel specialists, which was published annually in Condé Nast Traveler magazine from 2000 to 2013.