Getting excited for Hol Hamoed activities

As in past years, this Succot thousands of people will flock to the country’s many national parks in search of festive celebrations and nature tours to be enjoyed by the whole family.

Hot-air balloons begin their ascent at the International Hot Air Balloon festival in the Northern Negev. (photo credit: DAN BARCELO)
Hot-air balloons begin their ascent at the International Hot Air Balloon festival in the Northern Negev.
(photo credit: DAN BARCELO)
Getting to know the Ma’ayanot Valley
A guided tour will set out to uncover authentic stories about the Ma’ayanot Valley, with participants driving their own cars along the IDF jeep patrol road. The tour includes stops to view the Jordan River and the birds and fish that live in the region. Participants will hear the famous story of the “castle” at Kibbutz Tirat Zvi and enjoy splashing in the Templers’ water canals.
October 10, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
Location: Alonit gas station on Road 90 North, near Kibbutz Hamadiya
Price: NIS 25
Pre-registration required: 050-760-5623
A pilgrimage to Jerusalem’s Old City
Let guided tours of the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City take you back in time.
As Succot is one of the three pilgrimage festivals (along with Passover and Shavuot), this is an ideal time to explore the alleyways that lead to the Western Wall. The Company for the Reconstruction and Development of the Jewish Quarter in the Old City of Jerusalem conducts tours of the southern wall area and the dozens of mikvaot (ritual baths), which are more than 2,000 years old. The tour ends with a visit to the Herodian Quarter, a museum that takes you underground into the remains of ancient priests’ homes. Actors and jugglers will reenact the unique Succot festival of Simhat Beit Hashoeva.
Date: October 12-14, on the hour
Price: NIS 16 to nis30
Pre-registration required: (02) 626-5906
Hot-air balloons
Hol Hamoed Succot would not be complete without the International Hot Air Balloon Festival in the northern Negev. In its third year, 15 hot-air balloon pilots from around the world will participate in the two-day festival at Habesor National Park; it will include a fire show, aerial circus, playground, children’s activities and wading in the springs.
Dates: October 14-15
Habesor National Park
NIS 129 per person or NIS 399 per family.
Camping in park free with purchase of entrance ticket 08-6316756, *6226
Poika on the Yarkon
Tel Afek National Park is hosting a night tour that offers a complete sensory experience. The evening will begin with the explanation and preparation of a poika (hint: a big pot that cooks inside a bonfire), and the variety of meals you can make in it.
While the stew is bubbling away, participants will go on a night walk to learn about the stars sparkling above and the nocturnal animals scurrying about; the group will then visit the maze in the Egyptian governor’s house. Each participant will be responsible for bringing one ingredient for the stew.
Date: October 14
Tel Afek (within Yarkon National Park)
NIS 50 to nis 65
Pre-registration required:
Sweet as honey
The Levin Farm in Kfar Bilu is offering unique activities for the entire family. Visitors are invited to take part in an experiential tour of the beehives, watch a short film, meet with the beekeeper and make candles out of beeswax.
Date: October 12-14, 10 a.m. to 12 noon
Price: NIS 20-30.
Pre-registration required: 054-220-7965
Camping with rhythm
If you are a music and nature lover, then the camping festival sponsored by Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael-Jewish National Fund at Timna Park is for you. Far from the congestion of the city, spread out over the natural landscape, visitors can enjoy rhythm and movement workshops, Capoeira, bike-riding paths, performances for children, a rhythm party and a huge drum circle. At the end of the day there will be a series of performances, including Tararam, Carolina and a debut performance by Doron Rafaeli.
Date: October 13-15
Timna Park
Price: NIS 1,580 per four-person family for all three days
Pre-registration required:
(08) 631-6756
Art in Izuz
At a tiny village called Izuz, a resident named Suazik and her life partner, Gilboa, run The Train Car art gallery (inside an old train car).
Throughout Hol Hamoed, Suazik will be holding two-hour workshops using recycled materials; afterward, you can join one of Gilboa’s guided jeep tours in the Negev. The couple will also be selling regional products such as honey, soap and tea infusions.
Price: NIS 80 to nis120.
Pre-registration required: 052-803-9312.
Birdwatching in Eilat
Take part in the International Birdwatching and Research Center of Eilat’s exciting nature activities: Children and parents will be introduced to a variety of birds, learn about their migratory patterns, receive a guided tour of the park and make art projects from recycled materials.
Date: October 9-12, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Price: Activities are free
Nature cultural center
Music lovers know that no Hol Hamoed would be complete without attending the Dead Sea Tamar (Date) Festival. This year’s festival, the 15th, will take place in a number of locations, including on top of Masada.
Among the performers are Shlomo Artzi, Balkan Beat Box, Ehud Banai, Mosh Ben-Ari, Nurit Galron, Aviv Geffen, Beit Habubot and Hadag Nahash.
Date: October 11-15.
Location: Tamar Regional Council