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Despite flight suspensions, Valley company goes ahead with Holy Land tour plans

PHOENIX — A Gilbert tour company says that despite the recent violence in Israel and the FAA’s suspension of U.S. flights to Tel Aviv, it’s going ahead with plans for its upcoming tour of the Holy Land.

Magnificat Tours said its pilgrimages to Israel with Father Carlos Gomez, of Phoenix, are a life-changing, spiritual experience. The tour visits Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Jericho, the Sea of Galilee and more.

Magnificat owner Gary Appleberry said the next tour from Phoenix is set for Nov. 4.

“We fly to Washington-Dulles Airport, then to Vienna, and then to Tel Aviv,” he said.

Thirteen people are signed up for the tour so far. Appleberry said that one has expressed concern because of the recent attacks but has not asked for a refund.

Appleberry’s Israeli contacts tell him that so far, except for Tel Aviv, the places where the tour goes are safe.

“Jerusalem and the holy sites aren’t seeing much of anything,” he said. “Everything seems to be more down towards the Gaza Strip.”

He said that if the tour is going to be called off, he’s required to cancel it by Oct. 4 and refund the $3,900 fee. So far, he’s not concerned, but the safety of those who are on the tour comes first.

“From my experience, and from what I’ve seen, most of these wars in Israel are short-lived,” said Appleberry. “If they have a ceasefire and it calms down, we’ll go. If it doesn’t, we won’t.”

More for more information on the tours of the Holy Land, click here.


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