On New Web-Based Tour, Visit Israel Without Leaving Home


A video tour of some of Jerusalem’s historically and religiously significant sites will be live streamed over the Internet Wednesday morning and allow viewers to ask questions of the tour guide.

The three-hour event, believed to be the first of its kind, will be presented free of charge by the B’nai B’rith World Center in Jerusalem. It will hosted by a 20-year veteran Israeli tour guide, Gil Perez, and include stops at such major tourist sites as the Western Wall, a view of the Temple Mount, the ancient walls that surround the Old City of Jerusalem, and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, regarded as the site of both the crucifixion and the tomb of Jesus of Nazareth.

“We are always helping Jews and non-Jews who visit here,” said Alan Schneider, director of the B’nai B’rith World Center. “But we know that many people are not able to visit or have not yet visited, and we thought this would be a good way to expose them to the different sights and sounds of the city. It will be an unedited, live look at Jerusalem using high speed video streaming technology so that it can be done in an affordable way.”

He said the current plan is to use one cameraman/producer, Shmuel Benhamou. And viewers will be instructed in how to text questions about the sites being visited.

“The plan is to go to one site for 45-minutes, then take a 10 or 15-minute break while we travel to another site,” Schneider said. “We’ll take another break before we get to the third site, and so on. And as we go along, we may stop tourists to ask them about their experiences. We might go to the shook [market place] and stop at a shop and bargain for a chatzka [small item]. We also may stop for lunch in the Jewish quarter. It will not be a formal show. It is designed to give people a sense that you are here on a tour.”

Two other live streaming tours are also being planned for March 18 and March 25. They, like Wednesday’s tour, will begin at 10 a.m. and are also free. Those programs are still being developed.

“For those who have never visited, it might give them a flavor of the place and provide an impetus to come and make a trip to Israel,” Schneider said.

The live tour of Jerusalem was initially designed for the nearly 8,000 residents of the B’nai B’rith senior housing network, which consists of 42 apartment buildings in 27 communities, as well as B’nai B’rith members and affiliated institutions. But it has now been open to all, and plans are to record it and make it available on the B’nai B’rith website, www.bnaibrith.org.

To join the tour, visit: http://bnaibrith.livetourism.tv/live_events.php.