(January 8, 2024) Dear Friends of the Shiloh Excavations,
The Shiloh Dig Staff of ABR continues to closely monitor the situation in Israel as we approach the 2024 excavation season at Shiloh. As of now, the season remains on schedule. We presently plan to make a final decision about the 2024 season on or before March 18, 2024. This allows for the possibility of a cease fire, a calmer political climate, and the (re)opening our Dig headquarters at the Ritz Hotel in Jerusalem. Many factors are in play, but we trust in God’s sovereignty.
New volunteers are welcome to register, but we ask that no payments be made until after March 18. We will post a note and email regarding deposits and payments going forward. All volunteers will be required to sign a liability waiver that addresses the current circumstances in Israel. We also recommend delaying the purchase of plane tickets until we make an official announcement.
We ask that you join us in prayer as we navigate the situation in Israel and discern the Lord’s will in this highly complex matter.
With thanks in Christ Jesus,
Henry B. Smith Jr., on behalf of the Shiloh Dig Staff
- HIGH IMPORTANCE! Passport
Immediately procure a passport from your country. If you already have one, the expiration date of the passport must extend SIX MONTHS BEYOND YOUR DEPARTURE DATE FROM ISRAEL. If you plan to stay for the post-dig tour or on your own, please be absolutely sure your passport postdates your last day in Israel by six months or YOU WILL NOT BE ADMITTED INTO THE COUNTRY!
No visa is required if you have a passport from an APPROVED country and are staying less than 90 days. If you have other plans or have a non-US passport, please visit the Israeli Embassy webiste.
Bring a clear photocopy of your passport in case you lose it. Or take a photo of it with your phone. This will help in procuring a new one.
2. Traveler's and Health Insurance
a. All travelers must purchase traveler's insurance in the event of a family emergency, illness, etc. ABR CANNOT GUARANTEE THE RECOVERY OF ANY MONIES PAID FOR THE TRIP! Be sure your insurance covers travel in the West Bank, which is where Shiloh is located.
b. All travelers MUST have Medical Insurance coverage for this trip. ABR cannot and will not be responsible in any way for any hospital or doctor visits or ambulance transport needed by travelers, whether the result of sickness or injury. To our knowledge, MEDICARE IS NOT ACCEPTED OUTSIDE THE US. All travelers must thoroughly document their medications, and provide family and doctor emergency contact information.
c. Medical Evacuation Insurance should be purchased as well, in case a traveler needs to be transported to US. Without insurance, this could cost more than $100,000.
IMG offers plans for all three needs: Traveler's, Health, and Evacuation Insurance. For more info: https://www.imglobal.com/
Safety is of primary importance on this excavation. Each year, the Israeli Antiquities Authority (or KAMAT) and the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) review the situation locally, and determine if it is safe for ABR to dig at the site. Our permit is not granted unless they are sure our site is safe. Shiloh is a national park and is enclosed, and is located along the main security road. The excavation is very safe.
The Excavation and Tour teams will be staying at the RITZ HOTEL, 8 Ibn Khaldoun Street, Jerusalem, Israel
The hotel is within walking distance of the Old City, allowing volunteers to easily visit prominent historical and Biblical sites during off-time and weekends. You will easily be able to visit sites such as: the Temple Mount, Western Wall, City of David, Church of the Holy Sepulchre and many more.
Individual Transportation from Ben Gurion Airport to Ritz Hotel / Jerusalem
To get from Ben Gurion airport to Ritz Hotel / Jerusalem, take a communal taxi known in Hebrew as a “sheroot” or “nesher.” Take the taxi/sheroot service stand to Jerusalem, which is on the curbside just outside the airport arrival hall. Tell the driver you want to be dropped off at: ❖Ritz Hotel / East Jerusalem Ibn Khaldoun St # 8. ❖Tel (02) 626-9900 The drivers are familiar with the location, but if you need a landmark, the hotel is directly behind the Albright Institute. Other passengers will ride in the same taxi/van with you. They run 24-7, except on Yom Kippur. Saturday service can be spotty at times.The cost is about $30.00 (100.00 Shekels) from the airport to the Hotel. For a private taxi the cost is around $80.00 (300.00 Shekels). Tipping is optional. If you tip, a few shekels is fine. Ritz Hotel–Tel. # 02-626-9900
5. Internet Access
Internet in the hotel is spotty at times. There is one public computer available for use. There is an ATM near the hotel. The rooms have safes.
a. Wash clothes by hand in bathtubs or sinks and then to hang out the clothes on the balcony (if the room has one). With this option, diggers should use detergent from Israel (US detergent does not work well with the Israeli water).
b. There is a laundry service right across the street from the hotel. A full load, washed and dried, is about $25. Diggers can drop off of their clothes after work and pick them up the next day after work.
7. Tax Deductibility
The monies paid toward the Shiloh excavation are not considered a donation to ABR. However, because you are providing volunteer work for ABR, all expenses related to that work may be deductible as expenses of volunteer work for a non-profit ministry. This does not include any touring. You can request a receipt from ABR in the January following the dig. These will no longer be sent automatically. Please consult a tax professional for advice.
8. Dig Supplies: Some supplies are difficult to purchase in Israel or buy in bulk to carry overseas. Please consider bringing one or both of the following as a donation to the Shiloh Dig:
b. Whisk Broom | Handheld Brush | Durable Poly Fiber & Nylon Bristle (off site link)
9. Please pray for the safety of the Dig team and the success of the Dig!
Contact Henry Smith, Adminstrative Director, with questions or for a price quote.
ABR office: 717-859-3443 / 800-430-0008
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