The group started the tour with a walking tour of Akko and then visited the Carmiel Children's Village, an UJIA project and played against Haifa BC.
MGB’s winning top team comprises Myra Schaffer, Laurence Ackerman and Terry Lichkin. The non-bowlers visited the artists’ village in Ein Hod.
The next day was spent in Jerusalem with a visit to the Knesset, lunch in the Rose Garden and then on to the memorial site at Ammunition Hill to see the new interactive museum. Ammunition Hill was a fortified Jordanian military post in the northern part of Jordanian-occupiedEast Jerusalem and the western slope of Mount Scopus. It was the site of one of the fiercest battles of the Six-Day War.
The group were then hosted by the Wingate Institute, Israel's National Centre for Excellence in Sport, and were shown around some laboratories and the Centre of Sports Excellence that prepares athletes for the Olympics and international events. They then played against Kiryat Ono BC. The MGB top team award went to Bernard Taub, Warren Ross and Laurence Pinkus. The non-bowlers visited the Beit Hatfutsot (Museum of the Jewish People formerly the Diaspora Museum) to see an exhibition of Operation Moses – 30 Years After (the Ethiopian exodus to Israel).
The travelling delegation were also addressed by Barry Shaw, Senior Associate for Public Diplomacy at the Israel Institute for Strategic Studies. He discussed the Balfour Declaration 1917 from Palestine to the State of Israel over 100 years.
A visit to the Bet Elazraki Children’s Home, an Emunah project, in Netanya followed where they were entertained by the children’s choir and participated in an impromptu five-a-side football match losing 2-1. This was followed by a bowls match against Netanya. The top team of the night was Barbara Swillman, Raymond Rayner and Cheryl Petar. The non-bowlers saw a show at Nalaga’at performed by actors with disabilities.
The Nalaga’at (“please touch” in Hebrew) a non-profit centre is a stage for arts and culture that promotes an equal dialogue and leads to social change, with the belief in the human spirit and its ability to touch and to make a difference.
Monday was the final day of the tour and the group went to the Jaffa Visitors’ Centre for a superb short walking tour through Jaffa’s history and animated film. That was followed by lunch in Sarona and then a step back in time to 14 May 1948 at Independence Hall where the group relived Ben Gurion’s Declaration of Independence as the State of Israel was born.
The team then travelled to Ra’anana BC for a gala bowls evening where the 30 GB bowlers mixed teams with the 42 Ra’anana bowlers and Julien Sampson was GB’s representative in the winning team.
The tour concluded on Tuesday and the group were addressed by Amir Peled, Chairman of the 19th and 20th Maccabiot 2013 and 2017, as well as Leo Dan Bensky, President of Maccabi World Union, who both congratulated the group for coming to support Israel’s bowls clubs and demonstrating solidarity with the State of Israel.
Special medals were presented to all 41 participants many of whom stayed on to enjoy a well-earned rest after such a hectic eight days. Awards were made the most successful men’s bowlers Ben Marshal and Warren Ross and to the most successful ladies Cheryl Petar and Barbara Swillman. Terry Lichkin was given an award for organising the GB team bowls teams throughout the tour and Stephen Levy for assisting in the preparations leading to the tour.
This was the seventh lawn bowls tour since 2011 and organiser Stuart Lustigman praised the group for making this "the most successful of all".
Lustigman said: "I worked with the Israel Experience over 10 months planning and organising, so many aspects of the programme and I was extremely proud to lead such an outstanding group of people.
"Even though lawn bowls is generally, but not exclusively, played by the more mature adult, the group were vibrant, energetic, good humoured with wonderful camaraderie."