On the eve of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year celebration, it’s nice to hear some good news about tourism to Israel. According to a report from Arie Sommer, Israel Tourism Commissioner, North and South America, more than a quarter of a million tourists visited Israel in August of 2009, similar to 2008 figures. Sommer adds, “2008 was the best year in history for tourism to Israel, so this August 2009 result may well mean that the downturn is behind us, and there is light on the horizon.”
The United States is the number one source of tourists to Israel, followed by Russia, Britain and France. “The ever-increasing number of flights to Israel is surely part of the reason for this good news,” Sommer said. In July, US Airways commenced daily nonstop service from Philadelphia to Israel, “so that with the flights of El Al, Continental and Delta, there are as many as 10 nonstop flights every day from the US to Tel Aviv.” And that brings us to more good news — what the national airline El Al is doing for travelers this season.
According to their spokesperson, in celebration of this holiday, El Al will serve 300 lbs of sliced apples, 155 lbs of honey, and more than 500 pounds of honey cake to all passengers flying from New York (JFK/Newark) to Ben Gurion International Airport in Israel. Worldwide, EL AL has added 250 flights (25,000 seats), a 12% increase in capacity as compared to the same holiday period last year. Luckily for those who may not make it to Israel for the New Year, Chef Steven Weintraub, Executive Chef of Borenstein Caterers, has provided his special honeycake recipe.
El Al’s Holiday Honey Cake Recipe
1 cup of honey
½ cup of sugar
4 whole eggs
1 cup of coffee, black and room temperature
¾ cup of vegetable oil
1 fresh orange, grated fine (include juice pulp and skin)
4 – 4 ½ cups of flour (adjust flour amount to ensure mixture is moderately loose)
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1 teaspoon of baking soda
A pinch of salt (1/8 tsp)
1 cup of raisins
Mix honey, sugar, eggs, coffee, oil and orange thoroughly. In a separate bowl, sift flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Slowly add dry mixture into liquid mixture. Blend well. Fold in raisins. Pour mixture into a 9 x 13 greased baking pan or into a 36 muffin tin. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 1 hour. After 45 minutes of cooking, check periodically. Let cool on a wire rack.
Keep in mind that if you’re going to bake one at home and carry it to your relatives for the holiday, be sure to put it into a securely fastened, hard-sided box in your checked luggage. If you’re only carrying hand luggage, wrap the cake in see-through wrapper instead of silver foil, so that security can do a hand spection of your belongings without having a taste!
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