Frequently Asked Questions
Where is the program based?
Nowhere/Everywhere. On Mach Hach BaAretz you will explore the entire country. Generally groups stay in a hotel for 2-5 nights, then move on to another region of the country.
How many kids are in a group and how are the groups divided?
There are 30–40 kids in a group. They are divided based on your requests. We try to create a balance for each person, so that you will be with old friends and will also have the opportunity to make new ones.
Who will be going to be on the trip?
Jewish high school students from across the United States and Canada participate in Mach Hach BaAretz. Your child will travel with students from your hometown and others as well. Bnei Akiva is a religious Zionist movement and is geared toward students from Orthodox backgrounds.
Will I ever see my friends who are on other buses?
There are several times during the summer when all buses will be together. They include opening night ceremonies, the Amazing Race and the bar-b-q and concert that follow, and Shabbat Mach Hach. If you are in “Adventure”, you will spend that week with kids from other buses who choose the same track as you. In addition, Israel is a small country so keep your eyes open because you never know when you will run into them…
Will we have time off from the program?
There is one free weekend (see sample itinerary for details). If you want to spend more time with family and friends in Israel, you can arrange to go before Mach Hach starts, or you can stay after. During the program itself, family can work out times with the bus staff to visit, however we have a firm policy against children being taken out of the program.
Do we have to bring linens, towels and a sleeping bag?
You do not have to bring linens, they are supplied by the hotels. Towels are supplied for showering, but we recommend that you bring 1-2 towels to use after water hikes and beach visits. You do not have to bring a sleeping bag, one will be provided for you (with a liner) when needed. Additionally, Mach Hach will provide each camper with a knapsack, Siddur and Chumash.
Can I bring cell phone?
Yes, you can bring a cell phone. You will also receive information about renting one from our group plan. However, our policy is that campers can only use their cell phones during non-programmed hours of the day.
How much spending money should I bring?
We find that most campers spend $350-$450 on souvenirs and snacks, but it depends on your spending habits. We will be sending out a proposal from a company called Payoneer, from which you can get a pre-paid debit card that can be used at all cash machines and stores that accept credit cards. Parents can monitor spending and add money to the account from their computers. If lost or stolen, the Mach Hach staff can provide a replacement card immediately. We recommend using this card but it is not mandatory.
What if I get sick or injured in Israel?
We have medical care available 24 hours a day.
How much luggage can I bring?
Due to the mobile nature of the program, you will need to pack lightly. You are allowed only one piece of checked luggage- preferably a duffel bag with wheels. The buses can only accommodate one bag per person and you will not be allowed to place additional bags on the bus.
Can I extend my stay in Israel?
Arrangements can be made to extend your ticket to allow for a longer stay in Israel and additional visiting time, at your cost and paid directly to the travel agent. Please contact the Mach Hach BaAretz office for further details.
Can special diets be accommodated?
Most of the time. Because we are a traveling camp, we do not have our own kitchens. Meals are eaten in hotels and restaurants, or provided by caterers. Therefore, we do not have total control over ingredients. If you have food allergies or other special needs, you must have a conversation with the Mach Hach administration before your application is considered final.
If I’ve been to Israel many times, will Mach Hach still be exciting for me? Will I see things I haven’t seen before?
Yes and Yes! Seeing Israel with a group of friends is very different than seeing it with your family. On Mach Hach, all of the activities are geared towards teens. And we honestly believe that nobody can show you Israel with the same excitement and enthusiasm that Bnei Akiva can!
Will laundry services be available on the program?
There will be laundry service available twice during the program. Please use the following guidelines in preparing your clothing list.
Clothing should be geared toward the warm Israeli summer and the informal nature of the program. The emphasis should be on lightweight and easily laundered clothing. Please take advantage of wrinkle-free clothing since you will not be able to iron your clothing.
What kind of staff do you hire?
Mach Hach BaAretz is staffed with senior Madrichim and Madrichot (counselors) who have proven their leadership capabilities in previous positions within Bnei Akiva and Camp Moshava. They serve not only as counselors, but also as role models and educators.
What is the time difference in Israel?
During the summer months, Israel Is :
7 hours ahead of Eastern Daylight Time
8 hours ahead of Central Daylight Time
9 hours ahead of Mountain Daylight Time
10 hours ahead of Pacific Daylight Time
Do I need to purchase insurance to cover my child’s possessions?
Bnei Akiva and its assisting and handling agencies assume no responsibility for any loss, damage or theft to baggage or personal belongings -from the time of your originating flight in North America to the time of your return to your home. We strongly suggest that you check with your family's home insurance policy to see if you are covered for any such occurrence. The purchase of accident and baggage insurance is recommended.
Can I send mail to my child while he/she is on Mach Hach?
Your child’s mail should be addressed as follows:
Bnei Akiva Maskirut Olamit
P.O. Box 7401
Mach Hach Ba’Aretz
Name of Child, Bus Number
The words “Mach Hach Ba’Aretz” and the bus number must appear in the lower left hand corner to help insure proper mail delivery.
On average, mail from the United States and Canada will take ten days to arrive in Israel please do not send mail during the last two weeks of your child's stay in Israel, for it will not reach the group in time. Participants can purchase stamps and aerogrammes at most kiosks and drugstores. It is advised not to send packages (UPS/FED EX) due to Israel custom laws. In the past exorbitant taxes have been charged and many items were not permitted into the country.