Ika (Itzhak) Schweitzer is a tour guide in Israel
My name is Ika (Itzhak) Schweitzer. I was born in 1951 in Tel-Aviv, where I grew up and have been living all my life. In 1969, after graduating high school, I enlisted into the IDF, where I served in the Paratroopers Brigade, made Officers' School, and ended my service term as a Captain. After army service and the obvious "after service tour abroad" (U.S., cross country, 9 months) I studied and graduated (B.A) in Political Science and General History at Tel-Aviv University.
In 1979 I started a business in 2-WAY-Radio communication, with a friend of mine, in which I was the managing director, responsible for marketing and finance. In 1994, when cellular phones began changing the world of communication, we decided the timing was right to make a nice exit, and so we sold the business to a much bigger company. I went for an "early retirement" (at 42 years old…), made some investments and enjoyed my free time.
But something was missing. In 1996 I joined a tour-guides course through the School of Tourism at Haifa University. This course is known to be a unique opportunity and the best way to learn about the Land of Israel in depth. I graduated in 1998 and started guiding immediately.
I was really excited with my new profession and eager to learn more, so I started my M.A. studies on History and Archeology of the Land of Israel at Bar-Ilan University. In 2001 I graduated (with excellence!).
Guiding in Israel has been always an educational experience for my travelers and for myself. Israel is not just "sites to see" but a country with many layers like a big onion. My focus as your guide is to peal each layer back and get into their core, so you can really understand Israel and us Israelis, not just sightsee and take pictures of it. My tours are not a monologue or a lecture (me…) but rather questions, answers, discussions, and conversations.
In 2006 I was appointed as the manager and instructor of the same tour-guides course I had taken as a student few years earlier. It was, for me, not only 'closing a circle' but an opportunity to shape a new generation of tour guides as well. I coordinated and managed 2 courses in parallel until the end of 2009. While fulfilling, this job required me to give up many of my loyal travelers, which I was unwilling to do, and so I decided to quit, at least for the time being, and dedicate myself fully to guiding my travelers in Israel.
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