13 Days Tour of Israel
1 night on the coast, 3 nights in Galilee, 2 nights Dead Sea, 5 nights in Jerusalem
DAY 1: We leave our home for a journey to the land where the Bible will unfold before our eyes. We will walk, see, feel and touch the roots of our faith, encounter the divine and sense His presence.
DAY 2: Flying over the Atlantic Ocean and over Europe, we reach the shores of God’s land. Upon our arrival to the Ben Gurion airport we will be met by our guide and transferred to our hotel on the coast of the Mediterranean, for a wonderful buffet dinner and a good night’s rest.
DAY 3: COASTAL PLAIN
After a rich Israeli breakfast we will begin our tour of Israel at Caesarea, city of Cornelius the Centurion, the first Gentile to convert (Acts 10). We will visit the Roman theatre, walk on the pier used by the apostle Paul on his way to Rome and see the impressive water aqueduct built by Herod the Great. Leaving the Mediterranean, we will travel north to Mt. Carmel, where Elijah held the contest with 450 prophets of Baal (I Kings 18). At noon, a memorable experience is awaiting for us, as we stop for a typical Falafel Meal at the Druze village of Daliat El-Carmel. The afternoon will be dedicated to a trip through the Valley of Jezreel. At Megido we will view the excavations of 21 superimposed cities, the remains from Solomon's days (I Kings 9). At the end of the day we will drive through Nazareth, where Jesus spent most of His life and stop at the Church of Mary's Well. We will drive by Cana of Galilee where Jesus performed His first miracle at the wedding feast (John 2) and continue to our hotel in the beautiful region of Galilee.
DAY 4: AREA OF THE TRIBE OF DAN
Today is dedicated to the spectacular northern part of Israel. Following the accounts described in the Gospel of Luke chapter 9, we will drive through the Hula Valley to reach Mt. Hermon, where the miracle of Transfiguration occurred. We will visit the Banias, one of the headwaters of the Jordan River and site of Caesarea Philippi, where Peter confessed Christ's divinity. From there, we will continue to the Dan Nature Reserve. After a refreshing walk through the beautiful reserve and a taste from the cool water, we will discover the Jeroboam's Altar (I Kings 12). We will also see a city gate from the time of Abraham the Patriarch and learn about the importance of the gate in the social life of the city in the Old Testament times.
DAY 5: AROUND THE SEA OF GALILEE
Today we will be visiting the places where Jesus spent most of his public life and the sites you have read about all of your life. Using a replica of the wooden fishing boat from the disciples’ time, we will sail on the Sea of Galilee and recall Jesus’ experiences with the fishermen. Our first stop will be at Capernaum, where Jesus taught in the synagogue and spent much of His ministry (Matthew 4). Then we will continue to the Mount of Beatitudes, where Christ preached the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7). Driving around the lake we will visit Tabgha, place of the feeding of the 5000 (Matthew 14). In the afternoon we will stop by the Jordan River for a Baptism service in the same water Jesus was baptized in.
DAY 6: JORDAN VALLEY- DEAD SEA
We will leave the beautiful Galilee and head down south to Beth Shean (I Samuel 31), a Decapolis Capital mentioned in the Gospels. We will stop here to walk on the ancient streets, view the steam Roman baths, the theatre, coliseum, market and temples. We will continue down the Jordan Valley to Jericho, the oldest city in the world and a beautiful oasis, (Joshua 3). At the end of the day we will visit Qumran, site of the Dead Sea Scrolls discovery. A nice ride along the Dead Sea will bring us to our hotel, located in the lowest place in the world, 1300 ft. below sea level!
DAY 7: DEAD SEA AREA
We will start our day by visiting the astonishing ruins of Massada. Using a cable car we will reach Herod's magnificent fortress, site of Zealots' stand against Rome. Well preserved storehouses, cisterns and palaces will be among the features to visit. Our next stop will be at Ein Gedi, where David wrote some of his beautiful psalms. After a short hike we will reach the waterfall where David cut off Saul's skirt (I Samuel 24). Before returning to our hotel, we will visit the area of Sodom and Gomorrah and see its salt mines. We will enjoy the rest of the day swimming in the Dead Sea. Those who wish will be able to enjoy the hotel’s SPA as well.
DAY 8: BEERSHEBA - PHILISTINE COUNTRY
We will begin the day crossing part of the Wilderness of Judea, where we will become acquainted with the Bedouin life. Our first destination will be Beersheba, where Abraham made the covenant with Abimelek and stop his wonderings (Genesis 21) . We will visit the ancient city gate, some of the houses, the water system and the well dug by Abraham. Using the Gaza Road, which Philip rode with the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8) we will reach Tel Maresha. The site was recently opened to the public, holding outstanding remains from the Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine days. We will also visit the Bells’ Caves, ancient quarries from which material was extracted for the production of cement 2000 years ago!!! At the Elah Valley you will be able to pick up your own stone from the brook where David slew Goliath (I Samuel 17). Towards the end of the day we will start ascending to the Golden City of the Mighty King: JERUSALEM.
DAY 9: MT. OF OLIVES - NEW JERUSALEM
We begin the day at the Mt. of Olives with a magnificent overview of Jerusalem and an explanation of its history. Then, walk down the Palm Sunday Road to the Garden of Gethsemane, site of Jesus' betrayal (Luke 22). We will continue to visit the City of David, Hezekiah's Tunnel and the Pool of Siloam, where Jesus healed the blind man, (John 9). In the afternoon we will leave the Old City and visit the modern part of Jerusalem. We will spend the first part of the afternoon at the Israel Museum. Here we will have a chance to visit the Model of Jerusalem during Jesus’ time to obtain an excellent perspective of the city at His time. We will also visit the Shrine of the Book, where the Dead Sea Scrolls are housed, and view the ossuary of Caiphas and Pontious Pilatus stone. Finally, at Yad Vashem, the museum of the Holocaust, we will better understand the miracle of Israel’s revival and return to the Land, as promised by God.
DAY 10: OLD CITY - JEWISH QUARTER
We will begin our visit to the Old City with a quiet moment of prayer at the Wailing Wall. Then, we will visit the Temple Mount and the impressive Dome of the Rock. At the Ophel digs we will walk on the First century Street, used by pilgrims for centuries, while viewing the remains of the Temple and the steps that led to it. We will continue to the Jewish Quarter, to visit the extensive area uncovered by archaeologists, including the Burnt House and the Herodian Quarter, where we will see the interior of houses from Jesus’ time with ashes indicating Jerusalem’s destruction. We will walk through the Cardo and Hezekiahs Wall, towards the Arab Market and bazaar and leave the Old City through the Jaffa Gate.
DAY 11: FREE DAY
Throughout our Journey in the Holy Land we have come to see a variety of sites and experience profound emotions. This day will allow us to rest and absorb in much of the information we have come to obtain. You may want to use this day to re-visit a certain site, to stroll on your own or to do some shopping. Our tour bus will function as a shuttle bus and different activities will be suggested.
DAY 12: JERUSALEM’S CHRISTIAN SITES
We will begin our last tour day in the city by retracing Jesus’ last steps in Jerusalem. After a visit to the Upper Room we will enter St. Stephen's Gate and come to the Pool of Bethesda, where Jesus healed the lame man (John 5). After a time of singing in St. Anne's Church, we will view the remains of the Antonia Fortress, site of Jesus' trial (Mathew 27). We then will follow the Way of the Cross out of the Damascus Gate to the Garden Tomb, the site of the crucifixion and culminate our tour with a communion at Calvary.
DAY 13: Early departure for home, after fulfilling a lifetime dream of seeing, touching and breathing the very places we have only read about until now. Arriving home our Bible will never be the same, for it will be alive in front of our eyes and in our hearts for ever.