Classic Isarel (Jewish groups)
12 Days Tour of Israel
3 nights in Tel-Aviv, 3 nights in Galilee, 5 nights in Jerusalem
Day 1: We leave the States for a journey to the land where our heritage will unfold before our eyes. We will walk, see, feel and touch the roots of our faith and of our nation, and come to know better our homeland.
Day 2: Flying over the Atlantic Ocean and over Europe, we will reach the shores of Israel. After the formalities at the Ben Gurion airport we will be met by our guide and drive to Tel-Aviv, the first Modern Hebrew City, for dinner and a good night’s rest.
Tel-Aviv, fondly called by its residents “The little Apple” is well known for its many art galleries, museums and world famous restaurants. Today will be dedicated to getting acquainted with it. We will drive by the cultural center of the Habimah, the Dizingof Street and the city hall, where Prime Minister Itzhak Rabin was assassinated. We will also visit Neve Tzedek and Nachalat Binyamin, two typical artistic areas of the city. We will also make a stop at the port city Joppa. We will stroll through its beautiful streets, galleries and cafes, view the beautiful ancient port and enjoy one of the most impressive panoramic views of Tel-Aviv. The rest of the day will be free. You may want to spend the afternoon around the hotel’s swimming pool or at the beautiful beach, stroll down the promenade, or walk down town Tel-Aviv for some shopping.
After a rich Israeli breakfast we will start our day at the Hall of Independence, where David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister, declared the establishment of the state is 1948. We will continue to the Diaspora Museum, telling the story of the Jewish People throughout the centuries, depicting its cultural diversity and its bond with Israel. Our next stop will be the Palmach Museum, for an interactive experience that will tell us the story of early days of the State of Israel. In the afternoon we will take a close look at the creativity and innovative thought Israel is famous for. At Machon Ayalon we will learn about secret ways in which ammunition was manufactured by the Jewish underground underneath the grounds of an active kibbutz, during the British Mandate rule. Then we will continue to The Weizmann Institute of Science, one of the world’s leading multidisciplinary research centers, noted for its wide-ranging exploration of the sciences and technology.
We will leave Tel-Aviv and start driving north. We will make a stop at Caesarea, to view the Roman theatre, the pier and the impressive water aqueduct built by Herod the Great. We will continue to Haifa for a view of the extra ordinary Bahai Gardens, considered one of the most beautiful handmade gardens in the world. The rest of the day will be spent at the city of Acco, recently declared a World Heritage site. We will visit the underground remains from the Crusaders period and walk through the colorful market and the old fisherman’s harbor to get a feeling of a typical Mediterranean city. We will also visit the old British Prison in Atlit, where new immigrants and political activists were held during the British Mandate. In the late afternoon we will start making our way to the Galilee and to our hotel, located on the shores of the Kinnereth (Sea of Galilee), where we will be served a nice local Galilean dinner.
Today will be dedicated to the spectacular northern part of Israel. We will begin our day at the city of Safed, a spiritual center of the Kabalah. We will walk through the old streets, the artists’ quarter and visit the Joseph Caro or the Ari synagogue. Then we will visit the famous Ramat Hagolan wineries and taste some of its world famous wines. Those who wish will be able to purchases some wine too. Driving through fertile country side and over looking the magnificent Mt. Hermon, we will reach Har Ben Tal (Tel Abu Nida), a military post overlooking the border of Israel with Lebanon and Syria. Besides obtaining a marvelous view of the entire region, we will learn about the miracles of the six days and the Yom Kippur wars, and get a better understanding of the current security dilemmas Israel deals with. At the end of the day, we will get a chance to enjoy a fun kayak ride down the Jordan River.
We will make our first stop at Sephoris, the capital of the Galilee in Second Temple period, to view some of the most impressive mosaics discovered in the land. We will continue to Kibbutz Kinnereth, one of the first Israeli settlements around the Sea of Galilee. Here, we will hear the story of the first settlers and pay respect at the old cemetery where famous historic and cultural men and women rest. Next, we will make a stop at Mt. Arbel, for a breathtaking view of the entire region. Those who wish will be able to climb down the mountain. In the afternoon we will board a wooden boat, replica of an ancient fishing boat, and enjoy a beautiful ride on the Kinnereth, as the sun slowly sets over the mountains.
Before leaving the marvelous area of Galilee we will make a stop at Beit Alpha Synagogue, with its spectacular mosaic floor, depicting the Arc of the Covenant, the Zodiac and the Offering of Isaac. Our next stop will be at the Decapolis city of Beth Shean. Here, we will walk on the ancient streets, view the steam Roman baths, the theatre, coliseum, market and temples. At lunch, we will stop at the Sachne, a national park of warm spring water. Those who wish will be able to enjoy a refreshing swim. In the afternoon we will cross part of the Wilderness of Judea, where we will become acquainted with the Bedouin life, as we start ascending to the Golden City and capital of Israel JERUSALEM. Before reaching our hotel, we will make a short stop on Mt. Scopus to obtain our first glimpse of the city and have a shehecheyanu toast.
We will then enter the old city through the Jaffa Gate and continue to the Arab Market and bazaars. Walking through the Cardo we will reach the Jewish Quarter and visit the newly renovated Hachurvah synagogue. Built in the 18th century and destructed in 1948, it is considered the most important and most beautiful synagogue in the Old City. After a moment of prayer at the Kotel we will visit the Ophel digs (Davidson Center), where 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 City of David, where the story of Jerusalem truly began. We will end the day with a visit of the Rabbi’s Tunnel, running along the continuation of the Western Wall. Here we will get a better understanding of how the impressive complex of the Temple Mount was constructed.
A tour of the new sections of the city is on today’s schedule. We will begin the day at the recently renewed, Israel Museum. We will visit the Wing for Jewish Art and Life, presenting the most impressive collection of religious and secular material culture of Jewish communities worldwide. We will continue to the Knesset, the Israeli parliament for a visit. Then, we will get a chance to leave our mark in Jerusalem, as we plant a tree in one of the cities beautiful forests. We will continue to Mt. Herzl, house of the national and military cemetery in Jerusalem and burial place of Theodor Herzl, the founder of modern Zionism. We will visit the Herzl museum, offering a spectacular audio-visual encounter with the history of the Jewish State. 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.
Those who wish can attend the services given by Rabbi Marx at the hotel, and enjoy the rest of the day on their own. The rest of us will leave Jerusalem and descend towards the Dead Sea, located in the lowest place in the world, 1300 ft. below sea level! 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 the 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). At noon time we will stop at Ein Bokek for lunch and a float on the salty sea. Before returning to Jerusalem, we will visit Qumran, site of the Dead Sea Scrolls discovery. We will return to Jerusalem and enjoy our last dinner at the hotel.
Day 12: 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 Israel and our Bible will never be the same, for it will be alive in front of our eyes and in our hearts for ever.
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