Day 1: Departure
You will depart for your overnight flight to Israel.
Day 2: Arrival to Israel – Tel Aviv - Jaffa
Morning arrival to Ben Gurion Airport, Tel Aviv, you will meet your guide and driver who will be with you for the duration of your tour in the Holy Land. Drive through Tel Aviv, the first Hebrew city, founded 100 years ago on the sand dunes by the sea north of Jaffa. Time permitting drive to the port city of Jaffa (Joppa) from where Jonah set sail on his way to Tarshish, and later used by King Solomon as his main port on the Mediterranean, importing cedar wood from the Phoenicians in Lebanon for the construction of the Temple in Jerusalem.
Dinner and overnight: Central Coastal area
Day 3: Caesarea – Haifa – Akko
Drive north along the coastal plain to the ancient Crusader bastion of Caesarea, Herod the Great’s masterpiece city on the Mediterranean coast. Walk through the ruins of his royal palace on the water, Roman theatre, and the hippodrome used for horse and chariot races. This is where Paul was imprisoned before being sent to Rome and his death.
Continue north driving by the Carmel Mountain range where the prophet Elijah defeated the prophets of Ba’al, to the port city of Haifa where you will enjoy a panoramic view of the world famous Bahai Gardens and Shrine and the working port. The day continues in the Crusader town of Akko where the walls of the city, its fortresses and citadels, its churches and mosques and the other buildings within its boundaries, tell the history of the many rulers who governed it and fought for it, who built the city and glorified it. Visit the Crusader Halls, Turkish bath house and the ancient port and oriental market
Day 4: Rosh Hanikra – Tel Hatzor – Safed – Tiberias
After breakfast we drive north to the border with Lebanon and the underwater grottoes at Rosh Hanikra. Descend by cable car and view the grottoes, a natural wonder that resulted from an ongoing geological process over thousands of years. Continue to the Tel Hazor National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the capital of Canaanite Galilee. Hazor flourished in the Middle Bronze Age (around 1750 BCE), and the Israelite period (ninth century BCE) and was the largest fortified city in the country at that time. View Hazor’s impressive water system, apparently built during King Ahab’s reign, to provide the inhabitants with a steady water supply within the city walls in case of siege by means of a 45-m-deep shaft to the water table.
Continue to the ancient city of Safed, home of mysticism and Kaballah. Enjoy time wandering through the winding alleyways of the ancient city ad artists’ quarter.
Finally, arrive at the lovely Sea of Galilee, Israel's only fresh water lake and main source of water. Discuss the issues of sharing water among the countries of the region.
Day 5: Megiddo/Armageddon - Nazareth – Nazareth Village– Tiberias
Today we explore the site of Megiddo/Armageddon and discover why this tel (archaeological mound), which holds 5,000 years of accumulated cities, is viewed as the place for the “cataclysm of the end of days.” See the stables and gateway built by King Solomon, and walk through the underground water tunnel built to protect the city from the Assyrian invaders 2,800 years ago. Drive through the biblical Jezreel Valley, one of the most fertile areas in the country, you will see modern agricultural communities, kibbutzim (plural of "kibbutz"), scattered throughout the valley, growing much of Israel's domestic and export produce, just as in ancient times. Continue to the modern city of Nazareth, vastly larger than the ancient hamlet where Jesus spent his childhood, where we visit the Church of Annunciation and and Nazareth Village, a unique reconstruction of what a first century Nazareth looked like on an actual ancient agricultural site. See real herders with animals, and craftspeople working the land, weaving cloth, processing wheat and cooking as it was done in the time of Jesus.
Day 6: - Boat Ride - Capernaum – Tabgha – Mt. of Beatitudes - Golan Heights– Banias
Start the day with a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee. Continue north with a visit to Capernaum, hometown of St. Peter and the center of Jesus’ Ministry in the Galilee. See the remains of the first century town and the synagogue where Jesus taught, and have an opportunity to consider and discuss the meaning of these teachings. See the Mount of Beatitudes, where the Sermon on the Mount was delivered, and enjoy the view from here as well. Drive up to the Golan Heights (biblical Bashan) and enjoy a hike in the Banias Nature Reserve where the Banias Spring emerges at the foot of Mount Hermon and flows powerfully through a canyon for 3.5 km, eventually leading to the Banias Waterfall, the most impressive cascade in Israel. Nine kilometers from its source, the Hermon Stream meets the Dan, and together they form the Jordan River.
Day 7: Belvoir - Gan Hashlosha - Jordan Valley - Camel Ranch and Bedouin Experience
Visit the Belvoir Fortress, the best preserved Crusader fortress in Israel! Continue to the beautiful fertile Jordan River Valley and southwards to the Gan Hashlosha National Park where warm spring waters flow at a constant, year-round temperature of 28 degrees Celsius, which means swimming is pleasant here in winter, too. Enjoy time exploring this beautiful park and swim in the warm waters. Continue south through the center of the country to the Dead Sea, on the border with the Kingdom of Jordan passing by the modern city of Jericho and the Mount of Temptation, which you can see from the road. We arrive at Kfar HaNokdim Camel Ranch for a desert experience with camel rides, a Bedouin “hafla” (festive) dinner and overnight in large Bedouin tents (sleeping bags provided).
Day 8: Massada - Ein Gedi - Dead Sea "swim" – Haas Promenade Jerusalem
After a very early breakfast, we arrive at Mount Massada and climb the rock via the Roman Ramp to the summit. Here we will walk through palaces built by Herod the Great and see evidence of the heroic struggle and last stand of the Jews against the Roman 10th Legion nearly 2000 years ago. We descend the rock on foot via the "snake" path. The day continues with a hike along the Ein Gedi springs, a natural desert oasis and home to wild life and plants. Stop for a “swim” in the salty, mineral rich waters of the Dead Sea and experience floating on water.
From here we begin to "ascend" to the Holy City of Jerusalem, driving through the stark and beautiful Judean Desert. View the Holy City of Jerusalem from the Haas Promenade, the Hill of Evil Counsel in Christian tradition, before arriving at your hotel
Day 9: Jerusalem – Old City – Southern Wall Excavations - Western Wall - Via Dolorosa - Holy Sepulchre - Time Elevator
We enter through the old city walls and continue to the Jewish Quarter to tour the Southern Wall Excavations of the Temple Mount, walking on the stairs where Jesus taught, and seeing the remains of the markets, roads and residences from the time of Jesus. Stop at the Western (“Wailing”) Wall, a remnant of the foundation of the Temple built by Herod in the first century BC, the holiest site of Judaism. See the modern rebuilt Jewish Quarter, excavated since 1967, and built directly over the ancient homes of the Jews who served in the Temple 2,000 years ago. We continue to the Christian Quarter and walk along the Via Dolorosa, the way Jesus walked on the way to the Crucifixion, culminating in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, traditional site of Jesus’ Crucifixion and Burial.
Evening Activity: Enjoy a night tour to the time elevator - where 3,000 years of history are presented in a fascinating interactive way. Witness Prophet Jeremiah’s confrontation with King Zedekiah and relive the destruction of the First and Second Temples. We are led through the Roman Conquest, the birth of Christianity, the emergence of Islam with its centuries of long rule over the Holy Land and the drama of the establishment of Israel.
Day 10: City of David - Mount Zion – Mount of Olives – Ben Yehuda Street
This morning, at the City of David, we will pass through the underground tunnels through which the city of Jerusalem was conquered and residents fled. We will go down to the hidden spring where kings were coronated and walk in illuminated darkness through the water of Hezekiah’s Tunnel, where water has flowed since the time of the prophets.
Continue to Mount Zion to visit the Tomb of King David and the Room of the Last Supper. We will ascend the Mount of Olives for a wonderful panoramic view of the Old City of Jerusalem with the Temple Mount. Walk through the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus hid from the Roman soldiers, see the ancient olive trees, and visit the Church of All Nations.
After dinner at the hotel, enjoy some free time on Ben Yehuda Street
Day 11: Volunteering – Sataf – Neot Kedumim – Mini Israel – Farewell Dinner - Departure
This morning we will spend time giving to others with a volunteer program before continuing with a hike in the ancient agricultural settlement of Sataf before arriving at the biblical landscape reserve of Neot Kedumim which re-creates the physical setting of the Bible in all its depth and detail.
Visit Mini Israel – and see Israel in miniature, before arriving at the picturesque village of Abu Gosh for a farewell dinner and opportunity to review the highlights and experiences of our trip.
After dinner departure transfer to Ben Gurion Airport and your flight home.
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