DAYS 1 & 2 – SUNDAY / MONDAY, JANUARY 17-18:
Our day of departure finally came! Most in the group met at the Newark, NJ airport for our non-stop flight to Tel Aviv. Unlike most flights, our flight took off at around 4 p.m. We landed in mid-late morning at the Ben Gurion Airport, named after Israel’s first Prime Minister. Weather was quite normal, with temps in the low 60s and sun.
After finding our luggage and meeting up with others in the group, we spent the afternoon in the Shephelah (lowlands) of Judah. We saw three of the five major valleys in this region (Ajalon, Sorek, Elah). We visited Gezer (We read from 1 Kings 9 and Ecclesiastes 3), Beth Shemesh (1 Kings 6), and Kh. Qeiyafa (1 Samuel 17, the story of David and Goliath!). These were all Old Testament sites that played an important role in the days of the Bible. So the afternoon of touring was a great first exposure to the world of archaeology and historical geography. At these sites we saw ruins dating back to both the Canaanite and Israelite Periods.
In the late afternoon, we drove to Jaffa. Here we visited the alley-ways and small streets of the city. We reviewed the stories of Jonah (Jonah 1) and Peter (Acts 9 & 10) before getting a great view of the Tel Aviv shoreline.
From here we fought “rush-hour” traffic to Netanya where we checked into our first night’s hotel. We enjoyed dinner together, followed by a brief orientation meeting. Some then walked around the town and down to the beach before retiring for the night.
We’re all excited to be here in the land of the Bible!
DAY 3 – TUESDAY, JANUARY 19: CAESAREA, CARMEL, MEGIDDO, PRECIPICE OF NAZARETH, TIBERIAS