The Itinerary for the 11 Day Biblical Israel Study Tour (with 5 Day Egypt option to Mt. Sinai & Cairo)
April 24 – May 4, 2017 (with Egypt option from May 4-8) THIS TOUR IS NOW CLOSED. SORRY.
This is a 11 day Israel tour. We will see about 45-50 sites from north to south. We head north first to the Sea of Galilee area before heading to Jerusalem. We stay in four different hotels – Netanya, Tiberias, the Dead Sea, and Jerusalem. The Egypt option has not been offered for a while, but it is spectacular! We first drive to the Red Sea where we cross into the Sinai. We drive to St. Catherine’s where we spend the night. Those wanting to hike to the top of the mountain will begin the trek at 2 a.m. in order to see the sunrise over Saudi Arabia! We then drive to Sharm el Sheikh to enjoy a few hours in the Red Sea before flying to Cairo. Here we see the Pyramids, Sphinx, Memphis, Sakara, and the amazing Egyptian Museum. It’s an unbelievable option!
DAY 1 – MONDAY, APRIL 24: DEPART U.S.A.
Tour members meet for our evening flight. After dinner is served, sit back and relax, enjoying the on-board entertainment as you prepare for this exciting adventure of a lifetime.
DAY 2 – TUESDAY, APRIL 25: TEL AVIV, JAFFA, NETANYA
Upon arrival at Ben Gurion Airport, we meet our local Israeli representative who assists us with baggage and transfers us to our motor coach. We take a short drive to our hotel in Netanya for dinner and overnight beside the beautiful Mediterranean Sea. On the way, we make a brief stop in Jaffa, the home of the Jonah and Peter’s stories (Jonah 1, Acts 9 & 10).
DAY 3 – WEDNESDAY, APRIL 26: CAESAREA, CARMEL, MEGIDDO, PRECIPICE OF NAZARETH, TIBERIAS
After an abundant breakfast buffet, we journey north along the coast to Caesarea, built nearly 500 years ago by King Herod. We walk through the ancient theater, the Crusader city and the fantastic aqueduct that served as a back drop for the book of Acts. From here we depart to Mt. Carmel (1 Kings 18), site of Elijah’s confrontation with the prophets of Baal. Then we proceed to Megiddo (Armageddon; 1 Kings 9:15; Rev. 16:16). Across the Jezreel Valley is the precipice of Nazareth (Luke 1 and 4). We end our day here as we read about Jesus’ ministry in this area. Driving through Cana (John 2), we finally arrive at the outskirts of Tiberias (John 6:23). We arrive at our “kibbutz-hotel” located right on the Sea of Galilee shoreline. After dinner, we enjoy sitting together for an optional time of fellowship and worship.
DAY 4 – THURSDAY, APRIL 27: SEA OF GALILEE, GOLAN HEIGHTS, DAN, CAESAREA PHILIPPI, BENTAL, QATZRIN, GAMLA
We begin the day by going to Dan and its refreshing springs, one of the sources of the Jordan River. We walk through this quiet National Park and impressive Old Testament city. Nearby is Caesarea Philippi where Jesus asked His disciples, “Who do you say I am?” (Matt. 16). Following lunch at a Druze village (not included), we travel to the eastern edge of the Golan to an old military base called Bental. Here we look into Quneitra in southern Syria and Lebanon. We drive back toward the Sea of Galilee to see a few more unique sites. The first site is Qatzrin, a partially reconstructed Talmudic village. We see what a typical village looked like during the days of Jesus. Lastly, we visit Gamla, a Jewish city that was taken by the Romans during the Revolt in the 60’s A.D. If time permits, we will hike down to one of the few first century synagogues in Israel. We drive back to our hotel for dinner, another gathering, and overnight.
DAY 5 – FRIDAY, APRIL 28: ARBEL, CAPERNAUM, SEA OF GALILEE BOAT RIDE, YARDENIT, MT. OF BEATITUDES
We begin the day by visiting Arbel, a mountain on the northwest corner of the Sea of Galilee. We will have the option to hike to the top of this 800-foot cliff (the bus will take others to the top from the other side). The view from the top is the best there is of the whole Sea of Galilee below! From here we drive to Capernaum, the home center of ministry for Jesus here in Galilee. Here we read from Mark 1 and 2 in the 4th-5th century synagogue. Next, we enjoy a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee, with a quiet and peaceful worship service. Upon landing, we also see the “Jesus boat” from the first century, a vessel found here along the of Galilee in 1986. Next, we travel to the southern end of the Sea of Galilee and enjoy optional baptism in the Jordan River at Yardenit. We end the day by reading from Matthew 5 on the Mount of Beatitudes. We walk down the pathway, recollecting the transforming words of Jesus shared in this place. We return to our hotel for dinner and an optional gathering once again by the water.
DAY 6 – SATURDAY, APRIL 29: BEIT SHEAN, SHILOH, JERICHO, DEAD SEA
We begin the day by driving south to the Jordan Valley to the site of Beth Shean (1 Sam. 31), an impressive Roman city of the Decapolis. Driving south along the Jordan Valley and then turning west into the area of Samaria, we visit the rather new excavations of Shiloh. This is where the Tabernacle once stood. Here we see impressive archaeological ruins dating to the days of Samuel. Our next stop is Jericho to see portions of the fortifying wall that supported the mud-brick walls that “came tumblin’ down” (Joshua 6). We end the day at our hotel at the Dead Sea, have dinner together, and enjoy a walk.
DAY 7 – SUNDAY, APRIL 30: MASADA, EIN GEDI, QUMRAN, WILDERNESS OF JUDAH
Prior to breakfast, we enjoy a “float” in the Dead Sea. Following a later breakfast, we begin driving northward to Masada. Here we ascend high upon the wilderness mountain by way of cable car to the fortress built by King Herod. We survey the ruins of the fortifications, waterworks, synagogue, temples and palaces. An optional walk down the snake path will be offered. Our next stop is Ein Gedi, where David hid from King Saul, and we enjoy a walk to the waterfalls. Finally, we visit Qumran and the settlement of the first century sect known as the Essenes, the authors of the Dead Sea Scrolls. From here we ascend to Jerusalem. As time permits, we will make a quick stop to enjoy an overview of the Wadi Qelt and the Judean Wilderness. We continue to Jerusalem for dinner and optional walk to the Western Wall.
DAY 8 – MONDAY, MAY 1: MT. OF OLIVES, POOL OF BETHESDA, VIA DOLOROSA, HERODIUM, BETHLEHEM
We get our first glimpse of Jerusalem from the Mt. of Olives, beholding a breath-taking panorama of the Holy City. We walk down the “Palm Sunday” route to the Garden of Gethsemane. Next, we enter the Old City of Jerusalem through the Lion’s Gate (St. Stephens) and visit the Pools of Bethesda (John 5). We also enjoy some marvelous singing in St. Anne’s church from the Crusader period. Our walk continues along the Via Dolorosa to the Sisters of Zion Convent (to see the Pavement where perhaps Jesus stood as he was being tried by Pilate), Ecce Homo Arch, and then to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. In the afternoon, we visit Herodium. Located on the edge of the Judean Desert, this is where Herod the Great was buried. We end the day by driving into Bethlehem. We visit Shepherds’ Field and the Church of the Nativity. The day ends shopping at an olive wood store. We drive back to our hotel for dinner and another optional walk.
DAY 9 – TUESDAY, MAY 2: OLD CITY, WAILING WALL, WESTERN WALL TUNNEL, JEWISH QUARTER, ISRAEL MUSEUM, YAD VASHEM
The day begins in the Old City and we visit the famous Western (Wailing) Wall, the most holy place in Judaism. After some time for personal prayer and reflection, we walk 400 yards along the retaining wall of the Temple Mount itself. Upon completing this unique walk, we return to the Jewish Quarter for a unique visit to the Temple Institute. Here, we will see some of the preparations being made for the Third Temple. Following this, we visit Moshe, an Orthodox Jew, to talk about his Jewish faith. We have lunch (not included) in this area of the Old City as well. In the afternoon, we see the fascinating Israel Museum and the model of Jerusalem (1:50 scale model of Herodian Jerusalem as it would have appeared in Jesus’ time). Here we also explore some of the artifacts in the archaeological museum. We end the day with a visit to Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust Museum. We see the Children’s Memorial and walk through the museum on our own. We return to our hotel in Jerusalem for dinner and a free evening to allow you to explore or relax.
DAY 10 – WEDNESDAY, MAY 3: CITY OF DAVID, HEZEKIAH’S TUNNEL, SOUTHERN WALL EXCAVATIONS, FREE AFTERNOON, GARDEN TOMB
We begin the day by visiting the City of David and the new excavations of David’s palace. Those who want to will take an optional adventurous walk through the water of Hezekiah’s Tunnel (1,720 feet long). We then sit on the steps of the Siloam Pool and listen to the story of John 9. From here, we walk up through an exposed Herodian drainage channel that takes us to “Robinson’s Arch” and the southern wall excavations. We walk on a Roman street and ascend the Temple steps. We eat lunch in the Jewish Quarter (not included) and enjoy a few hours of free time. Our day ends at the Garden Tomb for Communion, and we return to our hotel for a Farewell Dinner. Then we transfer to the airport for our return flight home.
DAY 11 – THURSDAY, MAY 4: ARRIVE HOME
We arrive back in the U.S.A. from Tel Aviv. After going through U.S. Customs, we board our domestic flights back to our respective homes at the end of a life-transforming trip!
OPTIONAL EGYPT EXTENSION
Today we leave for an exciting time in Egypt. Upon arrival at Taba border, we transfer to St. Catherine for check-in, dinner, and overnight at our hotel.
DAY 12 – FRIDAY, MAY 5: MT. MOUSSA, ST. CATHERINE’S MONASTERY, FLY TO CAIRO
This morning we meet in the hotel lobby by 2:00 a.m. to start our day by climbing Moussa Mountain with our local guide (those who choose not to climb, can stay back at the hotel). On the southern end of the collection of peaks, is Mount Moussa (Mountain of Moses), biblically considered to be where Moses received the Ten Commandments from God. Climbing the mountain takes about 3 hours on foot following the Path of Moses – a stairway of nearly 4,000 steps – to arrive at the peak for the wonderful view of the sunrise. After enjoying the sunrise, we visit St. Catherine’s Monastery, located at the foot of the mountain. The monastery is built around what is thought to be Moses’ Burning Bush and is a spectacular natural setting for priceless works of art, including Arab mosaics, Greek and Russian icons, Western oil paintings on wax, much more. We then transfer to Sharm El Sheikh airport for our short flight to Cairo. Upon arrival in Cairo, we transfer to our hotel for dinner and overnight.
DAY 13 – SATURDAY, MAY 6: CAIRO, GREAT PYRAMIDS, SPHINX, MEMPHIS
After breakfast, we explore the desert antiquities dating back to a civilization that arose over 5,000 years ago. With our Egyptologist guide, we venture through the desert to visit some of Egypt’s oldest sites, and also enjoy a camel ride. We first visit the Pyramids of Giza. The Great Pyramid of Cheops is the largest and is comprised of 2.3 million stone blocks, each weighing an average of 2.5 tons. We enter this pyramid and visit the King’s Chamber. Nearby, we visit the Solar Boat Museum, to see an ancient Egyptian cedar wood boat dating back 4,500 years. We also visit the Great Sphinx, which has stood guard over the pyramids for more than 4,500 years. Then, we visit the Necropolis of Sakkara, to see King Zoser’s Step Pyramid. This vast site in the heart of the desert plateau is the largest necropolis in Egypt. Extending for almost 5 miles, the complex forms a collection of pyramids, temples, and tombs that are fundamental to understanding Ancient Egypt. Our last site of the day is Memphis, to see the limestone Colossus of Ramses II. Here the remnants of the nation’s first capital and once the most cosmopolitan city in Egypt now lie scattered in the desert.
DAY 14 – SUNDAY, MAY 7: CAIRO
After breakfast, we enjoy a special tour of the Museum of Antiquities. The museum houses the greatest collection of Pharaonic treasures in the world, including the expansive Tutankhamen collection of golden treasures. We continue to visit the cultural landmarks that span three millennia of Egyptian history. We begin with the Citadel, commanding a complete view of the city. Inside, we see the lavishly decorated Alabster Mosque of Mohammed Ali. We continue to Coptic Cairo, where we visit the famous Suspended Church, dating back to the late fourth and early fifth centuries, and built on top of the south gate of the Fortress of Babylon. We then visit the Church of St. Sergius, a fifth-century Coptic church built in the cave where the Holy Family stayed. As we walk along this area, we come to the recently restored Synagogue of Ben Ezra, which marks the place where Moses was saved by Pharaoh’s water girl. This is the oldest Jewish synagogue in Egypt, built in A.D. 882. Finally today, we stroll through the Khan El Khalili Bazaar, a bustling warren of shops where you can bargain for rugs, copper and leather crafts, perfumes and other goods both exotic and familiar. We then transfer to our hotel for rest and then late evening, early following morning transfer to Cairo Airport for our return flight back to the USA.
DAY 15– MONDAY, MAY 8: DEPART CAIRO FOR U.S.A.
After breakfast, we transfer to Cairo International Airport for our flight back to the U.S.A. and arrive home the same day.
*While we do our very best at making sure all items listed in your itinerary are included, there are times when conditions beyond our control affect your program/itinerary, including but not limited to air carrier changes, delays, weather, political climate, time constraints, or changes by your tour leader and tour guide.