The Itinerary for the 13 Day Extensive Biblical Israel Study Tour
June 12-24, 2017
All Inclusive Price: $4,578 from JFK, NY, $3,697 for “land only” travelers. (*NOTE: This tour is now closed).
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(This link will take you directly to the web site of our Holyland travel agent, imagine Tours & Travel. This is a safe & secure way to place your $500 deposit instantly with your credit card and reserve your spot on this tour. Please enter the tour code – DeLancey617 – to register for this trip).)
Price of this Holyland Tour includes: Airfare & US & Int’l Departure taxes, hotels, 2 meals daily, all entry fees, and gratuities. $4,578 from JFK, NY (additional departure cites available upon request). The land only price includes all the above except the airfare. Sign-up deadline: April 12, 2017.
This is a 13 day extensive Israel tour. We will see about 55 sites from south to north. We head south first through the Lowlands of Judah (Shephelah) and the Negev. We see a number of sites not visited by any other group. We spend the night in Beersheba. Then we head to the Judean Desert where we stay in a Bedouin Village. The next morning we climb he Roman ramp at Masada. We then spend three nights in the Galilee before heading to Jerusalem through the Samaritan Hills. We spend the remainder of the trip in Jerusalem.
(Sites visited on this tour)
DAY 1 – MONDAY, JUNE 12: DEPART FOR TEL AVIV
Tour members meet for our flight to Israel. 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, JUNE 13: ARRIVE IN ISRAEL, JAFFA
We arrive at the Ben Gurion Airport and are met by our Israeli guide and driver. We leave the airport and make a stop in Jaffa. This is where the Jonah story begins, as well as the story of Peter (Acts 10). We arrive at our hotel along the Mediterranean Sea in the Tel Aviv area. Follow-ing dinner and an orientation group meeting helping us prepare for studying God’s Word “in context,” an optional walk takes place along the beautiful beach front.
DAY 3 – WEDNESDAY, JUNE 14: GEZER, BEIT SHEMESH, ELAH VALLEY, BEIT GURVIN, LACHISH, BE’ER SHEVA
We begin our day by driving to Gezer. Here we see ruins from Solo-mon’s day and beyond. The famous “Gezer calendar” was found here. From here, we stop briefly at Beit Shemesh, where the Ark of the Covenant was returned (1 Sam. 6). Next, we travel to the Valley of Elah, where David fought Goliath, and reenact the scene in our imagination as we listen to 1 Samuel 17. From Tel Azekah, we see before our very eyes how this famous battle took place! (If conditions allow, we will visit Khirbet Qeiyafa, a new excavation, instead of Azekah.) Following lunch, we visit Beit Gurvin to see the Maresha Caves with hundreds of bell-shaped caves caused by ancient Roman quarrying. Continuing through the “Shephelah” (lowlands) of Judah, it’s on to the city of Lachish which was conquered by the Assyrians. Here, we see where the famous “Lachish Letters” were discovered. Traveling south, we drive to our hotel in Be’er Sheva in the heart of the Biblical Negev. We enjoy an optional walk after dinner.
DAY 4 – THURSDAY, JUNE 15: BE’ER SHEVA, SDE BOKER, WILDERNESS OF ZIN, MACHTESH RAMON, ARAD, KFAR HANOKDIM
After breakfast, we visit Be’er Sheva with the well and gate structure, the rounded streets, and a typical 4-room Israelite house. From here, we drive further south through this southern desert to Ben Gurion’s tomb located at Sde Boker in the region of the Wilderness of Zin. We enjoy a unique walk in the amazing beauty of the Canyon of Zin. From here, we drive further south through this southern desert to Machtesh Ramon, Israel’s Grand Canyon. We overview the canyon from the northern rim appreciating the vastness of this desolate place. Next, we head back north to the city of Arad. We see houses from nearly 4,500 years ago, called “Arad or broad houses.” We also see the Israelite city upon which Josiah brought his reforms. Nearby, we spend the night in the Judean desert, between the city of Arad and ancient Masada, at a place called Kfar Hanokdim. Here we stay in cabins and experience the uniqueness of desert life, even a camel ride (it is recommended to bring a towel with you). Following dinner, we enjoy a time of worship under the stars.
DAY 5 – FRIDAY, JUNE 16: MASADA, EIN GEDI, QUMRAN, DEAD SEA, JERICHO, NETANYA
Following breakfast, we drive a short distance to the western side of Masada, the massive ancient 1,000 foot-high fortress, and uniquely climb the Roman Ramp. (Those who don’t wish to climb will be driven around to the eastern side, an hour and a half ride, and ascend to the top in the cable car. While you wait for the group to finish the guided tour, you will be fascinated with the view.) On top, we hear the story of the Jewish zealots who resisted the Romans for three years after the Jerusalem Temple was destroyed. Leaving the site, an option will be given to walk down the Snake Path (while others take the cable car down) and meet the bus at the bottom. We then drive north to Ein Gedi, where we relive the story of David hiding in a cave from King Saul. We have a chance to hike into the valley, enjoying the waterfalls as well as soaking our feet in the cool waters. Along the way, we hope to see the coney and ibex animas that reside in this area of Israel. From here we continue to drive north along the coast of the Dead Sea to Qumran and the settlement of the first century sect, the Essenes, authors of the Dead Sea Scrolls. We have the option to explore the caves along the cliffs of Qumran during the lunch hour. Afterwards, we have the oppor-tunity to float in the Dead Sea, the lowest place on earth. Jericho is the last stop of the day. We ascend the oldest site in all of Israel to see where “the walls came tumblin’ down.” If time permits, we’ll get a close-up look of the Judean Wilderness with an overview of Wadi Qelt for sunset. We drive to the coast of the Mediterranean Sea for dinner and overnight in Netanya.
DAY 6 – SATURDAY, JUNE 17: CAESAREA, MT. CARMEL, MEGIDDO, NAZARETH PRECIPICE, SEPPORIS, SEA OF GALILEE
This morning we head along the coast to visit Caesarea Maritima and explore this Roman bridgehead to the east. This city, initially built by Herod the Great, became the Christian springboard to the West. We enter at the theater and cross through the hippodrome to Herod’s har-bor. We exit through a Crusader gate and see Caesarea’s aqueduct. We then drive up to the highest point on the Mt. Carmel range to a Carmel-ite chapel called Mukraqa. Here we read the story from 1 Kings 18 about Elijah confronting the prophets of Baal. We continue to the Jezre-el Valley and to Megiddo (Har Meggido in Hebrew), which gave its name to Armageddon. Close by is the “precipice” of Nazareth. From here we enjoy a spectacular view of the Jezreel Valley below, the “backyard” of Jesus when he was a child. Finally, we drive to Sepporis, a spectacular first-century city known for the Mona Lisa mosaic. From here, we drive to the Sea of Galilee where we stay for the next three nights. After a late dinner, we enjoy an optional gathering by the quiet waters of the Sea of Galilee.
DAY 7 – SUNDAY, JUNE 18: GAMLA, QATZRIN, MT. HERMON SKI LIFT, CAESAREA PHILIPPI, DAN, ABEL BEIT MAACAH
We begin the day by driving into the Golan Heights. Stopping on the northeast corner of the Sea of Galilee, we are able to see Bethsaida and the area of the Feeding of the 5,000 (John 6). Then our next site is Gam-la, a Jewish city that was taken by the Romans during the Revolt in the 60’s A.D. Here we see a first century synagogue (one of seven that date to the first century) as well as the ruins of the city, called the “Masada of the north.” Close by is the site of Qatzrin, a partially reconstructed Talmudic village. We see what a typical village looked like during the days of Jesus. Sitting in a reconstructed stone house, we’ll read from Mark 2 about the lame man being lowered down to Jesus through the roof. Driving along the northern border, we learn about the wars of Israel, primarily the 1967 and 1973 wars with Syria. Next, we drive to the base of Mt. Hermon. Here we enjoy the unique experience of riding up the chair lift at Israel’s ski resort. The view from on top will be spectacular! We should also see Mt. Hermon’s unique wild flowers in bloom as well. We’ll enjoy lunch here (not included). Next, we de-scend the Golan Heights and visit Caesarea Philippi. It was here where Jesus asked His disciples, “Who do you say I am?” (Matt. 16). Nearby is the amazing nature preserve and archaeological site of Dan. This is one of the sources of the Jordan River. We walk through this quiet national park and impressive Old Testament city and hear the stories of disobe-dience that took place here (Judges 18, 1 Kings 12). We end the day by visiting Abel Beit Maacah (2 Samuel 20), a 33-acre Old Testament city, where Dr. DeLancey excavated in 2014. We drive back through the Huleh Valley to our hotel in Tiberias. After dinner, we again meet to review the day.
DAY 8 – MONDAY, JUNE 19: ARBEL, MAGDALA, CHORAZIM, CAPERNAUM, SEA OF GALILEE BOAT RIDE, YARDENIT
We begin the day by visiting Arbel, a mountain on the northwest corner of the Sea of Galilee. We 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 on top is the best there is of the whole Sea of Galilee below! From here we drive to Magdala to see one of seven first-century syna-gogues found in Israel. Even though it’s not mentioned in the Bible, there is no doubt that Jesus would have taught here. Next is Chorazim. Here we visit a third-century synagogue made of basaltic stone. We then visit 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 together. Upon landing, we also see the “Jesus boat” from the first century, a vessel found here along the shores of Galilee in 1986. Next, we travel to the southern end of the Sea of Galilee and enjoy an optional baptism in the Jordan River at Yardenit. We return to our hotel for dinner and an optional gathering will take place out by the water.
DAY 9 – TUESDAY, JUNE 20: BETH SHEAN, MT. GERIZIM, SHILOH, WILDERNESS OF JUDAH, JERUSALEM
Today we depart from the Sea of Galilee and visit Beth Shean, a huge Roman city. Here we see a massive colonnaded Roman street, theater, and bathhouses. From here, we drive south to Mt. Gerizim (Deut. 11). Here we learn about the Samaritans and their sacrificial practices. Driving through the Judean Wilderness, our next stop is Shiloh, located in the Samaritan Hills. Here, we visit an amazing archaeological site where Samuel grew up. We see the suggested area where the Tabernacle once stood (1 Samuel 4). We end the day by driving to Jerusalem. We will stop to overview the Judean Desert before making our final ascent to Israel’s capital. We enjoy dinner at our hotel in Jerusalem, with an optional “orientation walk” into the Old City.
DAY 10 – WEDNESDAY, JUNE 21: JERUSALEM, MT. OF OLIVES, OLD CITY, BETHESDA, VIA DOLOROSA, HERODIUM, BETHLEHEM
Following an optional morning walk, we start the day with an orienta-tion to Jerusalem from the Mt. of Olives. We then follow the traditional Palm Sunday route to the church known as the Dominus Flevit (“the Lord weeps”). After viewing the Golden Gate, we walk downhill Gethsemane, where we take time to meditate on the Gospel text. From here we enter the Old City where we first visit the Pool of Bethesda and St. Anne’s Church, perfectly preserved from the Crusader period – with remarkable acoustics. We then follow the Way of the Cross (Via Dolorosa) to the Holy Sepulcher, stopping along the way to consider all Christ endured on the way to His crucifixion. In the afternoon, we visit Herodi-um. 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 olivewood store. Overnight is in Jerusalem, with another optional walk.
DAY 11 – THURSDAY, JUNE 22: OLD CITY, WESTERN WALL TUNNEL, ISRAEL MUSEUM, YAD VASHEM
We begin the day by entering the Old City through the Dung Gate. We then enjoy a unique walk 400 yards along the retaining wall of the Temple Mount, the Western Wall Tunnel. From here we visit the Jewish Quarter. First, we visit the Temple Institute, an organization that is preparing for the building of the Third Temple. Next, we share time with Moshe and Dov, two Orthodox Jews, to talk about their Jewish faith. Following lunch (not included), we drive to the Israel Museum and the spectacular Jerusalem Model of the Second Temple Period and the ar-chaeological museum. We end the day by visiting Yad Vashem and the Holocaust Memorial. We return to our hotel in Jerusalem for dinner and overnight. An optional night walk ends the evening.
DAY 12 – FRIDAY, JUNE 23: GARDEN TOMB, CITY OF DAVID, HEZEKIAH’S TUNNEL, SILOAM POOL, SOUTHERN EXCAVATIONS, FREE AFTERNOON
We begin the day visiting the Garden Tomb and enjoy a Communion Service together. Next, we visit the City of David and the new excava-tions of David’s palace. We walk through Warren’s Shaft, perhaps used by David’s men in defeating the Jebusites. Then those who want to will take an optional adventurous walk through the water of Hezekiah’s Tunnel (1,720 feet long) while others walk through an ancient Canaanite “dry” tunnel. We then sit on the steps of the Siloam Pool and listen to the story of John 9. From here we walk to the southern Temple excavations through a 1,300 foot newly-discovered drainage tunnel. We exit at the southwest corner of the Temple and the southern steps. From here, the rest of the afternoon is on your own, providing an opportunity to explore the Old City, walk the rampart walls, or shop. In the evening, we enjoy a Farewell Dinner and transfer to Ben Gurion Airport for our return flight home this evening.
DAY 13 – SATURDAY, JUNE 24: FLIGHT HOME
We arrive back in the U.S.A. today.
*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.