The Itinerary for the 11 Day Biblical Israel Tour (with an 4 Day Option to Jordan/Southern Israel)
March 9-19, 2014 (with option from March 19-22)
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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)
All Inclusive Price (airfare & US & Int’l Departure taxes, hotels, 2 meals daily, all entry fees, and gratuities): $3,756 from Phila, PA (additional departure cites available upon request). Land only price is $2,545. Sign-up deadline: January 9. Space is limited, but still available.
This tour features over 45+ sites on this Israel / Holy Land tour. We spend 3 nights and 2 full days in Galilee, plus 4 nights in Jerusalem. A free day will be enjoyed our our last day! The optional extension includes Jordan (Mt. Nebo, Medeba, Petra, Wadi Rum), and southern Israel (Red Sea, Timnah, Beersheba)
(Sites visited on this tour)
DAY 1 – SUNDAY, MARCH 9: DEPART NORTH AMERICA
Tour members depart on our flights to Tel-Aviv. After take-off en route to the Holy Land, we will be served dinner. Sit back, relax, sleep a bit as your prepare for this exciting adventure.
DAY 2 – MONDAY, MARCH 10: ARRIVE TEL AVIV, JAFFA, CAESAREA
Upon our arrival at the modern Ben Gurion Airport, we meet our local Israeli representative who helps assist us with baggage and transfers us to our motorcoach .On our way to our hotel we make a stop in Joppa (Jaffa). We then drive to our new built hotel in Netanya, right on the beautiful Mediterranean Sea. Dinner is served, with an orientation meeting and optional walk to follow.
DAY 3 – TUESDAY, MARCH 11: CAESAREA, CARMEL, MEGIDDO, NAZARETH, TIBERIAS
After an abundant breakfast buffet we journey northward by motor coach, along the coast to Caesarea, built nearly 500 years ago by King Herod. Today it is nestled between the banana groves and the sand skirted sea. 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 Kgs. 18) site of Elijah’s confrontation with the prophets of Baal, proceed to Megiddo (Armageddon; 1 Kgs. 9:15; Rev. 16:16), (har meggido in Hebrew) which gave its name to Armageddon. Continue on to the precipice of Nazareth (Luke 1 and 2). Driving through Cana (John 2) we finally arrive at the outskirts of Tiberias (John 6:23). We end the day as 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 – WEDNESDAY, MARCH 12: BETHSAIDA, KATZRIN, DAN, CAESAREA PHILIPPI, NIMROD, BENTAL
We start the day by visiting the excavations at Bethsaida, “The House of the Fisherman – the hometown of Peter, Andrew and Philip. From here, we drive by Hazor, a city taken by Joshua. (Joshua 11:10 – 14), and visit a re-constructed Talmudic village called Katzrin where we see how people lived in the first few centuries. We continue driving north through the Golan Heights to Dan and its refreshing springs, one of the sources of the River Jordan. Close by is Caesarea Philippi. Here Peter made his declara- tion about Jesus (Mt. 16). Our next stop is Nimrod, a Crusader castle with a great view. Those wanting to hike to the top will be given the opportu- nity. Finally, we ascend to the eastern heights of the Golan and visit Ben- tal. When we approach Kuneitra, we are only 36 miles from Damascus on the same road Saul of Tarsus used during his encounter with Christ. We return at the end of the day to our “Kibbutz” accommodations for dinner and overnight.
DAY 5 – THURSDAY, MARCH 13: SEA OF GALILEE BOAT RIDE, TABGHA, CAPERNAUM, MT. OF BEATITUDES, CHORAZIN, ARBEL, YARDENIT
We begin the day with a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee, enjoying a quiet and peaceful worship service together. Upon landing, we also see the “Jesus boat” from the first century AD. a vessel found here along the shores of Galilee in 1986. Next, we visit Tabgha, remembering the story of the feeding of the 5,000. Reading from Matthew 5 and the Sermon on the Mount, we travel to the Mount of Beatitudes. Close by is Capernaum, the home center of ministry for Jesus here in Galilee. Following lunch, we
travel to Chorazin where an impressive synagogue stands. We head to the cliffs of Arbel for a spectacular view of the Sea of Galilee. We end the day by renewing baptismal vows in the Jordan River at Yardenit. Dinner and overnight back at our home on the shores of the Galilee. An optional gath- ering will once again take place out by the water.
DAY 6 – FRIDAY, MARCH 14: BEIT SHEAN, HERODIUM, BETHLEHEM
Following an optional sunrise service, and breakfast, we begin our drive down the Jordan Valley as we head towards Jerusalem. The highway will take us to many of the following biblical sites: Beit Shean (1 Sam. 31:10); a well preserved Decapolis Roman cities. Here the bodies of King Saul and his sons were hung from the city walls. (1 Samuel 31:10 –12). From here, we drive south towards Jericho. Passing by this ancient city (we’ll visit it tomorrow), we ascend 4,000 feet in 13 miles towards Jerusalem. We drive south of Jerusalem to Herodium, one of Herod’s palaces and the place of his burial. We will climb this “volcano-like” site for a great view of Jerusalem to the north, the Wilderness of Judah to the south, the village of Tekoa to the south (the home town of Amos the prophet) and Bethle- hem to the west. Among the ruins at Herodium, we will see a 1st century synagogue and an elaborate cistern system. We end the day by driving into Bethlehem for a time of singing Christmas carols in the Shepherds’ Fields before briefly visiting the Church of the Nativity. Before leaving Bethlehem, we’ll visit a Christian olive wood store. Leaving Bethlehem, we arrive in Jerusalem in time for our dinner and our first overnight in this majestic city! An “orientation walk” will take place after dinner.
DAY 7 – SATURDAY, MARCH 15: EIN GEDI, MASADA, QUMRAN, DEAD SEA, JERICHO, WILDERNESS OF JUDAH
Leaving Jerusalem, we will descend down to the Dead Sea and the wilder- ness of Judah. Our first stop will be Ein Gedi where David hid from King Saul. We will enjoy a walk back to the water falls, hopefully seeing ibex and Cooneys along the way. Next, we drive further south along the Dead Sea to Masada. Here we will ascend high upon the wilderness mountain by way of the cable car to the fortress built by King Herod. Here we survey the ruins of the fortifications, waterworks, synagogue, temples and pal- aces. An optional walk down the snake path will be offered. In the after- noon, we drive back north to Qumran and the settlement of the first cen- tury sect known as the Essenes, the authors of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Next, you will have the opportunity to “float” in the Dead Sea (30% salt and mineral). From here we visit Jericho, the ancient city where the wall came tumbling down (Josh. 2–6; Mark 10:46; Luke 19:1). If time permits, on our way back to Jerusalem, we stop for a sunset view of the Wilderness of Judah. Here, we read from Isaiah 40 and Psalm 23. We travel back to Jerusalem for dinner and overnight Another optional walk will be offered.
DAY 8 – SUNDAY, MARCH 16: MT. OF OLIVES, TEMPLE MOUNT, POOL OF BETHESDA, VIA DOLOROSA, ISRAEL MUSEUM, YAD VASHEM
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 Sun- day” route to the Garden of Gethsemane. Next, we enter the Old City of Jerusalem through the Dung Gate, and walk to the holiest site in the whole Jewish world, the Temple Mount. On this site now stands the mag- nificent Dome of the Rock (the third holiest shrine in all Islam) and the El- Aksa Mosque. Our walk continues along the Via Dolorosa to St. Anne’s
Crusader Church, Pools of Bethesda, the Sister of Zion Convent (to see the Pavement where Jesus stood as he was being tried by Pilate), Ecco Homo Arch, and then to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. This afternoon you will be fascinated by your visit to the Israel Museum and the model of Jerusalem (1 to 50 scale model of Herodian Jerusalem as it would have appeared in Jesus’ time). Here we will also have the opportunity to briefly see a few “highlight exhibits” in the archaeological museum. We proceed to Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust Memorial Museum . Dinner and overnight in Jerusalem, with another optional walk.
DAY 9 – MONDAY, MARCH 17: THE WESTERN WALL, SOUTHERN WALL EXCAVATIONS, JEWISH QUARTER, CITY OF DAVID, GARDEN TOMB
Our day begins by visiting the famous Western (Wailing) Wall of Jerusa- lem. You will have the opportunity to prayer at the Wall. Next, we will experience the amazement of the Western Wall Tunnel as we walk 1,200 along the western wall as it extends to the north. From here we walk to the Jewish Quarter where we visit The Shoreshim Shop. Moshe, an Ortho- dox Jew, will share an informative talk about his Jewish faith. We’ll enjoy lunch in the quiet Jewish Quarter of the Old City. In the afternoon, we will also visit the City of David, the ancient part of the city that dates back to the Old Testament. Here, you will see where Pastor John excavated back in the 1980′s. After seeing the excavations, there will be an optional walk through Hezekiah’s Tunnel. Flashlights and water shoes will be needed. Hezekiah’s Tunnel (II Chr. 29–32) is a 1,720 foot tunnel that ends at the new excavations of the Pool of Siloam (John 9). From here we will walk through a 2,000 year old channel newly discovered by archaeologists that will lead us to the SW corner of the Temple Mount. Here we stand on a Herodian street and see the massive stones brought down by the Romans in 70 AD. Nearby we will sit on the southern steps of the Temple where Jesus no doubt taught. Later in the afternoon we will visit the Garden Tomb with an optional communion service, a very special time of reflect- ing upon the death and resurrection of Jesus. Dinner and over-night again in Jerusalem. Our last optional walk takes place after dinner.
DAY 10 – TUESDAY, MARCH 18: FREE DAY IN JERUSALEM
Today you can enjoy at leisure the abundant buffet breakfast provided at our hotel ,as this is a day without a specific planned program. There is time to visit other places in and around the Old City, or revisit the places of most interest. Return within the walls of the Old City where bargaining is a must when you shop. Optional visits to the Upper Room, House of Caiaphas, and Shindler’s tomb, as well as other places of interest will be offered and suggested by Pastor John. This will be a great day of roaming around yourself and enjoying Jerusalem. Meet at the hotel for the fare- well dinner for those returning back home tonight. Bidding farewell to our new found family of friends we depart for the airport for the overnight flight back home. (Those doing the Jordan/southern Israel extension will spend another night in Jerusalem, with an optional walk after dinner)
DAY 11 – WEDNESDAY, MARCH 19: ARRIVAL BACK HOME
Welcome back to U.S. soil, a close of an unforgettable tour as we bring with us lasting memories of the Old and New Testament and the unforgettable Spiritual Odyssey of our time in the land.
OPTIONAL JORDAN EXTENSION
$979.00 per person. Price Includes: Group Entry Visa, Border Taxes & Gratuities (Based on a minimum group of 15 + passengers)
DAY 11 – WEDNESDAY, MARCH 19: ISRAEL TO JORDAN
We depart this morning from our hotel in Jerusalem on our way to the Allenby border crossing into Jordan. Following border formalities we meet up with our Jordanian guide and drive toward the area that has been identified for nearly two millennia as the area where Jesus Christ was bap- tized by John the Baptist. It is a place called “Bethany Beyond the Jordan.” From here we ascend a short drive to the place where Moses was buried Mt. Nebo. We can see here the vast panorama that encompasses the Jor- dan River Valley, the Dead Sea, Jericho and Jerusalem. We continue to Madaba dubbed the city of mosaics due to the wonderfully vivid 6th cen- tury Byzantine mosaic map showing Jerusalem and other holy sites will be seen in the contemporary Greek Orthodox church of St. George. We re- board our bus and head south on the “Dessert Highway, ” arriving at Wadi Musa” Petra “in time for dinner and overnight.
DAY 12 – THURSAY, MARCH 20: PETRA, WADI, RUM, AQABA
We awake early to eat breakfast in preparation of entering the magnifi- cent city that is over 2,000 year old carved into rose –colored stone and hidden from view by the mountains. This magnificent Edomite and Na- batean capital was rediscovered in 1812 A.D. and will be an amazing ex- perience to encounter. We leave Petra in the early afternoon in order to arrive in Wadi Rum, the classic picture of sandy desert, with sandstone jabals (mountains) rising sheer out of the valley floor. Here we will board jeeps for a spectacular ride through the sand dunes. We board our bus one last time en route to our hotel on the shores of the Red Sea at Aqaba for dinner and overnight.
DAY 13 – FRIDAY, MARCH 21: BORDER CROSSING, SOUTHERN ISRAEL, DEPARTURE
Following breakfast we depart our hotel and drive to the Rabin border crossing entering once again to Israel and on to one of the most important ancient copper and iron mines in Timnah. This copper mine was worked extensively from the period of the New Egyptian Kingdom of the 14th – 13th centuries B.C. and later by King Solomon. We bus northward through Israel’s “Grand Canyon” called the Machtesh Ramon, a geological feature of Israel’s Negev desert. It is a crater that is 40 km long and 2-10 km wide shaped like an elongated heart. Proceed some 52 miles heading north to Beersheba and briefly stop at this ancient site of the Patriarchs. Here will see a water well, a Solomonic gate, 4-room Israelite houses, and water cisterns. We continue through the Shephelah (Lowlands of Judah). We will stop at the Elah Valley and climb Azekah to get a good view of the famous David and Goliath story ( 1 Samuel 17). We continue to Jaffa stop- ping for farewell dinner before our overnight flight back home.
DAY 14 – SATURDAY, MARCH 22: ARRIVE U.S.
The close of an unforgettable tour. Praise be to God for a life changing experience.