The Itinerary for the 9 Day “Highlights of the Bible / Life of Christ” Biblical Israel Tour (with 5 Day Optional Israel Extension)
September 3- 11, 2017 (with extensive optional Israel Tour extension from Sept 11-16)
All Inclusive Price: $3,444 from JFK, NY, (Optional Extension: $1,192). $2,388 for “land only” travelers for the 9 Day Highlights Israel Tour
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Price includes: Airfare & US & Int’l Departure taxes, hotels, 2 meals daily, all entry fees, and gratuities. $3,444 from JFK, NY (additional departure cites available upon request). The land only price includes all the above except the airfare. Sign-up deadline: July 2, 2017. Early bird discount: $50 by 3/1/17.
This special “highlights” Christian Israel Tour features over 35+ sites on this Israel / Holy Land tour. We spend 1 night along the Med Sea in Netanya, 3 nights in Tiberias, and the rest in Jerusalem. The optional extension is quite extensive and unique. We visit Shiloh, hike in the Judean Desert, visit the Shephelah and Negev of Israel, sleep one night in the Judean Desert, and visit the sites along the Dead Sea the last day (Masada, Ein Gedi, and Qumran).
(Sites visited on this tour)
DAY 1 – SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 3: DEPART FOR TEL AVIV
Tour members meet for our flight to Israel. After dinner is served, it’s time to sit back, relax, and enjoy the on-board entertainment to prepare for this exciting adventure of a lifetime.
DAY 2 – MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 4: ARRIVE IN ISRAEL, JAFFA
We arrive at the Ben Gurion Airport in the early afternoon. Here we are met by our Israeli guide and our driver. We leave the airport and make one stop in Jaffa. This is where the Jonah story begins, as well as the story of Peter (Acts 10). Both were being asked by God to go to a people outside of Israel with the Good News of God’s grace. We spend our first night in Bat Yam along the Mediterranean Sea in the Tel Aviv. Upon arriving at the hotel, we will have a chance to swim in the ocean. We enjoy a late dinner, followed by an orientation meeting to help us prepare for the exciting days of studying God’s Word “in context.”
DAY 3 – TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 5: CAESAREA, CARMEL, MEGIDDO, SEPPORIS, 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 Sepporis, a large city in the days of Jesus. We will see the Cardo (main Roman street), the theater, and many mosaics, including the “Mona Lisa” of the Galilee. We end the day by driving to the precipice of Nazareth (Luke 1 and 4). Here 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 – WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 6: 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 north-east corner of the Sea of Galilee, we are able to see the area of 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 modern 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 a bite to eat here (not included). Next, we descend 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 disobedience 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 5 – THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 7: ARBEL, MAGDALA, CHORAZIM, 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 Magdala. We will see a first-century synagogue where Jesus no doubt would have taught. Next is another New Testament city, Chorazim. This was one of the three cities condemned by Jesus (Matthew 11). We will visit the third-century synagogue here, built out of basaltic rock. Caperna-um, 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 shores 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 Be-atitudes. We walk down the pathway, recollecting the transforming words of Jesus shared in this place. We return to our hotel for dinner and an op-tional gathering once again by the water.
DAY 6 – FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 8: BETH SHEAN, JERICHO, DEAD SEA, JUDEAN WILDERNESS
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. We’ll see many ruins from the Roman city, including the theater, the pillared “cardo,” bathhouse, and many mosaics. An optional hike to the top of the Old Testament tel (ancient site) will be made available. Driving south down the Jor-dan River Valley is our next stop, Jericho. Here we will see portions of the fortifying wall that supported the mud-brick walls that “came tumblin’ down” (Joshua 6). Nearby is the Dead Sea where you will have the opportunity to “float” in the unique body of water rich with minerals and salt. On our way to Jerusalem, we will make a brief stop overlooking the Wadi Qelt and the Judean Desert. The images of Psalm 23 and Isaiah 40 will come alive with a spectacular view of this unique region of Israel. We drive to our hotel in Jerusalem from here. After dinner, we will enjoy the first of a few optional walks. Tonight’s walk will be to the Western Wall.
DAY 7 – SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 9: JERUSALEM, BETHLEHEM, HERODIUM
We start the day with an orientation to Jerusalem from the Mt. of Olives. We then follow the traditional Palm Sunday road to the church known as the Dominus Flevit (“the Lord weeps”). After viewing the Golden Gate, we walk downhill to Gethsemane, where we take time to meditate on the Gospel text. From here we enter the Old City where we first will visit the Pools 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 that Christ endured on his way to His crucifixion. 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 and visiting Shepherds’ Field. Before we return to our hotel, we will walk the Prome-nade, allowing for a great view of the Old City from the south. We return to our hotel in Jerusalem for dinner with a walk to Ben Yehuda/ Jaffa Streets.
DAY 8 – SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 10: JERUSALEM, GARDEN TOMB, CITY OF DAVID, HEZEKIAH’S TUNNEL, SILOAM POOL, DRAINAGE TUNNEL, SOUTHERN STEPS
We begin the day at the Garden Tomb. Here we enjoy a Communion Service together. Next, we visit the City of David and the new excavations of David’s palace. Those who want to will then take an optional adventurous walk through the water of Hezekiah’s Tunnel (1,720 feet long). We will 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 Herodian drainage tunnel. Lastly, we visit the southern wall excavations. We will see the massive stones erected by King Herod, the “pinnacle” of the Temple, as well as sit on the very steps used by Jesus and His disciples. We enjoy a few hours of free time before joining back together for our Farewell Dinner. Following dinner, we drive to the airport for our flight home. Those who are continuing on the extension will return to our hotel for overnight.
DAY 9 – MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 11: ARRIVAL BACK IN THE U.S.A
We arrive back in the U.S.A after our night flight home. The end of a life-changing journey of a lifetime!
OPTIONAL EXTENSION IN ISRAEL
$1192.00 per person (double occupancy) Based on a minimum of 15 passengers. Price includes: Gratuities of $75
DAY 9 – MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 11: SHILOH, WADI QELT / JUDEAN DESERT HIKE
This first day of the optional extension begins by driving north of Jerusalem to Shiloh. On the way we will pass sites such as Bethel (Genesis 12, 28), and Michmash (1 Samuel 13-14). Here we will revisit the stories of Eli and Samuel and talk about the Tabernacle that once stood here. We will be able to stand where it is believed the Tabernacle once stood. Driving back south, we will spend the afternoon in the Wadi Qelt. An optional hike will take place down into this canyon. The hike in the canyon will take us to St. George’s monastery carved into the side of the canyon. Those who do not want to hike will be transported back to the Old City for some free time. We return to our hotel in Jerusalem for dinner and another optional walk.
DAY 10 – TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 12: OLD CITY, WESTERN WALL TUNNEL, ISRAEL MUSEUM, YAD VASHEM
We begin the day by entering the Old City and walk 400 yards through the Western Wall Tunnel along the retaining wall of the Temple Mount itself. From here we visit the Jewish Quarter and see the Cardo. We also visit Shoreshim where we will hear Moshe, on Orthodox Jew, talk about his faith. Following some free time and lunch (not included), we drive out to West Jerusalem were we visit the Israel Museum and the spectacular Jerusalem Model of the 2nd Temple Period as well as Yad Vashem and the Holocaust Memorial. We return to our hotel for dinner and overnight in Jerusalem. This will be a free evening.
DAY 11 – WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 13: GEZER, BETH SHEMESH, QEIYAFA/ELAH VALLEY, BEIT GURVRIN, LACHISH, BEERSHEBA
We begin our day by driving to Gezer. Here we will see ruins from Solomon’s day and beyond. The famous “Gezer calendar” was found here. From here, we drive south to Beth Shemesh, where the Ark of the Covenant was returned (I 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 I Samuel 17. From Tel Qeiyafa (a new excavation), we see before our very eyes how this famous battle took place! In the afternoon, we visit Beit Guvrin to see the Maresha Caves with hundreds of bell shaped caves caused by ancient Ro-man quarrying. Continuing through the “Shephelah” it’s on to the city of Lachish that was conquered by the Assyrians. Here, we see where the fa-mous “Lachish Letters” were discovered. From here we drive to Beersheba where we stay the night. After dinner, an optional walk around the town will be enjoyed.
DAY 12 – THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 14: 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 experience the uniqueness of desert life, even a camel ride (it is recommended to bring a towel with you). Accommodations include “Bedouin tent” dwellings (upgrades must be reserved in advance, at an additional cost). Following dinner, we enjoy a time of worship under the stars.
DAY 13 – FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 15: MASADA, EIN GEDI, QUMRAN, TEL AVIV
Following breakfast, we drive a short distance to the western side of Masa-da, 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 wa-terfalls as well as soaking our feet in the cool waters. Along the way, we hope to see the cooney and ibex animals 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. We conclude the day by driving west back through Jerusalem to the coast of the Mediterranean Sea for dinner and our overnight flight home.
DAY 14: SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 16: ARRIVE BACK IN THE U.S.A.
We arrive back in the States today. What an incredible trip! Praise be to God for a life-changing experience!
*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 pro-gram/itinerary, including but not limited to air carrier changes, delays, weather, political climate, time constraints, or changes by your tour leader and tour guide.