June 2018 Israel-Jordan Tour Update – Days 1 & 2

DAYS 1 & 2 – SUNDAY-MONDAY, JUNE 10 & 11: DEPART FOR & ARRIVE IN TEL AVIV, ISRAEL

Welcome to Israel

Welcome to Israel sign at the Ben Gurion Airport

Our day of departure finally came! The group of 82 that God has brought together used primarily three flights, with some flying to Israel on their own. All the flights went well with the unfortunate exception of part of the group flying out of Chicago. Because of the delay of their flight, 14 in our group missed the international flight. We hope they are able to be re-scheduled in a timely manner.

Jaffa

Jaffa Tel Aviv

Jaffa and Tel Aviv beach

The rest in the group arrived at the Ben Gurion Airport in the Lod/Tel Aviv area. Arriving at various times and meeting each other, we loaded up the two buses after the usual passport and luggage procedures. with sunny skies and temps in the mid 80s, we drove to Jaffa/Joppa, a southern suburb of Tel Aviv (600,000 people). We walked the alley-ways, read from Jonah 1, and Acts 9 & 10, and enjoyed our first great view of the Tel Aviv coastline.

Hotel/Med Sea

Med Sea sunset

Sunset on the Med Sea

Arriving at our hotel just north of Jaffa in Tel Aviv and right on the shoreline, some enjoyed a nap while others enjoyed a swim in the Med Sea. The water was very warm (about 80), the sane was white and soft, and the waves were beautifully rolled in.

We enjoyed dinner at 6:30, followed by an orientation meeting to help prepare us for the trip ahead. We met out on the beach and enjoyed a marvelous sunset on the Mediterranean Sea! Following the meeting, some enjoyed a stroll on the promenade, while others retired for the evening.

It was a long day but we’re excited to be here in Israel, the land of the Bible! We pray for a timely arrival of the rest of the group!

DAY 3 – TUESDAY, JUNE 12: CAESAREA, CARMEL, MEGIDDO, SEPPORIS, PRECIPICE OF NAZARETH, TIBERIAS

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March 2018 Israel-Jordan Tour Update – Days 1 & 2

DAYS 1 & 2 – SUNDAY-MONDAY, MARCH 11-12: DEPART U.S.A. – ARRIVE IN ISRAEL

Departure & Arrival

Israel coastline

The Israel/Tel Aviv coastline

Our day of departure finally arrived, With great excitement and anticipation, we embarked on our flight to Israel, the land of the Bible! With thanksgiving to God, we all made our connection flights. Enduring the long night-flight, the coast of Israel came into view. Landing at the Ben Gurion Airport (named after Israel’s first Prime Minister in 1948), with patience we passed through the long lines of Passport Control. Grabbing our luggage (it all arrived!), we met Shlomo (our guide) and David (our driver).

Joppa/Netanya

Jaffa Israel

The quiet alley-ways of Jaffa

After loading the bus, we departed the airport for a brief stop in Jaffa (Joppa). Located on the coastline of the Mediterranean Sea, this is where Jonah ran from God (Jonah) and where Peter leaded Dorcas and had his vision (Acts 9, 10). We walked through the quiet alley ways and gained a great view of the coastline of Tel Aviv.

From here we drove north to Netanya. After checking in, we enjoyed a late dinner together followed by a brief orientation meeting. 

It is great to be here in Israel!!

 

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February 2018 Israel Tour Summary-Update – Days 1 and 2

DAYS 1 & 2 – FRIDAY-SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 9-10: DEPARTURE FROM U.S.A /LAND IN ISRAEL

Welcome to Israel

Welcome to Israel sign within the Ben Gurion Airport

Our trip began today! Our group of 25 flew drove from MN to Winnepeg where we caught a flight to Toronto. While the international flight was delayed a little because of snow, we were able to take off despite deteriorating winter conditions. Once on board, we we served dinner and breakfast.

We landed at the Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv around 11 a.m. where we proceeded through Passport Control. After securing our luggage, we met our guide (Shlomo) and driver (David). We loaded the bus and left the airport to spend a half a day in the Shephelah (Lowlands) of Judah. The weather was mild, with afternoon highs in the mid 70s.

Gezer

standing stones gezer

The group at the “standing stones” of Gezer.

Our first stop was Tel Gezer. Located along get Aijalon Valley, this was an ancient Canaanite and Israelite city located strategically on the Coastal Plains. The city was conquered by Joshua (Josh 12) but not fully controlled until the days of Solomon (1 Kings 9). We also read from the Gezer Calendar (10th century BC agricultural seasons) and Ecclesiastes 3 about the seasons of life. Several times the Egyptians conquered this city from the Canaanites as well. At the site we saw the Middle Bronze tower, wall, gate and water system as well as the Iron Age (or Israelite) ruins including a 6 chamber stone gate built by Solomon. We also saw the standing stones of Gezer, probably used by Canaanite).

Beth Shemesh

Driving south to the Sorek Valley, we stopped briefly at Beth Shemesh. Close by (on the other side of the valley) is Zoar and Eshtoal, the home area of Samson (Judges 13-14). He was attracted to Delilah, just a few miles west down the Sorek Valley. We also remembered the story from I Samuel 6 about the return of the Ark of the Covenant here from the Philistines.

Azekah

Elah Valley

Elah Valley (the battle took place at the far eastern narrow end of the valley)

Our last stop of the day was to Azekah. Located along the Elah Valley, this ancient city is mentioned a few places in the Bible. With a great view of this valley below, we read from 1 Samuel 17. It was in the narrow end of the valley where the battle between David and Goliath took place. Looking west from the top of the site we could see Gath (Tel es Safi), the home of Goliath.

Netanya

From here we hopped on Israel’s toll road straight to Netanya. We checked into our hotel and enjoyed dinner together. Over half in the group then enjoyed a great walk to the beach of the Medeterraian Sea.

We are feeling very blessed to be here in the land of the Bible!

DAY 3 – SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 11: CAESAREA, CARMEL, MEGIDDO, PRECIPICE OF NAZARETH, TIBERIAS

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September 2017 Israel Tour – Days 1 & 2

DAYS 1 & 2 – SUNDAY-MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 3-4: 

Ben Gurion Airport Welcome sign

Welcome to Israel at the Ben Gurion Airport

Our day of departure finally arrived! With excitement for the journey ahead, we met at the JFK (NY) airport (as well as others) for our night flight to Israel, the land of the Bible. Most in the group arrived at the Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv on Monday afternoon. Others came in at various others times. After going through Passport Control and getting our luggage, we were greeted by our agent, our driver (David), and our guide (Shlomo). We loaded the bus and drove to the Joppa (also called Jaffa) area. From the shoreline we could see part of the ancient harbor (where Jonah sailed from, Jonah 1) and where Solomon brought in the cedars of Lebanon for building the Temple in Jerusalem (I Kings 5). This was also where Peter raised Tabitha (Dorcas, Acts 9) and had his vision of unclean animals 9 (Acts 10).

Jaffa, Israel

Jaffa along the Med Sea coastline. This is the area of the stories of Jonah (Jonah 1) and Peter (Acts 9-10)

From here we drove north to Netanya where we check into our hotel. Following dinner, we met for our orientation meeting to help us prepare for the days ahead.

We are so very excited to be in Israel, and we look forward to our first full day tomorrow.

 

DAY 3 – TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 5: CAESAREA, CARMEL, MEGIDDO, SEPPORIS, PRECIPICE OF NAZARETH, TIBERIAS

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June 2017 Israel Tour – Day 5 Summary

DAY 5 – FRIDAY, JUNE 16:

Today was a day in the Judea Desert and in the region of the Dead Sea. It was hot today, with temps in the low 100s.

Masada

Masada Roman Ramp

We left our “Bedouin” hotel in the desert at 7:30. Driving just about 15 minutes and reading from Psalm 18:12 (that mentions metzada – “fortress”), we arrived at Masada, one of six of Herod the Great’s “palace-fortresses.” This one is a stand-alone mountain about 1,000 foot high. Our group had the unique experience of hiking up the Roman ramp on the western side. Others in the group bussed around and ascended to the top in the cable car. Once on top, we saw cisterns, the case-mate wall, the western and northern palaces, the bathhouse, and storerooms. The story of Masada is a gripping one, with 967 Jews withstanding Roman siege of the fortress for three years (70-73 AD) until all but five of them taking their own lives and dying in freedom. Because it was too hot, they closed the Snake Path, preventing us from hiking down.

Just 10-15 minutes north is Engedi. Here we read the story about David hiding in a cave from Saul (1 Samuel 24). The story of 2 Chronicles 20 also took place in this area. Song of Songs 1 also mentions the henna blossoms of Engedi. We also hiked into the canyon to see the many waterfalls. A number in the group enjoyed getting wet in the hour we spent here.

Engedi

Getting wet at Engedi

Continuing north along the Dead Sea, Qumran was our next site. During the lunch hour, 15 in the group joined Pastor John for a trek to Cave 1 where the first Dead Sea Scrolls were found in 1947. At the archaeological site of Qumran, we saw a few of the ruins here that date back to the time of the 1st century BC to the 1st century AD. The Essenes who lived here were the ones who scribed the Dead Sea Scrolls. In front of Cave 4 (where the majority of the texts were found), we read from “Psalm 151” (an “extra” psalm found here) and rejoiced in God’s amazing preservation of God’s Word!

Driving to the Dead Sea close by, we ended the day with floating in this amazing body of water. It is 33% salt and minerals. It was a wild experience!

Dead Sea

Floating in the Dead Sea

Driving north in the Jordan Valley and then heading west in and through the Hill Country of Ephraim/Samaria, we arrived our our hotel in Netanya for late dinner and a free evening. The sunset over the Med Sea was spectacular!

DAY 6 – SATURDAY, JUNE 17: CAESAREA, MT. CARMEL, MEGIDDO, NAZARETH PRECIPICE, SEPPORIS, SEA OF GALILEE

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Biblical Israel & Jordan Tour, March 2017 – Days 1 & 2 Summary

DAYS 1 & 2 – MONDAY – TUESDAY, MARCH 13 & 14

Ben Gurion Airport

The “Welcome to Israel” sign at the Ben Gurion Airport

Our day of departure finally arrived! Meeting at various departing cities, we boarded our flights en route to Israel the land of the Bible. Unfortunately because of the predicted winter storm along the east coast, a number of folks were delayed getting to Israel.

For those whose flights were on time, we landed this afternoon at the Ben Gurion Airport. Upon proceeding through passport control and getting our luggage, we loaded up our two buses and drove to Jaffa (also called Joppa). We simply walked the narrow alley ways and enjoyed a great view of the Tel Aviv Mediterranean Sea coastline. We remembered the stories of Jonah (Jonah 1) and Peter (Acts 9 & 10).

Jonah's fish or whale

Jonah’s “fish” in Joppa

Fighting the Tel Aviv rush-hour traffic, we made it to Netanya. We checked in to your hotel, enjoyed dinner, and a brief orientation meeting that followed.

We are excited about being here in Israel and thankful to God for the experience that awaits us. We also hope and pray that the others who were delayed and/or canceled flights arrive here in a timely manner.

DAY 3 – WEDNESDAY, MARCH 15: CAESAREA, CARMEL, MEGIDDO, SEPPORIS, PRECIPICE OF NAZARETH, TIBERIAS

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May 2016 Tour – Days 1 & 2

Tel Aviv

DAYS 1 & 2 – SATURDAY/SUNDAY, MAY 21-22 Our departure day finally came!  After all our preparations for the trip, we boarded the plane en route to Israel.  The majority of this group are from Washington state.  Flying first from Seattle to Franfurt, and then arriving at the Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv, Israel, we were greeted by Dr. John (our tour leader) and Shlomo (our Israeli guide) as we exited from the customs / baggage area. Boarding our bus (driven by David), we made a stop in Jaffa (Joppa). Here we recalled the stories of Jonah (Jonah 1), and Peter (Acs 9 & 10) as we walked through the quaint alleyways of Jaffa.  The view of the Tel … Continue reading

January 2016 Israel Tour – Days 1 & 2

DAYS 1 & 2 – SUNDAY / MONDAY, JANUARY 17-18:

The high place at Gezer

The high place at Gezer

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.

Kh. Qeiyafa and the Elah Valley

Kh. Qeiyafa and the Elah Valley

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

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February 2015 Tour – Day 1 – Feb 1

DEPARTURE DATE HAS ARRIVED! Today we take off for Israel, again.  A total of almost 80 people depart from either the Philadelphia Airport or Dulles Airport.  Of these, I welcome a group comprised of various churches around the country, plus a few churches from the Pittsburgh area.  The other group consists of pastors and their spouses.  Together, we expect a great time in the land of the Bible. Weather predictions are for sun and 70s for our arrival and most of our first week (not bad for those of us coming out of snow and ice storms). I hope that the weather here in the States doesn’t delay anyone from our flight to Tel Aviv tonight for our night-flight. Once again, imagine … Continue reading

Follow the April, 2013 Tour

It never gets old.  How can a trip to the land of the Bible ever get old?  Humbly, this Sunday I will be leading my 25th tour to Israel.  I’m excited for the group that God has brought together once again.  I’m looking forward to new friendships and new experiences with those God has brought together for this trip. We leave Sunday from New York (JFK).  It’s the usual night flight direct to Tel Aviv.  We arrive Monday afternoon (Israeli time).  Following getting through the usual passport customs and baggage pickup at the Ben Gurion Airport, we will be met by our guide, Shlomo, and our driver/bus.  We’ll drive through Tel Aviv traffic to Netanya, the location of our first night’s hotel.  If … Continue reading