The Itinerary for the 14 Day Biblical Israel Tour
January 6-19, 2024
All Inclusive Price: $4,795 from JFK, NY, $4,195 for “land only” travelers.
(Note: Enjoy the unique “360” image from “Hill 713” in the Upper Galilee. You can move the image in any direction)
Registration Details for this Israel Tour
On-Line Registration Form
(This link will take you directly to the web site of our Israel 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 – DeLanceySR24 – to register for this trip).
Price of this Holyland Tour includes: Airfare & US & Int’l Departure taxes and fuel surcharges ($595), gratuities ($200), hotels, 2 meals daily, and all entry fees. $4,795 from JFK, NY (additional departure cites available upon request). The land only price of $4,195 includes all the above except the airfare. Sign-up deadline: October 20, 2023.
Early Bird Discounts: With your deposit of $500 to reserve your spot on this Israel tour, you will earn the following discounts off the overall price: $150 before 10/6/22, $100 before 1/6/23, $90 before 2/6/23, $80 before 3/6/23, $70 before 4/6/23; $60 before 5/6/23, and $50 before 6/6/23.
This very extensive Israel tour features over 60+ sites on this Israel / Holy Land tour. We spend 1 night along the Med Sea in Tel Aviv, 1 night in Beersheba, 1 night in the Judean Desert (Hanokdim), 1 night near Jericho, 4 nights in the Galilee, and 3 nights in Jerusalem. Day 9 is a “reflection/rest day” in the Galilee. We will be reflecting upon the Sermon on the Mount (Mt. 5-7) and spending time on the Mt. of Beatitudes. On this tour, we also are able to visit additional sites “on the run.”
The Israel Tour Itinerary:
Day 1 – Saturday, January 6: Depart for Israel
We meet today at the airport for our flight to Tel Aviv, Israel.
Day 2 – Sunday, January 7: Arrive in Israel, Hotel in Tel Aviv
We arrive at the Ben Gurion Airport and are met by our Israeli guide and driver. We leave the airport and drive to our hotel. If there is time, we will make a 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 Tel Aviv along the Mediterranean Sea. We enjoy dinner and an orientation meeting to help us prepare for the exciting days of studying God’s Word “in context.” (REGIONS TO STUDY: Coastal Plains)
Day 3 – Monday, January 8: Gezer, Beth Shemesh, Azekah, Beit Guvrin, Lachish, Beersheba
We spend the day in the Shephelah (lowlands) of Judah. We begin by driving to Gezer. Here, we see ruins from Solomon’s day and beyond. The famous “Gezer calendar” was found here. From here, we drive to Beth Shemesh, where the Ark of the Covenant was returned. Next, we travel to Azekah and see where David fought Goliath (1 Samuel 17). As we listen to the story, we see how this famous battle took place! We pause to consider David’s courage in facing the Philistine giant! Continuing south, we visit the Maresha Caves in Beit Guvrin with hundreds of bell-shaped caves caused by ancient Roman quarrying. This was the home of the prophet Micah (Micah 1). Our last site of the day is Lachish, a city that was conquered by the Assyrians (2 Chronicles 32). Here, we see where the famous “Lachish Letters” were discovered. We end the day by driving south to Beersheba for overnight. After dinner, we gather to review the day and prepare for tomorrow. (REGIONS TO STUDY: Shephelah, Negev)
Day 4 – Tuesday January 9: Beersheba, Sde Boker, Wilderness of Zin, Arad, Judean Desert
Our first stop of the day is the ancient site of Beersheba, the primary city in the Biblical Negev. We will see the well and gate structure, the rounded streets, and a typical four room Israelite house (Genesis 21). Next, we drive south to Sde Boker, the site of the tomb of Ben Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister. Here, we learn about the history of the State of Israel. Next, we will enjoy hiking in the majestic canyon of the Wilderness of Zin, and we have the option to hike all the way to the opposite rim of the canyon. After lunch at Avdat (not included), we drive to the archaeological site of Arad, a Canaanite and later Israelite city where Josiah enacted his reforms (2 Chronicles 34). We consider the importance of allowing God to reform our lives so that we can be a “living sacrifice” for Him (Romans 12). We end the day by driving into the Judean Desert, and we spend the night at 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 on the ground with mats, sleeping bags in a large communal tent with guys/gals divided (note: upgrades into private rooms is available and must be reserved in advance, at an additional cost, contact iTT to upgrade). Following dinner, we enjoy a time of worship under the stars. (REGIONS TO STUDY: The Negev, Judean Desert)
Day 5 – Wednesday, January 10: Masada, Ein Gedi, Qumran, Dead Sea
Following breakfast, we approach the famous site of Masada from the west, where we will walk up the Roman ramp. Those who don’t wish to climb will be driven around to the eastern side, a 1.5 hour 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. We will hear the story of the Jewish zealots who resisted the Romans for three years after the Jerusalem Temple was destroyed. Leaving the site, we have the option of walking down the Snake Path, while others ride the cable car down. Next, we drive north along the Dead Sea to Ein Gedi, where we relive the story of David hiding in a cave from King Saul (1 Samuel 24). We will have a chance to hike into the valley and enjoy the waterfalls as we consider the refreshment God brings to us in our “deserts” of life. Further north is Qumran, the settlement of the first century sect known as the Essenes, the authors of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Those who want to can spend time hiking near some of the caves where the scrolls were discovered. At the site, we see first century miqvot (ritual baths), a scriptorium, and cisterns. We end the day by floating in the Dead Sea at a public beach. Then, we drive to the northern tip of the Dead Sea (Ezekiel 47) and stay on the outskirts of Jericho. After dinner, we again meet to review the day’s encounters. (REGIONS TO STUDY: Aravah Valley, Dead Sea, Judean Desert)
Day 6 – Thursday, January 11: Jericho, Shiloh, Beth Shean, Mt. Gilboa
We begin the day at nearby Jericho. Here, we see the portion of the actual revetment wall dating to the time of Joshua (Joshua 6). We then drive through the Pareth Desert where we will stop and enjoy a brief hike. We consider the role of the prophet Jeremiah here (Jeremiah 13). From here it’s on to the ancient site of Shiloh. Here we revisit the stories of Eli, Samuel, and the Ark (1 Samuel 2-4) and see where the Tabernacle once stood. We will take time to reflect upon Samuel’s response to God, “Here, I am!” (Hineni, in Hebrew). We then drive through the hill country of Samaria, talking about the stories that occurred here at nearby Bethel (Genesis 28), Shechem (Joshua 24), and Sychar (John 4). Our next site is Beth Shean, a massive Roman city. This is where the body of Saul was hung on the city walls (1 Samuel 31), but in the days of Jesus, it was a large Roman city. To end the day (weather permitting) we drive to the top of Mt. Gilboa for a great view of the Jezreel and Harod Valleys and the life and death of King Saul (1 Samuel 31). We then drive to the western shoreline of the Sea of Galilee to our hotel for there next four nights. We enjoy a later dinner together and a brief gathering by the water’s edge. (REGIONS TO STUDY: Judean Desert, Samaritan Hill Country, Jordan River Valley, Sea of Galilee)
Day 7 – Friday, January 12: Sea of Galilee Boat Ride, Magdala, Chorizim, Capernaum, Jordan River
From here, we drive to Magdala to see another ancient synagogue that dates to the time of Christ. Mary“Magdalene” was also from here (Luke 8). Located also on this corner of the Sea of Galilee is Chorizim, one of the three cities condemned by Jesus (Matthew 11). We see the basaltic ruins and synagogue which dates to the 2nd-3rd centuries. Capernaum is next, the home center of ministry for Jesus in Galilee. Here, we read from the Gospels about the many things that took place here (Mark 1, Luke 7 & John 6) in the 4th-5th century synagogue. In the afternoon, we enjoy a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee, with a quiet and peaceful worship service together. We recall the storm narratives (Mark 4 & 6). 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. It will be a special time of recommitment to walk as a follower of Christ. (REGIONS TO STUDY: Lower Galilee, Sea of Galilee)
Day 8 – Saturday, January 13: Hippos, Qatzrin, Bental, Caesarea Philippi, Dan
We begin the day by driving into the Golan Heights. Our first stop is Hippos, located on the east side of the lake and one of the Decapolis cities in the days of Jesus. We will see many Roman ruins here, plus a great view of the Sea of Galilee. We will consider the story of Mark 5 and the demoniac’s transformation. 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 to the border, we next visit Bental, an old Israeli military site. Here, we learn about the modern wars of Israel, primarily the 1967 and 1973 wars with Syria. Following lunch at a Druze restaurant (not included), 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. 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 drive back to our hotel in Tiberias. After dinner, we again meet together to review the day. (REGIONS TO STUDY: Sea of Galilee, Golan Heights, Huleh Valley)
Day 9 – Sunday, January 14: Reflection Day: Optional Sunrise Hike in Upper Galilee, Mt. Arbel, Mt. of Beatitudes
Today is our mid-tour reflection day. We begin the day with an optional pre-breakfast hike to “Hill 713” in the Upper Galilee. We hope to catch the sunrise! Next, we visit Arbel, a mountain NW of the Sea of Galilee. An option will be given 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! While on top, we will enjoy some reflection time while reading from Mathew 13-14. In there afternoon, our only destination is the Mt. of Beatitudes. We will pause to reflect and consider the words of Jesus from Matthew 5-7. We return to our hotel for dinner and another gathering out by the water. (REGIONS TO STUDY: Sea of Galilee)
Day 10 – Monday, January 15: Precipice of Nazareth, Megiddo, Mt. Carmel, Caesarea, Jerusalem
This morning we depart the Galilee towards Jerusalem. Our first stop will be the Precipice of Nazareth where we will gain our first of a number of views of the Jezreel Valley below. We will consider the story of Luke 4 from here. We then drive across the valley to Megiddo, a Canaanite and Israel archaeological site with about 25 layers of occupation. We will climb the site and see many interesting ruins, including the impressive water system. Next, winding our way up and through the Mt. Carmel range, we visit Muhraqa, where we read the story about Elijah and the prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18). Our last site is Caesarea Maritima, to view part of the city initially built by Herod the Great. Here, we visit the theater, palace area, and aqueduct. From here we drive to Jerusalem. After checking in to the hotel and dinner, we enjoy an “orientation walk” to the Western Wall within the Old City. (REGIONS TO STUDY: Lower Galilee, Jezreel Valley, Carmel Range, Sharon Plain, Hill Country of Judah)
Day 11 – Tuesday, January 16: Jerusalem, Herodium, Bethlehem
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”). We stop to read the passages related to this area (Luke 19, Acts 1, Zechariah 14). 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 visit the Pools of Bethesda (John 5) and St. Anne’s Church, perfectly preserved from the Crusader period with remarkable acoustics. We then walk the Via Dolorosa to the Holy Sepulcher, one of two possible locations for Christ’s crucifixion and burial. In the afternoon, we visit Herodium, located on the edge of the Judean Desert, where Herod the Great was buried (Matthew 2). We see the brand-new excavations related to Herod’s tomb! We end the day by visiting the Shepherds’Field in Bethlehem. We step into a cave and read from Luke 2 as well as sing a few Christmas carols. We will also stop at an olive wood factory and store. We return to our hotel in Jerusalem for dinner and another walk around the city. (REGIONS TO STUDY: Hill Country of Judah)
Day 12 – Wednesday, January 17: City of David, Southern Excavations, Jewish Quarter/Shorashim, Yad Vashem
We begin the day by entering the City of David and the excavations of David’s Palace (2 Samuel 5) Those who want to can take an optional adventurous walk through the water of Hezekiah’s Tunnel (1,720 feet long, 2 Kings 20, 2 Chronicles 32, Isaiah 8 & 37). We then sit on the steps of the Siloam Pool and listen to the story of the blind man healed by Jesus (John 9). From here, we walk to the southern Temple excavations through a 1,300 foot newly-discovered Herodian drainage tunnel. We exit at the southwest corner of the Temple and the southern steps. We see the massive stones erected by King Herod and sit on the very steps used by Jesus and His disciples. From here, we visit the Jewish Quarter for lunch on our own. We will also visit Shoreshim where we hear Moshe, an Orthodox Jew, talk about his faith. We end the day by visiting Yad Vashem and the Holocaust Memorial. We return to our hotel for dinner and overnight in Jerusalem. Tonight is a free night to explore the city on your own. (REGIONS TO STUDY: Hill Country of Judah)
Day 13 – Thursday, January 18: Garden Tomb, Israel Museum, Sifting Project, Rampart Walk, A Few Free Hours
In the morning, we begin with a Communion Service at the Garden Tomb, a second possible site for the crucifixion and burial of Jesus. We then drive to West Jerusalem, where we visit the Israel Museum and the spectacular Jerusalem Model of the Second Temple Period. Dr. DeLancey will take us around the archaeological display, seeing the highlighted artifacts from sites we visited. In the afternoon, we enjoy a visit at the Temple Mount Sifting Project. We will be helping sift through material that came from the Temple Mount or surrounding area. We return to the Old City where you will have the option to walk on the Rampart Walls and/or enjoy a couple of hours of free time. We proceed to our hotel for the farewell dinner. Depending on the airline used, we then drive to the airport for our night-flight home. (REGIONS TO STUDY: Hill Country of Judah).
Day 14 – Friday, January 19: Ben Gurion Airport, Depart for Home
We arrive back in the States after the flight home. We go through US Customs before getting our domestic flights home.
Hike Up Arbel
One of our optional hikes is to the top of Mt. Arbel. Located on the NW corner of the Sea of Galilee, the hike offers a wonderful view of the region. We ascend 800 feet to the top (for those not inclined to hike the bus takes people to the top from the other side).
The cliffs of Arbel has historical significance too. Jews during both the 1st century BC and later in 66 AD found refuge in these caves.