The Itinerary for the 11 Day Biblical Israel Study Tour (with option to Greece)
September 15-25, 2024 (with Greece option, Sept. 25-29)
NOTE: This tour is being led by BIMT Board member Dr. Phil McKinney and co-led by Dennis Cesone, a Deaf teacher and guide with several Holy Land tour experiences with BIMT. It will also include a professionally certified ASL interpreter for translating our Israeli and Greek guides as well as other needed interpretations throughout the tour.
All Inclusive Price: $4,957 from Washington, DC, $4,259 for “land only” travelers. ($1,747 for the Greece option)
Registration Details for this Israel Tour
On-Line Registration Form
(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 – McKinney524– to register for this trip).
Price of this Israel Tour includes: Airfare & US & Int’l Departure taxes ($595), hotels, 2 meals daily, all entry fees, and gratuities ($175). $4,957 from Washington, DC. The land only price ($4,259) includes all the above except the airfare. $1,747 for the optional Greece tour. Sign-up deadline: June 10, 2024. This trip is being led by BIMT Board member Dr. Phil McKinney. NOTE: This trip will also provide 2 ASL interpreters for the deaf and/or hearing impaired.
Early Bird discounts are as follows: $150 discount for deposits of $500 made before 6/15/23; $100 discount before 9/15/23; $75 before 11/15/23; and $50 before 1/15/24.
This is a 11 day Israel tour. We will see about 45 sites from north to south. For this trip, we added a number of unique “off-the-beaten-track”sites! We spend three nights in the Galilee before heading south to the Dead Sea (one night there). Then it’s on to Jerusalem. We have three full days here. The optional extension takes us to Greece. This extension includes one day in Athens, one day visiting Delphi, one day visiting Corinth and Mycenae, and one day on an Aegean Sea cruise to three beautiful Greek islands (Aegina, Poros, and Hydra).
The unique combination of Israel and Greece makes this trip a wonderful blend of both Old and New Testaments biblical stories that will come alive on location!
ISRAEL TOUR ITINERARY:
Day 1 – Sunday, September 15: Depart U.S.A.
This evening we meet with the group for our evening flight. After dinner is served, sit back and relax, and enjoy the on-board entertainment as you prepare for this exciting adventure of a lifetime.
Day 2 – Monday, September 16: Tel Aviv, Netanya
Upon arrival at Ben Gurion Airport, we meet our local Israeli representative who assists us with baggage and transfers us to our motor coach. We take a short drive to our hotel in Netanya for dinner and overnight beside the beautiful Mediterranean Sea.
Day 3 – Tuesday, September 17: Caesarea, Carmel, Megiddo, Precipice of Nazareth, Tiberias
After an abundant breakfast buffet, we journey north along the coast to Caesarea, built 2000 years ago by King Herod. We walk through the ancient theater, the Crusader city and the fantastic aqueduct that served as a backdrop 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 the precipice of Nazareth (Luke
1 and 4). We end our day here as we are introduced to the life and ministry of Jesus 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 a time of fellowship and worship.
Day 4 – Wednesday, September 18: Mt. of Beatitudes, Dan, Caesarea Philippi, Syrian Border, Qatzrin, Hippos/Susita
We begin the day by driving to the Mount of Beatitudes and hear a reading from Matthew 5. From there we travel to the amazing nature preserve and archaeological site of Dan, one of the sources of the Jordan River. We walk through this quiet national park and hear the stories of disobedience that took place here (Judges 18, 1Kings 12). Next, we visit Caesarea Philippi. It was here Jesus asked His disciples, “Who do you say I am?” (Mt. 16). We will then drive past Mt. Hermon (Psalm 133) and drive along the northern border, where we will stop and look into southern Syria. Here we learn about the modern wars of Israel, primarily the 1967 and 1973 wars with Syria. We will then drive to the site of Qatzrin, a partially reconstructed Talmudic village. Here 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. From there, we will circle the northern end of the Sea of Galilee and will see where the Feeding of the 5,000 took place (John 6). Driving to the southeastern corner of the lake we ascend to the site of Hippos (also called Susita). This was a massive Roman city, one of the Decapolis cities mentioned in the Gospels. Our view of the lake below will be panoramic here from the small theater! We end the day by driving back to our hotel in Tiberias. After dinner, we meet down by the water’s edge once again to review the day.
Day 5 – Thursday, September 19: Arbel, Yardenit, Magdala, Chorazim, Capernaum, Sea of Galilee Boat Ride
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 of the whole Sea of Galilee below! Driving south to the southern end of the Sea of Galilee, we arrive at Yardenit. You will have the opportunity to reaffirm your baptism in the waters of the Jordan River. We will stop for a short visit at a Kinneret Cemetery and then drive to the NW corner of the lake to Magdala, the home of Mary Magdalene. Here we will see another 1st-century synagogue. Jesus must have taught from here! Among the other ruins are ritual baths. After lunch, where you can have fish from the Sea of Galilee, we visit Chorazin, one of the three cities condemned by Jesus (Mt. 11). We see the basaltic ruins of this city, including a synagogue dating to the 3rd century AD. Close by on the water’s edge, is Capernaum, the home center of ministry for Jesus here in Galilee. Here we read about the many stories related to the ministry of Jesus in the 4th-5th century synagogue. We also spend some reflection time on the shoreline. It was in this area that Jesus called His first disciples. We will end the day viewing the “Jesus boat” from the first century, a vessel found here along the shores of Galilee in 1986, and enjoy a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee, with a quiet and peaceful worship service. Upon landing, we return to our hotel for dinner and an optional gathering once again by the water.
Day 6 – Friday, September 20: Beth Shean, Shiloh, Jericho, Judean Desert, Jerusalem
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. Driving south along the Jordan Valley and then turning west into the area of Samaria, we visit the rather new excavations of Shiloh. This is where the Tabernacle once stood. Here we see impressive archaeological ruins dating to the days of Samuel. Driving past Bethel (Gen. 12, 28) and through the Desert of Pareth (Jeremiah 13), our next stop is Jericho. After a late lunch here, we climb the tel (ancient mound) to see portions of the fortification wall that supported the mud-brick walls that “came tumblin’ down” (Joshua 6). From here we drive to Jerusalem for dinner and overnight. After checking in at our hotel and dinner, an optional walk to the Western Wall will take place.
Day 7 – Saturday, September 21: Masada, Ein Gedi, Qumran, Wilderness of Judah, Dead Sea Float, Jerusalem
This morning, we begin our drive to the lowest point on Earth, along the western coastline of the Dead Sea to Masada. Here we ascend high upon the wilderness mountain by way of a cable car to the fortress built by King Herod. We survey the ruins of the fortifications, waterworks, synagogue, temples, and palaces. An optional walk down the Snake Path will be offered. Our next stop is Ein Gedi, where David hid from King Saul, Here, we’ll enjoy a walk to some of the waterfallsin the canyon. Finally, we visit Qumran and the settlement of the first-century sect known as the Essenes, the authors of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Over the lunch hour, you will have the opportunity to explore a few of the caves above the site. En route to Jerusalem, make a brief stop at Wadi Qelt. Here we hear the words of Isaiah 40 and Psalm 23 in the context of the Judea Desert. We end the day with a time to float in the Dead Sea before returning to Jerusalem for overnight.
Day 8 – Sunday, September 22: Herodium, Bethlehem, Israel Museum, the “Shephelah”/Lowlands of Judah
We begin the day by driving southeast to Herodium. This was one of Herod the Great’s palace-fortresses. The view from the top of this site of Bethlehem, Jerusalem, Tekoa, the Judean Desert, and on a clear day, the Dead Sea will be amazing! Herodium is where Herod was buried. Nearby are the Shepherd Fields. Located in Beit Sahour, we will sing a few Christmas carols in celebration of Christ’s birth. We will also visit an olive factory/store in Bethlehem. In the afternoon, after lunch, we drive back into western Jerusalem to see the fascinating Israel Museum and the model of Jerusalem (1:50 scale model of Herodian Jerusalem as it would have appeared in Jesus’ time). Here we also explore some of the artifacts in the archaeological museum. We end the day driving west to see a few sites in the Shephelah (Lowlands) of Judah. Dependent upon time and dirt road conditions, we will see sites such as Gezer, Beth Shemesh, Qeiyafa (or Socoh), where David fought Goliath, and perhaps Lachish (time permitting).
Day 9 – Monday, September 23: Mt. of Olives, Garden of Gethsemane, Pool of Bethesda, Yad Vashem
We get our first glimpse of Jerusalem from the Mt. of Olives, beholding a breathtaking panorama of the Holy City. We walk down the “Palm Sunday” route to the Garden of Gethsemane. Next, we enter the Old City of Jerusalem through the Lion’s Gate (St. Stephens) and visit the Pools of Bethesda (John 5). We also enjoy some marvelous singing in St. Anne’s church from the Crusader period. Our walk through the Old City will take us on the Via Dolorosa to the Christian Quarter and to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. We end the day with a visit to Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust Museum. We see the children’s memorial and then have some time to walk through the rest of the museum on our own. We return to our hotel in Jerusalem for dinner and a free evening to allow you to explore or relax.
Day 10 – Tuesday, September 24: City of David, Hezekiah’s Tunnel, Southern Wall Excavations, Western Wall, a Few Free Hours, Garden Tomb
We begin the day by visiting the Western Wall tunnels and viewing some of the amazing stones that are the foundation of the temple mound. We will also see some of the latest excavations beneath the modern city. From here, we go to “Robinson’s Arch” and the southern wall excavations. We walk on a Roman street and ascend the Temple steps. Before lunch, we visit the City of David and the new excavations of David’s palace. Those who want to will take an optional walk through the water of Hezekiah’s Tunnel (1,720 feet long). We then sit on the steps of the Siloam Pool and listen to the story of John 9. We eat lunch in the Jewish Quarter (not included) and enjoy a few hours of free time (or visit the Western Wall). Our day ends at the Garden Tomb for Communion. We proceed to a local restaurant for our farewell dinner. After dinner, we will transfer to the airport for our flight back to the U.S.A. Those taking the extension will have one more overnight in Jerusalem.
Day 11 – Wednesday, September 25: Arrive Home
We arrive back in the U.S.A. After going through U.S. Customs, we board our domestic flight back to our homes at the end of a life transforming trip!
OPTIONAL ATHENS, GREECE EXTENSION $1747.00 per person
Pricing is based on a minimum of 15 travelers (Includes: One-way flight to Athens, air taxes of $55 & gratuities of $60)
Day 11 – Wednesday, September 25: Athens
For those going to Greece, we will tranfer to the airport for our flight to Athens. Upon arrival, we are met by our Greek guide and driver. First, we enjoy a bus tour of the Constitution Square with the House of Parliament and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the Temple of Zeus, the Old Olympic Stadium and the Neoclassical Buildings of Athens. We then go to the world-renowned Acropolis to see the Propylaea, the Erechtheum and the incredible Parthenon. We also visit Mars Hill, where Paul delivered his ingenious speech on the “Unknown God” (Acts 17). From here we view the Agora, the ancient center of the economic and public life of the city, where Paul preached to the skeptical Athenians. We head back to our hotel for dinner. An optional hike up to the top of Mt. Lycabetus (for the best view of Athens) will be offered.
Day 12 – Thursday, September 26: Delphi, Athens
Today we enjoy the marvelous archaeological site of Delphi. This site is one of the best preserved classic Greek sites in the country! Here we tour the ancient oracle of Apollo at Delphi. We will also visit the local museum with its renown bronze statue of the charioteer. Then, we will see the stadium where the ancient Pythian athletic games were held every four years. Second only to the Olympic games in fame, these games were in honor of Apollo. Next, we see the temple of Apollo where the young priestess Pythia gave her prophecies. After seeing the site, we drive back to Athens for some free time in the late afternoon and evening. You may want to walk through modern Plaka for shopping and grab dinner on your own at a classic Greek restaurant. Of course, dinner awaits us also at the hotel as well, and our second overnight here in Greece’s capital city!
Day 13 – Friday, September 27: Corinth, Mycenae, Athens
We start the day by visiting the site of ancient Corinth. We will cross the famous Corinthian Canal to get there. Located in the Peloponnese of Greece, this was the once glorious city near the Isthmus where Paul met Aquila and Priscilla and spent a year and a half preaching the Word of God. We visit the Archaeological Museum, the Forum, the Temple of Apollo, the Roman forum and the famous Bema where Paul stood before Gallio, accused by the Jews of Corinth. About 30 minutes away is the site of Mycenae, the legendary city rival of Troy, and described by Homer as “Mycenae rich in Gold.” This city dates back to the late Bronze Age, and is famous for the “beehive” Tomb of Agamemnon (Treasury of Atreus) and the gold masks. On the way back to Athens, we will pass by Cenchreae, the little harbor from which Paul sailed back to Asia, thus ending his second missionary journey. We arrive back to our hotel in Athens for dinner and a free night.
Day 14 – Saturday, September 28: Day Cruise to Aegina, Poros, and Hydra
We spend our last day here in Greece on the Aegean Sea to get a relaxing taste of Greek island life. We board a small ferry ship and visit the islands of Aegina, Poros, and Hydra. These islands are spectacularly beautiful! The quaint port free excursions provide a picturesque opportunity to experience a close-up taste of Greek culture, food, and shopping. On board the ship we enjoy lunch and folklore dances from various regions of Greece. We return to our hotel in Athens for dinner and overnight.
Day 15 – Sunday, September 29: Flight Home
We wake up early for our morning flight back home. Upon arrival, we go through normal passport customs and board our connecting flights home. We take home our new memories and a greater understanding of Paul and his journey to spread Christianity.
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.