12 DAY INTENSIVE HOLYLAND TOUR
Boat Ride on Sea of Galilee / Jesus Boat + Kibbutz Tour / Golan Heights Caesarea Phillipi / Tel Dan / Korazin / Mt of Beatitudes / Capernaum / Tabgha / Yardenit Baptism / Tiberias
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DAY 1: Depart USA to Tel Aviv
DAY 2: Arrival
Arrival in the Holyland in the afternoon/evening where you will be met by a representative to assist you through customs, and transferred to your hotel on the Mediterranean Coast for dinner and overnight. .OR , if a morning arrival (more expensive Air flight by either United or El Al) the tour-leader may decide (well ahead of time please – preferably when you book the tour) to go to Tiberias for dinner and overnight, visiting Caesarea and the Carmel on the way , and adjusting the other parts of the itinerary accordingly.
DAY 3: Caesarea / Carmel / Megiddo(Armageddon/ Nazareth / Tiberias
We proceed to Caesarea to visit the Crusader Fortress built upon the ancient city of Caesarea, named after Augustus Caesar, who imposed the tax that brought Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem. Here we will visit a beautiful example of the Roman Amphitheatre, where the group can experience the acoustics of a structure built in the days of Christ. Continue to Mount Carmel where Elijah issued his challenge to the False Prophets. Visit a Druze Village. We proceed to Megiddo, Site of the Armageddon, where 22 layers of civilization have been excavated , down to King Solomon’s Stables. Now on to the precipice at Nazareth, where Jesus spent the silent years of his life. From Nazareth the road winds down to Tiberias and the beautiful Sea of Galilee.
Dinner and overnight at your hotel in the Galilee.
DAY 4: Boat Ride on Sea of Galilee / Jesus Boat + Kibbutz Tour / Golan Heights Caesarea Phillipi / Tel Dan / Korazin / Mt of Beatitudes / Capernaum / Tabgha / Yardenit Baptism / Tiberias
Today we rise early and board our boat for a cruise on the Sea of Galilee. We visit the “Jesus Boat” at Kibbutz on Nof Ginossar, then we have a short tour of the kibbutz, exploring this exciting way of life so similar to the earliest Christians.
We then take the road through the Golan Heights where we will hear the explanations of the strategic and political significance of this area. On the Golan Heights we will visit Caesarea Phillipi at Banias, which is the Site of the Transfiguration; continue to Tel Dan Nature Reserve, source of the Dan River leading into the Jordan and containing the remains of an ancient city from the period of the First Temple thought to be the center of the Dan tribe; pass Korazin, where there are remains of a 1st.Century synagogue similar to Capernaum (these last 3 are the places which were cursed and which were indeed totally destroyed in an earthquake in 742 C.E.); return to the Sea of Galilee area where much of the Galilean Ministry took place. Here were the homes of the disciples James, Simon, John and Andrew. Near here Jesus gave Beatitudes and taught in the synagogue on many occasions and performed many miracles. The group will pray together at the Mt of Beatitudes. We then proceed to visit Tabgha where 5,000 were fed by Jesus who performed the miracle of the multiplication of fish and loaves. Visit Capernaum, and end a magnificent day with a visit to Yardenit, the traditional baptismal site on the Jordan River. Return to hotel for dinner and overnight.
DAY 5: Boat Ride on Sea of Galilee / Jesus Boat + Kibbutz Tour / Golan Heights (Caesarea Phillipi) / Kursi (Pig Jump) / Mt of Beatitudes / Capernaum / Tabgha / Yardenit / Tiberias
We proceed through the city of Beit Shean: one of the earliest and most important cities in Israel from the time of the Canaanites. It was here the Philistines impaled King Saul’s body to the city wall: we view its magnificent excavations. We continue through the Jordan Valley passing by Jericho, visit the first city conquered by the Israelites in the Promised Land. We view the Mount of Temptation and continue through the Plains of Jericho and Arava. Viewing St Jerome’s Monastery, Beth Arava and Mt Nebo.
Then onto the Dead Sea, lowest spot on earth and Qumran, center of the Essenes. Visit the ancient caves of Qumran where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found. Continue south to Ein Fascha, viewing across the saltiest sea in the world the fortress where John the Baptist was beheaded.
Visit an ancient ferry boat station and the desert where ibex roam at Ein Gedi, David’s hideout from Saul, and on to the mighty fortress Massada, last stronghold and stand of the zealots against Rome, on the edge of the barren Negev Desert. Massada is a symbol of courage and perseverance for the Jewish People, where 960 Jewish defenders organized their last resistance to the Roman conquerors and took their own lives rather than surrender into slavery. Continue from Massada to Eilat for dinner and overnight.
Those who wish to do so may swim (float) in the salty waters of the Dead Sea on the way to Eilat for dinner and overnight.
DAY 6: Eilat
We visit the world-famous Underwater Observatory, and then from 10 a.m we cruise on the Red Sea in our private yacht including lunch (snorkeling, swimming). The remainder of the day is at leisure in Eilat, the # 1 Winter Resort for Europe and Israel (Optional activities available are many and varied, such as “Swim with the Dolphins”, Desert Jeep mini-safari etc.).
Dinner and Overnight at hotel.
DAY 7: OPTIONAL TOUR TO PETRA (Extra Cost)
A full day tour to exciting Petra in Jordan, one of the 7 wonders of the world. We cross the border at Eilat and drive up to Petra where we will spend the whole day , including lunch, exploring this magnificent Biblical site: this city carved into the pink rock.
At the end of this magnificent day we return to Eilat for dinner and overnight.
DAY 8: Eilat / King Solomon’s Mines / Negev Desert/ Mitzpe Ramon / Avdat / Wilderness of Zin / Sde Boker /Bersheva (Wells of Abraham) / Elah Valley / Jerusalem
Leave Eilat early morning and drive through the fascinating Negev Desert, passing King Solomon’s Mines to the town of Mitzpe Ramon, where there is a magnificent view of the Great Crater. Continue to Avdat, an ancient Nabatean city which supported a population of 100,000 people in the 5th. Century. Modern day archaeologists are trying to reconstruct the ancient systems of irrigation so that we can learn how to do it. We continue into the desert proper to Kibbutz Sde Boker, the home of Israel’s first Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion. We walk into the desert in single file on a narrow path in a crevice between two high precipices and after half-an-hour arrive at a waterfall and natural pool in the middle of the desert. This is the fabled Wilderness of Zin ! Return to Sde Boker for a late lunch. Continue to the city of Bersheva, passing the site of Abraham’s Well, and continue to the Valley of Elah, where David killed Goliath and the Israelites defeated the Philistine Army. We stop at the exact spot.
Continue to Jerusalem for dinner and overnight.
DAY 9: Hills of Jerusalem / City of David / House of Caiaphas / Mt Zion / Upper Room / Yad V’shem / Rabbi’s Tunnel / Bethlehem / Jerusalem
This morning we start the day at Mt of Olives for an introduction to Jerusalem. Ascend the mountains of Jerusalem from Scopus to Mt of Olives for an outstanding breathtaking view of the city across the Kidron Valley to the Eastern Gate; see Chapel of Ascension, Pater Noster and Dominus Flevit. Walk down Palm Sunday Road and visit the Garden of Gethsemane, cross Mount Moriah viewing the Tombs of Absalom, Saint James and Zacharia. Travel around the temple pinnacle to the City of David and on to the house of Caiaphas at Saint Peter in Gallicantu. Continue to Mount Zion, the Upper Room and Tomb of King David. Drive to Yad V’shem, the memorial to the Holocaust and 6 million Jews murdered by the Nazis. Continue to the southern suburbs where there is an overview Bethlehem and the Shepherd’s Field.
We will visit the famous Rabbi’s Tunnel, running along the base of the Western Wall (Owing to the enormous demand, and limited access to this fascinating site, our visit may take place at any time of day or night during our stay in Jerusalem).
Dinner and overnight at your hotel in Jerusalem.
DAY 10 : Old City of Jerusalem / Pool of Bethesda / Praetorium / Fortres of Antonia / View of Temple Mount / Western Wall / Via Dolorosa / Jaffa Gate
Enter the Old City through St Stephen’s Gate; Visit the Pool of Bethesda where Jesus cured an invalid man; continue to the Praetorium, site of the public trial of Christ, and his condemnation, and view its ancient remains in the Fortress of Antonia, seat of the Roman Procurator; proceed to the Temple Mount to view the Mosque of Omar and visit the Western Wall, a sacred site for the Jewish People. Continue through the picturesque market streets past the Citadel of David and exit through the Jaffa Gate, passing the Stations of the Cross along the Via Dolorosa and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre on the way.
Dinner and overnight at your hotel in Jerusalem.
DAY 11 : Bethel / New Jerusalem /Israel Museum/ Scale Model of Biblical Jerusalem / Dead Sea Scrolls/ Cardo Maximo / Southern Steps of Ancient Temple/Garden Tomb
Begin the day early with a special visit to Biblical Shilo and Bethel (subject to security considerations); continue in the new part of Jerusalem by visiting the Israel Museum where there is a scale model of the city of Jerusalem from New Testament Times, including the Second Temple. Also at the Museum visit the Dead Sea Scrolls, housed in a specially prepared building. Continue via the Knesset (Israeli Parliament) and downtown Jerusalem, to Old Jerusalem’s reconstructed Jewish Quarter. See the Ancient Cardo Maximo and confirmation of historic sites of yesteryear. Visit to the Southern Steps, the archaeological reconstruction of the Temple Steps where Jesus walked so often.
Farewell Dinner and overnight at your hotel in Jerusalem (OR if on overnight flight by United or El Al, you will have your Farewell Dinner at a Middle-Eastern restaurant in Abu Ghosh and continue from there for check-in at the airport. Please Note: Flights on United or El Al save one night hotel accommodation , but are usually about $250-$400 per person more expensive than the good European airlines)
DAY 12: Leave Israel in the morning and arrive back to the USA same day.