Visit Israel for a Life-Changing Experience
In Tel Aviv, we are met by our agent who assists us through customs and security. We transfer to our luxury motor coach for a short drive to our hotel in Netanya in time for our welcome dinner. Today we depart for the Galilee, visiting the following Biblical sites: Caesarea where Peter proclaimed the Good News to the Roman Centurion and later where Paul made his appeal to Rome. Next, we drive up Mt. Carmel to see where Elijah brought down the fire of God. From there we look over the Valley of Armageddon. We continue to visit Israel as we stop at Tel Megiddo to see an ancient site from Old Testament times. Then we go on to Nazareth to visit a remarkable newly authenticated site, the boyhood home of Jesus! We visit the massive Church of the Annunciation in Nazareth and then make our way to Cana. Those who are traveling with their spouses will have an opportunity to renew their vows at this beautiful church. We’ll arrive in Tiberias for dinner and overnight. Most of today will be exploring the ministry locations of our Lord around the Sea of Galilee. Places you have heard and read about will come to light: Mt. of Beatitudes, Capernaum, Magdala, Mt. of Transfiguration, the site of the First Breakfast, and the Sea of Galilee itself as we visit Israel. If we have time, we will go to city of Sephoris where it is likely Joseph and Jesus worked during his early years! His humanity and his divinity will be brought into our focus in an unforgettable way. Dinner and overnight are at our hotel in Tiberias.
The Fortress Built by King Herod
After breakfast, we drive to Caesarea Philippi, where Peter made his faith confession. We will have a short hike/walk to Tel Dan where we will see the gate of Jeroboam. Afterwards, we visit Beit Shean, one of the best preserved Decapolis Roman cities. On the way we will stop at Jericho and visit the original baptismal site of our Lord along the Jordan. Next, we stop on the way to the majestic city of Jerusalem and look at the ancient monastery of St. George’s at the Wadi Qelt. As we enter the Eternal City of Jerusalem, you will notice it is quiet due to the Sabbath. We have dinner and overnight at our hotel near the Jaffa Gate. Our first stop will be at Masada, where we will make our way by cable car to the fortress built by King Herod. Next, we drive to Ein Gedi where David hid from King Saul. As we visit Israel a short drive takes us to Qumran, the location of the Dead Sea Scrolls discovery. Afterwards, we follow the road south along the western shore of the Dead Sea. We will make a special stop at the Dead Sea for a short swim. Dinner and overnight are in Jerusalem. We begin this day, Sunday, with a visit to the epicenter of the Christian faith, The Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Our pilgrimage will continue as we visit Israel along the Palm Sunday Road beginning at the Mount of Olives and continuing to the Garden of Gethsemane with its ancient olive groves. We will have a special Eucharist this day in a beautiful, private setting near the Garden next to the Church of the Agony . While we visit Israel, we journey to Jerusalem through the Zion Gate and walk to the holiest site in the entire Jewish world, the Western Wall of Herod’s temple. From the temple area, we walk to St. Stephen’s Gate, St. Anne’s Church, and the Pools of Bethesda from John 5. We will have dinner and overnight in Jerusalem.
Did You Know? The Dead Sea is the lowest spot on Earth.
Visiting Jesus’ Birthplace
After breakfast, we continue to visit Israel to the Israeli Museum where we will see a fascinating scale model of Jerusalem at the time of Jesus. We will be at the Shrine of the Book, where the Dead Sea Scrolls are displayed. Next, we will go back to the Old City again and spend time in the archaeological excavations along the ancient temple steps. Then we will take a breathtaking tour of the Western Wall through its archeological tunnels. The beauty of the city, the complexity of the site, and the achievements of the ancient builders will make for an unforgettable day. As we visit Israel we will stop at St. Peter Gallicantu and the ancient Roman steps outside the house of Caiaphas. We are certainly following in the footsteps of Jesus. Then dinner and overnight are in Jerusalem. We will have time to make our way to Bethlehem to visit the oldest church in the world, the Church of the Holy Nativity. We will be able to get into the grotto cave where Jesus was born. We have been where Jesus was born. We visit the Cave of St. Jerome as well. Then we make time to climb up the Herodian, a literally Herod-made mountain where he interrogated the Magi. In the afternoon, we have some free time to do more exploring, see a few more vistas, or even do some shopping in the Old City. We leave Jerusalem for a farewell dinner in the ancient port of Joppa near Tel Aviv, say good-bye to our excellent guide and driver and board a late night flight back to the States. Those joining the extension will return to hotel for overnight.
Optional Eilat & Jordan Extension
We depart after breakfast and transfer to Tel Aviv Airport for our flight to Eilat. The Gulf of Eilat, which is part of the Red Sea, is the northernmost, and hence the coldest tropical sea in the world, and is considered one of the most beautiful seas. Its water supports an unequaled variety of aquatic life forms, coral and fish, in a myriad of shapes and sizes. For those interested in swimming or snorkeling in the Red Sea, available for an additional fee, we have ample time to do so. Dinner and overnight are in Eilat. After breakfast, we have a short transfer to the Arava border for Jordan. We meet our Jordanian guide and board our motorcoach for our sightseeing tour of Petra, “rose red city half as old as time.” At this ancient Edomite and Nabatean capital, we see the spectacular “city of the dead,” with its famed gorge, ancient streets, temples, dwelling places and tombs, carved in the solid rock. Then we arrive at El-Ji Post, and continue to visit Israel to the one-mile journey on horseback, or foot, passing through the famous Siq and arrive at the Treasury. In the afternoon, we visit Roman Temple Ruins of Roman City, Nabatean Judgment Hall, Palace Tombs, famous Urn Temple, and Roman Amphitheater. Those willing to climb may view the Monastery, Jebel Harun, supposed to be the burial place of Aaron. We then journey back to El-Ji Post. We return to the Arava border for Eilat. Dinner and overnight are in Eilat. After breakfast, we leave Eilat and drive back up to Tel Aviv, enjoying the incredible scenery and viewing the Ramon Crater. We arrive in Jaffa in time for dinner and then transfer to Ben Gurion Airport for our late evening return flight home.