12 Day Tour Israel/Holy Land

Jordan River baptism
Ein Gedi Israel
Ancient Alley In Jewish Quarter, Jerusalem

Explore Israel, the Holy Land

Tour members meet for our flight to Israel. After dinner is served, it’s time to sit back, relax, and enjoy the on-board entertainment to prepare for this exciting adventure of a lifetime. Welcome to Ben Gurion International airport where you will be met by your guide and driver. Transfer to the Mediterranean coastal city of Netanya for check-in, our first amazing dinner and overnight. En-route to Galilee we will be visiting the following Biblical sites: Caesarea (Acts 10, 12, 23), Megiddo (Armageddon; 1 Kings 9:15; Rev. 16:16), and Mt. Carmel (1 Kings 18). We complete our tour overlooking the Jezreel Valley at Mt. Precipice, the traditional site for Jesus being chased out of Nazareth (Luke 4). Tonight we eat dinner at our hotel in Galilee. After breakfast, we make our way north through the Hula Valley stopping first at the excavations of Tel Hazor (Joshua 11) and then continue to Tel Dan where we will tour extensively and include a visit at the Canaanite – Bronze era mud brick gate that has been nicknamed the “Gate of Abraham”. At the foot of Mt Hermon, we will visit the springs of Banias and the site of Caesarea Philippi and Peter’s declaration in Mathew 16. Next we will visit one of the Druze villages perched on the Golan heights where we will have a stop for lunch (not included). After enjoying the tastes and spices of this Syrian/Lebanese cuisine we will head out into the Golan Heights and stop off for some lookout points along the Damascus Road to hear some of the modern military history in this region. We conclude our day with an opportunity to experience a Baptism or renewal in the waters of the Jordan! We return to our hotel in Galilee for dinner and overnight.

Scaling King Herod’s Ancient Fortress

We start our day atop the Mount of Beatitudes and read from Matthew 5, the Sermon on the Mount. We continue on to Capernaum, the center of ministry for Jesus in Galilee. Next, we visit Tabgha, remembering the story of the feeding of the 5,000 and John 21 with Jesus calling out to Peter to cast the fishing net on the right side. A recently excavated highlight to visit in Galilee is the 1st Century remains of Magdala including the greatest relic of all: A 2000 years old Synagogue. Following our stop for a St. Peters Fish optional lunch (not included) we enjoy a spectacular boat ride on the Sea of Galilee and a visit to Kibbutz Ginnosar (Gennesaret) where we will see the remains of a fisherman’s vessel discovered on the shores of the Sea of Galilee dating from the time of Jesus. We return to our hotel in Galilee for dinner and overnight. Leaving the Sea of Galilee behind us, we drive southwards through the Jordan River Valley to Beit Shean- a city built at the crossroads between Jezreel and Jordan Valley. Here we will tour the extensive Roman-Byzantine stunning remains of a city that was once part of the Decapolis, and where the bodies of King Saul and his sons were exhibited after battling the Philistines (1st Samuel 31). Continuing southbound through the Jordan Valley and Judean Desert we arrive at the shores of the Dead Sea to visit the site of the Dead Sea Scrolls community, Qumran. Here we will step into the lives of the community of “Yahad”, who hid in the surrounding caves scrolls that are dated to the 1st Century AD and earlier, parallel to the days of John the Baptist and Jesus. From amongst the surrounding caves, starting with a chance find in 1947, will emerge the most important archeological relic of all: The Dead Sea Scrolls – with the earliest of Hebrew Biblical scriptures. Continuing our journey we reach the desert oasis of Ein Gedi, prominent in King Saul’s pursuit of King David in 1st Samuel. A stunning short trail walk to David’s Waterfall amongst the flowing waters of a desert oasis! Continuing on to the Dead Sea Spa hotel for some free time to float in the mineral rich Dead Sea waters as well as enjoy the Spa (treatments not included) and hotel facilities before dinner is served. We overnight in the Dead Sea Spa Hotel. After another fantastic Israeli breakfast, we begin our touring day at Masada, the desert fortress built by King Herod and later used by Jewish Zealots for their last stand against the Roman Empire. We will ascend upon the wilderness mountain top fortress, by way of cable car, to survey the ruins of the fortifications, waterworks, the synagogue and palaces. We will stop for lunch in the ancient city of Jericho adjacent to Tel Jericho where we will begin our journey from the lowest city in the world, Jericho, to the highest, Jerusalem (at least spiritually speaking!). Arriving this afternoon on top of the Mount of Olives, following the Palm Sunday route down the mountain walking in the footsteps of Jesus and Holy Week. Concluding at the Garden of Gethsemane we will have some private time for prayer and devotion in the garden before checking in to our hotel in Jerusalem. In the evening after dinner, we will venture out to the spectacular Sound and Light show at the Tower of David Citadel in the Old City. We return to our hotel for overnight. Outside of the Temple Mount, and outside the city in the context of John 5, is the relics of the Bethesda pools! After readings and time to reflect we will continue into the Old City and following the Via Dolorosa we will arrive at the sites that represent Good Friday, leading from the trial of Pontus Pilate up to the Rock of Calvary and the Tomb of Joseph of Arimathea. We will continue exploring the Old City and tour the Jewish Quarter including the excavations of the Temple’s Southern Steps, Robinson Arch and Ophel excavations adjacent to the Temple Mount and Western Wall – where we will witness the prophecy of destruction, as not one stone will be left upon another. We will conclude with the Jebusite, Davidic and First Temple Era relics unearthed at excavations that have been ongoing at the City of David, and will arrive at the Pool of Siloam (John 9). The end of the day has an opportunity for those who wish to put on their water shoes, turn on a flashlight and walk through the flowing waters of the 2700 years old Shiloah Tunnel (Hezekiah’s Tunnel), before returning to the hotel. We return to our hotel in Jerusalem for dinner and overnight.

The Valley where David Fought Goliath

Picking up Holy week and the events that we visited in Gethsemane the previous day, we will first continue in the footsteps of Jesus and the betrayal as we arrive at the site that commemorates the trials of Jesus presented to the Sanhedrin and Peter’s denial in the courtyard of Caiaphas. We will continue with a short drive to the city of Bethlehem where we will walk through Manger Square to visit the Church of Nativity, the oldest Church in the Holy Land. Next, visit Shepherds’ field and hear the tale of Bethlehem from the local Christian Palestinian population both historically and also a glimpse into everyday life today and the traditional artwork of olive wood carvings made here by local Christian artisans of Bethlehem. We return to our hotel in Jerusalem for dinner and overnight. First thing in the morning is to rise up and onto the Temple Mount, visiting the site of where the Temple once stood. After seeing so much archeology in this land of history, today we have a unique hands-on experience sifting through the excavated debris of ancient Jerusalem, looking for hidden treasures of the past. This guided hands-on archeological experience will give us a further understanding of the methods and science behind archeological excavations as well as the history of Jerusalem that we have toured and experienced during our Pilgrimage. Traveling along the hill country, northbound through the regions of ancient Judea and Samaria (The West Bank) we arrive at the excavations of Tel Shiloh where the tabernacle was situated for 369 yrs. We join the footsteps of Joshua, Samuel and even the brides to be in the winepresses as we examine the relics of this ancient spiritual center of Israel! Continuing to the northern Biblical city of the hill country – Ancient Shechem – located between Mt. Gerizim (Blessing Hill) and Mt. Ebal (Cursing Hill) (Deut. 11:29) we will view the region of modern-day Nablus and point-out Tell Balata while recalling the Biblical references beginning with the covenant of Abraham and the Land of Canaan, as well as Jacob, Dinah, Joseph and the Northern Tribes rejection of King Rehoboam of Judah. In the Gospel of John, chapter 4, Jesus meeting the Samarian Lady at the well, this is the region of Samaria with the ancient Samarian communities still today revering the sanctity of Mt. Gerizim. We will view the destroyed Samarian temples of antiquity and visit the Samarian community village and museum adjacent to the site of antiquities. This evening we will enjoy a hands-on Israeli cuisine workshop with full participation required and wine included, as our celebration dinner to complete a hands-on practical day in both Biblical and Modern Israel! We overnight at our hotel in Jerusalem. After check-out from our Jerusalem Hotel, we begin our final day that takes us both to the depths of the darkest chapters of history, in the context of Holocaust, as well as to the peak of spiritual history and pinnacle of any Pilgrimage – The Garden Tomb. We travel through modern West Jerusalem to visit the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial and exhibition for a guided tour and then proceed to the heart of West Jerusalem to visit the Israel Museum including the Dead Sea Scrolls housed in the iconic Shrine of the Book exhibition and the impressive model of Jerusalem from the Second Temple Era. En-route we will see the Knesset, Israel’s parliament building and the Supreme Court building. Then crossing into East Jerusalem we arrive at the Garden Tomb, also known as Gordon’s Calvary, linked to the Crucifixion, Burial, and The Resurrection of Jesus; here we will celebrate Communion together having toured through the Garden viewing Golgotha and the empty Tomb! Our journey out of the hill country takes us through the Ellah Valley in the footsteps of David and Goliath. Arriving on the Coastal Plain we will conclude our tour on the Mediterranean Coast with a tour of Jaffa and a celebratory Farewell dinner before transferring to the airport for the return flight. Having experienced together the Land of the Bible, we begin the return journey home with everlasting memories to forever cherish, plus a further connection to Scripture through having walked, witnessed and read the text within the context of this ancient land. We enjoy a special farewell dinner this evening in Jaffa before we transfer to the airport for our flight home. We arrive back in the U.S.A. today. At the close of an unforgettable tour, we take home wonderful memories of the Old and New Testament, a renewal of our faith, and a greater understanding of the life of our Lord.