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Day 1: ARRIVAL IN ISRAEL / WELCOME TO THE HOLY LAND / VISIT OLD JAFFA
Welcome to Israel! Arrive at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion International Airport. You will be met and assisted by our airport representative and transferred to Tel Aviv – Israel’s largest and most modern city. Check in at the Hotel, unpack and rest. Our hotel in Tel Aviv is conveniently located in the heart of the city. After the welcome dinner please join us for our tour orientation meeting, where you will meet your traveling companions and your expert tour guide. Spend free time resting and relaxing at your hotel room or stroll the famous Tel Aviv sidewalk and enjoy your first evening in Israel. Dinner and overnight in Tel Aviv.
Day 2: THE MEDITERRANEAN COAST & THE SEA OF GALILEE
After an early breakfast start your day of touring by heading north to the Sea of Galilee. We will have a relaxing drive along the beautiful coast of the Mediterranean Sea and stop at Caesarea Maritima (Acts 9:30 Acts 10 & 24-26), which was a center for early Christians. Here Cornelius the Centurion and his household were saved and baptized (Acts 10), and it was also here where Paul made his defense before Festus and King Agrippa prior to his final journey to Rome (Acts 25 & 26). Next we will stop at Mount Carmel (Muhraka), where Elijah issued his challenge to the False Prophets. Then on to Megiddo (1 Kings 4:28, 9:15 & 2 Kings 23:29) and the Valley of Armageddon (Rev.16:16), to see the remains from Solomon’s days, and view the site where the Battle of Armageddon will be fought. We will continue along the Jezreel Valley to visit the town of Nazareth (Luke 1:26, 4:16-29, Matthew 2:23). We will take in an unforgettable view of the city of Nazareth from the top of Mt. Precipice, also known as Mount of Precipitation, or Mount of the Leap of the Lord. It is believed to be the site of the rejection of Jesus, described in Luke 4:29-30. (*If time permits we will also visit the Church of the Annunciation). Next we will drive to Cana of Galilee, where Jesus performed his first public miracle – the turning of water into wine at a wedding feast (John 2:1-11). We will end our first day of touring Israel by driving through the Lower Galilee Region to the beautiful Sea of Galilee and the town of Tiberias. Our centrally located hotel is situated right in the town’s center and on the shores of the Sea of Galilee. Check in and eat dinner at our hotel before enjoying a free evening to walk along the shores of the Sea of Galilee and explore the town of Tiberias.
Day 3: SEA OF GALILEE, THE UPPER GALILEE AND THE GOLAN HEIGHTS
Today we will discover the tranquil Galilee Region and the beautiful Golan Heights. After breakfast we will board a wooden boat and sail on the Sea of Galilee as the disciples did 2,000 years ago. We will dock at Kibbutz Nof Genossar and visit the “Ancient Jesus Boat” – the remains of a 2,000 years old boat that was discovered in 1986. This boat was used at the time of Jesus and his disciples. Next, we will drive up to the beautiful Golan Heights and learn about the ancient Jewish settlements in this region. We will visit Banias – ancient Caesarea Philippi. (Matt. 16:13 and Mark 8:27), where Jesus said, “On this rock I will build my Church”. We will drive through the natural Hula Valley and the Upper Galilee Region back to the Sea of Galilee. We will conclude this remarkable day with a visit to Yardenit – the wonderful baptismal site on the Jordan River. We will then return to our hotel for dinner.
Day 4: JESUS’ EARLY MINISTRY ALONG THE SEA OF GALILEE AND THE JORDAN RIVER – DEAD SEA
Today we will experience the area of Jesus’ early ministry around the Sea of Galilee. After breakfast we will drive along the shores of the Sea of Galilee and visit the Mount of Beatitudes (Matt. 5-8), where Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount. We will visit the famous chapel, constructed in 1939 by the noted architect Antonio Barluzzi and enjoy the breathtaking view. We will continue to Tabgha – the site of the Feeding of the 5,000 and Primacy of Peter (Matt. 13, Mark 33-45, & John 21). Here we will visit the Church of Multiplication with its 4th century mosaic floor. We will continue on to the 2,000 year old remains of Capernaum (Matt. 4:13 13:54, 17:24, Luke 7, Mark 1:2, John 4:46-54). Here we can stand in what is left of the synagogue in which Jesus ministered. It was from this city that Jesus did most of his Galilean ministry, where he performed many miracles, and where Peter’s mother-in-law lived and was healed. From here we will drive south along the Beth Shean Valley and the ancient city of Beth Shean (Mark 5:20, 7:31) for an overview of this remarkable archaeological site. It was here that after defeating Saul and his sons on Mount Gilboa, the Philistines hanged their bodies on the walls of Beth Shean (1 Samuel 31). We will drive through the Jordan Valley, pass the city of Jericho, and stop for a visit at Qumran, and walk through the ruins of this ancient Essene community. In this spot, an amazing cache of ancient biblical texts was discovered in 1947 by a shepherd – commonly known as the Dead Sea Scrolls. The original documents are exhibited in the Israeli Museum in Jerusalem. We continue south and arrive at the lowest place on earth – the Dead Sea. At 1293 feet below sea level, you can sunbathe without any sunscreen protection and will not burn. We will check in to our spa hotel located on the shores of the Dead Sea. After check-in and before dinner, we will enjoy relaxing free time at our wonderful Dead Sea Resort Hotel with its own private beach. Walk down to our beach, float in the healing salty water of the Dead Sea, and take a dip in the beautiful swimming pools of our resort hotel. You can also take this opportunity to enjoy the Dead Sea’s famous mud and mineral treatments at our hotel’s spa. Dinner and overnight in Dead Sea.
Day 5: EXPLORING THE DEAD SEA AND THE JUDEAN DESERT / JERUSALEM
Today we will explore the Dead Sea and the Judean Desert Region and its biblical and historical sites. After breakfast, we will drive along the shores of the Dead Sea to one of the most spectacular sites in Israel – the 1,500 feet mountaintop fortress of Masada. Built by King Herod, Masada is famous for being the last stronghold of the Jewish rebellion against the Romans. We will ascend to Masada by cable car and discover the 1st century Synagogue, Herod’s Bathhouse and many other sites. We will continue along the shores of the Dead Sea for a look out on the oasis of Ein Gedi, where David hid in a cave when running from Saul (1 Samuel 23). From here we will ascend to Jerusalem – the Holy City of Zion. Upon arriving in Jerusalem, we will head to the top of the Mount of Olives to stand where the Lord ascended into heaven (Acts 1). From the Mount of Olives, we will take in a breathtaking panoramic view of the city across the Kidron Valley to the Eastern Gate, where the Prince of Peace will enter (Ezekiel 44). We will pass by Pater Noster Church and visit Dominus Flevit, where “the Lord wept” as he beheld the Holy City. We will take the Palm Sunday Road down to the Garden of Gethsemane, where we will see 2,000 year old olive trees that date back to the time of Christ. We will end our day with a dinner.
Day 6: THE STONES OF YOUR HERITAGE: TEMPLE MOUNT IN JESUS TIMES / JERUSALEM OLD & NEW CITY
Today we walk where Jesus walked. We will return to the Old City, where we will enter via the Dung Gate and visit the Southern Temple Mount archaeological excavations. Here we will visit the “Southern Steps” – the archaeological reconstruction of the Temple Steps where Jesus walked so often. From here, Jesus entered the Temple Mount and drove out the vendors and money- changers who were exploiting the people. We will visit the unearthed southern end of the Western Wall, the paved street and the Robinson’s Arch. At the Davidson Center Museum we will view a fascinating documentary of the excavation and a 10 minutes film describing the visit of a pilgrim to the second temple – to better understand what the Temple was like in Jesus times. We will continue our Old City exploration and walk through the historic Jewish Quarter all the way to Mt. Zion. Here we will visit the Tomb of King David and worship in the Upper Room (Luke 22) – the traditional site where Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper and where Thomas later cried, “My Lord and my God”. In the late afternoon, we will return to the Western Wall Plaza and visit the Western Wall (“Wailing Wall”) – the holiest site in Judaism and one of the original ancient walls that retained the Temple. We will have some free time to experience this holy site, to pray at the wall, and to sense the importance of this site to the Jewish and Christian people just before the entrance of the Shabbat. We will return to our hotel for dinner and overnight
Day 7: CITY OF ZION – PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE: JERUSALEM OLD CITY, BETHLEHEM
Following breakfast we will enter the Old City via the Lions’ Gate. The Lions’ Gate, located in the Eastern Wall of the Old City, is the entrance that marks the beginning of the last walk of Jesus from prison to the crucifixion – the Via Dolorosa. We will start our walk along the Stations of the Cross to visit the St. Anne Church and the Pool of Bethesda. We will continue to the Judgment Hall of Pilate all the way to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher (Matt. 27: 33-57, 28:10). After lunch we will enjoy some free time to rest and shop at the colorful Christian Quarter bazaars. We will drive through the New City of Jerusalem and pass by the Knesset – Israel’s parliament- and continue to Bethlehem* to visit the Church of the Nativity (Luke 2: 1-7). We will venture out to the Shepherd’s Field, referenced in Luke 2:8-20, where an angel appeared to announce the birth of Jesus. We will end our touring day visiting the Garden Tomb, where we will celebrate the resurrection with a time of prayer (Luke 23). We will end the day by driving back to our hotel for our great farewell dinner. We will share food with our new friends an d be inspired by all the memories from our journey – memories that will last a lifetime.
Day 8: TRANSFER TO AIR PORT – FLIGHT TO AMMAN– JERASH – AMMAN
After and early breakfast, transfer to Ben Gurion Airport for your flight to Amman on RJ343 at 8:30am. On arrival, get your visas and collect your luggage, then you will be met by your Jordanian guide and driver. Begin your journey in Jordan by heading north to Jerash. The ancient city of Jerash boasts an unbroken chain of human occupation dating back more than 6,500 years. The city’s golden age came under Roman rule and the site is now generally acknowledged to be one of the best-preserved Roman provincial towns in the world. Hidden for centuries in sand before being excavated and restored over the past 70 years, Jerash reveals a fine example of the grand, formal provincial Roman urbanism that is found throughout the Middle East, comprising paved and colonnaded streets, soaring hilltop temples, handsome theaters, spacious public squares and plazas, baths, fountains and city walls pierced by towers and gates. In Jerash you will visit the ruins of one of the grandest Roman cities in the Middle East. You will see the Triumphal Arch, the Hippodrome, the Temple of Zeus, the Forum, the mile long street of Columns, the Nymphaeum, the Temple of Artemis and the Viaduct Church. The Amphitheater is still used for an arts festival and is remarkably well preserved. Afterwards continue to Amman for a city tour. Amman was known as Rabbath-Ammon during the Iron Age and later as Philadelphia, the ancient city that was once part of the Decapolis league. The site which is known as the Citadel includes many structures such as the Temple of Hercules, the Umayyad Palace and the Byzantine Church. At the foot of the Citadel lies the 6,000 seat Roman Theater, which is a deep-sided bowl carved into the hill and is still being used for cultural events. Overnight in Amman.
Day 9: BETHANY – MT. NEBO – MADABA – KERAK – PETRA
After breakfast, depart for the Jordan valley and the site of Bethany, home to John the Baptist and the location of an amazing archeological site. View the baptism pools recently uncovered, and the remains of a Byzantine church, and visit the banks of the Jordan River. Continue to Mount Nebo where you will visit the church on top of the hill from where, it is believed, Moses viewed the Promised Land. His tomb is also located at this site, as well as a beautiful array of mosaics in the floor of the church. You will be able to experience the spectacular panorama of the Jordan Valley, Jericho and the Judean Hills, just as Moses did. Afterwards, head to Madaba where you will visit the St. George Church, home to a stunning mosaic map of the ancient Middle East. Continue to the Crusader fortress of Kerak to visit the site then on to Petra for overnight.
Day 10: PETRA – WADI RUM
After breakfast you will begin your exploration of Petra, the “Rose Red City.” This incredible hidden city, inhabited by the ancient Nabateans, lay concealed from 100 AD until it was re-discovered in the early 1800’s. Walk to the “Siq” (Canyon) entrance then continue the rest of the way through the narrow, winding cut in rocks into the valley. Your first glimpse of the magnificence of the place will be of the Treasury as you round the last bend on the pathway. The Treasury and the other buildings have been carved out of the canyon walls in the pink sandstone. Continue past the Roman Theater, the Corinthian Tomb and the Palace Tomb. Depart for Wadi Rum in the late afternoon for dinner and overnight at the Jabal Rum Camp.
Day 11: WADI RUM – DEAD SEA
After breakfast, depart for a 3 hour 4×4 jeep tour of Wadi Rum. Also known as ‘The Valley of the Moon’, Wadi Rum is the place where Prince Faisal Bin Hussein and T.E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia) based their headquarters during the Arab Revolt against the Ottomans in World War I, their exploits intrinsically woven into the history of this amazing area. Afterwards continue to the Dead Sea for free time to enjoy the therapeutic waters and relax. Overnight at the Dead Sea.
Day 12: DEPARTURE
Early morning transfer to the airport for your departure flight.
End of services.
*Site under the Palestinian Authority Jurisdiction. Visit subject to situation.
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Included in Israel:
Included in Jordan: