7 NIGHTS / 8 DAYS
Evangelical Israel - Holy land Experience… We invite you to immerse yourself in the history and culture of the Holy Land… the endless miracles that make Israel the “Center of the Universe”. This tour explores the magical boundless biblical narrative of the Holy Land, exploring some of the most exciting and relevant archeological finds that bring to life the pages of the Holy Scriptures. We explore ancient ruins of cities described in the Bible. We walk along the footsteps of Jesus in the Galilee and ancient Jerusalem. We traverse alluring ancient topography as we make our way to places like the ancient desert fortress of Masada; glide across the Sea of Galilee; and discover the Holy Land through the eyes of Jews, Christians and Muslims. The tour will be led Ami Bar, a leading authority on religion and the Holy Land.
Tour Program Summery Outline
Day 1 - Arrive Ben Gurion Airport (Tel Aviv)
Day 2 - Caesarea - Haifa - Muhraka – Akko
Day 3 – Sea of Galilee Region - Caesarea Philipi - Magdala
Day 4 - Kibbutz Deganiah - Beit Shean - Beit Alpha
Day 5 - Jerusalem New City
Day 6 - Jerusalem Old City
Day 7 - Dead Sea – Qumran – Masada – Jericho
Day 8 – Departure
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Day 1: Ben Gurion Airport - Tel Aviv
Arrival at Ben Gurion Airport where you will be met by your Special Tour Guide and transfer to your hotel. Dinner and overnight Tel Aviv
Day 2: Caesarea - Haifa - Muhraka – Akko
Today we head along the coastal highway to Caesarea built by Herod the Great about 25–13 BCE as the port city to serve as the administrative center of Judaea Province of the Roman Empire, and later the capital of the Byzantine (Palaestina Prima) province during the classic period. It succumbed to the Muslim conquest until the Crusader conquest. Here we learn of the Roman ruins, the local history including the Roman Theater and Apostle Paul's imprisonment. Next we head to Haifa to view the golden domed Bahai Temple and its beautiful Persian gardens. Continue to Mount Carmel mountain range visit the Muhraka Monastery that sits on top of the highest peak of the Carmel Mountains where Elijah confronted the prophets of Baal and where God sent fire down from Heaven and so the people abandoned their idolatry as told in the First Book of Kings. Continue along Haifa Bay to Akko (Acre), an ancient port city in northwest Israel along the Mediterranean coast. Akko (Acre) represents tumultuous the history of the Land of Israel possibly better than any other city in the country. We walk inside the Knights Halls, the Crusaders' underground city dating back to the Hellenist Period, 2,300 years ago before resuming the final leg of today’s drive to Tiberias for dinner and overnight.
Dinner and overnight in the Tiberias
Day 3: Sea of Galilee Region - Caesarea Philipi - Magdala
Drive to Capernaum (Hebrew Kfar Naḥūm), a fishing village dating back to the time of the of the time of the Hasmonean dynasty, situated along the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee where Jesus lived during his period of public ministry; also the home town of the apostles Peter, James, Andrew and John, and the tax collector Matthew. Continue to Tabgha, best known for Christ’s miraculous multiplication of loaves and fish to feed a multitude. Next we stop in Caesaria Philipi located in the northeast section of Israel called the Golan Heights near the ancient city of Dan. It was here that Jesus came to proclaim to His disciples that He was the Messiah. We make our way back to Tiberius. Time permitting we stop at the Specialty Museums in Ginosar, a kibbutz in the Plain of Ginosar on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee where they display a fishing boat that was found on the Shores of the Galilee, the same as used by Jesus with option to take a boat ride on the Galilee. Next we visit to near recently excavated synagogue in the town of Mary Magdalene, a remarkable story where recent excavations unearthed a First Century Synagogue where it is believed that Jesus taught amid an entire first century Jewish town surrounding the ruins of the synagogue. Aother major find was the Magdala Stone, a very significant archaeological find. Magdala is truly the crossroads of Jewish and Christian history.
Dinner and overnight Tiberias
Day 4: Kibbutz Deganiah - Beit Shean - Beit Alpha
Depart Tiberias heading to Kibbutz Degania (Aleph) is Israel’s first kibbutz making it a very special and unique place. The kibbutz is located at the southern end of the Sea of Galilee (Kinneret), in what is known as the Jordan Valley. Dating back to 1910. Kibbutz Degania was created by a few tenacious, hard-working men and women who settled the area known as Um Juni with a vision in mind. Members of this Kibbutz played a major role in stopping the Syrian offensive in 1948. The kibbutz provides a look back in time to see who and what it took to create the marvel that is Israel. Next stop is Yardenit situated on the banks of the Jordan River, at the Southern tip of the Sea of Galilee. Each year this is a stop for pilgrims seeking to experience the tranquility and spiritual beauty of the waters in which Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist. We continue to Beit Shean settled as early as the Chalcolithic era (about 6000 years ago) and has remained continually inhabited since then. Extensive excavation of a large mound in Beit Shean has revealed over 20 layers of remains from ancient civilizations. Canaanite Temples pre-date Egyptian occupation of the region followed by Israelite rule and the Philistines during the Old Testament period. Beit Shean is mentioned in the Bible several times and is best known as the site where King Saul and his sons were hung from the city walls. We enter Jezreel Valley, a large fertile plain and inland valley south of the Lower Galilee region making our way to the Bet Alfa synagogue is located in the Bet She’an Valley. The synagogue dates back to the Byzantine period, a truly rare find complete with Aramaic mosaic inscription at the entrance to the synagogue reveals that the floor was laid during the reign of Justinian (apparently Emperor Justinian I). The other inscription, in Greek, mentions the mosaic’s artists, Marianus and his son Hanina. The colorful mosaic in the main hall is divided into three panels. They depict the Ark of the Covenant, the zodiac and the offering of Isaac. We continue to Jerusalem for overnight.
Overnight and dinner in Jerusalem.
Day 5: Jerusalem (New City)
This morning we begin our visit to the majestic city of Jerusalem, a holy and sacred city for Jews, Christians and Muslims going back to the biblical era. We make our way driving to the top of the Mt. of Olives, from where Jesus ascended to heaven after his resurrection. From the top of the Mount there is a magnificent view covering all of ancient and modern Jerusalem, the heart and soul of the biblical world. We visit the holy shrines on the Mount and walk on down the “Palm Sunday Road” visiting the Chapel of Dominus Flevit (Jesus wept) en route to the Garden of Gethsemane and the Church of All Nations where Christ prayed on the night of his betrayal (Lk. 22:40-46). Next we shall visit the Upper Room and the Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu which is built over the Palace of Caiaphas, the High Priest, before whom Jesus was brought for trial and sentenced to death. Beside the Church we shall see the “Roman Steps” which were probably used by Jesus and his disciples on the day of his arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane. West Jerusalem is home to several renowned museum and no visit is complete without visiting Yad Vashem, Israel’s largest Holocaust memorial set on the slopes of the Mount of Remembrance on the edge of Jerusalem. The new Yad Vashem Museum opened in 2005 and its nine chilling galleries of interactive historical displays present the Holocaust using a range of multimedia including photographs, films, documents, letters, works of art, and personal items found in the camps and ghettos. We end this fascinating day with a special treat at Friends of Zion Museum (FOZ Museum). This museum is like no other in every way. It presents a technologically advanced, interactive experience that tells the story of the dream of restoration of the Jewish people to their historic homeland and the brave non-Jews who assisted them in realization of that dream, a must see event.
Dinner and overnight Jerusalem.
Day 6: Jerusalem (Old City)
Today is a very special day as we enter the ancient walled city at Jaffa Gate on foot. We have now entered biblical Jerusalem. According to the Bible, King David conquered the city from the Jebusites and established it as the capital of the united kingdom of Israel, and his son, King Solomon, commissioned the building of the First Temple. It is with awe and a sense of reverence that we visit the Tower of David and its exhibition on the history of the city over the ages. Walk through the streets of the Jewish Quarter to the restored Roman Cardo, which was the main street of Jerusalem during the Roman occupation. Continue to the Western Wall, the last remnant of the second temple. Ascend the Temple Mount and see the Dome of the Rock and the El Aqza Mosque. Walk along the Via Dolorosa passing the Stations of the Cross to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Proceed to the Garden Tomb (Gordon's Calvary). Next we visit the Pool of Bethesda, among the most famous of Jesus’ miracles is recounted in the Gospel of John, where Jesus heals the paralytic at the Bethesda Pool (John 5:2-9). It is not the only one of Jesus’ miracles of healing to take place at a pool in Jerusalem, however. In addition to the Bethesda Pool, the Gospel of John also says that Jesus healed the blind man at the Siloam Pool discovered in 2005 and was quickly identified with the pool mentioned in John. The Bethesda Pool, on the other hand, was excavated in the late 19th century, but it has taken more than 100 years for archaeologists to accurately identify and interpret the site. The Siloam Pool has been identified as a mikveh. Is it possible that the Bethesda Pool was also a mikveh, meaning that both of Jesus’ miracles were performed at Jewish ritual baths? We visit the underground vaults in Ecce Homo from the time of Herod. Towards the end of the day visit to the Garden Tomb, religious service in the compound of The Tomb. Dinner and overnight Jerusalem.
Day 7: Dead Sea – Qumran – Masada – Jericho
Depart Jerusalem via the Judean Desert to the Dead Sea, the lowest point on earth. Stop in Qumran, a Jewish settlement along the northwest shore of the Dead Sea; it dates from approximately 100 B.C.E. to 68 C.E., when it was destroyed by the Roman army. It is famous because of the Dead Sea Scrolls, considered the greatest manuscript find of all time. Discovered between 1947 and 1956, the Dead Sea Scrolls comprise some 800 documents dating from around 250 B.C. to 68 A.D. written in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek; they contain Biblical and apocryphal works, prayers and legal texts and sectarian documents. Continue our drive along the shores of the Dead Sea to Ein Gedi, where David fled from King Saul. Continue to the mountain fortress of Masada. Ascend by cable car to visit the excavations of the site where the Zealots made their last stand against the Romans in the 1st century. Time and weather permitting enjoy a 'swim' in the Dead Sea. Next we visit excavation site of Jericho, located in the southern Jordan valley in Israel, an excavation carried out by a German team between 1907 and 1909. They found piles of mud bricks at the base of the mound the city was built on. It was not until a British archaeologist named Kathleen Kenyon re-excavated the site with modern methods in the 1950s that it was understood what these piles of bricks were. She determined that they were from the city wall which had collapsed when the city was destroyed! The story in the Bible goes on to say that when the walls collapsed, the Israelites stormed the city and set it on fire. Archaeologists found evidence for a massive destruction by fire just as the Bible relates. Kenyon wrote in her excavation report.
Overnight in Jerusalem
Day 8: Departure
Transfer to the Ben Gurion Airport for departure or take the optional extension.
(Optional extension 4 days / 3 nights Eilat & Petra)
(Optional extension 4 days / 3 nights Eilat & Petra)