Israel – The Holy Land

 

Day 1: Departure from U.S., Arrival to Israel

After landing at Ben Gurion International Airport near Tel Aviv, we will be met by our driver.  Drive along the Mediterranean Coast to Tiberias, located on the shores of the Sea of Galilee.  Overnight in Tiberias.

 

Day 2: Leisure in Tiberias

Today is enjoyed at leisure from our resort in Tiberias.  We can enjoy the optional activities such as bathing in the famous Tiberias Hot Springs, going on a boat cruise on the Sea of Galilee, or taking a trip to the Jordan River and Caesarea Philippi, the vicinity where the  great confession and the transfiguration both occurred (Matt 16:13).  Overnight in Tiberias.

 

Day 3: Nazareth, Tabgha, Capernaum, Mt. of Beatitudes, Jordan River

In the morning we will meet our guide and start our day exploring the Galilee.  First we stop at Tabgha, the site of the miracle of the multiplication of the fish and loaves of bread.  On to Capernaum, the town selected by Jesus as the center of his public ministry in the Galilee after he left Nazareth.  Here we see the first century AD synagogue and the House of Peter.  Our next stop is The Mount of Beatitudes.  This is the site where Jesus delivered the Sermon on the Mount.  We enjoy the views from this hilltop location and then continue to Nazareth, the boyhood home of Jesus.  Here we visit the Church of The Annunciation before walking the narrow streets of the busy market.  In the afternoon we visit Yardenit, the baptism site on the River Jordan.  Then we drive to Jerusalem, where we spend the night.

 

Day 4: Jerusalem, Old City, Via Dolorosa, Holy Sepulcher, Jewish Quarter, Western Wall, Mt. Zion

This morning we ascend the Mount of Olives and enjoy the magnificent views over the entire city.  Visit the Church of All Nations and the Garden of Gethsemane.  On to Mount Zion, where we visit the Room of the Last Supper and the Dormition Abbey the site of Mary’s falling asleep.  Next we visit one of Israel’s diamond manufacturing workshops and enjoy lunch.  We enter the Old City through one of the ancient gates and visit the Jewish Quarter, where we see the Cardo, the main street of commerce from Roman times.  Today it is full of shops and art galleries.  On to the Western Wall, the only remains of King Solomon’s mighty temple.  This wall is the most sacred place for Jews the world over.  Walk along the busy market streets to the Via Dolorosa, the “Way of The Cross”.  Here we follow some of the 14 stations of the cross to the Church of The Holy Sepulcher, believed by some to be the burial site of Jesus.  Our last stop today is the Garden Tomb, according to Protestant tradition the last resting place of Jesus.  Overnight in Jerusalem.

 

Day 5: Dead Sea, Massada, Qumran

Early this morning, we drive through the Judaean Desert to the Dead Sea, the lowest place on Earth. Visit Massada, the fortress built by King Herod as a summer palace and used by the Jewish rebels as their last stronghold against the Romans.  Almost 1000 men, women and children chose to commit suicide rather than fall into slavery at the hands of the Romans.  We ascend by cable car to the top and see the magnificent palace, bath house and store rooms.  We hear about the epic struggle that happened here and enjoy the views over the Dead Sea. Visit The Ahava Dead Sea Cosmetics workshop where we have the opportunity to see how health products are produced from the minerals collected from the sea.  Continue to one of the many beaches along the sea, where we can bathe in the salty waters.  We experience the unique feeling of floating on the water, considered to be the saltiest in the world.  On to Qumran, where we visit the ruins of the Essene settlement.  It was here that the famous Dead Sea Scrolls were written and hidden in caves.  Return to Jerusalem for overnight.

 

Day 6: Leisure in Jerusalem

Today you can enjoy Jerusalem on your own, or take one of the optional tours to the New City, Israel Museum (visit to the Shrine of The Book where the Dead Sea Scrolls are displayed), Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial or Machane Yehuda fruit and vegetable outdoor market.  Overnight in Jerusalem.

 

Day 7: Leisure in Tel Aviv / Jaffa

Today you can enjoy an optional trip to Tel Aviv and Jaffa.  See the modern metropolis of Tel Aviv with its high rise buildings, the “White City” UNESCO world heritage site, Independence Hall and the ancient port city of Jaffa. Overnight in Jerusalem.

 

Day 8: Departure to U.S.

At noon we will check out of our hotel and will be transferred to Tel Aviv.  The afternoon is at leisure in Israel’s “Big City”.  Explore the promenade and shopping streets on your own.  In the evening we will be transferred to the airport and flight back to the United States.

 

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