TEL AVIV (WD)
After landing in Ben Gurion International Airport located near Tel Aviv, you will be met, assisted and transferred by our representatives who will take you to the HOTEL METROPOLITAN or similar for dinner and overnight. On the way you will see a little of Tel Aviv to get your first impression of Israel. You will be assisted with check in followed by a perfect opportunity to taste Israeli cuisine at your welcome dinner this evening at the hotel. We suggest an early night to prepare for the next day’s program.
TEL AVIV / JAFFA / CAESAREA / HAIFA / MEGIDDO / TIBERIAS
Following breakfast we will check out of the hotel. Stroll through the ancient port of Jaffa known for its association with the Biblical stories associated with Solomon, Jonah and Saint Peter with the resurrection of the widow Tabitha and where Peter had a vision of clean and unclean animals being lowered from heaven while on the roof of Simon the Tanner’s house. Later on, we continue along the Coastal Road to Caesarea located mid-way between Tel Aviv and Haifa built by Herod the Great about 25 – 13 BCE as the port city of Caesarea Maritima. It was here that the Roman centurion Cornelius was the first Gentile to be converted to the faith and where Paul testified before Agrippa.
Moving on we head to Mount Carmel to the Deir al-Muhraka Monastery and take the steps ascending to the roof of the site where the Prophet Elijah proved to the Prophets of Baal who the only God is. Experience the landscape of the Jezreel Valley below and enjoy the view towards the Galilean Hills and the peak of Mount Hermon.
Our next stop is Megiddo, southeast of Haifa with its strategic location controlling a pass on the trading route between Mesopotamia and Egypt. Dating from the Chalcolithic period, approximately 26 levels of occupation have been uncovered. The site was mentioned in the Book of Revelation under its Greek name of Armageddon. Visit the Museum and the archaeological excavations before driving to Tiberias on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee arriving at the LEONARDO TIBERIAS HOTEL or similar for dinner and overnight.
TIBERIAS / SEPPHORIS / CANA OF GALILEE / NAZARETH / SAFED / TIBERIAS
Breakfast then we set off for Tzippori (Sepphoris), the capital of the Galilee in the days of Herod, home to Joachim and Anna, the father and mother of Mary, the mother of Jesus. A Roman villa is possibly the centerpiece of the archaeological discoveries. It contains one of the most famous mosaics in Israel built around the year 200 and depicts an image of a young lady possibly meant to be Venus which has been dubbed “The Mona Lisa of the Galilee”. Continuing our drive we come to Cana of Galilee celebrated as the scene of Jesus’ first miracle. We are now on our way to Nazareth celebrated as the hometown of Jesus, Mary and Joseph.
Here we will visit the two storied Basilica of the Annunciation, the largest Christian church in the Middle East standing over the cave traditionally held to be the home of the Virgin Mary, the Grotto, the ancient village of Nazareth during the days of Christ and Saint Joseph’s workshop. We now make our way to the ancient city of Safed, home of the Kabbalah movement for a stroll through the old artist quarter where you might have a chance to see a local artist at work. Visit the Holy Ari Synagogue, one of the best known synagogues in Safed. Return to Tiberias for dinner and overnight.
TIBERIAS / MOUNT OF BEATITUDES / CAPERNAUM / BETH SAIDA / KURSI / TIBERIAS
Our day begins at the Mount of Beatitudes, the setting for the famous Sermon on the Mount which overlooks the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee. It is here that Jesus uttered the immortal words of the Beatitudes as written in the Gospel of Matthew. Our day around the lake which looks the same as it did 2000 years ago will take us to Capernaum, Jesus’ home town and the scene of many of His Miracles. It was also the home of the First Disciples called by Jesus – Peter, Andrew, James and John.
While viewing the remains, you will be able to visualize how Jesus taught in Capernaum. Enjoy a boat ride on the tranquil waters of the Sea of Galilee followed by a St. Peter’s fish lunch before continuing across the Upper Jordan River Valley to Beth Saida known as the birthplace of the Apostles – Peter, Andrew and Philip and site of several miracles performed by Jesus. Continue to Kursi located beneath the Golan Heights in the Land of the Gadarenes, the place where Jesus healed a man possessed by demons that was moved into a herd of swine. Return to Tiberias for dinner and overnight.
TIBERIAS / BEIT SHE’AN / MT. GILBOA, GIDEON’S SPRING / JERUSALEM
After breakfast we check out of our hotel and travel to Beit She’an acknowledged as the most extensive archaeological site in Israel with some of the best preserved ruins found in the Middle East. It was also the capital of the Decapolis, the Confederation of 10 Gentile cities during the time of Jesus. On nearby Mount Gilboa, a ridge above the Jezreel Valley in northern Israel, we find the setting as described in the Books of Samuel about the battle between Saul, the first king of Israel who was defeated by the Philistines. Next is Herod Spring which according to Biblical tradition was the site where God asked Gideon to choose his best soldiers to fight the Midianites according to the way they drank from the stream.
Only 300 of them lifted the water to their mouths so that they could remain on their guard while they drank. With this small band, Gideon brought victory to the Israelites.
We now focus our sights on the Golden City of Jerusalem arriving at the LEONARDO JERUSALEM HOTEL or similar for dinner and overnight.
JERUSALEM / MASADA / DEAD SEA / EIN GEDI / QUMRAN / JERUSALEM
Following breakfast we drive south to the legendary mountaintop fortress of Masada, King Herod’s isolated palace. Ascend by cable car to the ancient fortress and explore the site with its synagogue and bathhouse.
For it is here that 980 zealots chose to commit mass suicide rather than be enslaved by the Romans. Enjoy the remainder of the day at leisure covering our bodies with the rich mineral laden mud and floating in the buoyant waters of the Dead Sea. There is no doubt that the Ein Gedi Nature Reserve in the Judean Desert, is one of the most beautiful places in Israel located not far from Jerusalem. You will be in awe of the waterfalls found at this oasis in the desert.
Continuing our drive we come to Qumran just northwest of the Dead Sea where in 1947, a Bedouin shepherd discovered a cave containing clay jars holding hidden scrolls that had been wrapped in linen for over 2000 years exposing the secret life of the Essenes, a small ultra-religious sect who hid there from the Roman enemy. Return to Jerusalem for dinner and overnight.
After an early breakfast we have the option to celebrate Mass at St. George’s Anglican Cathedral established in 1899, seat of the Bishop of Jerusalem of the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East. Afterwards ascend the Mount of Olives, the location of many Biblical events where Jesus often travelled on his 40 minute walk from the Temple to Bethany. Enjoy the panoramic view of the Old City. Stroll down the Palm Sunday path to the teardrop Church of Dominus Flevit halfway down the western slope where Jesus wept over the lost peace of the city. “He saw the city and wept over it saying “if you had known….the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes”.
Continue to Mount Zion to see the Jewish Shrine venerated as King David’s Tomb (though he is not buried there). On the upper floor is the Cennacle or Room of the Last Supper where according to trad28thition, Christ met with his Disciples before and after His death and resurrection speaking words of peace. Jesus came and standing amidst them said “Peace be with you” and said to them again “Peace to you! As my Father has sent Me, I also send you”. Above it is the minaret of a Muslim Mosque. Enjoy a wonderful view over the City of David, place of King David’s palace and the Pool of Siloam, where Jesus ordered a blind man to go wash mud out of his eyes which lay undiscovered until 2004. Heading for the Southern Wall
Excavations we will visit the Davidson Center, one of the most significant archaeological sites In the country. Afterwards return to your hotel for overnight.
JERUSALEM / EIN KEREM / JERUSALEM
After breakfast we drive to the village of Ein Kerem, birthplace of John the Baptist. Walk through the alleys of this picturesque old village to the Garden of the Sisters of Zion Convent, one of the most beautiful places in Ein Kerem originally an orphanage convent for Christian girls from Lebanon. Visit the Church of the Visitation honoring the visit paid by the Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus to Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist. Proceed to the Church of John the Baptist believed to have been built on the site where John the Baptist was born.
We now make our way to the New City of Jerusalem to visit Yad Vashem located on the western slope of Mount Herzl on the Mount of Remembrance adjacent to the Jerusalem Forest. Here you will find the moving Memorial complex of Yad Vashem dedicated to the Six Million Jews who perished during the Holocaust. On a hill in the Givat Ram neighborhood we find the Israel Museum where the Dead Sea Scrolls found in Qumran are on display. Also located here is the Model of Jerusalem painstakingly recreated to look as it did during the 2nd Temple Period. Return to your hotel for dinner and overnight.
After breakfast we head to the holiest placed in Judaism today, the Western Wall also known as the Kotel or Wailing Wall, part of the few remaining structures of the Temple Complex built by Herod the Great. Descend through many layers of Jerusalem’s past at the time of the temple period through the Western Wall Tunnels. Inside a most interesting model displays the different dwelling periods and the history of the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
Walk along the Via Dolorosa (the Way of Sorrow) lined by the 14 Stations of the Cross identified with the suffering of Jesus on His way to His crucifixion. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre contains the last Five Stations. This is in fact, a complex of various chapels built on what was known as the Hill of Golgotha or Calvary, outside Jerusalem’s walls where Jesus was crucified.
Walk through the Arab Bazaar and observe Middle Eastern life with its rich colors, flavors and smells. We will take a short break for lunch. After lunch visit the Garden Tomb with its tranquil setting for prayer and reflection. Return to your hotel for dinner and overnight.
JERUSALEM / BETHLEHEM / JERUSALEM / TEL AVIV
Just south of Jerusalem we come to the West Bank city of Bethlehem celebrated as the birthplace of Jesus Christ. It was here that Mary gave birth to Jesus. Just outside Bethlehem we see Shepherd’s Field where an Angel announced the impending birth of Jesus.
We will enter the Church of Nativity that marks the site of Christ’s birthplace. NOTE – The doorway is quite low. The church is built over the cave venerated as Christ’s birthplace. Afterwards return to Jerusalem for the afternoon at leisure for last minute shopping or relaxing or further sightseeing. This evening we gather for a farewell dinner at one of Jerusalem’s restaurants. After dinner transfer to the airport around 900-1000 PM. Termination of services on arrival at the airport.
Your pilgrimage to the Holyland has now concluded as you board your flight home.
YOUR LAND TOUR INCLUDES
*arrival/departure group transfers
*the services of an English licensed speaking guide throughout the tour
*9 days transportation by air conditioned motorcoach
*10 nights accommodation based on double occupancy in first class hotels as indicated
1 night in Tel Aviv at the HOTEL METROPOLITAN or similar (first class hotel)
3 nights in Tiberias at the LEONARDO TIBERIAS HOTEL or similar (first class hotel)
6 nights in Jerusalem at the LEONARDO JERUSALEM HOTEL or similar (first class hotel)
*Full Israeli breakfast plus dinner daily including welcome dinner in Tel Aviv on Day 1farewell dinner in Jerusalem on Day 10
*St. Peter’s Fish lunch at a local restaurant on Day 4
*sightseeing as indicated including entrance fees to points visited
*one hour cruise on the Sea of Galilee on Day 4
*one small bottle of water per person, per day while touring
*local tax and standard service charges on accommodation and meals included
YOUR LAND TOUR DOES NOT INCLUDE
*round trip economy airfare from Toronto to Tel Aviv and return
*departure taxes/fuel surcharge or airport improvement fees subject to change without prior notice
*Insurance – non-refundable insurance premium
*Documentation including passport fees
*Early check in or late check out
*Meals not mentioned
*Beverages not included
*Single Room Supplement
*Optional tours not quoted
*Gratuities for individual services such as laundry or valet service or any other items of a purely personal nature
*Tips to /drivers/local guides/hotel and restaurant staff – tipping is at the discretion of the traveler
E. & O.E.