Ben Gurion Airport/Tel Aviv
Upon arrival at the airport, you will be met by our representative immediately after passport control who will be holding a sign with your name on it. Our guide will accompany you to pick up your luggage and then escort you via Customs to meet your driver who will provide the transfer to your hotel. The evening is at leisure. Overnight in Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv/Beersheba/Masada/Dead Sea/Jerusalem
Meet your tour guide in the hotel before leaving Tel Aviv. Driving south we pass the port city of Ashdod inhabited during the days of the Bible by the Philistines. Next, we come to the coastal city of Ashkelon, an ancient seaport nestling on the shores of the Mediterranean. On arrival in Beersheba, the gateway to the Negev, time permitting a short visit of the capital. Many of the buildings in the Old Town date from Turkish times with the streets forming a grid. Abraham’s Well is located at the edge of the Old Town and according to tradition is where Abraham made the oath with Abimelech. Leaving Beersheba we are now on our way to Arad situated at the border of the Negev and Judean deserts and mentioned several times in the Bible. From Arad we head to Masada, the isolated mountaintop fortress of King Herod where you will ascend by cable car and tour the ancient fortifications where the Zealots made their last stand against the Romans by committing mass suicide rather than be enslaved. You will gain insight into the rituals, politics, and culture of the people who inhabited this desert fortress. Visit the excavations, Herod’s palaces, the synagogue, bathhouse, and cisterns and enjoy the breathtaking view of the Roman camps and the Dead Sea. Descend to the lowest point on earth, the Dead Sea to experience the mineral-rich black mud floating in the salty and buoyant water. Pass by the oasis of Ein Gedi “spring of the kid”, a desert oasis with pools of waters, waterfalls, and two large streams – a hiker‘s paradise. Return through the Judean Desert to the holy city of Jerusalem. Overnight in Jerusalem.
Jerusalem (New City)
Start the day at the Israel Museum located on a hill in Givat Ram. Here you will find the Shrine of the Book housing the priceless Dead Sea Scrolls discovered in the caves of Qumran in 1947 by a shepherd looking for a stray goat. Ranked as one of the world’s leading art and archaeology museums, the building represents one of the jars in which the Scrolls were found. Nearby is the Model of Jerusalem in the Second Temple Period which reconstructs the layout of the city during the Second Temple Period. Our next stop is the picturesque village of Ein Karem found in the southwestern outskirts of Jerusalem. Famed for its holy sites, according to tradition this is where John the Baptist was born. We now pay a solemn visit to Yad Vashem, Israel’s official memorial located on the slopes of the Mount of Remembrance preserving the memory of those who perished in the Holocaust. Opened in 2005, its nine chilling galleries documents a dark chapter in history through photographs, letters, art, and personal items. The day concludes with a stop in Bethlehem, the Biblical birthplace of Jesus, a center of pilgrimage for Christians. Located only 10 km. south of Jerusalem in the West Bank, we have the opportunity to see Manger Square, where Jesus was said to have been born and where Christmas celebrations take place. One of the landmarks of our visit is the Church of Nativity, a World Heritage Site said to be the oldest church in the Christian World. Visitors have to stoop to enter the low door built to stop looters from entering with their carts. Return to Jerusalem. Overnight Jerusalem.
Jerusalem (Old City)
We begin in the Old City where you will see the Western Wall, also known as the Wailing Wall or Kotel, being the last standing retaining wall of the Temple Mount where according to tradition, it is said to be the site where Abraham took his son Isaac to be sacrificed. It is also the site of both of the ancient Jewish Temples. Take a devotional walk along the sacred Via Dolorosa, also known as the Way of the Cross that is believed to be the path Jesus followed on the way to His Crucifixion. Calvary, also known as Golgotha, was traditionally known as the place where Jesus was crucified. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre found in the Christian Quarter was built on the traditional site of Jesus’ Crucifixion and burial. It is one of the holiest sites in Christianity. To the southwest, just outside the Old City is a hill known as Mount Zion where you will find the traditional Tomb of King David, one of the most sacred sights visited by the Jewish people while on the second floor of the same building is the Room of the Last Supper (the Cennacle). Enjoy the spectacular view of Jerusalem – the holy city for each of the world’s three major religions from on top of the Mount of Olives named for the olive groves that once covered the area and for the Biblical events that took place here. Continue to the Garden of Gethsemane at the foot of the Mount of Olives, the place where Judas betrayed Jesus on the night before His betrayal. Now for a change of pace. Set between Aggripas and Jaffa Streets we find the Machane Yehuda Market, Jerusalem’s largest market with 250+ vendors selling everything imaginable. Filled with aromas, colors, and flavors, this is an experience not to be missed. Return to your hotel. Overnight Jerusalem.
THE WESTERN WALL:
Men must cover their heads while in the prayer area and women must cover their shoulders and wear long pants or a knee-length skirt. If you forget to bring a covering, guards will provide you with a piece of fabric for that purpose before you enter. The prayer area is separated by gender.
If you want to be super respectful, follow a Jewish custom by never turning your back on the wall. You will see many people walking away from the wall backwards because it is simply disrespectful to turn away. It is also said that not turning your back on the wall is symbolism for not turning your back on your prayer to God.
Whether you are Jewish or not, you may wish to place a prayer or wish into the wall. So, feel free to write a prayer or wish down on a piece of paper, fold it up and stick it into the wall. This can be done every day except on the Sabbath and holidays and add it to the delicate mounds of slips shoved into the cracks between the massive stones. These notes are collected several times a year and buried in a Jewish cemetery
THE TOMB OF KING DAVID:
If entering the Tomb of King David, there is a special entrance for men and women. Since men must wear a kippah, you may want to bring your own, even though they are supplied.
Leaving Jerusalem we head north passing Jericho, the oldest city in the world. Travel through the Jordan Valley and the new settlements to Beit She’an once known as Scythopolis which played an important role in the history of the region. We stop to visit the newly excavated Roman city and amphitheater. Nazareth, the hometown of Jesus and one of the most important Christian sites in the Holy Land is next. Here we visit the Church of the Annunciation, Joseph’s Workshop and Mary’s Well. Continue to Safed, the city of Kabbalah and one of the four holy cities in Israel where we can stroll through the Artists Quarter lined with galleries and workshops and watch artists spending their time creating magical masterpieces. Overnight in a kibbutz hotel in the Galilee.
Galilee/Golan Heights/Sea of Galilee
After breakfast, we drive up to the strategic Golan Heights passing the Banias, the source of the River Jordan. See the former Syrian fortifications and the Druze villages. Enjoy an Israeli wine country experience with vineyards surrounded by breathtaking views. Become acquainted with the collection of fine and rare wines enjoying a tour, wine tasting, and an understanding of the wine production process. Descend to the shores of the Sea of Galilee also known as the Kinneret, the lowest freshwater lake on earth and the second lowest lake in the world. It is a place of Biblical interest since Jesus taught the crowds by the shore (Mark 4:1-34) and preached while standing in a boat on the Sea of Galilee. We are now on our way to the ancient fishing village of Capernaum on the northern shore where we see the remains of the 2nd century synagogue and the octagonal Church of St. Peter. In a serene setting, we find the Mount of Beatitudes, the place where Jesus delivered the memorable Sermon on the Mount. A short drive takes us to Tabgha, the site of the Miracle of Fish and Loaves where we visit the Church of Multiplication with its 4th century mosaic floor. Onwards to Tiberias, situated on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee and named after the Roman Emperor, where we can enjoy an optional 45-minute boat ride on the tranquil waters of the Sea of Galilee where little has changed during the past 2000 years (subject to weather conditions and cost). Return to your kibbutz hotel in the Galilee. Overnight Galilee.
Driving westwards through the hills of the Galilee we come to Acre (Akko). This ancient city possesses a long history intertwined with various cultures. Recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site we visit the old famous Crusader stronghold and fortifications. When we get to Haifa ascend Mount Carmel for a panoramic view of the city including the golden domed Baha’i Shrine, the final resting place of the Bab of the Baha’i faith. The interior is a place for meditation and quiet prayer. The outside Persian Gardens are comprised of 19 terraces of perfectly manicured gardens. Enjoy the panoramic view of Haifa Bay. Proceeding along the Mediterranean coast we come to Caesarea located halfway between Tel Aviv and Haifa, once the Roman capital of the region. View the excavations of the Crusader-era city, the picturesque and well preserved Roman theater and Crusader fortress. From here we head to Ben Gurion Airport for a short economy flight to Ramon Airport in Eilat. On arrival transfer to the Red Sea resort of Eilat. Overnight Eilat
After an early breakfast, we leave Eilat and cross into Jordan. After assistance with border formalities at Arava Border, we are on our way to Petra driving through the scenic Jordanian desert passing Wadi Rum. We enter the astonishing rose-red city built by the Nabateans (an early Arabic tribe). Your visit begins with the possibility of an optional short horseback-ride (cost not included) for about 700m to the entrance of the Siq which is about 1.2 km long (walking distance). Petra is famous for its huge monuments including the Treasury which suddenly appears at the end of the gorge. You will be amazed at its size, color, and style. Continue to the heart of this ancient city carved into the mountain face passing hundreds of tombs and monuments as well as a spectacular amphitheater which once held 3000 spectators. It is considered to be the Second Wonder of the World. After your visit, stop for a sit-down lunch in Wadi Musa, the new town of Petra followed by a visit to Moses Spring, which according to local tradition is the spring that Moses created by hitting a rock with his staff to provide the Israelites with water. Drive back to the border with a possibility of a stop in Aqaba, the only coastal city in Jordan for a short city tour. Continue to the Arava Border, complete border formalities, and cross the border to Eilat arriving at Ramon Airport for your economy class return flight to Tel Aviv. On arrival in Tel Aviv, transfer to your hotel. Overnight Tel Aviv. (A visa is required to enter Jordan).
Tel Aviv/Ben Gurion Airport
After breakfast transfer to Ben Gurion Airport for departure. Today marks the end of your journey.
* Site under the Palestinian Authority Jurisdiction, visit subject to the situation
** Visit subject to weather conditions.
*** Program sequence is subject to change without advance notice.
**** Supplement for tours by private car on request ***** Visit subject to the security conditions.
2021 Tour Dates:
Your land arrangements include:
– Sharing transfer on arrival and departure (from/to Ben Gurion Airport)
– Round trip economy class airfare Tel Aviv/EilatTel Aviv
– 8 nights accommodation on bed and breakfast basis
– 7 touring days as per itinerary with English speaking guide
– Transfers in Eilat from Ramon Airport to hotel in Eilat on Saturday and from the border to Ramon Airport on Sunday in Tel Aviv
– Entrance fees to the sites visited as per itinerary
The hotels might be replaced with similar ones
Your land arrangements do not include:
– Airfare to and from Tel Aviv
– Departure taxes, fuel surcharges or airport improvement fees
– Porterage at the airport or hotels
– Early check-in/late checkout
– Single room supplement – a limited number of single rooms available on payment of supplement
– Meals and beverages not mentioned
– Supplement to add 5 dinners (except the first and last two nights)
– Optional tours not quoted
– Optional 45-minute cruise on the Sea of Galilee
– Jordanian visa charge/border taxes $130.00 US per person to be paid locally
– Horseback ride at Petra
– Gratuities for individual services, laundry and valet service and any other items of a – purely personal nature
– Tipping to guide, driver, hotel or restaurant staff, horse handler in Petra
– E. & O.E.
B = breakfast L= lunch D= dinner
For information or reservations contact, Janice Snider.