DATES 11 days, 10 nights, May 6-16, 2022 & Nov 4-14, 2022
DESTINATIONS 12 places to visit
ACCOMMODATION Luxury hotels
TRAVEL Small group with private guide
INDICATIVE LAND PRICE $5499.00 US PER PERSON SHARING A DOUBLE
DAY 1 Welcome to Israel! Jerusalem
We hope you had a good flight. You will be transferred from Ben Gurion Airport to Jerusalem in a comfortable air-conditioned vehicle with plenty of room for luggage. Once you are settled in you will meet your guide in your hotel lobby and start your tour! As today is a Friday we highly recommend going down to the Kotel to see Shabbat welcomed into the holy city. You will likely see Israelis from all walks of life, from soldiers to Hasids, dancing and singing in celebration. This will certainly be an experience to remember!
You will then enjoy a traditional Shabbat dinner in the home of a local Jewish family, gaining an insider’s view of the meaning of Shabbat in a Jerusalem home. Food will be plenty and conversation is sure to be lively! Please note that the host family may also be entertaining other guests too.
Orient JERUSALEM, Israel
DAY 2 Private Guided Day Tour – with vehicle
This morning you will meet your guide in the lobby of your hotel. A full tour of the Old City of Jerusalem will be introduced to this place of intense sanctity to Jews, Christians, and Muslims, where holy sites tumble over each other. Your expert guide will unpeel layers of history and provide an overview of what Jerusalem means to the three monotheistic religions. You will visit the sites most holy to the non-Jewish faiths, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, for Christianity and you will visit or view the Dome of the Rock for Islam. You will then explore the Jewish heritage of the Old City in more detail, from the First Temple period remains in the shape of the fascinating ‘Broad Wall’, to Second Temple times and the Kotel (western wall) and Cardo (the main street during Roman times), to the Hurva Synagogue first built in the eighteenth century, all the way through to the 1967 war and beyond.
DAY 3 Private Guided Day Tour – with vehicle Masada, Ein Gedi, Dead Sea Arguably Israel’s most dramatic site, Masada’s mountain top ruins, set against the extraordinary backdrop of the Judean desert, are but a stage for the retelling of a heroic and ancient tale, now engrained in national mythology.
With your expert guide as a storyteller, you will hear about the lives of the final Jewish resisters to Roman rule, relive their struggle against the mighty Roman army, and wonder at their heroic end. Masada is a totally unique site, well deserving of its UNESCO World Heritage status. Cool off from the desert heat at Ein Gedi, this glorious, green oasis in the middle of the Judean desert, significant as David’s hiding place from King Saul. Natural spring water cascades over a series of ledges in the desert rock, creating waterfalls and freshwater pools, perfect for hiking and swimming through. The springs give life to palm trees, bulrushes, and tropical and Mediterranean plant life, which together produce the sweetest of scents. Watch out for the hyraxes, ibexes, and many native bird species as your guide leads you along the family-friendly Nahale Davide trail.
The Dead Sea
The waters of the Dead Sea shimmer like nowhere else on earth. Best of all, here you really will float! Full of good-for-you minerals and surrounded by air which is naturally rich in oxygen, the Dead Sea should leave you feeling full of energy. Please take flip-flops along for the Dead Sea and avoid taking your best bathing suits as the minerals in the water may damage the material.
DAY 4 Private Guided Day Tour – with vehicle
Yad Vashem brings a weighty but meaningful note to today’s touring. Yad Vashem is Israel’s official monument to the Holocaust, located on the western slope of Mount Herzl on the Mount of Remembrance in Jerusalem. The museum has justifiably achieved international acclaim for its in-depth and powerful portrayal of extremely challenging material. The complex includes the Holocaust History Museum, the Children’s Memorial and the Hall of Remembrance, The Museum of Holocaust Art, sculptures, outdoor commemorative sites such as the Valley of the Communities, a synagogue, a research institute with archives, a library, a publishing house, and an educational center named The International School for Holocaust Studies. Children under 10 are not permitted to enter the main historical museum.
Visiting Machane Yehuda market you will find yourself surrounded by a plethora of sights, smells, and tastes, and the colorful hustle and bustle of Jerusalem life. Your expert culinary guide will show you little-known, hidden away gems, and will also explain how Machane Yehuda serves as a symbol of Israel’s immigrant culture. You will see foods from all parts of the world and will understand how culinary trends have mixed and influenced each other – just as immigrants from the four corners of the world have preserved their own traditions, and yet integrated to create a unified Israeli culture. The tour lasts for about two hours and includes plenty of tastings. Lunch is included so fear not – you will not be left hungry! The Israel Museum is surely one of Jerusalem’s treasures. Following a multi-million dollar renovation, the museum has received international acclaim and has been named one of the ten most impressive museums in the world. The Israel Museum is home to the Dead Sea Scrolls (the Shrine of the Book), the oldest known copy of the Bible. You will learn about the remarkable story of these manuscripts, the sect who most likely wrote them, and how they were discovered. You will also visit the celebrated Model of the Second Temple Jerusalem. Time allowing you will also visit the grounds of the Knesset building and the famous Menorah statue. Your guide will provide background on the makeup of the Israeli political system and the nature of Israeli democracy and party politics.
DAY 5 Private Guided Day Tour – with vehicle Caesarea, Acre
Caesarea was King Herod the Great’s imposing port town, where Rome was honoured with temples, gladiators fought each other to the last, and games were played in celebration of the King and the empire. Later, Caesarea became a thriving Byzantine town, and then a Crusader conquest, each civilization leaving its archaeological gems. For Christians, Caesarea is of significance because of the stone tablet found near the amphitheater which is inscribed with the name Pontius Pilate and dedicated to Tiberius Caesar who nominated him as procurator. Caesarea is also the place where the Apostle Paul was sent to stand trial, and as a Roman citizen demanded judgment in front of the Emperor. Your expert guide will tell the tales of this once centrally important place, while you enjoy the fresh sea air. The Old City of Acre (Akko in Hebrew) is well-deserving of its UNESCO World Heritage Site status. Acre boasts stunning Crusader remains which are so complete you’ll feel transported in time. As your guide recounts Crusader tales, you will marvel at the halls of the Knights Hospitallers, and “escape to the sea” through underground runaway tunnels. Tsfat is the ancient mystical center of kabbalah, where you will wander through time-worn cobbled streets, exploring age-old synagogues, ducking in and out of art galleries, craft shops, and charming cafes. Tsfat’s historical sites are diverse: from the graves of important Rabbis to the impressive crusader Citadel, and the Great Stairs built by the British to separate Jews and Arabs. Tsfat is a magical place where the ancient stones invite you to reach and touch them, to feel the layers of human history, and the breeze asks you to listen out for the tales it whispers.
Mitzpe Hayamim Rosh Pinna, 12000, Israel
DAY 6 Private Guided Day Tour – with vehicle Tel Dan, Nimrod Castle
Tel Dan is a wonderful site, combining nature and the great outdoors with biblical remains from the times of King Jeroboam. Together with your expert guide, you will follow a family-friendly trail that runs over water and through lush greenery and is wonderfully refreshing on hot days. You will explore Biblical remains and learn about the stone table found here, dating to the second half of the 9th century BCE. Carved onto it is an inscription of Hazael, King of Damascus, in which he boasted of his victory over the King of Israel and the House of David. This is of huge significance as it is the first time that the name “House of David” was discovered outside of the Bible. High up in the Golan, on the ridge of Mount Hermon, lies Nimrod Castle, an abandoned Crusader period castle. Here you will be presented with a fantasy landscape. The castle is huge and beckons to be explored. As your guide will explain, although Crusader in period and style, the castle was built by Al- Maliq al-‘Aziz ‘Othman in 1228 in order to block the passage of Friedrich II who threatened to march from Acre to Damascus flying the Crusader banner. It was extended and aggrandized by the Mamluk Sultan Beibars, whose insignia remains on a huge stone tablet. This is a massively exciting site that sparks the imagination of all who visit it.
Digging deeper into the story of the Golan, you will visit El Rom kibbutz which is interesting for two reasons. Firstly, you will see how kibbutzim have had to modernize, turning away from the exclusively agricultural industry, and secondly, you will see a real example of such modernization. In this case, the kibbutz’s film dubbing industry. You will view one of their films which focuses on the experiences of a group of Israeli soldiers in the 1973 war (also referred to as the Yom Kippur war), which took place very close to the kibbutz. Through the use of original film and audio, the movie portrays this fierce tank battle from the viewpoint of Avigdor Kahalani, the Israeli commander at the battle of Emek HaBacha (the Valley of Tears). Time allowing, the next step is the close by ‘Valley of Tears’, the spot where the four-day long battle depicted in the movie actually took place. Please note that film viewings at El Rom are always subject to last-minute re-confirmation as the kibbutz cannot always guarantee in advance that the cinema will be staffed.
Special Expert-Led Tour
This two-hour jeep ride is a fascinating and intense ‘off the beaten track experience. Your expert guide will drive you through a working agricultural kibbutz, explaining the pace and style of life in this region of Israel. You will also explore the history and current-day reality of kibbutz life from the historic ‘childrens’ house’ system to today’s need to diversify and modernize. You will then drive off-road into the demilitarised zone and along the Syrian border (security conditions allowing), viewing hidden Israeli army bunkers and positions. Your expert guide will provide background on Israel’s historical and current relations with her northern neighbors, together with an in-depth analysis of today’s complex situation in Syria and what it means for Israel.
DAY 7 Private Guided Day Tour – with vehicle Sea of Galilee, Zippori
Ancient Jewish communities thrived around the Sea of Galilee, as testified by several remains of early synagogues, examples including those at Capernaum, (and also Chorazin, and Hammat Tiberias which are viewed on longer tours). It was amongst these communities that Jesus chose to live and preach, and the area is therefore also replete with important Christian sites. Your expert guide will lead you to key sites including the Mount of the Beatitudes (where tradition holds that Jesus delivered the famous Sermon on the Mount); Capernaum, interesting for both the early octagonal church built around the house of Peter, and for the later and ornate 5th-century synagogue; and the “Jesus Boat”, a boat dating back to the time of Jesus, found and now exhibited at Kibbutz Ginosar. We love the boat for the air of mystery which hangs over it –together with your guide you will be able to discuss who the men (or women?) were who sailed the boat 2000 years ago. Was it a fishing boat used by disciples of Jesus? Or a military boat used by Jewish resisters against the Romans? Thinking about who owned the boat, and what it was used for, helps us to consider the various different communities living around the Sea of Galilee at this crucial time in history. From ancient wine presses to modern-day boutique wineries, the nectar of the vine has a long history in Israel. You will therefore stop at one of Israel’s award-winning wineries for an explanation about the wine-making process, and of course for a wine tasting. Each winery has its very own story, so listen out carefully for the story of these bottles. We have included a little bite to eat as well, so fear not – you will not go hungry!
Your guide will take you to an incredibly beautiful site – Zippori, described by Josephus as “the ornament of the Galilee”. Zippori was Galilee’s major center of commerce from the time of the reign of Herod, through the birth of Jesus, and it is probable that Jesus would have worked in Zippori as a craftsman. In Jewish terms, Zippori is hugely important as the place where the Mishna was redacted by Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi in 220 CE, and modern Judaism was therefore given shape. Evidence of the city’s former glory and sophistication is today seen in the stunning mosaic floors which remain. Of major interest are the ‘Mona Lisa of the Galilee’ (pictured below), the Nile Mosaic, and the floor of the 6th-century synagogue. Zippori’s remains also include a Crusader fortress and Roman theatre which once seated 4500 people. In Christian heritage, the site has significance as the town of origin of the Virgin Mary and her parents.
Royal Beach Tel Aviv Ha-Yarkon St 19, Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel
DAY 8 Private Guided Day Tour – with vehicle Tel Aviv
Mahon Ayalon was an underground bullet factory built by the Palmach during the period of the British Mandate. This interactive museum demonstrates the ingenuity, determination, and courage of the early Zionists. This is an inspiring story of creativity and innovation, and of thinking outside of the box. You will find the story as moving as it is ingenious. Ancient Jaffa and modern Tel Aviv are wonderful to tour together because of their contrasts. In Jaffa, you will explore one of the most ancient ports in the world, replete with history from Biblical, ancient Egyptian, Roman, Napoleonic eras, and more. Visiting Neve Tzedek, Tel Aviv’s prettiest and oldest neighborhood, you will hear the story of the city’s beginnings – how the first modern Hebrew city was molded out of the barren sand dunes in an out-pouring of ideological vision and determination. Continuing into more central Tel Aviv you will visit Rothschild Boulevard and Independence Hall (from the outside) where David Ben Gurion famously declared the independence of the modern State of Israel. You will note the various architectural styles of the buildings from eclectic to Bauhaus, and hear stories about the waves of immigration who designed and created these remarkable buildings. The Bauhaus buildings are internationally significant and Tel Aviv’s UNESCO world heritage status is thanks to them.
DAY 9 Morning at leisure in Tel Aviv /Mitzpe Ramon
This afternoon you will be transferred from Tel Aviv to Mitzpe Ramon in a comfortable air-conditioned vehicle with plenty of room for luggage.
Beresheet Mitzpe Ramon, 80600, Israel
DAY 10 Mitpe Ramon Two Hour Crater Jeep Ride
Special Expert-Led Tour
Your guide will meet you in the lobby of your hotel. Boarding your jeep, you will first stop on the edge of the Ramon Machtesh at the top of the Atzmaut Ascent. After a short explanation at the viewpoint, you will descend into the Machtesh and cross half its width to Wadi Ramon where you will stop to hear an explanation about what a Machtesh is and how it was formed. You will continue across the floor of the Machtesh to the summit of Mt. Gvanim which offers a stunning view of the entire Machtesh and from there along Wadi Gvanim stopping in the shade of an Acacia tree to explain the flora and fauna of the region before returning to Mtzpe Ramon.
DAY 11 From Mitzpe Ramon to Ben Gurion
You will be transferred from Mitzpe Ramon to Ben Gurion airport in a comfortable air-conditioned vehicle with plenty of room for luggage. It is important to note that the group transfer time is based upon international flights which leave Ben Gurion airport late evening/ night time. We hope you will be returning home with many special memories.
Stay longer – This itinerary can be extended with a visit to Petra, or extra nights in Israel!
Your land tour includes:
A private, licensed English speaking tour guide
Hotels as indicated based on double occupancy throughout the trip
Meals as listed in the itinerary
Transportation as outlined
Fees for sites and activities listed
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
Insurance – highly recommended – premium nonrefundable
Early check-in/late checkout
Single room supplement – a limited number of single rooms available on payment of supplement
Meals and beverages not mentioned
Optional tours not quoted
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
E. & O.E.
B = breakfast L= lunch D= dinner
For information or reservations please contact Janice Snider.