Israel Itinerary

Tour of Israel Itinerary

Day 1 | Monday, April 23, 2018: Depart from New York on our flight to Tel Aviv. After in-flight dinner relax and enjoy the on-board entertainment.

Day 2 | Tuesday, April 24, 2018: Early morning arrival at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport to meet our guide and personal friend Susan Marcus who will welcome us to the Land of the Bible and escort us throughout our stay in Israel. Israeli guides are legendary for their knowledge and dedication. Susan will instruct us on the many sites we will visit and their relationship to the religion, history, archaeology, culture, and modern life in Israel. Our first site will be Old Jaffa, the traditional home of Simon the Tanner, where Peter received the vision and instruction from the Lord to take the Gospel to Cornelius, and from where Jonah sailed. Then we head out of town for a bit to visit the Valley of Elah, where we as did David can pick up “five smooth stones” as he faced Goliath trusting in the Lord (and his own well-practiced aim). Visit Bet Guvrin National Park which includes Hellenistic-period caves with wall paintings, columbaria, a Roman city, and ruins of a Crusader castle. Back to Tel Aviv for an afternoon check-in at a deluxe hotel right on the shore of the Mediterranean Sea. Time for a walk on the beach and feet in the water before dinner and overnight.

Day 3 | Wednesday, April 25, 2018: Depart for the Dead Sea, stopping at Beer Sheva, famous for being the birthplace of Isaac and Jacob. Proceed, time permitting, to Arad to see the partially reconstructed 5,000 year old Canaanite town. Arrive at our hotel next to the Dead Sea and enjoy a mud bath, spa treatments (cost is extra), or a swim (rather a “float”) in the Dead Sea. Dinner and overnight at the deluxe Dead Sea spa hotel.

Day 4 | Thursday, April 26, 2018: Depart for Masada, overlooking the Dead Sea, where we ascend by cable car to visit the remnants of Herod’s Palace and where from A.D. 70 to 73 the Zealots made their last stand against the Roman Legions. Proceed to Ein Gedi, fabled Spring of David, and then on to Qumran where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found in 1947. Later we go up to Jerusalem. Dinner and overnight in our 4-star, well-located Jerusalem hotel, home for the remainder of our time in Israel.

Day 5 | Friday, April 27, 2018: We begin the day visiting the Israel Museum, especially the large-scale outdoor model of Jerusalem as it was in the 2nd Temple period (circa A.D. 68). Go to Caiphas the High Priest’s house, where Jesus was imprisoned after his betrayal by Judas and where Peter denied his Lord thrice before the cock crew. Visit the reconstructed Jewish Quarter, walk through the Cardo, the original Roman street, and see the amazing Israelite wall. Proceed to view the Burnt House, remaining from the fire in A.D. 70 which destroyed Jerusalem. See the important excavations taking place at the Western Wall and the Southern Temple Staircase. Worship in the place that remembers the Upper Room.

Day 6 | Saturday, April 28, 2018: This morning we begin with a view of the Old City from the top of the Mount of Olives. Walk to the Garden of Gethsemane, the Church of All Nations, and drive across the Kidron Valley. Enter the Old City through St. Stephen’s Gate (Lion’s Gate) to the Moslem Quarter; visit the beautiful Church of St. Anne and the Pool of Bethesda, Pilate’s Judgment Hall, and the Ecce Homo Arch (ecce homo is Latin for “behold the man”). Finish the day at Golgotha (Gordon’s Calvary) and the Garden’s Empty Tomb. Special time is planned for worship, communion, mediation, and inspiration.

Day 7 | Sunday, April 29, 2018: Visit the archaeological park at the original City of David, including a visit to Warren’s Shaft before heading to the Gihon Spring rushing to the Pool of Siloam located where the Valley of Hinnom runs into the Kidron Valley (if you want to wade Hezekiah’s Tunnel, bring water shoes and a small flashlight). Today we will walk atop the Temple Mount. Follow along the Via Dolorosa (“Way of Sorrow” on which Jesus carried His cross) into the Christian Quarter and proceed to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, traditional site of Calvary and the tomb.

Day 8 | Monday, April 30, 2018: Drive along the Jordan Valley to the ancient city of Jericho where the walls came down before the Israelites in their first conquest in the land of promise. We visit Beit Shean to see the expansive excavations taking place at this ancient Roman city. Then we travel to see Spring of Harod at the foot of Mt. Gilboa where Gideon gathered the people of Israel to fight against Midian. It’s on to Megiddo, inspiration for James Michener’s The Source and prophesied site of Armageddon. Archaeological digs reveal 20 layers of civilization, including fortifications of King Solomon and the water tunnel of King Ahab. Megiddo provides a magnificent view of the fertile Jezreel Valley, at the crossroads of the ancient Via Maris. Continue through the rolling hills of the Galilee to Nazareth and visit a 1st-century village reconstructed at Nazareth Village. Dinner and overnight at our hotel overlooking the Sea of Galilee.

Day 9 | Tuesday, May 1, 2018: Begin the day with a visit to Magdala, best known as the home of Mary Magdalene, recently excavated to display a village of Jesus’ time and with exciting finds including the “Magdala Stone,” which holds clues that will help scholars establish a more complete picture of first century Judaism. Proceed to the site of the Sermon on the Mount, the Mount of Beatitudes. Then north to Caesarea Phillipi (Banias Spring) where Peter confessed Jesus is the Christ and where Jesus decided to return to Jerusalem. Next we visit Tel Dan, a Canaanite town, formerly Laish, that became infamous for its idolatry during the time of the northern kings, today part of the Tel Dan Nature Reserve. Many springs form the Dan River, one of the three principal sources of the Jordan River. Drive along the eastern side of the Sea of Galilee through the land of the Gadarenes and stop at Kursi, the site where Jesus healed a man possessed by demons by casting them into a herd of pigs. Proceed to the Jordan River for a baptismal service at Yardenit.

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Day 10 | Wednesday, May 2, 2018: This day is worth the trip! We are now literally walking in the footsteps of Jesus. We will take a most memorable boat ride on the Sea of Galilee, in a replica of the ancient wooden boats used in Jesus’ day. We will see the remains of a 1st-century boat on display at Nof Ginosar. We walk into old Capernaum with the ancient synagogue on the foundations of a former synagogue where Jesus taught and then on to Tabgha where Peter is restored from his earlier three denials. Then we travel to Mount Carmel where Elijah triumphed over the prophets of Baal. We end our visit at Caesarea Maritima where the Gospel first comes to the Gentiles, when Peter brings the Good News to the Roman centurion, Cornelius. From this port city, Paul sailed in and out for his missionary tours. Here Paul appealed to Caesar. We will see the Roman theater, Herod Agrippa’s palace, and the aqueduct. We end the day and complete our tour at our hotel in Tel Aviv with a farewell dinner. Each tour participant will receive a Certificate of Pilgrimage. Those not going to Athens will keep their hotel rooms till time to go to the airport after dinner for the flight home, arriving back at JFK on Thursday, May 3. Those going on to Athens will have a final evening in the Tel Aviv hotel.

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Day 11 | May 3, 2018: Today, for those on the Israel tour only, you arrive at the airport. Our guide will assist us with check-in procedures. Depart on your flight to New York. You arrive home in the evening with wonderful memories of a visit to the Land of the Bible!

Important security note: While news about the “Middle East” can be upsetting, Israel is the safest destination in the world for American travelers. Not a single person on an American group tour has ever been harmed by violence—not one, not ever. People on trips across the years have all come back saying, “I never felt as safe in any U.S. city, no problems at all!”

Greece Extension | May 3-7, 2018, $599

Day 1 | Thursday, May 3, 2018: Transfer to the airport in Tel Aviv for your morning flight to Athens, Greece. From the airport enjoy a panoramic ride into the historic city, then tour Athens’ highlights including the iconic Sytagma (Constitution) Square, right across from the House of Parliament guarded by photogenic tassel-festooned wooden-clogged guards. Stop at the Panathenaico Stadium, where the first modern Olympics were held in 1896. And, of course, ascend the Acropolis, the very symbol of the Grandeur that was Greece. The area of Athens most associated with the Apostle Paul is Mars Hill (or Areopagus). When Paul’s claims about the resurrection intrigued the city’s leaders, he was taken to the top of the Areopagus to argue his belief in the famous sermon about “the unknown God” (Acts 17:19-31). Those who wish will have the opportunity to climb to the top of the famous hill, re-affirming with Paul the Gospel of the Risen Christ. Time during the day for lunch and some shopping in the famous Plaka tourist area at the base of the Parthenon. Our four-star hotel for three nights is centrally-located in Athens.

Day 2 | Friday, May 4, 2018: Morning excursion to ancient Corinth. Drive along the Saronic Gulf across the Corinth canal, through rolling vineyards, to Corinth. Visit the Doric style Temple of Apollo, the Agora (market place), museum, the fountain of Pirene, the Bema of St. Paul, and the Erastus Inscription. Lunch will be on your own at a lovely outdoor site on the Corinth Canal, watching a drawbridge raise and lower as yachts pass from sea to sea. Then we proceed to Cenchrea, the little harbor from which St Paul set sail back to Jerusalem and then to Isthmia, the site of athletic games second only to Olympia (Paul used terminology from these games when exhorting believers in their daily living.) Return to the hotel in Athens for dinner and overnight.

Day 3 | Saturday, May 5, 2018: Depart today for a full day cruise of three Saronic Islands. The imposing temples and the picturesque seaside villages with their old world flavor are all a part of any Greek island visit. Depart from the harbor just outside Athens and sail first to the Island of Aegina. After lunch on board, we continue to cruise through the straits of Poros to the charming islands of Poros and Hydra for visits, then return to Athens’ harbor and transfer to the hotel for overnight..

Day 4 | Sunday, May 6: To the airport to begin the flight back home, full of memories and insights of the New Testament world..

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