From your home city, you are responsible for arranging your own air transportation to meet your group in Israel. If you are departing from North America, you should plan to leave one day ahead of your INITIAL DATE, which is the date (always a Sunday) when you will meet the larger group in Israel.
Today you will be immersed in the desert lands, the culture of the Bedouin people, the shepherds and their sheep. You will also visit the remarkable Tel and Temple of upper and lower Arad. Time permitting, you will descend the Zohar Wadi to the Dead Sea on our return to the hotel for the evening. Dinner and Overnight at the Dead Sea.
Enjoy the never to be forgotten canyons of Ein Avdat where the Israelites would have passed on their desert journey from Egypt. You will study some aspects of Moses’ life and relate that to present day Biblical leadership. We take lunch near Ben Gurion's tomb and stroll in the cool of its beautiful oasis, which overlooks the canyon. The amazing history and one of the fortresses built by Herod the Great is our focus for the afternoon, as we visit Masada. Dinner and Overnight at the Dead Sea.
Our hike into the springs of Ein Gedi furthers our understanding of how the Israelites viewed God as the source of living water, not to mention life itself. The morning will be dedicated to the study of some of the stories of King David. You will be awed by where he led both his sheep and his “mighty men”. During the afternoon, at Qumran, you will be intrigued by a glimpse into the beliefs of the Essenes, to whom we are indebted for the copying and protection of the Scriptures (Dead Sea Scrolls). Dinner and Overnight at the Dead Sea.
Israel's conflict with her neighbours, as well as her internal tribal conflict, is the focus of today. On this day, we complete our journey in the Negev Desert and move north to the area of the Galilee. You will study the relationships between Biblical sites and the lives of such historical figures as Rehobaom and King Hezekiah (Tel Lakhish), the cellars of Beth Guvrin, David and Goliath (Tel Azekah) and Sampson (Beth Shemesh). You will see where God challenged and delivered His people in unexpected ways. Be prepared for some "aha!" moments. Dinner and Overnight at a kibbutz in the Galilee.
On your first day in the northern Galilee, you will see several important historical sites such as Gamla and learn of the devoted lives of the Zealots, who resisted the Romans as they waited for a Messiah who would save them from their political enemy. Sit around the steps of an ancient synagogue where Jesus was almost certain to have visited and learn how the Israelites worshiped in Jesus’ day. Look into the paganism of ancient Pan worship at Caesarea Philippi. How does that relate to Jesus’ call for us to take our place in His triumphant Church? Experience the crystal headwaters of the Jordan River as they gush from the foot of Mount Hermon. Visit the relocation site of the tribe of Dan. Later in the evening you will experience the start of a joyful Jewish Sabbath with a synagogue service followed by a Shabbat supper at the Kibbutz. Dinner and Overnight at a kibbutz in the Galilee,
Trace the life of Jesus the Messiah around the north end of the Sea of Galilee, where He carried out most of His ministry. Explore some key cities (Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum) where He spoke and called out his disciples. Learn how He discipled His followers and taught the Scriptures. Teachings and possible baptisms at the Jordan River. Dinner and Overnight at a kibbutz in the Galilee.
Mount Arbel is memorable in the morning air. Could this be the mountain where Jesus went up to pray? A surprise at lunch prepares us for the afternoon. As we approach Beth Shean from a different direction, the focus of the day is the clash of Hellenism (Greek/western thought) with Judaism. At Susita, one of the sites of His ministry, we will discuss Jesus’ teachings and in particular one interesting story where His words to a man with an unclean spirit directly impacted church beliefs in later centuries, even to this day. Dinner and Overnight at a kibbutz in the Galilee.
Jerusalem: is the confluence of the world’s three major monotheistic religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. This great city is the backdrop in which to further experience the life and times of King David’s reign, the Roman era, the teachings of Jesus and the modern day Jewish folks who live here. Visit many sites: the City of David, the Spring of Gihon, the Pool of Siloam, the Southern Steps, the Western Wall, the Temple Mount, and the Shrine of the Book. Finally, experience a stark reminder of the holocaust at Yad Vashem. Dinner and Overnight in Jerusalem.
Jerusalem deserves another day - at least! Visit multiple sites including the Mount of Olives, the Garden of Gethsemane, St. Anne's Church, the Pool of Bethesda, the Antonia Fortress, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the Garden Tomb. There is time for one final night in Jerusalem. Take time for closure and farewells before you leave your fellow pilgrims to return home. Farewell Dinner and Overnight in Jerusalem.
FINAL DATE & En Route. Depart from Tel Aviv for your home destination anytime after Thursday midnight or 00:01 (ie. the small hours of the FINAL DATE, which is always a Friday). If you are returning to North America, normally you would arrive home that same day - Friday. Leave for Tel Aviv Airport for your homeward journey.