From Nazareth to the Sea of Galilee, Jericho, Bethlehem, Jerusalem, The West Bank and Tel Aviv, explore Israel by following in the very footsteps of Abraham, Sarah and Hagar. This 10 day tour will help you explore the Holy Land in a way you won’t soon forget.
August 9-17, 2020
Day 1: SUNDAY 9th August – Depart Toronto
Day 2: MONDAY 10th August – Arrival in Israel
Morning arrival at Israel’s Ben Gurion international airport. Following completion of airport procedures, you will be met by your tour educator and escorted to awaiting coach transportation.
Travel north along Israel’s coastal highway to the northern port city of Haifa. See the magnificent Baha’i Gardens en route.
Continue to the Mukhraka on Mount Carmel, where Elijah battled the prophets of Baal.
Tour the Druze village of Usfiya and learn about the history and heritage of the Druze in this region of the country while enjoying a home hospitality lunch.
Visit the city of Nazareth, where Jesus spent his childhood, and the Church of the Annunciation, built on the site where archaeologists believe the Archangel Gabriel appeared to the Virgin Mary. In addition, your time in the city will also include visits to Mary’s Well, Joseph’s Church, the White Mosque and an encounter with the Sufi Center to learn about this interesting and esoteric Muslim tradition (subject to availability).
Proceed to your Galilee Kibbutz guesthouse for check-in and a welcome dinner.
Day 3: TUESDAY 11th August – Sea of Galilee Region
After breakfast, check-out of your Kibbutz guesthouse accommodations and depart for a day of touring in the Sea of Galilee region.
Visit the first century synagogue in Magdala. Dr. Faydra Shapiro, a scholar of Biblical archaeology, will guide you through this site, believed to date back some 2,000 years from 50BCE to 100CE. In the middle of the 120-square meter main hall of the synagogue, archaeologists have discovered an unusual stone carved with a seven-branched menorah. The menorah engraving is the first of its kind to be discovered from the Early Roman period.
Visit Capernaum. Located on the Sea of Galilee, this area was the center of Jesus’ Galilee ministry. According to Christian believers, this was the location where he healed the sick, preached in the synagogue, and performed many miracles (Matt. 4:13, 9:1).
Next, drive to Kibbutz Ginosar for a special boat ride on the waters of the Sea of Galilee.
Have a traditional St. Peters Fish lunch.
Continue to the Yardenit, situated at the southern end of the Sea of Galilee, where the Jordan River flows out of the Sea on its way to the Dead Sea — here there will be an opportunity for baptisms in the Jordan River.
Dinner at hotel.
Day 4: WEDNESDAY 12TH August – Beth Shean, Jericho, Bethlehem
Depart the region and travel south. See the excavations of the Roman city of Beit Shean, capital of the Roman Decapolis and largest Roman-era excavations in Israel.
Drive south through the Jordan Valley, discussing the history of this region (both ancient & modern) and the strategic role it plays in efforts to reach a future peace agreement/political implications.
Ascend to Jerusalem via the Jericho road. The word “aliyah” which denotes the physical ascent to Jerusalem takes on new meaning as you climb from the Judean lowlands to the city which is the political and spiritual center of the State of Israel. Within view of the city King David proclaimed Israel’s eternal capital 3,000 years ago, recite Shehechiyanu, a blessing expressing gratitude upon reaching Jerusalem.
Travel south and cross through the Separation Barrier and checkpoint which separates Israel’s capital city from Bethlehem — controlled by the Palestinian Authority (participants must bring their passport).
Visit the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem, birthplace of Jesus. Lunch at the Shepherds Fields.
Continue to the city of Jericho — one of the oldest continually inhabited settlements in the world. Ascend the Mount of Temptation and visit the Zacchaeus Tree.
Return to Jerusalem and the hotel. meet with Dr. Khalil Shikaki for a discussion and overview of Palestinian politics. Dr. Shikaki is a professor of political science and director of the Palestinian Center for Policy & Survey Research, a non-profit independent Palestinian institution and think tank of policy analysis and academic research (subject to availability).
Dinner at the hotel.
Day 5: THURSDAY 13TH August – City of Three Faiths
After an early breakfast, visit the Temple Mount. The site of the historic Jewish Temples which stood here designate this location as the holiest place in the world for Jews and the current location of the Al Aqsa Mosque and brilliant Dome of the Rock shrine hold it as the 3rd holiest to Islam. Together with an Islamic scholar, learn about the history and status of this unique place and hear how its complexity has made it the most contested real estate in the world (visit subject to the discretion of the security forces).
Tour the Four Quarters of the Old City of Jerusalem.
Walk part of the way of the Via Dolorosa (Way of the Cross), the mile-long route through the old city leading from the Antonia Fortress where Jesus was condemned by Pontius Pilate to Golgotha, the place of the crucifixion. The Via Dolorosa is marked by 14 stations. At each Station there is a chapel or marker depicting an incident on Jesus’ final mortal journey. The traditional site of Golgotha/Calvary is the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Some Christian denominations consider the Garden Tomb, outside the current Old City walls to be the true site of Golgotha/Calvary (Matt. 27, Mark 15, Luke 23, John 19).
See the Southern Wall Excavations at the Davidson Center. Witness and explore the grandeur of what was once one of the most formidable sites in the Roman world. Learn about the place and role of the Temple to the Jewish people both historically and today.
Go to the Kotel — the Western Wall, the ancient retaining wall of the 2nd Temple which stood on the Temple Mount (the holiest site in the world for the Jewish people) and a centerpiece for Jewish prayer and longing since biblical times. Have an opportunity for personal prayer and reflection at this monumental site.
Explore the famous Western Wall Tunnels as they stretch under the homes of the Muslim Quarter and make their way along the entirety of the length of the Temple Mount (subject to availability).
Return to the hotel to rest and refresh for the evening.
This evening, have dinner in a Jerusalem restaurant, joined by Rabbi Dr. Ron Kronish, the Director of the Interreligious Coordinating Council in Israel and other Christian, Jewish and Muslim representatives (subject to availability).
Day 6: FRIDAY 14TH August – Reflections on Remembrance/Erev Shabbat
After breakfast, depart the hotel and visit Yad Vashem, considered the foremost memorial to mankind’s darkest period and Israel’s official memorial and historical museum to the victims of the Shoah. Explore the issues of the legacy and impact of the Nazi Holocaust on the nascent State of Israel, together with renowned Holocaust scholar Dr. Rachel Korazim (subject to availability). Walk along the Path of the Righteous Gentiles.
Visit sites of importance to Christianity on the Mt. of Olives such as the Pater Noster Church, The Church of Ascension, Dominus Flavit, and Gethsemane-Church of All Nations.
Continue to Mt. Zion to see David’s Tomb and enter the Upper Room (the Room of the Last Supper).
Visit the Garden Tomb, a traditional site for the burial place of Jesus.
Return to the hotel to rest, relax and prepare for the evening.
Enjoy a delicious Shabbat of a Lifetime Shabbat dinner served at the home of a local family in the city’s Nachlaot neighborhood.
Day 7: SATURDAY 15TH August – Masada & the Dead Sea
After breakfast, depart Jerusalem and descend to the Dead Sea region — the lowest spot on land on Earth.
Take the cable car up to the summit of Masada. Tour the remains of King Herod’s desert retreat and fortress, incredibly preserved by the arid conditions of the Judean Desert. Learn about the history of this fascinating place, a symbol of the ancient sovereignty of the Kingdom of Israel. Hear about the tale of its violent destruction and as the last stand of Jewish patriots in the face of the Roman legion. Additionally, explore the motif of collective memory in the Zionist epic and discuss the notion of Masada as an ethos to the Zionist narrative and its place in Israeli society and collective identity.
Enjoy swimming and ‘floating’ at the Dead Sea, the lowest place on the surface of the Earth. Have lunch at a Dead Sea-area resort hotel.
Visit Qumran, the home of the first-century sect known as the Essenes, the authors of the Dead Sea Scrolls. It was here in 1949 where the scrolls were discovered in a lofty cave by a Bedouin shepherd.
Return to Jerusalem. Enjoy the remainder of the day at leisure.
Dinner at Anna restaurant, located in the historic Anna Ticho house.
Day 8: SUNDAY 16TH August – The West Bank: A Nuanced Reality
After breakfast, check-out from your hotel. Depart Jerusalem and head south across the Green Line and enter the West Bank.
Visit Rachel’s Tomb, a site of religious pilgrimage for Jews.
Drive south along the Way of the Patriarchs to the city of Hebron. There, visit the Cave of the Patriarchs. Known to Jews as the ‘Cave of Machpeleh’ and to Muslims as the ‘Sanctuary of Abraham’ or ‘Ibrahimi Mosque,’ tradition holds that the cave and adjoining field were purchased by Abraham as a burial plot. Today, the site of the cave is located beneath a Salah al-Din mosque which itself is built upon a larger Herodian-era structure.
While in Hebron, witness some of the modern features of the 2nd-largest city on the West Bank and explore the nuanced and complex challenges which face the area’s local Palestinian and Jewish populations.
Packed lunch en route.
Travel to the Gush Etzion settlement bloc, the largest concentration of Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank).
In Efrat, meet with Mayor Oded Revivi. Learn about the guiding rational and meaning behind the modern settlement movement, as well as discuss the complex challenges which it faces both home and abroad. Tour the settlement (subject to availability).
Conclude with an encounter with locals, both Israelis and Palestinians who struggle to carry on as normal a life as possible despite the separation fences and roadblocks, among them former prisoner Ali Abu Awwad and Jewish settler Shaul Judelman, both of the Roots-Shorashim NGO who work together at promoting peaceful dialogue and coexistence.
This evening, experience the authentic atmosphere of the desert at Eretz Canaan. Upon arrival, board ATV’s for an exciting ride through the mesmerizing and serene surroundings of the Judean Desert. The ride will culminate with a Bedouin-style feast.
Drive to Tel Aviv.
Overnight: Tel Aviv
Day 9: MONDAY 17TH August – Tel Aviv: Capital of Israeli Cool
Learn about how Tel Aviv became known as the “White City” and a UNESCO World Heritage Site as you explore Rothschild Boulevard and the beautiful architecture surrounding you.
Dual-narrative tour of ancient Jaffa with your Jewish guide and an Arab guide, each telling separate and at times, conflicting narratives of the city.
Choose one for the group: Explore the “State of Mind” Israel Innovation Center. This ‘Start-Up Nation’ museum highlights Israeli achievements in entrepreneurship, innovation and technology in a variety of sectors including agriculture, medicine, defense, cyber security, science, transportation, aerospace and more (subject to availability) OR Visit Independence Hall, the site where David Ben Gurion proclaimed Israel’s independence on May 14th, 1948.
Lunch on own at the Carmel Market (Shuk Hacarmel), the city’s largest outdoor market featuring a fantastic selection of the very best of Israel’s local produce and culinary creations, representative of the country’s diverse and multi-ethnic population.
Visit the Yitzhak Rabin Center, built in a downward spiral and presenting two parallel stories: the history of the State of Israel and the biography of Yitzhak Rabin. Its content focuses on historical turning points in the country’s development, presenting conflicts, social challenges and dilemmas the country faced in the time surrounding the assassination.
Gather one last time together as a group in Israel over a delicious farewell dinner at a Tel Aviv restaurant. Reflect on your shared experience in Israel and discuss how you can best preserve your new friendships and connections alongside your memories upon returning home.
Day 10: TUESDAY 18TH August – Tel Aviv: Departure
Transfer to Ben Gurion international airport for your flight home.
Cost per person cost based on double occupancy:
5 Star accommodation:
15 – 19 Participants: $3,866.00
20 – 24 Participants: $3,505.00
25+ Participants: $3,328.00
Single supplement: $1,490.00
ALL PRICES QUOTED ARE IN US DOLLARS
- Meeting and assistance at Ben Gurion airport on Arrival and departure
- Escort group Transfers on arrival and departure
- 7 nights hotel accommodation at the above listed hotels or similar on BB basis (breakfast) throughout group’s stay + Late Check out
- 3 hotel Dinners
- 2 Dinners at Jerusalem restaurant
- 1 Shabbat Home hospitality
- 1 Dinner at Genesis Land (Eretz Bereshit)
- 1 Dinner Tel Aviv Restaurant
- 7 pre-arranged lunches as per program
- Late check out on departure date
- 8 days touring with an English-speaking guide in an A/C bus as per our suggested program
- 1 day touring with an Arabic culture expert guide
- Porterage at all hotels and at the airport upon arrival
- Overnight for staff where needed
- Entrance fees to sites mentioned as per our suggested program
- 6 lectures from speakers as per our suggested program
- Gratuities for guide and driver
Rates do not include:
- International Air Transportation
- Any meals not mentioned
- Beverages with meals
- Early check in or late check out which are not mentioned
- Any insurance