John F. Kennedy Airport / New York – Leave from JFK Airport for an exciting visit to Israel with its historic sites holy to three religions. (Please see the note at the end of the itinerary for JFK departure instructions.
Ben Gurion Airport / Jerusalem – When you arrive at Ben Gurion Airport, you will be met by a TAL Tours representative and transferred to your hotel. Relax, have a good meal, and prepare for a day full of lots of sightseeing tomorrow. You will spend your first night in Jerusalem.
Jerusalem: Mount Zion, The Old City and Bethlehem – Your tour starts in Mount Zion, where you will visit the tomb of King David, which is located in the lower level of what still remains of the former Hagia Zion, a Byzantine church. From there you will go to the upper level and witness for yourself the room where the Last Supper, also known as Cenacle, was held. This is not only the site of the Cenacle but also the location where the Apostles stayed in Jerusalem.
From there you will proceed to the Walled City of Jerusalem. All .35 square miles make up the city limits of what at one time constituted all of Jerusalem. Within that Old City tour sights such as the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and walk along the Western Wall. Your tour will continue on to Mount Scopus and then to the Mount of Olives for an opportunity to walk through the newly restored Jewish Quarter.
From there you will continue onto Bethlehem (subject to availability) with a stop at Rachel’s Tomb. Afterwards, you will see the Church of the Nativity.
You will again spend the night in Jerusalem.
Jerusalem: The New City – Your day starts with a drive to the city of Ein Kerem where you will visit the Abbell Synagogue inside the Hadassah Medical Center. The synagogue houses the permanent collection of Marc Chagall’s stained glass windows, a gift he bestowed to the synagogue in 1962 as a way to give back to the land and people he loved so dearly.
After taking in the beauty of the stained glass collection, you will then proceed to Bayit Vegan to visit the miniature model of Jerusalem just as it existed during the Second Temple period.
Next, your tour takes you to Yad Vashem, Israel’s memorial to the martyrs and survivors of the Holocaust. Although this will be a sombre point of your tour, it is a truly important one for the history of Jews.
Then you will be able to see the Shrine of the Book, which houses the Dead Sea Scrolls, as your next stop will take place at the Israel Museum.
The last two stops on your tour on day four will be the Knesset, Israel’s Parliament, and the Givat Ram Campus of the Hebrew University.
Overnight in Jerusalem.
Beit Shean / Nazareth / Galilee – Leave Jerusalem, and drive north via Jericho*, the oldest city in the world. It was the first town conquered by the Children of Israel under Joshua (Joshua 4:5-6). Then via the Jordan Valley to Beit Shean, an ancient city with a glorious past. King Saul and his sons, who lost the battle with the Phistines at nearby Mt. Gilboa, were hung from the city walls (Judges 6:4-8). Visit the excavations of this beautiful Roman City which during the Byzantine period served as the capital of Palestina Secunda. Proceed to Nazareth, where Jesus spent his boyhood living with Joseph and Mary (Luke 1:26-38) to visit the Church of the Annunciation & Mary’s Well. On to Safed, city of the Kabala (mysticism), for a walk through the mystic alleys and the artists’ colony. Drive to our selected Kibbutz Hotel for overnight accommodations.
Golan Heights / Sea of Galilee – Drive to the Golan Heights. See the former Syrian fortifications, and the Druze villages. Visit as Jesus did with his disciples (Matthew 16:13-23) Caesarea Phillipi (Banias), source of the Jordan River (Mark 8:27). Drive to the shores of the Sea of Galilee lying 600 feet below sea level, where violent storms rush down from the surrounding mountains. It was here that Jesus rebuked the winds and the sea (Matthew 8:26) and taught from Peter’s boat (Mark 3:7-9), to Capernaum, the center of Jesus’ Galilee Ministry where he leaved and healed the sick and performed numerous miracles (Matthew 9:1;4:13). Visit the ruins of the ancient synagogue and Peter’s House. Visit Tabgha, where the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and fish took place (Luke 5:1-11) and the Mount of Beatitudes where Jesus delivered the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:1-8). After a short tour of Tiberias the old center of Jewish learning, Return to the Kibbutz hotel for overnight.
Acre / Haifa / Tel Aviv – After Breakfast drive west to Acre for a visit of the old, famous Crusader stronghold and medieval fortifications as Paul did (Acts 21:7). Continue for a sightseeing tour of Haifa, including the Bahai Shrine, Persian Garden and Mount Carmel, associated with the prophets Elijah and Elisha (Kings 1 2, 15:24, 25) for a panoramic view of the city. Proceed southwards to Caesarea to visit the Roman Theater and the Crusader fortress. Caesarea was the home of the first gentile convert, Cornelius who was baptized by Peter (Acts 10). Continue to Tel Aviv-Jaffa, where Jonah embarked for Tarshish (Jonah 1:3-17) for a short city tour and to hotel for overnight.
At leisure – Day at leisure in Tel Aviv, or an optional tour to the Dead Sea and Masada.
Tel Aviv / Ben Gurion Airport – This morning we check in for our homebound flight from Ben Gurion Airport, rejoicing and putting our trust in the Lord, remembering the words from Psalms 125:1: “They that trust in the Lord shall be as Mount Zion, which cannot be removed but abideth forever”.