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Day 1 – Monday, February 4: TORONTO
Departure from Toronto on Air Canada at 4:55pm flying non-stop to Tel Aviv from Terminal #1.
Day 2 – Tuesday, February 5: TEL AVIV/JAFFA
Arrive in Tel Aviv at 10:15 a.m. where our tour guide will meet us. We begin our tour in Jaffa affording us a breathtaking view of the city of Tel Aviv. At this picturesque port city of winding alleys, art galleries and crafts boutiques, King Solomon had the cedars of Lebanon rafted for the building of the 1st Temple in Jerusalem. You will view the spot of the House of Simon the Tanner. Jonah departed from Joppa to Tarshish. After checking in to our hotel the balance of day at leisure. Dinner and overnight at the Metropolitan Hotel, Tel Aviv
Day 3 – Wednesday, February 6: VIA MARIS/HAIFA/THE GALILEE
We drive north along what was once the ancient Via Maris road to Caesarea the incredible fortress city built by King Herod the Great. Here, Pontius Pilate had his base; where Cornelius lived and was baptized; where Paul embarked to Tarsus and where Philip preached. Visit the Roman Theatre, the Hippodrome, the Crusader City and Aqueduct. We then travel north towards Haifa and ascend Mt. Carmel the site where the prophet Elijah fought the 400 false prophets of Baal. We will stop for an incredible panoramic view of Haifa and the Hanging Gardens. We will visit the Haifa Home for Holocaust Survivors (ICEJ). Approximately one third of Israel’s some 180,000 Holocaust Survivors are impoverished, struggling with illness, or living alone. In 2009, ICEJ began a partnership with the local charity to provide a Home especially for lonely survivors. We turn inland and proceed to Megiddo, one of King Solomon’s walled fortified cities, with ruins of 20 levels of civilization. From here the Books of Daniel and Revelation will come alive as we read about the final Battle of Armageddon. Dinner and overnight at Kibbutz Ein Gev on the Sea of Galilee
Day 4 – Thursday, February 7: THE GALILEE
We begin the day at Magdala, the home of Mary Magdalene, which was a prosperous fishing village at the time Jesus was active in this region. It was fortified and severely damaged during the great revolt against the Romans. The archaeologists uncovered the remains of the village dating from the time of Jesus, and a large Byzantine monastery. We continue to Capernaum, the centre of Jesus’ Galilean ministry and the site of many of His miracles We see the remains of Peter’s house and the synagogue site where Jesus taught and worshipped. Continue to the Mt. of Beatitudes where Jesus delivered what is perhaps the most famous sermon ever preached “The Sermon On The Mount” (Matt.5). Continue to Bethsaida known as the birthplace of three of the Apostles Peter, Andrew and Philip. Jesus himself visited Bethsaida and performed several miracles there. Visit the archaeological excavations. Visit Kursi the place where a man was healed from demons. Dinner and overnight at Kibbutz Ein Gev on the Sea of Galilee
Day 5 — Friday, February 8: THE GALILEE
We start the day Kfar Kedem a recreated ancient village in the Galilee that enables visitors to actually relive the past through this amazing experience. Visitors enter Kfar Kedem and dress up as shepherds from ancient times, ride a donkey, bake pita bread and make goat cheese. Visit Hazor one of the horse chariot cities from the time of King Solomon. We continue to the site of the city of Korazim where there are the remains of a First Century Synagogue where Jesus frequently ministered. We take a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee to Kibbutz Ginossar to visit the museum showing a ancient boat that sailed on the Sea of Galilee from the time of Jesus. Dinner and overnight at Kibbutz Ein Gev on the Sea of Galilee
Day 6 – Saturday, February 9: THE GALILEE
Continue to Nazareth, the boyhood town of Jesus. We will visit Nazareth Village depicting a village from the time of Jesus. Continue to Zippori famous for its Byzantine mosaics, including a woman’s face known as the ‘Mona Lisa of the Galilee’. Zippori (Sepphoris) was also a center of Jewish life in the 2nd century. The Sanhedrin convened there for a time and it was the birthplace of the Mishnah, the first written codification of Jewish oral law. Return back to our hotel.
Dinner and overnight at Kibbutz Ein Gev on the Sea of Galilee.
Day 7 – Sunday, February 10: THE GOLAN HEIGHTS
This morning drive north to Tel Dan to see the ruins from Abraham’s time and the Dan Spring, which is a source of the Jordan River. Continue to the Banias, another one of the three sources of the Jordan River, and the site of ancient “Caesarea Philipi”, where Peter made his confession of faith in Christ. Continue to Gamla known sometimes as the “Masada of the North,” Gamla is most famous for its strong defense against the Romans in the Jewish Revolt in AD 66. We walk down to see the ancient town’s excavations, and one of the oldest synagogues in Israel. Dinner & overnight at Kibbutz Ein Gev on the Sea of Galilee.
Day 8 – Monday, February 11: GALILEE/JORDAN VALLEY/JERUSALEM
This morning we drive southward to Beit Shean, where we will walk through the incredible excavations of the largest ongoing archaeological dig in the land of Israel, with its Roman theatre, colonnaded Roman streets, mosaics and Roman bathhouses. We then drive through the lush Jordan Valley to Jericho to see the ancient excavations of the oldest town in the world. Continue to Qasr el Yahud, the baptismal site on the banks of the Jordan River where according to tradition; Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist. Ascend up to Jerusalem. Dinner and overnight at the Prima Kings Hotel, Jerusalem.
Day 9 – Tuesday, February 12: JERUSALEM
After breakfast drive to the excavated City of David to see remains of Jerusalem from the time of King David. See Hezekiah’s Tunnel and visit the Pool of Siloam. We continue to more recent excavations on the way to the Temple Mount. Then, to the Israel Museum to see the Ancient Israel exhibit, and visit the Shrine of the Book which houses the Dead Sea Scrolls, the oldest manuscripts of the Bible ever found. Visit the Model of Jerusalem from the Second Temple Period on the grounds of the museum, as it looked in the time of Jesus. We will stop next at the Knesset, Israel’s Parliament to take a picture of the Menorah, Israel’s national symbol. We finish the day at the Garden Tomb, preserved by the Garden Tomb Association. These beautiful gardens surround the traditional site of Jesus’ burial & resurrection. You will have time for a private Communion Service in the gardens. Dinner and overnight at the Prima Kings Hotel, Jerusalem.
Day 10 – Wednesday, February 13: JERUSALEM
This morning we visit the Jewish Quarter in the Old City walking along the “Cardo”, Jerusalem‘s main street of 1500 years ago. The Cardo was originally paved in the 2nd century when Hadrian rebuilt Jerusalem as a Roman polis called Aelia Capitolina. We continue our walk to The Burnt House which was the house of the Katros family, one of 24 priestly families from the Second Temple period. A striking audio-visual presentation will take you back in time, telling the story of the family, and of the last days before the destruction of the Second Temple. We walk to the Davidson Center to start at the facility using state of the art technology and film, showing what the Temple Mount was like from the time of Jesus. You will continue to the Southern Wall Excavations, and see the walls from the time of King Herod, and walk on the same steps Jesus walked on going up to the Temple. We visit the Western Wall the holiest place in Judaism, and the Western Wall Tunnels and the excavations along the length of the Western Wall. We will also visit the Praetorium, where Jesus was condemned by Pontius Pilate. Balance of day at leisure. Dinner and overnight at the Prima Kings Hotel, Jerusalem.
Day 11 – Thursday, February 14: JERUSALEM
We start the day at the Mount of Olives, for a panoramic view of Jerusalem. Walk down Jesus’ “Good Friday” road to the Garden of Gethsemane for a time of quiet reflection & prayer. From here, we proceed by bus across the Kidron Valley, stop at the Tombs of Absalom, Zechariah and James, and proceed to Mt Zion to visit the Church of St. Peter’s in Gallicantu, built on top of the High Priest Caiphas’ house. Be an archaeologist for a day and participate in a national project to save important artifacts from the Temple Mount, at Emek Zurim. You will receive a fascinating few-minutes crash course on the history of the Temple Mount and the Temple, before joining the staff in sifting through the rubble. After dinner we will attend the Sound & Light Show at the Tower of David Museum inside Jaffa Gate. The walls of the Citadel serve as a stage for a nighttime show which is a celebration of sight and sound. Dinner and overnight at the Prima Kings Hotel, Jerusalem.
Day 12 – Friday, February 15: JERUSALEM
We start the day visiting Yad Vashem, Israel’s memorial to the Holocaust, commemorating the six million Jews who perished. Visit and walk through the newly opened Museum, visit the Children’s Memorial, walk along the Avenue of the Righteous Gentiles for those who risked their lives to save Jewish lives. We drive back to the Old City to walk along the Via Dolorosa to visit St. Anne’s Church (the only surviving Crusader Church in Israel), and the Pools of Bethesda. Balance of day at leisure. Dinner & overnight in Jerusalem.
Day 13 — Saturday, February 16: DEAD SEA REGION
We leave Jerusalem and drive to Herodium, a major archaeological site, home to an impressive palace built by King Herod, and the burial location of Herod–hence the tumulus shape of the man-made mountain. See the ancient bath houses, palaces and synagogue. Drive to the lowest point on earth to the Dead Sea. We will stop at Qumran, where two shepherds discovered the first Dead Sea Scrolls in 1947, in a cave that you will see. These scrolls are the oldest Scriptures of the Bible ever found. You will see where the Essenes–who wrote these scrolls–lived. Drive south to our hotel on the Dead Sea and spend the balance of the day floating in the Dead Sea and using the spa facilities. Dinner and overnight at the David Hotel, Dead Sea.
Day 14 – Sunday, February 17: DEAD SEA REGION/MASADA/EIN GEDI
This morning we visit Masada. You will take a cable car to the summit of this magnificent fortress built by King Herod the Great, and the last stronghold of the Jewish Zealots. Visit the historic ruins and see the palaces, bathhouses, swimming pool, and the oldest synagogue in the world on this mountain in the middle of the desert. Continue to Ein Gedi Nature Reserve and see the waterfalls and wildlife in the desert. Return to the hotel for the balance of the day. Farewell Dinner & overnight at the David Hotel, Dead Sea
Day 15 – Monday, February 18: TEL AVIV/TORONTO
Depart the Dead Sea region in the morning and we drive to Ben Gurion Airport for our direct flight to Toronto on Air Canada departing at 11:55am and arriving in Toronto at 4:55pm at terminal #1.