Day 1 – Thursday, April 4: TORONTO
Departure from Toronto’s Pearson International Airport on Air Canada flying nonstop from Toronto to Tel Aviv departing at 4:30pm from Terminal 1.
Day 2 – Friday, April 5: TEL AVIV/JAFFA
Arrive in Tel Aviv at 10:05am where our tour guide will meet us. We start with a short tour of Jaffa with a visit to the Jaffa Institute providing educational, recreational and social enrichment programs which enhance the self-esteem and academic performance of each child in their care, thereby enabling them to succeed academically and break the cycle of intergenerational poverty in the greater South Tel Aviv area. After our tour we will be transferred to our hotel in Tel Aviv. Balance of the day will be at leisure. Walk along the Mediterranean promenade to see the sunset before dinner.Dinner and overnight at the Renaissance Hotel, Tel Aviv
Day 3 – Saturday, April 6: TEL AVIV/ATLIT/HAIFA
We will begin our first full day by driving north through the Plain of Sharon along the old coastal road- the Via Maris which linked Egypt and Babylo. We stop at Caesarea the incredible fortress city built by King Herod the Great. I was here that Pontius Pilate had his base in Israel; where Cornelius the centurion lived and was baptized (Acts 10); where Paul embarked to Tarsus (Acts 9:30) and where Philip preached (Acts 8:40). Visit the Roman Theatre, the Hippodrome, and the Crusader City. Continue to Atlit, a British detention camp established by the British Mandate for Palestine at the end of the 1930’s. Tens of thousands of Jewish immigrants were interred at the camp, which was surrounded by barb wire and watchtowers, reminiscent of the death camps the Nazis had used in Europe. It is now a museum and a National Heritage Site. Before ending the day at our hotel, we will view Haifa Harbour from the heights of the Carmel Mountains. Dinner and overnight Crowne Plaza Hotel, Haifa
Day 4 – Sunday, April 7: ACCO/MEGIDDO/NAZARETH/CANA/TIBERIAS
This morning we will take a short drive north along the Mediterranean to the UNESCO World Heritage site, Akko (Acre). In the Old City of Akko you will discover a perfectly preserved Crusader city being brought back to life and located directly under the city now built above it. Wondrous discoveries await you here: Crusader Walls and fortresses, knight’s halls. Our day will continue with a visit to the place where Elijah challenged the priests of Baal (1King 19). We will then descend into the Valley of Jezreel on our way to Megiddo (Armageddon), one of King Solomon’s walled fortified cities (1 King 9:15; 10:26), with ruins and visible layers of 20 levels of civilization. The prophetic books of Daniel and Revelation will come alive as we read about the final Battle of Armageddon (Revelation 19). We will then drive through Nazareth, the home town of Jesus, and stop for a brief visit in Cana, site of Jesus’ first recorded miracle of turning water into wine (John 2). The day will end with our first glimpse of the Sea of Galilee. Dinner and overnight at Kibbutz Nof Ginossar on the Sea of Galilee.
Day 5 – Monday, April 8: GOLAN HEIGHTS/GAMLA
Our first full day in Galilee, we will drive north to the Golan Heights and visit Banias, one of the sources of the Jordan River and location of ancient “Caesarea Philipi”. It was here that Peter made his confession of faith in Christ (Matt; 16:16). On the summit of the Golan Heights, you will learn about the wars Israel fought to protect its future while visiting old Syrian bunkers overlooking the fertile Hula Valley below. We will also visit Gamla, site of a Jewish city founded in the second century and located on craggy basalt outcropping on the Golan Heights. Two thousand years ago the Jewish historian Josephus described the siege of this walled city by the Romans and how the 9,000 Jewish inhabitants fought their way to the edge of town and threw themselves to death into the gorge below when they realized they could not avoid capture. Curiously, Gamla has also become a vulture breeding sanctuary (Rev. 19:17, 18). We will return to our hotel via the east side of the Sea of Galilee stopping at Kursi where Jesus encountered the Gadarene Demoniac (Mark 5) and where the demons entered the swine and drowned in the Sea of Galilee. Dinner and overnight at Kibbutz Nof Ginossar on the Sea of Galilee.
Day 6 — Tuesday, April 9: GALILEE/JERUSALEM
After breakfast, we begin the day with a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee at Capernaum, the centre of Jesus’ Galilean ministry and site of many of his miracles (Mark 2:4; Matt.8:5; 14-7; 9;1-7;17:18). We will see the remains of Simon Peter’s house and the synagogue site where Jesus taught and worshipped (Mark 1:21; Luke 4:31). Our morning visits include several other places where Jesus performed miracles or spoke to large crowds. After lunch, we will proceed to Jerusalem via the Harod Spring Nature Reserve. This is the place where Gideon gathered his men before fighting the Midianites (Judges 7). Today it is a nature reserve with the second largest pool in Israel. Our journey will continue southward through the Jordan Valley, where the desert blooms with flowers and vegetation of every description (Isaiah 35:1-2). We will stop at the Baptismal site (John 1:18) on the Jordan River-and current border with the Kingdom of Jordan-before ascending up through the Judean Wilderness to the Holy City of Jerusalem. Dinner and overnight at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Jerusalem.
Day 7 – Wednesday, April 10: JERUSALEM
We start the day at the top of the Mt. of Olives, for a panoramic view of Jerusalem. Tracing the footsteps of Jesus, we will stroll down the Palm Sunday Route on the Mount of Olives to the Garden of Gethsemane and the Church of All Nations. Continue to Mt Zion to visit the traditional site of the Upper Room (Room of the Last Supper), King David’s Tomb and the Church of St. Peter’s in Gallicantu, built on top of the High Priest Caiphas’ house. Free afternoon: Afternoon at leisure for shopping etc. Dinner and overnight in Jerusalem at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Jerusalem
Day 8 – Thursday, April 11: JERUSALEM
We start the day at the Davidson Center to visit the Southern Wall excavations. Our walking tour will continue along the Via Dolorosa for a brief stop at the Pools of Bethesda (John 5) and St. Anne’s Church, before walking through the alleyways and bazaars of the Old City on our way to the Tower of David Museum by Jaffa Gate. It is here that we will get an overview of Jerusalem’s history beginning with the first evidence of a city in Jerusalem in the 2nd century B.C. and ending with Jerusalem as Israel’s God-chosen capital. Our day will end with a visit to the Garden Tomb, or Gordon’s Calvary, for a communion service before returning to our hotel for Dinner and overnight at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Jerusalem
Day 9 – Friday, April 12: DEAD SEA/EIN GEDI/KFAR HANOKDIM/BEER SHEVA
On our journey from Jerusalem to the Dead Sea, the lowest point on earth, we will pass by Qumran where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered in 1947. We will then visit the Ein Gedi Nature Reserve, an oasis and wild, natural setting and habitat of wildlife that includes Ibex and conies (rock rabbits). This is where David took refuge from King Saul (1Samuel 24). After a short visit to Masada, site of the Jewish Zealots’ last stand against the Romans in A.D. 73, we will continue to Kfar Hanokdim which duplicates a Bedouin Village. In a green oasis shaded by palm trees and crowned with biblically inspired gardens, we will have lunch in Bedouin tents comfortably fitted with colourful rugs and mattresses. You will enjoy warm Bedouin hospitality accompanied by explanations of Bedouin life and culture and the opportunity for a camel ride as well. We drive through the Negev to Beer Sheva, the capital of the Negev. Dinner and overnight at the Leonardo Hotel, Beer Sheva.
Day 10 – Saturday, April 13: NEGEV/TEL AVIV
This morning we visit Abraham’s Wells (Genesis 26:18) before driving to Avdat to tour an ancient Nabatean city that includes remains for the Roman era as well as Byzantine churches from the 5th century. Avdat stood along the incense route, the road over which costly incense, perfumes and spices were transported by camel caravans out of Arabia, across the Negev, to the port city of Jaffa, and the place we first visited on our first morning in Israel. As we journey through the Negev Desert, we will take time to stop at Sde Boker, retirement home of David Ben Gurion, Israel’s first Prime Minister after 1948. You will see his house, and the place where he and wife are buried overlooking the Valley of Zin. Drive to Tel Aviv.Dinner and overnight at the Renaissance Hotel, Tel Aviv
Day 11 – Sunday, April 14: TEL AVIV/ TORONTO
After breakfast we depart from the hotel to the airport for our Air Canada non-stop flight to Toronto departing at 11:45am and arriving in Toronto at 4:25pm at Terminal 1.