March 8 - 19, 2020

Day 1 – Sunday March 8

6:30am Meet in the departure hall at Vancouver Airport to check in for the 9am West Jet flight to Toronto, arriving in Toronto at 4:28pm. Leave Toronto at 8:15pm on a nonstop, direct EL AL flight to Tel Aviv, meals served on board.

Day 2 – Monday March 9

Arrive at Ben Gurion International Airport at 12:45pm. Meet your guide. Travel north through the Plain of Sharon on the old coastal road, which once linked Egypt and Babylon. Stop at Caesarea, the largest port in the Mediterranean built by King Herod the Great and later the Roman capital. Here Pontius Pilate had his seat; Cornelius lived and was baptized (Acts 10); Paul embarked to Tarsus (Acts 9:30) and Philip preached (Acts 8:40). Visit the Roman Theatre, the Hippodrome and the new exhibit adjacent to the unique Roman Port. 1 night: Bayview hotel ~ Haifa (Dinner)

Day 3 – Tuesday March 10

Travel via the Jezreel Valley to Megiddo, one of King Solomon’s fortified city kingdoms (1 Kings 9:15; 10:26) – with 21 impressive, layered ruins of ancient civilizations and where the book of Revelation will come to life, at the site of the epic Armageddon. Travel to Nazareth, where Jesus spent his youth. Visit the church of the Annunciation, where Mary heard the word of God and Nazareth Village, to learn more about life in Jesus’ day. Enjoy an optional St Peter’s fish lunch, then proceed to Gennasereth – Ginosar where you view the famous ancient boat from the time of Jesus. Following the tradition of the “fishermen” disciples, sail on the Sea of Galilee with time for meditation and prayer. Stop at Yardenit for a Baptism ceremony in the Jordan River. 2 nights: Emily hotel ~ Tiberias (Breakfast & dinner)

Day 4 – Wednesday March 11

Get an early start at the Mt Beatitudes, where Jesus delivered the famous “Sermon on the Mount” (Matt.5), with time for a unique outdoor Mass. Travel North through the Jordan Valley to Dan. Visit this lush Nature Park, with impressive ancient city gates from Abraham and King Jeroboam’s times. Continue to Banias, visit Caesarea Philippi, the Northern extent of Jesus’ Ministry, where Jesus asked, “Who do men say I am?” Travel onto and across the Golan Heights. Visit sites central to Jesus’ Ministry – Starting at Kfar Nahum, Capernaum, center of Jesus’ Ministry in the Galilee and site of many of his miracles (Mark 2:4; Matt.8:5; 9). See the remains of St Peter’s mother in law’s home and the ancient synagogue, where Jesus taught and worshipped (Mark 1:21; Luke 4:31). Continue to the Church of the Primacy of Peter (Tabgha) on the shore of the Sea of Galilee (Breakfast & dinner)

Day 5 – Thursday March 12

Get an early start, travel south along the Jordan Valley to the Sheikh Hussein Bridge and cross into Jordan. Emulating the children of Israel and Moses, stop on Mt. Nebo for a glimpse of the Promised Land. Travel through the Moab Mountains to Mukawir. Stop to visit the intimidating ruins of the desert fortress at Mukawir (Machaerus) from Jesus’ day, where Herod Antipas held, then killed, John the Baptist. Continue south along the “Kingsway,” time permitting stop at little Petra en route to Petra. 1 night: Petra Palace hotel ~ Petra (Breakfast & dinner)

Day 6 – Friday March 13

Start the day walking and riding into Petra – The Red Rock, centre of the ancient Nabatean people and one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. See the stunning charm of the Necropolis and the many magnificent sandstone edifices. Midafternoon leave Petra travelling south on the Kings Way via Ras El Naqeb, cross into Israel at the Arava terminal and travel through the Arava wilderness to the Dead Sea, the lowest place on earth (417 meters below sea level). 2 nights: Prima Oasis hotel & Spa~ Dead Sea (Breakfast & dinner)

Day 7 – Saturday March 14

Travel North through the stark Judean wilderness along the shores of the Dead Sea to visit Masada – ruins of King Herod’s formidable mountaintop fortress, later the last stronghold of the Jewish revolt against Rome (73 A.C.E.). Ascend and descend by cable car. Spend the remainder of the day at leisure with time to enjoy the spa facilities at the hotel and float in the Dead Sea ~ you cannot sink! (Breakfast, lunch & dinner)

Day 8 – Sunday March 15

View Ein Gedi oasis, where David fled the wrath of King Saul, as you travel North. Stop to visit Qumran, where a Bedouin shepherd discovered the Dead Sea scrolls in a nearby cave. Continue through the Judean wilderness and enter Jerusalem as Jesus. Stop to recite a Psalm of ascent with your first view of the Holy City and the Temple Mt from the Mt. of Olives. Follow in the footsteps of Jesus and the Galileans, walk down the hillside on the route of Palm Sunday, via Dominus Flevit to Gethsemane. Visit the Church of All Nations with time for reflection and prayer in the Olive orchard and celebrate outdoor Mass (in the Olive orchard/garden). Continue to Mt. Zion, visit the upper room – site of the last supper and St Peter in Gallicantu, to see the steps that Jesus might have walked on. End the day at Yad Vashem – national memorial and Museum of the Shoah (Holocaust) where you pay tribute to the six million Jewish victims of the Shoah in Europe during the Second World War. 4 nights: Caesar hotel – Jerusalem [Breakfast & dinner]

Day 9 – Monday March 16

Start the day in David’s City visiting Hezekiah’s (wet) or the Canaanite Tunnel (dry) and the Pools of Siloam. Enter the Old City, visit the Southern Wall Archaeological Park to see the impressive excavations along the South Western Wall of the Temple Mount and to stand on the very same ancient steps that Jesus and the disciples might have used 2000 years ago to enter and exit the House of God. Proceed to the Western Wall (Kotel), then walk back in time through the remarkable Western Wall Tunnel Excavations. Stop at the pools of Bethsaida – where Jesus healed the paralytic man, and enjoy the splendid acoustics at St Anne’s church. Continue to the Israel Museum to visit the Shrine of the Book, home of the Dead Sea scrolls and the Model of Ancient Jerusalem, describing the city from the Second Temple Period, the time of Jesus. (Breakfast & dinner)

Day 10 – Tuesday March 17

Walk through the colourful Suk, the Old City market place. Stop at the Monastery of the sisters of Zion to visit the Lithostrotos, perhaps the very place where Jesus was tormented and disrobed by Roman soldiers. Then visit the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and celebrate Mass. Continue into the Jewish quarter, stop at the Broad Wall (Isaiah) and view some unique archaeological windows into the past, from the first and second temple periods in the Roman/Byzantine/Crusader main street, called the “Cardo.” Then stop at the Temple Mt Institute to see replicas of the instruments used in worship on the Temple. End the day at the Garden Tomb, remember the resurrection, with time for reflection and worship with Holy Communion. (Breakfast & dinner)

Day 11 – Wednesday March 18

Spend a day of leisure in this fascinating city: – Revisit places of interest and do some shopping in the colourful “Suk” (Market Place) in the Old City. Options to consider ON YOUR OWN: Spend time at Succat Hallel the Jerusalem House of Prayer. Visit: The Citadel Museum (David’s Tower); Ramparts (walls) of the Old City; Rockefeller Museum; Augusta Victoria (modest entrance fees might be required); the Anglican and Lutheran churches or the Mahane Yehuda market. Enjoy a farewell dinner in the hotel, then meet for debriefing. (Breakfast & dinner)

Day 12 – Thursday March 19

Transfer to Ben Gurion airport for your return flight. Leave Tel Aviv 11:00am on a direct, nonstop EL AL flight to Toronto arriving at 5:15pm – meals served on board. Leave Toronto at 7pm on the West Jet flight to Vancouver, arriving at 9:15pm.