Feb 24 (THUR) – Arrival
Arrival. WELCOME TO ISRAEL! Transfer to Jerusalem.
Feb 25 (FRI) – in Jerusalem
Free day in Jerusalem, recovering from the jet lag.
Feb 26 (SAT) – To the Shephelah
- Day tour in the Battle site of David and Goliath.
- Climb Lachish and learn about the brutal Assyrian conquest of the site.
- Drive off-road to Beit-Lehi and explore fascinating connection to the figure of Lehi.
- Walk through the underground caves of Maresha / Beit Guvrin
Feb 27 (SUN) – Copper Scroll Treasure Hunt
- Drive to Saint George monastery and seek caves where Lehi’s sons may have hid.
- Reach cave #3 and learn about the discovery of the copper scroll.
- Tour Qumran and assess its connections to the scrolls.
- Drive into the Judean Desert and track the secret tunnel beneath Hyrcania. Was one of the treasures hidden here?
- Drive to Jerusalem. Greet the city from Mount of Olives viewpoint and drive down to the Kidron Valley. Tour the Kidron valley tombs and learn about the research to find more treasures of the Copper Scroll at the site.
Feb 28 (MON) – Bethlehem and the garden tomb
- Drive to Herodium and follow the research trying to track the legendary tomb of Herod the Great.
- Switch to a Palestinian guide who will take you into Bethlehem. Visit the Church of the Nativity and the Shepherds field. Optional barbecue lunch.
- Return to Jerusalem. See the mysterious Kathisma church and join a tour of the Garden Tomb.
March 1 (TUE) – Jerusalem’s Old City
- Morning tour of the Garden Tomb.
- See Jerusalem from Mount of Olives viewpoint. Optional visit to the Chapel of the Ascension and the church of the Pater Noster.
- Drive down to the Garden of Gethsemane. Enter Orson Hyde park.
- 12:50 join a tour of the Western Wall Tunnels.
- After a lunch break continue to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
March 2 (WED) – Exploring Eastern Jerusalem
- Early morning start to visit the Temple Mount. See the Muslim architecture of the site and learn about the remains of the Jewish Temple.
- Exit its northern end and visit the Pools of Bethesda.
- Join the traditional path of the “Stations of the Cross” (Via Dolorosa).
- Reach Damascus Gate and possibly climb to its top for its special top view.
- Descend into Zedekiah’s cave and explore its huge ancient caverns.
- Optional tour of Rockefeller Museum.
March 3 (THUR) – Masada and the Dead Sea
- Head down to the Dead Sea region with an optional short camel ride at the Sea Level sign.
- Ascend to the top of Masada, learn on its special dramatic history and appreciate its rich remains.
- Optional 2 hours hike in Ein-gedi’s nature reserve.
- Optional swim at the Dead Sea.
March 4 (FRI) – Jewish Quarter and Friday Markets.
- Enter the Jewish Quarter. Learn about the possible interrogation site of Jesus in the Herodian Quarter.
- Continue to the Western Wall and tour the Southern Wall Archaeological park.
- Optional visit to the City of David and the Pool of Siloam.
- Drive to the Mahane Yudah Market and enjoy its special Friday activity, combined with a special lunch experience.
- Drive through the Ultra-Orthodox neighborhood and learn about the Haredi Jews. Shabbath Shalom.
March 5 (SAT) – Israel Museum and More
- Morning visit to the Israel Museum. Special emphasis on its Jewish art and life wing wing, its archaeological wing, the 1st century model of Jerusalem, and the exhibition of the Dead Sea Scrolls (“Shrine of the Book“).
- Continue to Ein-Karem, hometown of John the Baptists.
- After a lunch break continue to Abu-Ghosh. Visit the Crusaders church, and the Notre Dam de l’alliance, possible location where the ark rested.
March 6 (SUN) – To the Galilee
- Descend to the Jordan valley. Visit the baptism site and drive by Jericho.
- Tour biblical Beth-Shean, member of the Decapolis.
- Stop at Yardenit, and an optional baptism at the Jordan river.
- Optional visit to Hamat Tiberias ancient synagogue and the antiquities of Tiberias.
March 7 (MON) – Around the Sea of Galilee
- Optional early morning kayaking on the Jordan River.
- Visit Capernaum, home of Jesus after being rejected in Nazareth. See its main synagogue and church and review its role in the New Testament.
- Continue to the Mount of the Beatitudes and contemplate on the “Sermon on the Mount”.
- Descend to the shoreline and explore the Tabgha churches.
- Visit Kibbutz Ginosar and see the amazing discovery of the 2,000-year-old boat (“Boat of the Galilee“).
- Explore the ancient site of Magdala, home of Mary Magdalene, and especially its 1st century synagogue (!).
March 8 (TUE) – to the Golan Heights
- Ascend to the top of the Golan Heights. View into Syria from Mount Bental and review the special geo-history of the region.
- Test your driving skills in an ATV tour along the Syrian border.
- Head to a Druze village for a special lunch experience.
- Descend to the Jordan river sources and visit Caesarea-Philippi and/or Tel Dan.
March 9 (WED) – Nazareth, Cana and Sepphoris
- Visit the “Wedding Church” at Cana, site of the “First miracle”.
- Explore Nazareth: view the sacred places at the Church of Annunciation, Saint Joseph and the Synagogue-church. Stroll in the old city’s market and try some local food.
- After a lunch break continue to Sepphoris. Stroll through its rich remains from Roman period, and learn about its significant and underacknowledged impact on the life of Jesus
March 10 (THUR) – Tabor and Megiddo
- Drive up to Mount Tabor. Visit its main church and learn about its role in the Old Testament and the event of the Transfiguration.
- Continue to Megiddo. Enter at its biblical gate, review the stables associated with king Solomon, and walk down Megiddo’s 3,000-year-old water shaft
- Continue to Tel-Aviv. If time permits stop at Aphek and assess the sites’ role in the Even Ha’ezer battle and in the days of king Herod.
March 11 (FRI) – Jafa and Tel-Aviv Friday Markets
- Morning visit to Jaffa’s old city, and a walk down to its old port.
- Continue to the colorful flea market for some souvenir shopping and vintage bargains.
- Drive to Tel-Aviv and enjoy the busy Carmel market and its adjacent Nahalat Binyamin Arts and crafts market. Shabbath Shalom!
March 12 (SAT) – On the way to Emmaus
- Drive along the “road to Emmaus” and visit the site of Emmaus-Nicopolis. Assess the sites’ role in the New Testament and later history.
- Visit Latrun and ride along the 1948 “Burma Road“. Learn about the dramatic battles over the roads to Jerusalem. Optional visit to the new visitors center at Khan Shaar Hagai.
- After a lunch break join a tour of the 1948 Secret bullet factory at “Machon Ayalon“.
March 13 (SUN) – Ashkelon and around Gaza Strip
- Tour the Philistine-Roman-Medieval city of Ashkelon.
- Continue to the border with Gaza and learn about daily life around the Gaza strip.
- After a lunch break visit the “Philistine Street” near Philistine Ekron.
- Optional visit to the Samaritan Community in Holon.
March 14 (MON) – Caesarea
- Drive along the coast to ancient Caesarea. Enter the City’s center at Herod’s sunken harbor and visit its new Visitor center.
- Walk along through the fantastic remains of Herod’s palace, the hippodrome, and the theatre.
- Stop at Caesarea’s aqueduct for a photo op and learn about Roman-era water supply.
- Ascend the Carmel and learn about Elijah’s battles against the Baal prophets at the Muhraka.
- Have a special lunch experience at a Druze village or in Haifa.
- Drive into Haifa and enjoy the grand view of Haifa bay and the Bahai Gardens in Haifa.
March 15 (TUE)