9 Day Itinerary
Tuesday, Day 1: Arrival Israel
You will arrive Ben Gurion Airport and will be met by a Shalom Journeys (SJ) representative, who will assist you and escort you through customs and introduce you to your driver with vehicle. You will be transferred to your hotel in the beautiful city of Jerusalem for check-in. The remainder of the day at leisure. (Arrival transfers can be arranged at any time your flight arrives). Overnight in Jerusalem.
Wednesday, Day 2: The Old City - Jerusalem/Bethlehem
After breakfast, you will start the day with a magnificent panoramic view of the Old City of Jerusalem from Mount of Olives. From here, we proceed by bus across the Kidron Valley, past the tombs of Absolom, Zacharias, James and King Jehoshaphat to Mt. Zion to see visit the tomb of King David and the room of Last Supper. You will enter through one of the Gate leading into the Old City and continue to the Jewish Quarter, which was reconstructed after the city was unified at the conclusion of the Six-Day War in 1967. A special point of interest in the restored Jewish Quarter is the "Cardo", meaning the "heart" of this ancient Byzantine City. View the unearthed main Roman thoroughfare and ancient marketplace lined with columns. You will walk to the excavations of the Herodian Mansions, located beneath the present-day Jewish quarter, showing how the high Rabbi's and wealthy Jerusalemites of old lived. You will proceed through the broad stone stairway down to the holy Western Wall - the "Kotel" (Beit Hamikdash) to see the Judaism most Holiest place. Retrace the steps of Jesus along the Via Delorosa (the way of the cross). You will pass through the colorful bazaars, alleyways and marketplaces to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. In the afternoon, tou will leave Jerusalem and travel to Bethlehem*. Here we will view Rachel's Tomb and further in, visit the Church of Nativity and Manger's Square. Return to your hotel in Jerusalem. Overnight in Jerusalem.
Thursday, Day 3: The New City - Jerusalem
After breakfast, you will drive to Israel Museum. Here see the Museum of the Shrine of the Book and see the original Dead Sea scrolls are where they are housed. In the same complex, see the model city of Jerusalem to give us an understanding of what Jerusalem used to look like in 66 CE. In that fateful year, the Great Revolt against the Romans erupted, resulting in the destruction of the city and the Temple. See the replica of the ancient city of Jerusalem, which used to cover an area of 445 acres (more than twice the size of the Old City today). Proceed for a tour at the Knesset, Israel's parliament and the Chagal paintings inside. Continue to Mount Hertzel to see the cemetery of Israel's great leader, including Theodor Hertzel, Rabin and many others, who will be remembered. Continue to Yad Vashem, the memorial to the Holocaust. It is considered the first and most famous memorial to mankind's darkest period. Visit Mea Shearim, the ultra orthodox neighborhood in Jerusalem and learn about their unique lifestyle. In the evening enjoy a middle eastern dinner followed by the spectacular "sound& light" show* at the Tower of David museum (weather conditions permitting).
Overnight in Jerusalem.
Friday, Day 4: Massada and the Dead Sea area
(Remember to bring your hats, swim suits and suntan lotion with you!)
After an early breakfast, you will depart to the Dead Sea area. Traveling south through the Judean Wilderness, you will arrive the shores of the Dead Sea, as you descend to the lowest point on the surface of the earth at 1305 feet (398m) below sea level. You will first visit Qumeran, the site where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found by a Shephard and his heard. you will continue south along the shores of the Dead Sea to the legendary mountaintop plateau of Massada. you will ascend by cable car to the ancient synagogue of Massada and explore the ancient fortress. Here, was the last stronghold of the Jewish Zealots in their struggle against the Romans. The Zealots held out for three years against the legions of Flavius Silva and chose to die as free men at their own hands in preference to Roman slavery. From the top of Massada, the outlines of the Roman encampments are still visible below. Continue to the Dead Sea; Cover yourself with the mineral rich mud and experience a swim in the Dead Sea that many believe has its therapeutic effects (weather permitting). You will drive to Tel Aviv and arrive at your hotel for check-in and overnight in Tel Aviv.
Saturday, Day 5: Tel Aviv at leisure
After Shabbat breakfast, you will enjoy a day at leisure in Tel Aviv. Enjoy the seaside promenade or just relax at our hotel.
Overnight in Tel Aviv.
Sunday, Day 6: Tel Aviv and the journey north
After breakfast, you will check-out from your hotel and proceed north from your hotel and drive along the Mediterranean Coastal Plain of Sharon and the old coastal road, which linked Egypt and Babylon to Caesarea and the ancient Roman theatre. Built by Herod the Great and once occupied at Roman rule. Here you will explore the Hippodrome, and will view the excavated Roman Theater, with its acoustic and theatrical sound. It was used for many performances throughout the centuries. A new audio-visual presentation brings to life the times of the Romans who controlled these shores 2,000 years ago. You will also view the once aqueduct that used to feed the city with water. You will proceed inland to Megiddo, one of King Solomon's walled fortified cities (1st Kings 9:15; 10:26), with the 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 while viewing the Plains of Jezreel. Visit the archaeological excavations including the well preserved water supply system. Continue to Daliat El Carmel, a Druze village to enjoy a late lunch at a local restaurant. Proceed north towards Haifa and ascend Mt. Carmel for a panoramic view of Haifa Bay and the Golden Dombed Bahai Shrine and its Botanical Gardens below. You will continue towards the Upper Galilee area and check-in to your kibbutz. Dinner and overnight at Kibbutz Lavi Guesthouse.
Monday, Day 7: Safed, Golan Heights, Winery
After breakfast, you will drive to visit the mystical City of Safed - the center of Jewish mysticism. It is considered to be one of the Four Holy Cities according to Jewish tradition and its Kabalistic studies (the birthplace of Kabbalah). You will stroll through the narrow, winding alleys; visit some of the beautiful synagogues and browse through the artists' workshops and galleries found in the flourishing artists' quarter. Continue to the Golan Heights to see the former Syrian bunkers, Kuneitra and the new Israeli town of Katzrin. You will stop at a Golan Winery for a tour and wine tasting; Proceed to Kessem Hagolan, a multimedia presentation of the area and its history.
Dinner and overnight at Kibbutz Lavi Guesthouse.
Tuesday, Day 8: Nazareth, Sea of Galilee to Tel Aviv
After breakfast, you will proceed to Nazareth and visit the Church of the Annunciation. You will drive to Western Galilee area to visit Capernaum (Kfar Nachum). See the ruins of the synagogue and octagonal Church of St. Peter. You will continue to Mount of Beatitudes where Jesus delivered the Sermon on the Mount. You will leave the Galilee area and proceed south towards the ancient remains of Beit Shean. You will tour one of the largest excavated sites in Israel. In biblical times, the Philistines crucified Saul and his son on the city walls. The Talmud mentions this city as being the "entrance to paradise". Visit the bathhouse and the Cardo. You will continue to Beit Alpha to see the remains of the mosaic floor of an ancient synagogue depicting the zodiac. Continue south through the lush Jordan Valley where the dessert now blooms with flowers and vegetation of every description (Isaiah 35:1-2) back to the Metropolitan City of Tel Aviv. Check in to your hotel and enjoy the remainder of the evening at leisure. Overnight in Tel Aviv.
Wednesday, Day 9: Departure
After breakfast, you will be transfer to Ben Gurion Airport for departure.
* visit subject to availability
The above program can be extended and tailor-made for groups.