Judeo-Christian Combined Focus Tour – 7 days:
Day 1: Arrival:
Welcome home J
After landing and meeting your tour guide, we will be transferred to your hotel for check in and freshening up (depending on arrival time).
We start by visiting Independence Hall, where the state of Israel was declared by David Ben Gurion on Rothschild Boulevard where Tel Aviv began as well as witness the borderline of Neve Tzedek, first neighborhood to spring out of Jaffa. After lunch we head to Jaffa for a short walking tour. Visit St. Peter's church, commemorating the location Peter had a vision as well as Simon the tanner's home. Walk through the artist quarter and see Ran Morin's hanging orange as well as the scenic view from the hilltop and the port that Jonah tried to escape his fate from.
Overnight: Tel Aviv (1 night)
Day 2: Heading north:
We will leave Tel Aviv and drive north to Caesarea, the port city that was built by King Herod the great. After exploring the theater, palace, hippodrome and port we will continue north to Haifa. Haifa is an incredible city built on the mountain side and houses the Baha'i world center as well as many other communities. We will visit the Baha'i gardens and enjoy a beautiful observation with panoramic views. From Haifa we will travel to Nazareth. Nazareth is the town turned city that Jesus grew up in and was not recognized as the Messiah by its people. We will start our visit here with the amazing experience of Nazareth Village, a recreation of Nazareth 2000 years ago, guided by Messianic Jews or local Christian folk. Enjoy the amazing lunch at Nazareth Village, dining on good food the way it was done at the times of Jesus or try the Passover feast there (optional).Continue to the Church of Annunciation, where Mary was visited to the angel Gabriel and receives the news that she will be pregnant with god's child. Continue to the Finish our experience in Nazareth with Mt. Precipice, where by local tradition the people of Nazareth attempted to stone Jesus.
Overnight: Galilee (3 nights)
Day 3: The Jewish Bookcase & Mysticism, Jesus the Rabi:
Start our day with a visit to Tzippori, an incredible town that dates to Jesus's time and holds some of the best mosaics in the country from his time as well as the time the Mishnah (Jewish oral Torah) was finalized here and put into writing. Continue to Safed (Tzfat), Judaic Kabbalah center, for a walking tour through it's unique synagogues, alleys and modern Messianic notions. Understand Tikun Olam (fixing the world) and Jewish mysticism. Continue to the Banias nature reserve (Israeli Niagra falls) to understand the water and border issues and enjoy a short hike to the ancient worship site of the Greek and Roman deity Pan next to the excavated site of Caesarea Philippi, where Jesus changed Simon's name to Peter as he gives him the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Continue to the Golan Heights and drive on it to the dormant volcano called Mt. Bental for an observation deck looking into Syria. Here we will look towards where Saul of Tarsus saw Jesus on the road to Damascus and changed his name to Paul as well as his ways. We will also gain a better understanding of the current local situation in this area in regards to ISIS.
Day 4: Jesus's ministry in the Galilee:
Start our day with driving to the Mt. of Beatitudes to visit the site where the crowds gather to hear the Sermon on the Mount. Get back on the Gospel trail as we walk to Capernaum, the village Jesus moved into after leaving Nazareth. On our way we will pass Tabgha, where the miracle of the feeding of the 5000 took place as well as where Jesus recognizes Peter as his follower and asks him to lead his people. Capernaum is the village where Jesus lived in Peter's mother in law's home, where he taught at the synagogue and performed many healing. We will see the synagogue as well as the home he resided in. Continue to one of the many restaurants in the area for a traditional lunch of St. Peter's fish (or other option for non-fish eaters) followed by a boat cruise on the Sea of Galilee. Continue to the Yardenit baptismal site for the chance to go to the shore of the Jordan River and, if desired, even being baptized for the first time or reaffirmed.
Day 5: Jordan Valley & Dead Sea:
Check out and drive south bypassing Tiberias and through the Jordan valley. On the way get a better understanding of the West Bank situation as well as the Jordanian border. Enroute stop at the Island of Peace, a demilitarized zone between Israel and Jordan that was designed to allow Israelis and Jordanians to meet and talk. Continue to the Ein Gedi nature reserve for a short walk between waterfalls, Ibeks and Hyraxes at the nature oasis where Saul and David meet. Continue to Masada for a quick lunch and scale the Mt. by cable car to visit this amazing desert fortress built by King Herod and used by the Sikarees during the Great Revolt. This is where the final stand was made at 72 CE and is one of the best stories available here. Continue North to the Dead Sea and visit the Dead Sea factory for a bit of shopping followed by checking into one of the private Dead Sea beaches for a bit of floating and relaxation. Drive up to Jerusalem to check in for the night.
Overnight: Jerusalem (2 nights)
Day 6: 1st and 2nd Temple periods in Jerusalem:
Start by seeing the city from an uncommon angle as we walk on the Wall Ramparts from the Jaffa gate to the Dung gate. Visit the City of David, where it all began and see David's palace and more. Walk underground in Hezekia's Tunnel (dark and wet, great fun for kids) that brought the Gihon spring into the city to emerge at the Pools of Siloam, where later Jesus healed the Blind. Continue underground in the ancient Roman Street and emerge at the Davidson Center to explore the ancient entrance to the Temple and the pilgrim's route. Continue to the West Wall Plaza for a bit of reflection time. After lunch explore the Jewish Quarter and see Hezekia's wall, the Roman Cardo and more. Continue to Mt. Zion and visit the Room of the Last Supper as well as King David's Tomb.
Head back to the hotel for a bit of rest.
Optional (If on Friday): In the evening be driven back to the West Wall plaza to witness Jewish preparation for Shabbat performed by thousands. Continue for a traditional Shabbat dinner at a local home or at the hotel.
Day 7: Christian Jerusalem:
Start the day by driving to the top of Mt. of Olives for an observation of the old city from the east as was seen by Jesus. Walk down Palm Sunday Road to the Garden of Gethsemane and visit the garden as well as the Church of All The Nations. Continue to Mary's Tomb and see a unique site shared by two different Christian denominations. Continue and walk uphill from the bottom of the Kidron Valley to the Lion's Gate. Enter the Muslim Quarter and visit the Pools of Bethesda, where Jesus healed the paralytic man. See the 3rd most holy site for Muslims in the world, The Dome of the Rock, from a very unique angle before walking the Via Dolorosa (Path of Suffering), visiting the various stations of the cross along the way. Continue to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher to witness the locations recognized by Catholic and Orthodox Christians as the location of Jesus's execution by Crucifixion, Death on the cross and the Empty Grave. End the day with visit to the Israel Museum and visit the amazing 2nd Temple period model and the Shrine of the Book, where the Dead Sea scrolls are kept.
Transfer to the Ben Gurion airport for your flight and farewells J