Israel Essentials Tour - Focus on Political Issues
This trip is 8 days in Israel for those who want to better understand the political issues facing Israel and learn how to get involved in the political process to make a difference.
This tour is designed for those who have been to Israel before, but it's possible to plan a first-timers tour with an emphasis on security.
Fly to Israel.
Arrive to Ben Gurion Airport where you will be met your guide. Off we will go for a spectacular lookout over Jerusalem from the Mt. of Olives. Next is a visit to Gethsemane for some private moments to pray and reflect in this garden where Jesus prayed. We’ll also visit the grottos where Jesus taught, where the Disciples fell asleep, the location where the sacrifice of the Red Heifer took place during Temple times, and the tomb of the Prophets Hagi, Zachariah and Malachi. We'll conclude this exciting day with an interesting and meaningful visit to the Shalom Jerusalem Center. Enjoy dinner at the hotel, and get to know everyone in the group.
We’re off to the Western Negev and Coastal Plain to understand security issues in the area. On the way, we’ll stop in the Elah Valley and pick up stones in the same riverbed in which David found stones to defeat Goliath, and we’ll hear about remarkable events that took place in that exact same place in modern times. From there we will visit towns and cities surrounding the Gaza Strip such as Sderot and Ashkelon that have come under missile attack in recent years. We will meet with a local mayor and security chief and learn more about the situation at the Black Arrow Lookout over Gaza.
We’ll start the day at the ancient City of David, the exact part of Jerusalem in which King David built his palace. The ongoing excavations of City of David are constantly revealing more aspects about ancient Jerusalem making it one of the most exciting sites to visit in Jerusalem today! Understand more deeply the issues of East Jerusalem as you look out over the Arab Jerusalem neigbhorhood of Silwan that borders the City of David. We will walk through the newly opened 2,000 year old walkway to the Davidson Southern Wall Excavations. We enter the excavations beneath the level of the sidewalk at the foundations of the Western Wall. See the place where the trumpet was sounded announcing Shabbat (the Jewish Sabbath) in Jerusalem during Temple times. Take off your shoes and walk on the steps where Jesus ascended to the Temple. Hear the sounds of Israeli paratroopers reuniting the city of Jerusalem in 1967, which remarkably echo the words of the Bible when the Temple was built by Ezra and Nehemia. Take a few moments to pray at the Western Wall Plaza and perhaps choose to place a note in the wall. From there, we’ll go to Emek Tzurim at the foot of Mt. of Olives, to do some hands-on archeology, sifting through rubble that was removed from the Temple Mount in order to build mosques about 10 years ago. Finish of this spectacular day with a talk at AIPAC (American Israel Political Action Committee)
We will top off this remarkable day with a traditional Shabbat meal with explanations about the customs.
Enjoy a few extra moments to rest and relax this morning. Perhaps you will like to take the morning to meet up with friends in Jerusalem or do some exploring on your own. After a traditional Shabbat lunch, enjoy fascinating speakers and a unique havdallah service with singing and dancing as Shabbat comes to a close. Free night out in Jerusalem.
We will start the day with a visit to the Knesset (Israel’s Parliament) for a private briefing with a Knesset Member. We will then take a short walk to the Israel Museum, for a tour of the newly renovated archeology wing which contains some of the most important finds of Biblical archeology in the world. We will also see the over 2,000 year old Dead Sea Scrolls and the model of Jerusalem which is very similar to how it would have looked in Jesus’ days. Hear an fascinating speaker at the Center for Jewish and Christian Understanding and Cooperation (CJCUC) in Efrat and enjoy a delicious dinner at the Neve Efrat Guest House.
We are off to the Galilee, but first, a stop on the border with Jordan at Qasr el Yehud, the historic site in which Joshua led the Israelites into the Land of Israel and Jesus was baptized by John. We will drive along the border with the country Jordan today through the Jordan Valley where Jesus and the other Jews of His day would have walked on their way to and from Jerusalem. Enjoy some free time for lunch in Tiberias by the Sea of Galilee. From there, we’ll go to the beautiful waterfall and springs that Tabgha is named after, where Jesus did the Miracle of the Loaves and Fishes. Then we’ll stop at Mt Beatitudes, the traditional location of the Sermon on the Mt. for a breathtaking view of the Sea of Galilee. Next, we are off to the picturesque town of Tzfat in the Upper Galilee where Kabbalah (Jewish mysticism) flourished in the 16th century. Tzfat came under heavy attack in 2006 during the Second War with Lebanon. Hear about the miracles and what was learned in that war. Enjoy dinner in the beautiful hotel as the sun sets over the grand mountains of the Upper Galilee. That evening, we will hear a talk about Kabbalistic art in an artist’s studio.
We will start the day with a walking tour of Tzfat, some time to visit Tzfat’s exquisite shops of art and handmade jewelry and meet the mayor of Tzfat. His inspiration for becoming mayor was the memory of his aunt who was killed in a terror attack. Then we will continue North to Tel Dan, the Northern border of Israel from Biblical times and today. We will see the spectacular waters that feed the Sea of Galilee, one of the issues in the conflict with Syria until today. Tel Dan also has a view of Lebanon and Syria, and some fascinating Biblical Archeology. Drive up to the Golan Heights to see where miracles have taken place in modern times and meet Israeli residents of the Golan Heights to ask them about their perspective on security.
Today we will travel through the Western Galilee to Kibbutz Lochmei HaGhetaot that was founded by Holocaust survivors who had fought in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising in 1943. We will visit their newly renovated Holocaust Memorial that displays the booth in which Adolf Eichman was tried and convicted in Israel in 1961 for his role in the death camps. Understand more deeply the interplay between the Holocaust and the modern State of Israel. We will tour the remarkable excavations at Caesarea and have time to share our thoughts at a special Concluding Dinner. Depart Ben Gurion Airport.
Arrive home with wonderful memories, insights and information.
*Itinerary subject to change due to security, weather, or other considerations.