The Itinery

20 02 2013

Upon arrival at Tel Aviv Ben Gurion Airport we will be met by a Ya’lla Tours USA representative and transferred to your hotel for dinner and overnight at the LEONARDO PLAZA located on the promenade along the shore of the historic Sea of Galilee.

We will drive to Mt. Tabor and take a taxi to the top for a visit to the Church of the Transfiguration. Then we will enjoy an outstanding view of the Jezreel Valley, where the battle of Deborah and the Midianites took place. (Judges 5) Continuing to Tzipori, we will see the spectacular ruins of a Galilean Village from the days of Jesus. Then visit the Nazareth Village for a first-hand experience of the way of life in the Galilee in the days of Jesus, including a biblical-style lunch. Continuing to Nazareth, home to the largest Arab population in Israel, visit the Church of the Annunciation and St. Joseph’s Grotto. We’ll then visit Mt. Precipice where Christ was taken “…in order to throw Him down the cliff”, take in the view of the Jezreel Valley (Armageddon), Mt. Tabor (The Mount of Transfi guration; Matthew 17) and Mt. Gilboa where Gideon chose his 300 brave men. Departing Nazareth we’ll stop in Cana, the site of Jesus’ first miracle, converting water into wine at the wedding, and visit the Church of the Wedding and return to Tiberias for dinner.

We take a private boat ride on the Sea of Galilee to see the 2,000 year old Genosar Boat discovered in 1986, visit Capernaum where Jesus preached, and his disciples Peter and Andrew made their homes. Then we’ll drive to the Mount of the Beatitudes, site of the Sermon on the Mount. (Matt. 5) and enjoy a St. Peter’s Fish lunch at Kibbutz Hagoshrim. We will then walk to a unique location on the River Jordan where we will remember our own baptism or be baptized for the first time.

We’ll visit Megiddo, where Solomon built his vast stables and good King Josiah died in battle and visit Mt. Carmel and the Carmelite Monastery of Muhraka, the site where God caused Elijah to defeat the priests of Ba’al. We’ll continue to Acko (ancient Acre), the maritime capital of the Crusader Kingdom, then visit the Knights’ Halls, one of the most beautiful and impressive remains from this period and return to Tiberias for a Shabbat dinner.

We will drive to Beth Shean and visit the ruins of one of Israel’s most ancient cities and continue to Mt. Gilboa and Harod Spring, where Gideon chose his 300 brave men. We will then drive to the ruins of Caesarea, a large port city built by Herod the Great to honor Roman Caesar Augustus. In order to supply water to the city’s ever-growing population, he built an aqueduct system stretching from the springs of Mt. Carmel to Caesarea. Then we will climb the Judean Hills to the most beautiful city in the world, JERUSALEM, for dinner and overnight at DAN PANORAMA, which is within easy walking distance of the Old City.

We will drive 6 miles south to Bethlehem to visit the Church of the Nativity, the oldest church in the holy land still in use. The Garden of Gethsemane lies at the foot of the Mount of Olives. Today it appears much as it did 20 centuries ago and contains some of the world’s oldest olive trees. Originally built in 379, the Church of Gethsemane was rebuilt in 1919 – 1924. Long considered one of the most beautiful in Jerusalem, it was called the Church of All Nations because 16 nations contributed to its construction. Then drive to the Old City and pass through Stephen’s Gate into the Christian Quarter. Here is the Pool of Bethesda, where Jesus healed the blind man. Probably the fi nest example of Crusader architecture in Israel, St. Anne’s Church, possesses amazing acoustics.


Depart Jerusalem and drive east to Masada a natural fortress with majestic ruins overlooking the Dead Sea. Take a cable car to the top of the plateau for a tour. Jewish zealots held the rock for several months against the unrelenting 10th Roman legion in 72 AD, when a monumental siege, using an astounding attack ramp, conquered the fortress. Descend by cable car and drive to the Dead Sea for a fl oat. See Qumran, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found in 1947.

Visit the House of Caiaphas, where Jesus was held prior to his trial. Then, visit the City of David and see excavations that reveal the earliest days of Jerusalem. We’ll walk through Hezekiah’s Tunnel and drive to Mt. Zion Western Wall Garden Tomb Caesarea and visit King David’s Tomb and the Last Supper Room the enter the Jewish quarter of the Old City through the Zion Gate for a walking tour.

We will
visit Neot Kedumim Biblical Landscape Reserve, a unique endeavor to recreate the physical setting of the Bible in all its depth and detail. On the way to Lachish we pass Tzora and Eshta’ol, the region where Samson battled the Philistines, as well as the Elah Valley, site of many confrontations, and where David slew the giant Goliath. From here we will make our way south to Beit Guvrin where we will participate in an archaeological dig, get our hands dirty and perhaps find some ancient coins and pieces of pottery!

We will drive to the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial. May we never forget the terrible price Israel paid to establish her country. A local cantor will join us for a short memorial service there. We’ll then visit the Israel Museum and the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibition at the Shrine of the Book and then see the model of the city as it was in the days of Jesus. We will end our pilgrimage with a visit to the Garden Tomb and have some time for prayer and meditation and Holy Communion.