Israel Flagship Tour 2019


DAY 1 – SUNDAY, MAY 19: DEPART U.S.A.

We depart for Israel from the Los Angeles International Airport for the long flight to Tel Aviv (14 hours, with a 10-hour time change!)


DAY 2 – MONDAY, MAY 20: ARRIVE IN TEL AVIV

We arrive in the late afternoon at Ben Gurion Airport and have a short drive to our hotel in Tel Aviv, the Dan Panorama, in time for dinner and overnight. After checking in, we will have an evening walk along the promenade.


DAY 3 – TUESDAY, MAY 21: BEERSHEVA, RAMON CRATER

Today we drive to Beersheva in the Negev Desert, named by Abraham 4000 years ago. Since then, Beersheva has held an important place in the history of Israel. Here we will visit the story of Abraham and Sarah. Then we continue through the Negev Desert to Makhtesh Ramon. With a 4x4-wheel safari coach we shall view the hidden places of the gigantic Ramon Crater, an exceptional geological formation, which has yielded very rare fossils dating back to the Triassic period, about 180-190 million years ago. Remains of various marine reptiles are found here. This crater is the largest of three natural craters or "makhtesh"--a valley surrounded by steep walls and drained by a single "wadi" (a dry riverbed) We shall learn about Bedouin life in the desert, desert agriculture and medical plants. Afterwards, we transfer to the Beresheet Hotel in the Negev for dinner and overnight. 


DAY 4 – WEDNESDAY, MAY 22: SDE BOKER, NEGEV DESERT

Our first stop today is at Sde Boker, the site of the grave of the First Prime Minister of Israel, Mr. David Ben Gurion, and from here we shall view the Zin River where Moses walked with the Israelites after the Exodus. In the Negev Desert we will hike, find a spring, eat lunch in the wilderness and tell the story of Sarah and Hagar and the of the Exodus. We return to the Beresheet Hotel for dinner and overnight.


DAY 5 – THURSDAY, MAY 23: MASADA, EIN GEDI, DEAD SEA , SEA OF GALILEE

Today we visit Masada, where the Jews made their last stand against the Romans after the fall of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. We ride the cable car to the top of the fortress built by Herod, explore the archeology, and enjoy a panoramic view of the Dead Sea, framed by the mountains of Moab to the east. Then we visit at Ein Gedi, a lush oasis, which served as David's hideout when he is on the run from King Saul. Here we retell the story of David sparing Saul's life (1 Samuel 24) and we hike up the dead- end canyon to a beautiful waterfall. If we're lucky, we'll see the ibex mentioned in scripture, and the conies that live among the rocks. Afterwards, we make a special stop at the Dead Sea (the lowest spot on earth) for a float!  We then head north to the Sea of Galilee where we will check in at Nof Ginosar, our "retreat center" on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, for dinner and overnight. 


DAY 6 – FRIDAY, MAY 24: MT. OF BEATITUDES, CAPERNAUM, MAGDALA, MT. ARBEL, BOAT RIDE ON SEA OF GALILEE

We begin this very special day with devotions and a study session on the Mount of Beatitudes. When he was headquartered in Capernaum, Jesus would often go into the hills to pray, and in these hills, we not only study the Sermon on the Mount, we also spend an hour of private time in this place that Jesus loved so much. Mid-morning, we descend the hill to Capernaum. Sitting under the trees, we share the story of Jesus driving out the demon from the man who attended his teaching here, and we picture the paralytic being lowered through Peter's roof, just 37 yards from where we sit. Then we visit Magdala, home of Mary Magdalene and of the recently-discovered 1st-century synagogue where Jesus himself may have taught! After a picnic lunch, we drive to the summit of the Arbel cliff for an unforgettable panoramic view of the Sea of Galilee, where we summarize Jesus’ Galilean ministry and explore the Jewish tradition in Galilee, which in Jesus’ day was a hotbed of new ideas and revolutionary activity. At dusk, we set sail on the Sea of Galilee in a replica first-century fishing boat. Under the stars, we tell the story of Jesus walking on the water and of his calming the storm, just two of many miracle stories associated with Galilee. After our boat ride, we head back to Nof Ginosar for dinner and overnight.


DAY 7 – SATURDAY, MAY 25: TEL DAN, CAESAREA PHILIPPI, MT. HERMON, GALILEE

Today we head north to the Upper Galilee to reach Dan, the northern border of Israel. We stroll along the Dan River, one of the headwaters of the Jordan River, reaching the site of ancient Dan with the remains of its altar for the golden calf, built by King Jeroboam in the tenth century B.C., when the kingdoms of Israel and Judah split. At lunch we dine on grilled trout, fresh from the Dan River.  After lunch, we visit Caesarea Philippi where Jesus asks his disciples, “Who do you say I am?”.  For our more adventurous travelers, if the water level allows, we will go rafting on the Upper Jordan River (let's keep our fingers crossed!).  Before returning to Nof Ginosar, we ascend to an overview of the snow-peaked Mount Hermon, in Dr. C.'s view, the site of the transfiguration. In the evening, we relax by the water's edge, watch the stars twinkle over the sea--and maybe even go for a swim in the in the lake itself.  Dinner and overnight are at Nof Ginosar.


DAY 8 – SUNDAY, MAY 26: NAZARETH, CHURCH OF THE ANNUNCIATION, MEGIDDO, CAESAREA MARITIMA, JERUSALEM

This morning we head south “up” to Jerusalem. Our first stop is Nazareth, where we visit the Church of the Annunciation, remembering the angel Gabriel's encounter with Mary, where we will celebrate Mass with the Christians who live in Nazareth. From there we move to "the brow of the hill" where an angry mob threatens to throw Jesus down the cliff (Luke 4:14-30). On "the brow of the hill" we have a magnificent view of the Jezreel Valley and Mount Tabor where Deborah and Barak defeat the Canaanites. After an optional lunch in the Jezreel Valley, we pass by Megiddo, seeing a “layer cake” of archeology – the evidence of civilization on top of civilization. Next is Caesarea Maritima, the deep-water port built by Herod the Great. Caesarea was the home of the Roman garrison and of Pontius Pilate. We will see the port itself, the remains of the hippodrome, Pilate's palace, and the fully restored theater where Herod Agrippa "was eaten by worms and died" (Acts 12:1-24). (This is the same "Herod" who executed James, the Apostle John's brother; we visit the crypt of St. James in Santiago, Spain when we walk the Camino de Santiago.) Leaving Caesarea, we drive up to Jerusalem. Before checking into our hotel, we stop for our first look at the city and celebrate with a prayer and the traditional blessing of bread and wine. Dinner and overnight at the Inbal Hotel. 


DAY 9 – MONDAY, MAY 27: MT. OF OLIVES, DOMINUS FLEVIT, PALM SUNDAY ROAD, GARDEN OF GETHSEMANE, CHURCH OF ALL NATIONS, JEWISH QUARTER, OLD CITY OF JERUSALEM, VIA DOLOROSA, GOLGOTHA, CHURCH OF THE HOLY SEPULCHER, WESTERN WALL TUNNELS

We begin our Jerusalem visit by walking down the Mount of Olives on the "Palm Sunday Road," stopping at Dominus Flevit, where we look directly across to the Temple Mount with a breathtaking view of the Dome of the Rock, Islam's third holiest site. Here we teach about messianic expectations of the time, and we continue down the path that Jesus took when he entered the city on Palm Sunday. Halfway down the hill we reach the Garden of Gethsemane where we have prayer and devotional time in the private garden where Jesus prayed and where he was arrested.  Then we visit the Church of All Nations, which remembers Jesus' agony in the garden. We will have an optional lunch in the Jewish Quarter. Then we enter the Old City through the Damascus Gate and follow Jesus’ path along the Via Dolorosa, or the Way of the Cross. Not a quiet devotional time, the "Way of the Cross" takes us through busy markets, crowds of people, and marked indifference. We smell the marketplace and the crowds as we proceed station-by-station to Golgotha. After our visit to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, we try our hand at bargaining for olive wood and other items in the colorful market. In late afternoon, we head back to the Inbal Hotel for dinner. Later that evening, we visit the Western Wall (or the "Wailing Wall"), the holiest site in Judaism, and we walk through the "Western Wall Tunnel," treading on the very paving stone where Jesus and the Apostles walked. We return to the Inbal for overnight.


DAY 10 – TUESDAY, MAY 28: HERODIUM, BETHLEHEM, CHURCH OF THE NATIVITY, CITY OF DAVID, HEZEKIAH’S TUNNEL

Today we begin with a visit to Herodium, located on the edge of the Judean Desert, this is where Herod the Great was buried. Then we drive to Bethlehem where we will visit the Church of Nativity. After shopping and an optional lunch, we return to Jerusalem to visit the ancient city of David with its recent excavations. We will also splash through Hezekiah’s tunnel (water level permitting). We return to the Inbal for dinner and overnight.


DAY 11 – WEDNESDAY, MAY 29: ISRAEL MUSEUM, SHRINE OF THE BOOK, YAD VASHEM, GARDEN TOMB, FAREWELL DINNER, TRANSFER TO AIRPORT, DEPART FOR U.S.A.

This morning we visit the Shrine of the Book where the Dead Sea scrolls are on display. Afterwards, we take a moving tour of Yad Vashem, the primary memorial and museum of the Holocaust. At the end of the museum tour, we visit a powerful exhibit at the Children’s Pavilion. After an optional lunch, we conclude our tour at the Garden Tomb.  Although not Jesus' actual tomb, it gives us a good idea of what Jesus’ tomb looked like. Here, we bring our tour to a close with an ecumenical communion service in the garden and a farewell dinner, where we enjoy superb Moroccan cuisine at the landmark Darna Restaurant in Jerusalem. After our farewell dinner, we drive to Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv, three hours ahead of our flight home.


DAY 12 – THURSDAY, MAY 30: ARRIVE IN U.S.A.

We arrive home in Los Angeles. Never again will we read Scripture in black and white; after treading "In the Footsteps of Jesus," we will read Scripture in living color, remembering forever our experience with Logos Bible Study!