ITINERARY

B = Breakfast provided
D = Dinner provided
All lunches are a personal expense

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 14
DEPARTURE DAY FROM TORONTO
See the Recommended Flights / Arriving Israel link for additional information.

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 15
ARRIVAL DAY IN ISRAEL
See the Recommended Flights / Arriving Israel link for additional information. The tour bus is scheduled to depart the Tel Aviv airport at 12:00 noon. (D)

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 16
"LAND OF PROMISE"

Our trip begins with an examination of Old Testament sites in the southern desert region known as the Negev. In this demanding landscape God tested the faith of the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Here also, Moses attempted an ill-fated and ill-advised premature "conquest" of the Promised Land. David lived in this region during his "friendship" with Philistine kings. The second half of the day we travel into the geographical regions known as the Shephelah. Located between the Coastal Plain and the Judean Hill Country, these foothills served as an important "buffer-zone" between the Judeans in the hills and the Philistines on the coast. Within the Shephelah we will visit the general locale of David's battle with Goliath in the Elah Valley and conclude the day at Gezer. (B,D)

 

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 17
"KINGDOMS AND CULTURES IN CONFLICT"

Leave the hotel today at 7:30 AM. Today we address the social, religious and political tensions which lie behind the relationship between the Jewish people and the foreigners in the land. At Caesarea on the Mediterranean Sea, we give thought to the conversion of Cornelius. At Nazareth we will visit a "living museum" which portrays 1st century village life and have a brief time in the Church of Annunciation. Time permitting, we end the day from Mount Arbel or another site with an overview of the Sea of Galilee. (B,D)

 

SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 18
"LAND BEYOND THE JORDAN?"

Today we examine several themes. We travel northward to Gamla, a site noted for its 1st century synagogue and capture by the Roman army in 67 AD during the First Jewish Revolt. At Caesarea Philippi (Banias) we consider Jesus’ pivotal question, “Who do you say that I am?” Tel Dan is one of the most impressive archaeological site on the northern border of ancient Israel. Archaeological remains from the time of Abraham and King Jeroboam are scattered within this nature reserve at the headwaters of the Jordan River. We conclude our day at Omrit, where we find an impressive Herodian temple. 

 

MONDAY, FEBRUARY 19
"THE EVANGELICAL TRIANGLE"

A full morning study includes sites and themes central to the ministry of Jesus. At Bethsaida, Chorazin and the Mount of Beatitudes we consider the second stage of Jesus’ ministry with attention given to his teachings within their contemporary context. In the afternoon we take time at Capernaum, the center of Jesus’ Galilean ministry, to consider his teachings and miracles in this lakeside town. Magdala has impressive residential remains and a synagogue dated to the first century AD. We continue to Kibbutz Ginnosar where an ancient Sea of Galilee boat (dating to the 1st century AD) is preserved. We conclude our day with a relaxing boat cruise on the Sea of Galilee. (B,D)

 

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 20
"SETTING OUR FACES TOWARD JERUSALEM"

Today we travel to Jerusalem via the Jordan Valley, Jericho and the Wilderness of Judea. We begin with a scenic drive through the hills and valleys of Lower Galilee. Views of Mount Tabor, Nazareth and Nain capture our attention as we make our way to the Harod Valley. In this valley we visit Ein Harod, the locale of Gideon's encampment against the Midianites. A short drive brings us to Beth Alpha, the locale of an ancient Jewish synagogue with interesting mosaics expressing biblical motifs. Next is the biblical city of Beth Shan, a Philistine stronghold during the days of Saul and David. There we examine the recent excavations of its Roman-Byzantine remains when it was known as Scythopolis, one of the Hellenistic cities of the Decapolis. A brief stop at Gan Hashlosha will provide a rest time before our journey to Jerusalem. We approach Jerusalem from the east via the Wilderness of Judea. (B,D) 

 

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 21
JERUSALEM: "JERUSALEM'S PAST AND PRESENT"

Today begins with a visit to the Temple Mount, a site of historical significance and political dispute. Upon leaving the Temple Mount we will venture through the various Quarters of the Old City of Jerusalem as an orientation to local sites of historical interest and local free time activities. A visit to an OT model of Jerusalem will help us to establish the physical settings of this ancient city. The remainder of the day is free time for you to enjoy the character of Jerusalem’s Old City. In the evening we will explore the underground excavations adjacent to the Western Wall. (B,D) 

 

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 22
JERUSALEM: “JESUS IN JERUSALEM”

Our focus today is the physical setting of Jerusalem from the time of King David to Jesus. We enter the Old City to examine the historical rule of Herod the Great (ending in 4BC), his successors and the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in 70 AD. Key archaeological sites to be visited in the Jewish Quarter include: (1) the Southern Excavations, (2) the Herodian Villas, (3) the Burnt House, and (4) the Gennath Gate. After lunch we will visit the City of David of OT times. Here we will have an opportunity to see remnants of Jerusalem's destruction by the Babylonians (586 BC). We conclude the day with a visit to the Pool of Siloam (John 9). (B,D) 

 
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 23
"CHILDREN OF THE WILDERNESS”

Today we follow in the steps of individuals and communities who lived in the Judean wilderness. At the oasis of Ein Gedi we walk in to observe a “river in the desert” in the region where David hid from Saul. We will continue our hike to a Chalcolithic Temple (3500 BC). Khirbet Qumran provides the setting for our consideration of the Dead Sea Scrolls and their relationship to John the Baptist and early Christianity. We end the day with an opportunity to float in the Dead Sea. (B,D) 
 

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 24
JERUSALEM: “JESUS IN JERUSALEM” AND BETHLEHEM

Particular attention is given to the historical background regarding the opposition to Jesus and the events which led to his crucifixion. In connection with these themes we begin our touring on the crest of the Mount of Olives with an overlook to the Golden Gate. We descend the mount to the church of Dominus Flavit and to the Garden of Gethsemane. On the Via Dolorosa we stop at St. Anne's church, the site of the ancient pools of Bethesda. We conclude at the Church of the Resurrection, the possible site of Jesus' death and resurrection. In the Afternoon we journey to the Herodium, the site of Herod the Great's burial. We finish the day in Bethlehem. (B,D) 

 

SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 25
SAMARIA
We take advantage of an extraordinary opportunity to spend a full day in the region of Samaria. We begin at Shiloh where the Tent of Meeting and Ark of the Covenant were first stationed. We continue to Mount Gerizim where we see the important archaeological remains and meet with a Samaritan High Priest who will speak to us about this fascinating community. At Tel Balata we visit the ancient fortifications of Shechem and nearby Jacob’s Well. Finally we travel to the hilltop city of Samaria, which was transformed and renamed by Herod the Great, Sebaste after his benefactor Caesar Augustus. (B,D) 

 

MONDAY, FEBRUARY 26
RETURN DAY TO TORONTO
A morning bus transfer to the airport is provided in coordination with the recommended flight. See the Recommended Flights / Arriving Israel link for additional information.

Related Links

Testimonials

  • "I enjoyed the program tremendously!!! I cannot think of any ways to improve it at this point. I think Steve did an outstanding job in many respects. He was extremely knowledgeable, but what I enjoyed even more than that was the faith that shown through in all his presentations. Dr. Notley was very hospitable in seeking to satisfy all, and adaptable to the varying needs of our group. I would highly recommend this trip to anyone having a bit of curiosity. I'm sure I will be reaping benefits from this indefinitely as I now have a much greater background for my daily walk. I'm sure each time I read the Bible my ability to place myself in the setting to understand will be much improved. I wish the two of you extreme success with your programs...and I hope to be venturing with you again in a couple of years!"
    P.N., Israel Trip