2 Weeks Interfaith Family Tour to Israel
Each Family is unique, and surely each one has its own belief and way of forming their Tour to Israel. Hence, the following program is only a suggestion – a foundation on which our experts will specially design your custom-made itinerary according to your budget, schedule, and special traditions and needs… We will carefully choose the sites you visit and accommodate you according to your choice and abilities, be it a Luxury Hotel or a Kibbutz– all in an effort to make it the once-in-a-lifetime experience it ought to be!!!
Arrival – Jaffa – Welcome Dinner
Arriving at the Ben Gurion International Airport, you will be welcomed by our representative, who will help you through the formalities and introduce you to the private guide we assigned to make this journey meaningful. We drive to the ancient city of Jaffa, the gateway to the Holy Land. This is the perfect place to stroll through the alley-ways, watch the sun set over the Tel Aviv Seaside, and slowly get acquainted with the Land of Israel. Together with your guide you will have a local Israeli Welcome-Dinner after which you definitely earned a long night sleep in Tel Aviv.
Tel Aviv – Alona Park – Zichron Yaakov – Gan Hanadiv (Rothshild Park) – Haifa
We set out later than usual, in order to overcome our jet-lag, and make a short city-tour of Tel Aviv. We board the bus to experience adventure at the Alona-Park where you will crawl through man-made tunnels, created in order to bring water to Caesarea. From here it is a short distance to Zichron Yakov, one of the pioneer villages sponsored by the Baron Rothshild, which still keeps the atmosphere of those days… After lunch we visit GAN HANADIV, the Memorial Park dedicated to the Rothshild Family, combining the history of the re-settlement of the Land of Israel with the special views and past of the region. We end the day at the famous Haifa Panorama Lookout, overlooking the marvelous Baha’i Gardens – a World Heritage Site. Check-in for 3 nights at a Kibbutz-Guesthouse in Galilee.
Acco (Acre) – Rosh Hanikra – Zefat (Safed) – Dinner & Kabbalah Night Tour
Drive to Acco (Acre) to visit the underground “Knight Halls”, extraordinarily preserved since the Crusader Times; the Turkish Bath where “The Last Bath Attendant” will tell you some of Acco’s Legends, after which you will experience the typical Bazaar, with the colors and odors of the orient… Drive to Rosh Hanikra right at the Lebanese Border, where we will go by cable-car down into the grottos carved by the sea… Driving along the “Northern Road” we reach Zefat (Safed) – Capital of the Kabbalah. Towards sunset we tour the different synagogues and look at some art-galleries, before entering a local restaurant for dinner. Night-time is when the real Kabbalah-Experience begins! A Kabbalist will meet us, and lead us on a spiritual night-tour through Safed, to get the spiritual teachings of the Kabbalah right under our skin! Spiritually aroused we return to our Kibbutz for overnight.
Kibbutz Tour – Mt. Beatitudes – Capernaum – Sailing the Sea of Galilee – Golan Heights Jeep Tour
After breakfast one of the Kibbutz-members will join us for a tour through the Kibbutz. From the Mt. of Beatitudes we will have a splendid opportunity to enjoy the view of the Sea of Galilee (Lake Kinnereth) and visit the peaceful church built at the site by the famous Italian architect Antonius Berluzzi. Then we will visit Capernaum’s archaeological excavations, including the known Synagogue. We will also sail on the Sea on a boat imitating the historical boat found in the lake that reminds us of the Christian traditions of Jesus’ deeds on the lake. We end this special day with an off-road tour where we climb to the Golan Heights, experiencing its strategic value and its challenges in past and present. Dinner and overnight in a Kibbutz in Galilee.
Nazareth – Nazareth Village – Free time by the Sea of Galilee
In the morning we drive to Nazareth, where we visit the Basilica of the Annunciation, the market, and the Greek-Orthodox St. Gabriel Church near Mary’s Well. We end the day at the “Nazareth Village”, where daily life, as it was in the time of Jesus, is reconstructed – a unique biblical experience! The rest of the day is free at leisure, to enjoy the Sea of Galilee, do some water-sports, or drive to the Hula Nature Reserve, experiencing the “Ophoria”-presentation that binds the Zionist ideas of the pioneers with modern environmental thinking of Bird- & Water-Conservation. Overnight in a Kibbutz in Galilee.
Mt. Tabor – Gan Hashlosha (Sahne)- Good Samaritan Inn – Jerusalem
Before departing Galilee, we climb (by a small car…) the majestic Mount Tabor, from where the female Prophet Deborah sent the Israelites to miraculously fight the Canaanites. This mountain is famous for its view, but also for the special church built there by the italian architect Antonio Berluzzi to commemorate the Transfiguration of Jesus. Now we drive to the Jezreel Valley and spend the hot hours of the day in the waters of the Sacne – Gan Hashlosha National Park. Some say this is the spring where Gideon tested his men! Ascend through the Judean Desert, to the newly re-opened Inn of the Good Samaritan, where except for the ancient Byzantine Church we can see there, we can visit a rare archaeological exhibition of Jewish, Christian and Samaritan findings, which can spread a lot of light on the story of the Good Samaritan and the 3 religions represented in it.
Now we make our final ascent to the Holy City – Jerusalem! On Mt. Scopus, at a point overlooking Jerusalem’s Old City, we will stop for a welcome-ceremony before we relax in our hotel, where we shall spend four nights. Overnight in Jerusalem.
Jerusalem Old City: Mt. of Olives – Gethsemane – Absalom’s Memorial – The City of David – Davidson Center – The Western (Wailing Wall) – Via Dolorosa – Arab Market (Suq) – Calvary
We start our visit in Jerusalem with a panoramic view on the Old City from the Mt. of Olives. This is an excellent place for an introduction to the city and its rich history. At the feet of this mountain we will also visit the Garden of Gethsemane, with its ancient olive trees, dating back to biblical times, and Absalom’s majestic memorial, which is maybe not as old as tradition claims, but is still around 2000 years old! Visit the City of David, the very ancient Jerusalem, “where it all began”, including (those who dare!) walking in the water through the almost 3000-year-old Hezekiah’s Tunnel. At the Davidson Center we can see the recent excavation of the Southern wall of the Temple Mount and hear in an audio-visual presentation about the Jewish Pilgrims who ascended 3 times a year to the Temple in Jerusalem. Now it’s time for the Wailing (Western) Wall, the last remnants of the Jewish Temple, where you will be able, like thousands before you, to pray, or write your wishes on a note and put it between the stones of the ancient temple… Now we walk through the colorful oriental market of the Old City, the “Suq” – a mixture of colors, odors, sounds and smells, along some of the “Stations” of the “Via Dolorosa” – traditionally Jesus’ Way of Suffering – to the Church of the Holy sepulcher, where according to Christian tradition Jesus was crucified and buried. Overnight in Jerusalem.
Jerusalem – New City: Israel Museum – Yad Vashem – Menorah by the Knesset –
Visit the recently renovated Israel Museum, where we will take a look at the Model of Jerusalem during the time of the Second Temple (time of Jesus) and the “Shrine of the Book”, housing the original Dead Sea Scrolls. Proceed to Yad Vashem, Israel’s National Holocaust Memorial, followed by a visit of the famous Menorah (Candelabra) situated in front of the Knesset Building, housing Israel’s Parliament. In the afternoon we will stroll through the Machane Yehuda Market and Jerusalem’s different neighborhoods, hear the legends and breathe this special Jerusalem atmosphere… At the “Time Elevator” Audio-visual Show we will go back in time to the Eternal City’s rich history. Overnight in Jerusalem.
Ein Gedi – Masada – Dead Sea
Today we drive down to the deepest place on Earth – The Dead Sea!! We hike through the Ein Gedi Nature Reserve, rich in water and wildlife. We will then climb (by cable-car…) the cliff-fortress Massada. Here, on a high cliff in the middle of the desert King Herod the Great built a magnificent palace. This fortified palace was later used by the Jewish rebels as a stronghold against the Romans. Their heroic struggle against the mighty Roman Empire became a significant symbol for the modern state of Israel and was recognized by UNESCO as “World Heritage Site”. We end the day at (on…) the Dead Sea, taking advantage of its known healing qualities. Overnight in Jerusalem.
Dig-for-a-day in Beth Guvrin – Mitzpe Revivim – Camel Riding & Desert Hospitality in Beerotayim
We leave Jerusalem southwards bound, driving to Beth Guvrin, where we participate in real archaeological excavations of man-made caves, digging down into the past with our own hands! We continue driving southwards into the Negev Desert and stop in Mitzpe Revivim, once a research station where the israeli pioneers searched for ways to make the desert bloom – and succeeded! In this place the struggle for the Negev in the early days of Israel comes alive through the vivid reconstruction, which includes two original airplanes from the War of Independence! After driving deeper into the desert, we meet a caravan of camels that will take us riding into the desert, while explaining and showing us the different aspects of life in the desert… The tour ends in the Beerotayim Caravanserai, where we will have a special desert dinner by the campfire. Overnight in the Negev.
Sde Boker – Hike in Ein Avdat – Machtesh Ramon Crater – Eilat
Drive to Sde Boker, where we will step off the bus to visit the tomb of Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben Gurion, located in a special garden overlooking the Zin Valley. Most of the things you take for granted in modern Israel are actually influenced by the deeds and vision of David Ben Gurion. Then we hike through the nearby oasis of Ein Avdat – a nice natural refreshment in the arid desert. Driving further into the Negev we reach the cliffs of the Ramon Crater. This erosive crater (“Makhtesh”) is a unique geological phenomenon, only to be found in Israel! Depending on the time left and our mood, we will stop by some of the unique historical and geological sites to be seen in the Ramon Crater, before heading south to Eilat by the Red Sea! Overnight in Eilat.
Free in Eilat by the Red Sea
Free in Eilat at leisure. You might want to visit the Underwater Observatory or Dolphin Reef, go on a jeep-tour into the desert, sail on a yacht and snorkel in the colorful coral reef, or take a day-tour to Petra, the mysterious “Rose Red City” in Jordan. Overnight in Eilat.
Timna Park – Transfer to Tel Aviv
In the Timna Park, half an hour drive from Eilat, we will be able to crawl through the oldest copper-mines in the world, see some of its bizarre Rock-formations, such as “the Arches”, “The Mushroom”, the famous “Salomon’s Pillars”, and more… By the Timna Lake everybody will get the opportunity to show his/her artistic talents by filling transparent bottles with colored sand! we will also have a guided tour through the 1:1 model of the Tabernacle built by the Children of Israel who passed here thousands of years ago. In the afternoon transfer to Tel Aviv by Bus or Flight. Overnight in Tel Aviv.
Depending on your flight schedule, free time in Tel Aviv before your transfer to the Ben Gurion Airport for your flight back home.
Shalom & come back again!