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April 6 - 17, 2018
Join apologetics teacher, Frank Turek for a very special trip to Israel. Frank has led groups to Israel a few times before, but this itinerary has been especially created for you. We have hand selected the most unique hotels, by location and ambience, with you in mind. The itinerary is for discerning travelers and visits the places of Our King that are filled with Biblical truths. The trip is limited to a small group. We will be joined by Biblical Archeologist, Eli Shukron. The total price including economy class air from New York (inquire about other cities too!), meals as noted, all teachings, 5-star hotels, transportation and all entrance fees is $5,599 per person.
Itinerary at a Glance:
Apr 6 Depart New York (JFK) or home city
Apr 7 Arrival in Tel Aviv, Philistine Country Negev, overnight Bersheet (two nights)
Apr 8 The Negev and the Wilderness of Zin, Mizpeh Rimon, Nabatean Spice Route, Ein Avdat, Kadesh-Barnea
Apr 9 Beersheba, the Rift Valley, Masada, Maaleh Akrabbim, Ein Gedi, Ein Bokek and overnight on the Dead Sea.
Apr 10 The Jordan Valley, Qumran, Jericho, Beth Shean, Herod’s Valley, Jezreel Valley and Tiberias (three nights)
Apr 11 Upper Galilee, the Golan Heights, Bashan, Gamla, Katsrin, Kuneitra, Tel Dan, Caesarea Philippi and Banias.
Apr 12 Around the Sea of Galilee, Capernaum, Mount of Beatitudes, Tabgha, Chorazin, Kursi in the “Gergesa”, Ein Gev and Magdala.
Apr 13 The Lower Galilee, the Coastal Road, Nazareth, the Jezreel Valley, Mt. Carmel, Caesarea, Maritima, Beth Horon Road, Mount Scopus, Gibeon and Jerusalem (four nights).
Apr 14 The Shephela, Valley of Elah, Samaria, Sochoh, Beit Guvrin, Lachish, Khirbet Qieyafa, Elah Valley, Sha’arayim or Neta’im, Elah Valley, Samaria, Mount Gerizim, Shiloh, Jerusalem.
Apr 15 The Archaeology of Jerusalem, the Way of Sorrow, Zion, Jaffa Gate, City of David, new archeological sites at City of David, Hezekiah’s tunnel, the Gihon Spring, the Pool of Siloam, the Western Wall, Archeological Park, the Dome of the Rock, St. Anne’s Church, Jaffa Gate and Jerusalem.
Apr 16 Oh, Jerusalem! Mount of Olives, Palm Sunday Road, Gethsemane, the Emek Tzurim Valley, the Garden Tomb, private farewell, after dinner check out and board flights
Apr 17 Arrive New York or home city
Christian Israel Tour Itinerary
We depart on Delta at 10:35PM, nonstop to Tel Aviv. You are welcome to arrange your own airfare. Delta will allow you to originate your home Delta airport (at a surcharge, call or email for pricing on your particular city). Our brochure air program price is based out of JFK, but Delta allows city deviations for an additional collection.
Arrival in Israel this afternoon - After passport control and baggage claim we will meet our guide, Eli Shukron. We begin our adventure by driving through the Philistine country down into the Negev to the area of Mitzpe Ramon and check into our hotel, the Beresheet, for dinner and overnight. (D)
After our long flight yesterday, we will have a leisurely morning to rest and have our bodies adjust to time change. We start our sightseeing of the Negev with the Mitzpe Ramon observatory to view the eerie lunar landscape of the crater and learn of the geology of the area and the path of the Nabatean Spice Route. We continue north through the Negev and dwell some time on the desert experience as we drive to the oasis at Ein Avdat. We continue to the ruins of Avdat the city of Aretas the Nabatean who built up this city from a camel station. To this period of expansion we may date Paul’s report in 2 Corinthians 11:32-33: “In Damascus the ethnarch under Aretas the king was guarding the city of the Damascenes in order to seize me, and I was let down in a basket through a window in the wall, and so escaped his hands.”
We drive further north to view the stupendous wilderness of Zin, a geographic area mentioned by the Torah as containing Kadesh Barnea within it and it is therefore also referred to as the “Wilderness of Kadesh” We stop at Ben Gurion’s grave before we drive back to our base in the Negev for dinner and overnight. Enjoy the pools, views and spa of our majestic hotel. (B,D)
This morning we drive north to Beersheba the city of the Patriarchs. Here we see the well and gate structure, the rounded streets, and a typical Israelite house. We will see in the distance Maaleh Akrabbim (the Ascent of the Scorpions) as mentioned in Joshua 15:3. We will be able to see the Dead Sea and we drive to impressive Masada. At Masada, we take the cable car to the top, visiting Herod’s mountain bunker and the last stronghold of the Jewish revolt against Rome (66-73 AD).This is where the Jewish zealots resisted the Romans for three years after the Jerusalem Temple was destroyed. Check into our 5-star, spa hotel on the shores of the Dead Sea. Enjoy a swim in this unique water, dinner together and overnight. (B,D)
Today we drive along the Eastern shores of the Dead Sea, as we see the caves of Qumran in the distance, which was also the settlement of the first century sect known as the Essenes, the authors of the Dead Sea Scrolls. We then drive to Ein Gedi, hiking into the valley to enjoy the waterfalls. Here we can also try to imagine a possible cave that brings to mind the biblical reference (1 Samuel 24:1-3), “Now when Saul returned from pursuing the Philistines, he was told, saying, “Behold, David is in the wilderness of En Gedi.” Then Saul took three thousand chosen men from all Israel and went to seek David and his men in front of the Rocks of the Wild Goats. He came to the sheepfolds on the way, where there was a cave; and Saul went in to relieve himself. Now David and his men were sitting in the inner recesses of the cave.”
Drive to Jericho. At Jericho, we visit the tell of this oldest city and view the traditional mountain of Jesus’ temptation. Driving through the Jordan Valley north. Before Beth Shean we drive west into Herod’s Valley. This fantastic view is filled with biblical history. From this location on Tel Jezreel looking east, one can yet crowned) Jehu “driving like a madman,” on his way to killing the kings of Israel and Judah. 900 years later, Jesus healed the 10 lepers, probably somewhere in this valley. We continue on the Ein Herod. Judges 7 describes Gideon’s actions in thinning his army out. He brought the men to the spring and sorted them on the basis of how they drank from the water. We drive through the Jezreel Valley back towards Beth Shean (aka Scythopolis). Here we shall climb the Tel and view the setting for the death of Saul (I Samuel 28 - II Samuel 1). We shall then survey the magnificent Roman and Byzantine ruins: theatre, bathhouses, ancient rest rooms, market areas and colonnaded streets. We then continue driving north to Tiberias and check in our hotel for dinner and overnight. (B,D)
Ascend the Golan Heights today, the biblical Bashan and ancestral home of the half-tribe of Manassah and in Jesus’ day, part of the territory of Herod Philip. Stop for an overview of Gamla, also known as “Masada of the north” where you’ll hear a heroic story of the few against the many, as the raptors that are protected here soar overhead in these magnificent natural surroundings. Continue to Katsrin and visit its ancient Talmudic Village to understand aspects of daily life at the time of Jesus as they are reflected in Gospel stories. Drive along Israel’s border with Syria and stop at the Kuneitra overlook. Visit Tel Dan, one of the most important biblical mounds in the country. Here archaeologists discovered an inscription with the words “House of David,” and you can see a gateway from the time of Abraham, as well as the High Place of Jeroboam and the Israelite gate. Continue to Caesarea Philippi, now known as Banias. Open your Bible among the ruins of pagan temples to consider the words Jesus spoke here: “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” (Matt. 16:13). As at Dan, you’ll also enjoy the natural beauty of Banias nestled on the flourishing banks of one the Jordan’s main tributaries. We end our day on the lake in a wooden boat modeled on one from Jesus’ time. (Mathew 14). (B,D)
Drive up to the Mount of Beatitudes (Matthew 5-7) and hike down the hill to the lake and go to Tabgha where Christians have long remembered the first feeding of the multitude (Mark 6) and nearby, the breakfast of John 21. Continue walking to nearby Capernaum where Franciscan archaeologists believe they have uncovered the house of Peter (Mark 1 and 2). Then drive the northern end of the Sea of Galilee heading east and stop at Beth Saida, which is the fishing village of the Gospels. This village was the home town of Peter, Andrew, and Philip (John 1:44). Here, as well as Capernaum and Chorazin, Jesus performed most of his miracles, healed a blind man, and cursed all three towns for their failure to repent. In Luke’s account, the feeding of the 5000 occurred in the area of Beth Saida. Continue driving around the eastern shores of the Sea of Galilee heading south to Ein Gev where you will stop for lunch. After lunch drive further south to Kursi in the “Gergesa” of Matthew’s Gospel where the evangelist locates the miracle of the swine. Most likely, that is what early Christians were commemorating. Then drive full circle around the lake and stop at a location where the Jordan River exits south from the Sea of Galilee and heads down the Jordan Valley. We end our day at the newly discovered and exciting archaeological site of the fishing Village of Magdala where we can see a first century synagogue typical of the various synagogues that dotted the Galilee region and where Christ would have first preached the gospel. (B,L,D)
This morning, we drive towards Nazareth. On the way we stop at Cana for a visit, where Jesus performed the first of His miracles. We drive up to Mt. Precipice to view the Jezreel valley After surveying the Plain of Jezreel, we then drive down into the Jezreel Valley and drive west to Megiddo - har megiddo in Hebrew, which gave its name to Armageddon. It is King Solomon’s regional capital (1 Kings 9:15), Megiddo’s fortifications, water system, palaces, stables and dwellings spanning thousands of years and its great biblical significance have made it a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The excavations also inspired James Michener’s book “The Source”. After that we keep heading west and connect with the Via Maris - the Coastal Road and drive south to Caesarea Maritima. Here we explore this Roman bridgehead to the land, which became the Christian springboard to the West. After the visit this ancient harbor, we board our bus and drive further south through the Sharon Valley to the modern City of Tel Aviv and take a scenic drive to Jaffa, the oldest port in the world. Biblical tradition has it that Jonah set sail for Tarshish from Jaffa but was swallowed by a large fish. Jaffa was also the home of Tabitha, who was raised from the dead by Peter. Peter had his vision here while lodging in the home of Simon the Tanner. It is also where King Solomon imported the cedars of Lebanon to build the Temple in Jerusalem. We walk through the Old City of Jaffa through the artist quarter before we head up the historic Beth Horon road (Joshua 10:10) to the Benjamin Plateau, passing Gibeon and continuing to Jerusalem. Finally, atop Mt. Scopus, we behold majestic Jerusalem. We check in our hotel in Jerusalem for the next 4 nights. (BD)
We begin our day by drive to Beit Guvrin to see a few of the famous “bell caves”. We then drive through the “Shephelah” (lowlands) where we can see the remains of Lachish in the distance, which was conquered by the Assyrians. From there, we drive to the newly excavated Khirbet Qieyafa, the site of an ancient fortress city overlooking the Elah Valley. A number of archaeologists have claimed that it might be the biblical city of Sha’arayim or Neta’im dating to the reign of David where King David might have lodged at some point. Next, we travel to the Elah Valley where David fought Goliath and reenact the scene in our imaginations as we listen to 1 Samuel 17. From Tel Azekah, we see before our very eyes how this famous battle took place! We then drive towards Samaria and up to Mt. Gerizim to visit with the local Samaritans still practicing their faith today. We get to meet the Samaritans, the smallest ethnic group in the world. We then drive down to the nearby Jacob’s Well, site of Jesus’ conversation with a Samaritan woman. Driving south we get to end our day at Shiloh where the Tabernacle was housed for 369 years. The site at Shiloh is home to a large enclave of Jews who immigrated from the USA. We return back to our base in Jerusalem for dinner and overnight. (B, D)
For those of you who want to stretch your legs early, first thing this morning, take the ramparts walk on the Old City Walls from Jaffa Gate to the Western Wall. Descend from the Old City Wall at Dung Gate and continue walking along the path to the City of David. Those who prefer not to do this walk, will join us at the gates of the City of David via bus. Our Jerusalem day, again with famed Israeli archeologist, Eli Shukron, begins with a visual timeline of the geography of the City of David from the original settlement to present day. Then descend into the ground to Hezekiah’s tunnel built somewhere near 700 B.C. and was needed to bring fresh water from outside the fortified City of David (from the Gihon Spring) to the inside (deposited into the Pool of Siloam) so that the city would have drinking water during any siege (the tunnel’s construction is referred to in Isaiah 22:9). John 9 records the healing of the blind man at the Pool of Siloam by putting mud on his eyes and asking him to wash them away. Eli will showcase the unique underside and new discoveries from the past 5 years. Today, will be a real highlight as we see a standing stone and altar that was only recently uncovered. After this exciting day, we transfer back up to the Dung Gate. Just inside the gate we take the time to examine the ruins near the south side of the Temple complex, which includes steps where you may be certain that Jesus taught and He and his disciples walked. Then walk up to the Western Wall, Judaism’s holiest site. Walk up to the Dome of the Rock and the al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest site of Islam, located on the traditional site of the ancient Temple Mount. Just to the north we find the Pools of Bethesda (John 5) and St. Anne’s Church, perfectly preserved from the Crusader period with remarkable acoustics. We then follow the traditional Way of the Cross (Via Dolorosa) to the Christian Quarter and exit the city at Jaffa Gate, where we can board our bus and transfer back to our hotel for rest. After dinner we can have a short night tour of the city of Jerusalem. (B.D)
Today we will start on the Mt. of Olives with the Old City tilted toward us. After an orientation, we descend the traditional Palm Sunday road to Dominus Flevit (“The Lord weeps”), remembering Jesus’ entry (Luke 19). We continue down to Gethsemane (Matthew 26) with a visit to the garden and the church where we will have some quiet time. We then drive to Mt. Scopus and walk down the Emek Tzurim Valley to the site. Eli has a special surprise for us! You will have the opportunity in sifting through archaeological-rich rubble from the Temple Mount. He will be with us to discuss and show you discoveries already made and take part in uncovering more of Jerusalem’s glorious past. From there we drive to the Garden Tomb where we end our tour with a special visit and private communion and worship together. The balance of the day is free. You have your room until we leave for the airport tonight. We get together for our farewell dinner at our hotel before we transfer to Ben Gurion airport for our late flight back home (at approximately 9:00PM). (B.D)April 17If booking our group air, your flight will arrive JFK at 5:00AM
Dr. Frank Turek
Dr. Frank Turek is a dynamic speaker and award-winning author & coauthor of four books: Stealing from God: Why Atheists Need God to make their Case, I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist, Correct, Not Politically Correct and Legislating Morality. As the President of CrossExamined.org, Frank presents powerful and entertaining evidence for Christianity at churches, high schools and at secular college campuses that often begin hostile to his message. He has also debated several prominent atheists, including Christopher Hitchens and David Silverman, president of American Atheists.
Frank hosts an hour-long TV program each week called I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist, that is broadcast Wednesday nights on DirecTV Channel 378 (the NRB Network). His radio program called CrossExamined with Frank Turek, airs on 122 stations every Saturday morning at 10 a.m. eastern and is available continuously on the free CrossExamined App.
Frank is a widely featured guest in the media as a leading apologetics expert and cultural commentator. He has appeared on hundreds of radio programs and many top TV programs including: The O’Reilly Factor, Hannity and Colmes, Faith Under Fire, and Politically Incorrect. He also writes a column for Townhall.com.
A former aviator in the US Navy, Frank has a master’s degree from the George Washington University and a doctorate from Southern Evangelical Seminary. He and his wife, Stephanie, are blessed with three grown sons.