“For You have girded me with strength for battle; You have subdued under me those who rose up against me.” (Psalm 18:39)
This land had been fought over throughout its long history and this tour will take us to the sites of some of the most fateful battles and provide fresh insights into the tactics and outcomes.
Day 1 – Welcome to Israel.
Reception and transfer to Tel Aviv. Orientation, dinner, and overnight in Tel Aviv.
Day 2 – Tel Aviv, the first Hebrew city.
Today’s touring focuses on Israel’s 1948 War of Independence: we will tour the interactivePalmach Museum, which follows the experiences of a small group of young Israeli fighters, descend into the underground halls of the secret bullet factory at the Ayalon Institute and walking along the Independence Route, at the heart of the bustling city of Tel Aviv. We will also visit the ancient port city of Jaffa, which has been the entry point to the Holy Land since Biblical times. Dinner and overnight in Tel Aviv.
Day 3 – Along the Via Maris Road.
Via Maris, “ the Road along the Sea” takes us north towards Caesarea Maritima, the elaborate and luxurious city built by King Herod and subsequently the site of Crusader and Ottoman cities. From there we drive further north to Mount Carmel, where the Prophet Elijah challenged the 450 prophets of Baal. We continue to Tel Megiddo, the site of Armageddon, before ending the day at the point where the River Jordan flows out of the Sea of Galilee and a meaningful baptism site. Dinner and overnight in Tiberias.
Day 4 – Ancient and modern wars.
Many of the most famous battles in history were fought here, in the Galilee, and in northern Israel. We visit Tel Hatzor, located strategically along the route between the two main civilizations of ancient times, Egypt and Mesopotamia, a city conquered by Joshua. Nearby are the Horns of Hittin, where Saladdin and his troops defeated the Crusaders in 1187, effectively ending the Crusader Kingdom. At Caesarea Philippi, we will tour the remains of the Greco- Roman city and the place where Jesus asked “Who do you say that I am?”. From there on to the Golan Heights, where bitter battles were fought in the 1973 Yom Kippur War. Dinner and overnight in Tiberias.
Day 5 – Old Testament battles.
As we drive south towards Jerusalem, we will ascend Mount Tabor, the site of the epic biblical battle between the Israelites led by Barak and the Canaanites led by Sisera. On to Mount Gilboa, the site of the battle in which King Saul and his sons fell, and then continue to Beit She’an, to view the magnificent remains of 6000 years of history. Towards the end of the day, we arrive in Jericho, whose walls were toppled by Joshua. Arriving in Jerusalem, we check in to the hotel for dinner and overnight.
Day 6 – New Testament prophecies.
Today we tour the Old City of Jerusalem, visiting some of the most meaningful sites mentioned in the New Testament, including the Mount of Olives, the Garden of Gethsemane, and the Via Dolorosa. En route, we will pause at the Lion’s Gate, the site of the entry of the Israeli army into the Old City of Jerusalem in the 1967 war. Dinner and overnight in Jerusalem.
Day 7 – The approaches to Jerusalem.
Many of the critical battles for Jerusalem were actually fought outside the city limits and today’s tour takes us to some of these sites, affording wonderful views of the city from a distance and the surrounding countryside: Nebi Samuel, traditionally the burial site of the biblical Samuel, Radar Hill, a strategic British-held outpost up to 1948, the Latrun Tank Museum which has an impressive collection of all the tanks used by the IDF, and finally the bunkers and museum at Ammunition Hill, dedicated to the IDF forces which fought in the 1967 War. Dinner and overnight in Jerusalem.
Day 8 – Historic Jerusalem.
Today, the final day of our tour, we will return to the Old City of Jerusalem, walking on the Temple Mount, and the Southern Steps, which provided access to the Temple Mount in Biblical times. At the City of David, we will go underground to walk through Hezekiah’s Tunnel, built to secure Jerusalem’s access to water in times of siege. The Friends of Zion Museum tells the inspiring stories of Christians who played a key role in the return of Zion, and our tour ends at the Garden Tomb, before departing for the airport for the flight home.