Depart Canada on your flight to Israel.
Welcome to Israel! Arrive Ben Gurion Airport; meeting, assistance and transfer to your hotel on Tel Aviv’s Mediterranean beach. Balance of the afternoon and evening at leisure in the city the New York Times calls “The Capital of Mediterranean Cool.”
Begin the day with a visit to Independence Hall where Ben Gurion fervently proclaimed Israel’s independence in 1948. Continue to the Weizmann House, the unique and grand home of Chaim Weizmann, first President of Israel and the founder of the Weizmann Institute of Science. The house is presented in a living way, as if its residents are still living on the premises. On to the pre-state underground Ammunitions Factory at Machon Ayalon (another site which JNF helped restore) to learn about the activities of the Hagannah. We’ll then have a great discovery of Tel Aviv as we drive through the main streets of this city known as the “White City”. Tel Aviv has been proclaimed a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its splendid Bauhaus Architecture and has the largest number of buildings in this unique style of any city in the world! Continue past the Mann Auditorium, (Israeli Philharmonic), Habimah Theatre, the impressive Opera House and Yitzhak Rabin Square, dedicated to the late Prime Minister. Onward to charming and quaint Neve Tzedek (Tel Aviv’s “Soho”), the first neighborhood constructed outside Old Jaffa; the old buildings are amazing! Just down the road is the newly developed open-air pedestrian mall—the “Tachana” converted from an old railroad station. You’ll have some time to stroll through the shops here and perhaps enjoy coffee or an ice cream in one of the many cafes before we head back to your hotel (those wishing to spend some more time here can taxi back to the hotel, just minutes away).
Visit the Palmach Museum (subject to appointment confirmation), for a virtual tour of the history of the underground organization. Then on to Absalom (Soreq) Caves discovered by chance in a miners’ blast some 40 years ago. Their stalactites and stalagmites date back 300,000 years. Continue to Natan Rappaport’s haunting bronze monument, the Scrolls of Fire, soaring high in the scenic Judean Hills. Then, on to the military junction at Latrun, once the border with Jordan; view the French Trappist Monastery and visit the Tank Division Memorial. Return to Tel Aviv.
Today, a great adventure! Spend the morning digging and excavating at the Tel Maresha Dig at Beit Guvrin National Park (weather permitting). Continue to the 4,000-year-old port city of Jaffa. Explore the magnificently reconstructed Artists’ Quarter with its galleries and boutiques. Afterwards, on to Tel Aviv’s bustling Carmel Market and lively Nachlat Benjamin Street with its delightful cafes and craft stalls — definitely the place to be on Friday afternoon! Tonight, Get Together Dinner.
Morning walking tour. Remainder of the day at leisure to enjoy all of the delights of this seaside city. Tel Aviv’s museums and restaurants are world-class. Don’t miss Tel Aviv’s hip port neighborhood, with its yachts, eateries and café-filled boardwalk.
Depart Tel Aviv. Drive to the extraordinary Israeli Museum at the Yitzhak Rabin Center chronicling the life of the late Prime Minister and the development of the State of Israel. Continue to ancient Caesarea; explore the Roman and Crusader ruins including the impressive 2,000-year-old theater (still in use!) and aqueduct. Then, visit Caesarea Harbor: a fascinating, multi-media presentation brings ancient history to life! Arrive in Nazareth, the sacred town where Jesus spent part of his youth; visit the Church and view Mary’s Well. On to the sparkling port city of Haifa; check into your hotel atop Mt. Carmel. This evening, visit a Druze Village --meet these unique Israelis! Hear of their traditions and share a Druze Dinner.
View the golden-domed Baha’i Shrine and their breathtaking “hanging gardens,” – a UNESCO World Heritage site. Drive along the coast to Rosh Hanikra; descend by cable car to see the magnificent underwater grottoes. Continue through the picturesque seaside town of Nahariya to the timeless Crusader city of Acre; walk through the subterranean city and bazaars that recall the colorful Middle Ages.Then, to Safed, one of Judaism’s holiest cities, where the Kabbalah was developed in the 16th.-century; visit the ancient synagogues and the charming Artists’ Quarter. Arrive in Tiberias for a special Dinner and overnight.
Morning drive to Capernaum, see the ruins of the ancient synagogue dating back to the 5th-century. Then, ascend the strategic Golan Heights and learn about the 20th century battles that protected Israel’s future. On to Katzrin, capital of the Golan and to the monument of the 7th Brigade; see the multimedia presentation “Kesem Hagolan” for a greater understanding of the region. Visit a former Syrian army bunker at Kibbutz Kfar Charuv, settled by Americans and Israelis together; view of the fertile valleys below as you tour the kibbutz and enjoy lunch in the communal dining room. Travel to Bet Shean, an ancient city from the time of King Saul; see the excavated remains of the magnificent Roman city destroyed by an earthquake in the 8th.-century. Drive south and then rise through the mountains to the “golden” city of Jerusalem. Overnight in Israel’s capital.
Drive to Hadassah Medical Center to the see the sublime Chagall Windows. On to Yad Vashem, Israel’s national Memorial and Museum of the Holocaust, with its Children’s Pavilion and Avenue of the Righteous. Then, to Mount Herzl to pay respects to Israel’s founders and heroes. Pass the post-modern Supreme Court and the Knesset (Parliament) en route to the Shrine of the Book, home of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Time to walk through the New Israel Museum and the Billy Rose Sculpture Garden; see the Scale Model of ancient Jerusalem. Evening: Night Tour and Restaurant Dinner.
Enter the Old City from the Dung Gate; walk to the Western Wall, last remnant of the Second Temple. Witness joyous Bar Mitzvah ceremonies! View the Dome of the Rock. Drive to Mt. Zion to visit the traditional Tomb of King David and the Room of the Last Supper. Proceed to the restored Jewish Quarter; walk along the Cardo, the colonnaded main street of Byzantine Jerusalem. Visit the Herodian Mansions, a completely excavated residential quarter from 2000 years ago, or, walk through the extraordinary Hasmonean Tunnel (tunnel schedule permitting.) Follow the Via Dolorosa to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre; walk through the exotic bazaars with their wondrous aromas. End the day with an optional visit to Bethlehem. Evening: “Night Spectacular” Sound and Light Show at the Citadel Museum (weather and schedule permitting).
Descend through the Judean desert to the Dead Sea, lowest point on Planet Earth.. Ascend Masada by cable car and see this last stronghold of the Zealots in their struggle against the Romans. Visit the excavations, Herod the Great’s palace, synagogue and bathhouse. Then, opportunity to enjoy an “unsinkable” swim in the buoyant waters of the Dead Sea. Drive via the Qumran Caves, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found, on your return to Jerusalem. Evening: Traditional Friday Night Dinner.
Morning walking tour with your Tour Director includes the Museum of the History of Jerusalem at David’s Citadel in the Old City. Remainder of the day at leisure.
Transfer to the Airport for your international departure flight. Enjoy our Express Check-in Service.