On the Southern Steps, where Jesus would have climbed to the Temple.

Want to Experience Israel in 2019? Here’s how …

You can join me and New Testament professor Alicia Myers, along with veteran guide Doron Heiliger, for a 10-day tour of Israel and the West Bank May 11-22, 2019. Here are the details:

The cost is $3850 from Raleigh-Durham, (possible surcharge from other airports), plus $200 to cover lunches and tips = $4,050.

A $250 deposit is due with registration (refundable until February 1), with payments of  $1,900 payment due February 1 (to cover airfare) and April 1.

Here’s a tentative Itinerary:  

On Mount Precipice, outside Nazareth, overlooking the Jezreel Valley.

May 11 (Saturday) – depart from RDU or other airport

May 12 (Sunday) – We arrive in Tel Aviv in the morning, visit the Church of the Annunciation, the Synagogue Church, and Mount Precipice in Nazareth, then drive to the Nof Ginosar Hotel on the Sea of Galilee, our home for four nights.

May 13 (Monday) – We begin with a devotion on the Mount of Beatitudes, then drive to Tel Hazor and through the Huleh Valley to Tel Dan, then to Banyas/Ceasarea Phillipi and the Golan Heights before concluding at Migdal (biblical Magdala), the home of Mary Magdalene.

Climbing steps into a Bronze Age palace/temple at Hazor.

May 14 (Tuesday) –We drive west past Mount Carmel en route to scenic Caesarea Maritima (Herod’s capital city), then back east to Tel Megiddo, where archaeologist Norma Franklin, who excavated for many years at Megiddo, will give us a private tour. We’ll continue on through the Jezreel Valley to Jezreel. We then go to Tiberius, where we board a large boat for a ride across the Sea of Galilee to the Ancient Boat Museum, next to our hotel.

On Tel Megiddo

May 15 (Wednesday) – Today we visit the church of Peter’s Primacy and take a short ride to Capernaum, where Jesus taught in the synagogue, and to Geshur and el-Araj, potential sites for Bethsaida.We drive south along the eastern side of the sea to BethShean/Scythopolis, and return by Jardenit, where those who wish may remember their baptism in the Jordan River.

May 16 (Thursday) – We drive south to Jericho, then visit Qasr el Yahud, a baptismal site located across the Jordan from Bethany beyond the Jordan, where John baptized Jesus. We continue south to the village of Qumran, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found, and overlook the north end of the Dead Sea. We drive up the old Jericho Road to view St. George’s monastery, deep in the Wadi Qelt. We then return to the modern highway and go up to Jerusalem, where we get our first view of the Old City and drive to the kibbutz hotel of Ramath Rachel, our home for the next six nights.

The Dead Sea, from ‘Ein Gedi.

May 17 (Friday) – We go first to Tel Mareshah in the Beit Guvrim national park for a three-hour hands-on dig before heading south to Tel Lachish, second only to Jerusalem before it was destroyed in 701 BCE. We drive back through the Valley of Elah, where David famously battled Goliath, and where we can see the important hill sites of Azekah, Socoh, and Khirbet Qeiyafah on the way to Beth Shemesh and back to Jerusalem.

At Masada, in what many believe was a first century synagogue.

May 18 (Saturday) – Today we drive to the Dead Sea, from 2600 feet above Sea Level to the lowest spot on the surface of the earth at 1400 feet below Sea Level. We go south through the bleak wilderness until we come to the oasis of ’Ein Gedi, where we can hike to a series of waterfalls and see caves such as those David used when hiding from Saul. We continue south to the impressive fortress city of Masada before heading to a spa where those who wish can “swim” in the Dead Sea. In the evening, we enjoy a sumptuous Shabbat meal.

Praying at the Western Wall.

May 19 (Sunday) – Today we put on our walking shoes for a long day in the Old City of Jerusalem. We begin at the Western Wall, and if conditions permit, we will go up onto Temple Mount, crossing over and exiting near the Pool of Bethesda, where we will pause to sing in the Church of St. Anne’s, built by the Crusaders. We then walk to the site of the Antonia fortress, where Jesus may have been held before his crucifixion, and view the Lithostratos, part of the very Roman road Jesus would have walked. We then follow most of the Via Dolorosa through the crowded streets and market stalls of the Muslim Quarter to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, where many believe Jesus was both crucified and buried. We will then go to the City of David excavations and have a chance to walk through Hezekiah’s Tunnel, dug in the 8thcentury BCE to bring water from the Gihon Spring to the Pool of Siloam.

The Old City of Jerusalem.

May 20 (Monday) – Today we begin atop the Mount of Olives, then descend the steep Palm Sunday Road, stopping in the massive Jewish cemetery before looking in on an early burial site near Dominus Flevvit, where Jesus reportedly wept over Jerusalem. We continue down to the Garden of Gethsemane, and visit the Church of All Nations. We then go to Bethlehem, where we will visit Bethlehem Bible College, then venture on to the Church of the Nativitya

A large scale model of 1st century Jerusalem, at the Israel Museum.

nd possibly Shepherd’s Fields.

May 21 (Tuesday) – We begin with a brief visit to the Yad VaShem, Israel’s holocaust   memorial. We then pass by the Knesset, Israel’s parliament building, on the way to the Israel Museum, where countless historical artifacts are housed. We then visit the Garden Tomb, another traditional site of Jesus’ burial place, located next to “Gordon’s Calvary.” There we celebrate communion. Afterward, we enjoy a special “farewell dinner,” probably in Bethlehem.

May 22 (Wednesday) – We say goodbye to our new friends and depart from Ben Gurion airport for our journey home.

Note: This is an ideal schedule: inevitably there are changes along the way. Sometimes we add more sites, sometimes we have to shift and see something on a different day, but we will do our best to include all of the sites mentioned above. Flexibility is the word.

“Swimming” in the Dead Sea

Health: Participants should be in good health and capable of walking a mile or more, including many steps, both up and down. Some activities, such as walking through Hezekiah’s Tunnel, are optional. Be sure to bring any needed medications in your backpack or carry-on.

Weather: In May, the weather in Israel is quite pleasant. Rain is rare. Temperatures will probably be in the 80’s in the Galilee, a bit cooler in Jerusalem, and warmer in the south.

Clothing: Bring at least two pair of good walking shoes. Avoid sandals unless they are designed as hiking sandals (no flip-flops except around the hotels). Water shoes will be helpful more than once. Pack light, mix & match, and plan to wear everything at least twice. “Holy” sites may require shoulders and knees to be covered. The checked luggage limit is 50 pounds, and carry-on rules change often.

Price: includes airfare from RDU,all meals (except in layover airports), and tips. You need money only for souvenirs and incidentals. A traveler’s health insurance policy can be purchased cheaply through Campbell University. Airfare and ground package are paid to vendors in advance and may not be refunded. Traveler’s insurance seeking refunds if unable to go is optional and must be purchased individually. (Note: despite increases in hotel costs, the price is $145 less than two years ago, with nothing less.)

A passport valid for six months past the travel date (Nov. 22, 2019) is required and should be obtained at least three months prior to departure (airlines require passport numbers).

Participation is limited to 50 persons. Students have priority until January 1. We are planning to fly on Air Canada, via Toronto, to Tel Aviv. The airlines will not guarantee more than 40 spaces (already reserved). We will try to obtain additional seats with Air Canada, but it is possible that a few participants (who are comfortable doing so) may need to fly separately.

For more information or to reserve your spot: Contact Tony Cartledge at cartledge@campbell.edu. A website for online payments will be up and running soon: I will post the link here when available, or email it to those who indicate a readiness to register.




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