Many people dream of visiting the Holy Land. Did you know it’s easier than you think?
In recent years tourism to Israel has grown exponentially with over four million now visiting this tiny nation annually. An amazing statistic in a country of less than nine million!
Readers of Metro Voice will have an opportunity to visit the Holy Land of Israel with Metro Voice publishers Dwight and Anita Widaman. The tour, scheduled for June 20 through July 1, includes both Old and New Testament sites, breathtaking scenery, wonderful food and lodgings, insightful Bible teaching and great fellowship.
Why does the land of Israel hold such a special place in the hearts of Christ-followers?
The short answer? God has set it there.
Israel is at the intersection of two continents. One moving west and one moving east. This friction has shaped the land with earthquakes and floods over the millennia. But it is also an analogy of faith and culture. In Bethlehem and Jerusalem, two events happened that were foretold long ago that reunited God with His fallen creation and redeemed a dark world.
As a rabbi described it, Israel “is the earthly crossroads of all that has unfolded, determining the affairs of peoples and nations since time began.”
When you visit Israel you see and touch, smell and hear, and feel it as part of your soul. The Bible, once only read in black and white, now becomes full color with all its vibrant hues painting a truer picture of God’s Word than you have ever dreamed.
Over the last 35 years, between the two of us, Anita and I have traveled there 18 times. Each time is new and refreshing. Each time provides exciting insights into the land, her people and current events but especially the Bible and our faith.
No one ever leaves Israel unfulfilled or disappointed. You return home having shed the fog of misperceptions, false media narratives and indifference. When you return home, you are different–
Israel is now forever in your heart and always on your mind.
We want you to experience this with us. Come along! Let’s get started!
Depart the U.S for Israel on a direct flight. Flights are approximately 10 hours and 20 minutes. You are served supper and breakfast and snacks in between.
Day 2: Shalom and welcome. Anticipation and visions!
After landing at Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv, we’ll be met and guided by a representative of Lipkin Tours who will welcome us to Israel and introduce you to our tour guide and coach driver. We’ll have time to exchange money at one of the banks in the airport. As you board the modern, comfortable motor coach, you’ll receive a packet of supplies and personal headsets for use on the tour.
And we’re off! You’ll take in the scenery as we travel on Israel’s modern freeways through the high-tech city and suburbs of Tel Aviv to the 4-star Daniel Hotel on the Mediterranean’s Herzliya Beach. Once we check in, you can walk along the beach, swim and take in the beautiful sunset later in the evening. After a leisurely dinner we’ll have a short orientation for the exciting days that lie ahead.
Day 3: Lifestyles of the rich and famous Romans, and Jews of 2,000 years ago
After breakfast we will depart the hotel and drive north along the coast of the Mediterranean to Caesarea – an important New Testament city. There we will look at the ruins of Herod’s ocean side palace, visit Paul’s prison, a Roman amphitheater, hippodrome and the amazing Roman aqueducts. We then drive east to the Galilee Hills. We stop in Nazareth Village for biblical inspired lunch and tour of this living history site. Here, you’ll see the actual wine press from Jesus’ boyhood town. We will continue to Mount Precipice for a breathtaking view of Jezreel Valley and of visions Armageddon and biblical battles. We then head to our Galilee Sea beach resort for check-in. Afterwards you’ll have dinner and time for rest or fellowship along the beach.
Day 4: Along the “Road to Damascus” and the Golan Heights
We will begin our day at Tel Dan, described in the bible as the northernmost city of Israel. We will visit the nature walk, ancient Abraham’s Gate and Jeroboams Altar. You’ll also see ruins of a Canaanite city. Our next stop will be the Banias, a source of the Jordan River, and the site of Caesarea Philippi where the Apostle Peter made his great confession of faith in Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God. We will then picnic there for lunch. Following this we will drive up to Mt. Bental in the Golan Heights and look out to the “Road to Damascus”. From this wonderful vantage point you’ll peer into Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Northern Israel. We will then travel to Katzrin, known as the “capital of the Golan heights,” before ending the day at the Yardenit, where John baptized Jesus. For those wishing to, we’ll have a baptism opportunity. In the evening there will be time to visit local stores and stroll around, taking in everyday Jewish life in a small town.
Day 5: In the footsteps of Jesus – miracles and ministry
Following breakfast and check out from the hotel we will travel to the Church of Primacy where Jesus told Peter “upon this rock I will build my church.” Next, it’s on to a view of Eremos Cave – what many experts consider the actual site of the Beatitudes. Next, we’ll visit Capernaum that in Jesus’ time was a flourishing border town that served as the home base for his ministry. Following this we will enjoy a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee from Capernaum to Lido Beach near Tiberius. We’ll enjoy lunch at the famous Decks Restaurant in Tiberius. The afternoon will begin with a drive south to Gideon’s Spring where you can put your hand into the water that still flows. Then it’s on to Beit Shean – the magnificent remains of a major Roman Decapolis City. We’ll also visit the ancient hill upon which King Saul’s head was displayed on a pole and where you’ll see ruins of an Egyptian temple. On the drive south we will travel along Jordan Rift that, from eons of the collision of two continental plates, created the Jordan Valley and the Dead Sea. In the afternoon we’ll enter into the ancient and still vibrant city of Jerusalem. After check-in at the Prima Royal Hotel we’ll enjoy dinner and beautiful views of the city from the rooftop veranda.
Day 6: Descending and Ascending in Jerusalem
We will begin the day at City of David excavations and encounter the newest discoveries. Here you’ll see ruins of David’s palace and other evidence that this is his city. Next we have several options: A knee-deep trek through the actual tunnel of Hezekiah or the newly opened Pilgrim’s Way – the actual street that Jesus and those visiting the Temple would have used. Plus, today it’s all underground! Next is a visit to the Pool of Siloam. We will continue on to the Southern Steps of the Ancient Temple. Here you can climb the actual remains of the steps that Jesus used to enter the Temple. Were the moneychangers nearby? We will then visit the Western Wall, which is just around the corner, and explore the Western Wall Tunnel Tour. We will then stroll through and enjoy the Jewish Quarter of the Old City with its bustling shops, tourist stores and historical sites. We will end the day with some free time for shopping and there are many things to see and explore on your own after dinner.
Day 7: Memorials, markets and memories of Shabbat
Today we will begin at the world-class museum Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial, learning about Jewish life and culture before World War II and remembering and honoring the six million who were killed in the Holocaust. We’ll continue on to Friends of Zion Museum to celebrate the friendship of Christians and Jews over the years in an interactive video experience. We will continue on the Machane Yehuda Market to enjoy lunch and explore this bustling place that amazes everyone who experiences it! We will drive back to the hotel to refresh and then take the bus to the Old City to meet locals and welcome in Shabbat with Jerusalem. You’ll see the festive sights and sounds of young Israeli’s worshiping and dancing in preparation for their day of rest. Take this opportunity to step up to the Western Wall and pray and place your own note in the crevices there with the thousands of others. Back at the hotel will enjoy Shabbat dinner and a peaceful evening of rejuvenation and reflection on all the wonderful things you have seen.
Day 8: Walking the footsteps of the Passion of the Christ
After breakfast we start our pilgrimage in Jerusalem with a drive to the top of the Mt. of Olives, from which Jesus prayed before His crucifixion and from where he ascended to Heaven at Pentecost. We will travel down the Hosanna Path that Jesus took back to Jerusalem after praying in the Garden of Gethsemane on the night of his trial. A unique stop is the Cave of Prophets believed to be the burial site of Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi. Next is the beautiful Dominus Flavit Franciscan church commemorating the spot where Jesus wept over the destruction of Jerusalem. Our next stop is the Garden of Gethsemane at the foot of the Mt. of Olives. Here you will be overwhelmed by the sheer importance of the moment and see 2,000-year-old olive trees. We enter into the Old City through the Lion’s Gate and will continue to Bethseda, Sheep’s Pool and St. Anne Church for a group sing. We will continue to the Church of Holy Sepulcher, was built by the mother of Constantine. We’ll explore this famous church that is built on the sit of the crucifixion. We’ll then eat lunch at one of many cafes and eateries in Christian Quarter before visiting the Tower of David Museum, viewing a Crusader structure and the original the front entrance of Pontius Pilate’s palace that Jesus entered for his trial. We’ll end the day with a visit to the peaceful Garden Tomb for time of personal reflection and the Lord’s Supper/Communion. In the evening, after Shabbat ends, Jerusalem comes back to life and visitors and Israelis head out to eat and fellowship. You can walk a very short distance to Ben Yehuda Street for coffee; live street music, touristy shopping and more. It’s a fun experience not to be missed!
Day 9: The “heartland” of ancient Israel – Samaria
Today we travel a bit northeast of Jerusalem to Samaria. Our first stop is Bethel to visit the site of Jacob’s dream of the ladder. From there we proceed to ancient Shiloh – the site where the Tabernacle stood for 369 years, and what was once the center of Jewish life. You’ll see the actual stones and blocks that formed the outline of the tabernacle and learn how we know this is the actual spot! From there we will make our way to Elon Moreh, a city from Biblical times where Genesis says, “And Abram passed through the land unto the place of Sichem, unto the plain of Moreh.”
Upon arriving back to the hotel you are free to rest, or walk to the historic King David Hotel for coffee or climb the clock tower of the famous YMCA hostel.
Day 10: Life springs anew in the Dead Sea region
After a good night’s rest we rise and head towards the Dead Sea! Our first stop is Ein Gedi where David hid from Saul and where you’ll wade into the pools if you like and see the caves and waterfalls that David saw. It’s a lush and picturesque experience. We will continue travelling south a few minutes
to tour Masada – the ancient fortress palace of King Herod. After our cable car ride to the top we’ll take in sweeping vistas of the Judean landscape including the Dead Sea, Jordan and surrounding desert. We’ll visit a great museum inside that tells the story of the Jewish soldiers who were the last holdout in a free Israel until Israel was reborn in 1948.
Who wants to float? We will then travel to Dead Sea and enjoy a float in the soothing and therapeutic salt waters before travelling back to Jerusalem. On our way back stop and look at the caves in the hills where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered. You’ll see the actual scrolls the next day!
Day 11: Links in the chain of history bring it together
After having packed the night before, we check out the hotel. This is your chance to be an archaeologist! We visit Emek Tzurim Sifting Project where you will help sift rubble taken from Temple Mount. Everyone is almost guaranteed to find something interesting. When Anita and I did this, a lady found a priceless Roman perfume bottle! We will continue to the Israel Museum to see the amazing outdoor model of the Second Temple period of Jerusalem. We’ll also see the Dead Sea Scrolls and learn how they prove the Bible’s accuracy. The Israel Museum is a fascinating look at life in Israel from the Book of Genesis to present day. Next we drive to the bustling city of Tel Aviv and visit the Taglit Innovation Center inside the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. We’ll learn about, and hold in our hands, new Israeli technology that is changing the way the world drives, eats, drinks, communicates and lives. Next we’ll visit Jaffa where Jonah set sale and where Peter had the vision that the Gospel was for the Gentiles as well as the Jews. An appropriate ending to our sightseeing. We’ll then go to a nice restaurant (included) for our farewell dinner where we will laugh and eat, plus reminisce about all the things we saw and did. Then it’s a short drive to the airport for our evening departure.
Day 12: Shalom and goodbye!
Overnight flight home with dinner and breakfast served. Arriving in the US early in the morning of the 12th.
This itinerary is tentative as some sites, order and times may change
Cost and what’s included
Considering a spiritual and educational journey to this amazing place evokes serious reflection and thought. There are costs to consider, time to commit and soul searching to be done. But this is the Holy Land where God walked in the form of the man – Jesus.
All of these surely work together for the good, for the reward of such travel is a deep stirring of the soul – something that is difficult to measure in mere human terms.
It is possible and we want to help make it a reality for our friends, family and readers of Metro Voice.
The land portion of the 12-day trip is just $2899.
Land price includes:
- 10 exciting days in Israel
- All entrance fees to sites including churches, national museums and archaeological digs special events and more!
- 9 nights (all lodging) in exquisite 4-star hotels
- Air-conditioned premium travel coach with wi-fi
- Licensed tour guide
- Licensed coach driver (licensed through the Israeli government)
- All breakfasts (full buffet with all drinks)
- All dinners (full buffet with both Israeli and American food choices and drinks)
- Last night farewell celebration dinner
- Tips for hotel, driver and tour guide
- Flights. We have arranged flights direct from JFK for $1395 per person.
There is a $900 charge for a single room or you can choose to share a room if another solo traveler participates.
For more information and our special rates with United Airlines, call Dwight and Anita at 816-524-4522 or email dwight @ metrovoicenews.com. Prices based on 30 people.