Israels Jewish Heritage (13n/14d)

The Rosh Hanikra Grottoes are accesable via Cable Car

The Rosh Hanikra Grottoes are accessible via Cable Car

Day 1: ARRIVAL AT BEN GURION AIRPORT
Arrival at Ben Gurion Airport.  Meeting, welcome and assistance by an Local Tours’ representative who will assist with luggage and customs. Transfer to Jerusalem; where upon arrival,  recite the traditional ‘Shehecheyanu’. Overnight Jerusalem.

Day 2: OLD CITY OF JERUSALEM
Start today’s tour at Mount Scopus, for a breathtaking and unforgettable view of the Golden City.  Here on Mount Scopus is the famous Hebrew University campus. Continue to Mount Zion and visit  the Tomb of King David. Enter the Old City by foot via the Zion Gate. Visit the Jewish Quarter with its reconstructed Byzantine Cardo, the four reconstructed synagogues and Herodian Mansions.  Continue to The Western Wall, the only remnant of the Second Temple and the holiest site for the Jewish People.  Depart the Old City and drive to the Haas Promenade for a spectacular view of the City of David from its southern side. End the day at a JNF forest, for a Tree Planting Ceremony. This will be an opportunity for everyone to plant, with their own hands, a tree in the land of Israel. Overnight Jerusalem.

Day 3: NEW CITY OF JERUSALEM
Begin the day with a drive past the Knesset (Israel’s Parliament) to the Israel Museum and the Shrine of the Book. From there continue to see the Model of Jerusalem, a miniature replica of Jerusalem from the time of the Second Temple. Drive to the Hadassah Medical Center and see the world famous Chagall stained glass windows, depicting the twelve tribes of Israel. Proceed to the Yad Vashem Memorial of the Holocaust and visit the Children’s Memorial.  The visit will be concluded with a memorial service (‘Yizkor’). End the day’s tour at the National Military Cemetery on Mount Herzl, to honor many of Israel’s fallen heroes who have given their lives to establish a secure Jewish Homeland, and stop by the resting places of Yitzhak Rabin, Golda Meir and Theodore Herzl. Overnight Jerusalem.

Day 4: IN AND AROUND JERUSALEM
Visit the neighborhood of Mea Shearim, where the ultra orthodox Jews live in a closed community, preserving their traditional Hassidic lifestyle. Drive to the new Biblical Zoo for a short tour.  Proceed to the colorful outdoor market of Machaneh Yehudah and walk throughout the streets of Jerusalem to Down-Town Ben Yehudah, open-air shopping mall. Stroll through the beautifully reconstructed historical quarter of Nachalat Shivah, with its quaint boutiques and outdoor cafes. In the late afternoon proceed to the Western Wall for a Kabbalat Shabbat experience followed by a traditional Shabbat dinner at the hotel. Overnight Jerusalem.

Day 5: THE SABBATH IN JERUSALEM
Day at leisure or: Enjoy a walking tour including a visit to the Tower of David Museum, an original display of the history of Jerusalem. Also visit the bustling Arab Market and relive history with a thrilling walk on the walls of the Old City. Overnight Jerusalem.

Day 6: LATRUN – ELAH VALLEY – BEIT GUVRIN – HATZERIM – BEERSHEVA – DEAD SEA
Depart Jerusalem and travel via Shaar Hagai, where it is still possible to see along the roadside armored vehicles from the convoys that struggled to bring supplies to besieged Jerusalem during the War of Independence. Arrive at Latrun, former British Police Station and now the memorial site for the armored corps of the Israel Defense Force. Visit Mini Israel in Latrun. Travel via the Elah Valley, where David fought and defeated Goliath, to visit the monumental hand-carved Beit Guvrin Caves.  Continue to Hatzerim Air Force Base housing the Air Force Museum, where aircrafts from throughout the history of the Israel Air Force are on display. Drive via Beersheva, City of the Patriarchs, to visit an authentic Bedouin tent. Learn about this unique culture and people and enjoy their folklore and hospitality.  Descend to the lowest spot on earth, the Dead Sea. Overnight Dead Sea.

Day 7: BAR/BAT MITZVAH AT MASADA – DEAD SEA – BEIT SHEAN – KIBBUTZ
Ascend by cable car the mountain fortress of Massada. Marvel at the breathtaking Dead Sea and the Judean Desert as seen from almost 1200 feet above. Join together for a compelling Bar/Bat Mitzvah ceremony held in the 2000 year old Synagogue. Visit the famed archaeological site before descending by cable car. On return to the hotel enjoy a festive Bar/Bat Mitzvah brunch. Take some time to relax and enjoy the unique opportunity of ‘floating’ in the mineral rich Dead Sea.  Continue through the Jordan Valley to the recently excavated city of Beit Shean, the most monumental Roman / Byzantine city in the area. Proceed to a Kibbutz, where the next two nights will be spent. After dinner enjoy home hospitality by kibbutz members and learn about this unique lifestyle of communal living. Overnight Kibbutz.

Day 8: SAFED – GOLAN HEIGHTS – HAMAT GADER – TIBERIAS
Drive to Safed, famous since the Middle Ages as a center of Jewish mysticism (Kabbalah), today boasting a charming artists’ colony.  Continue our day with an exciting jeep adventure on the Golan Heights. Proceed to Hamat Gader,  with its natural hot springs and crocodile farm. Visit Tiberias, peacefully resting on the shores of the Sea of Galilee and historically an important center of rabbinical learning.  End the day with a fun filled visit to the Water Park at the Sea of Galilee. Overnight Kibbutz.

Day 9: ROSH HANIKRA – ACRE – HAIFA – CAESAREA – TEL AVIV
Drive to Rosh Hanikra and visit the spectacular grottos by way of cable car. Proceed to Acre, ancient seaport dating back to the Crusader period. Continue to Haifa. Enjoy a panoramic view of the Bay from Mount Carmel and see the golden domed Bahai Temple situated in the beautiful Persian Gardens. Visit Caesarea, ancient Herodian port city, Byzantine center and Crusader stronghold and view the numerous archaeological treasures before continuing to Tel Aviv. Overnight Tel Aviv.

Day 10: TEL AVIV – JAFFA – DIASPORA MUSEUM
Morning sightseeing of Tel Aviv beginning with a drive along Dizengoff Street to view the Agam Fire and Water Sculpture, the Mann Auditorium and Habima National Theater.  Continue to Old Jaffa, just south of Tel Aviv, which has been restored as an artists’ quarter. Enjoy a walk through its quaint cobblestone alleys, stopping at the galleries and shops. On to the Tel Aviv University for a tour of the Museum of the Jewish Diaspora. View the fascinating exhibits, which trace the dispersion of the Jewish People over the centuries. On to the HAPALMACH Museum for a visit. Overnight Tel Aviv.

Day 11: IN AND AROUND TEL AVIV
From the top of the Shalom Tower, which used to be the highest building in Israel, enjoy a breathtaking view of Tel Aviv. Walk through the historical neighborhood of Neve Zedek, and visit the Suzanne Dalal Center, a fine example of the original architectural style of early Tel Aviv. Proceed to the colorful and exciting Carmel Market, offering fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs, spices, clothing and more. Wander through the open-air arts and crafts fair in the Nachalat Benyamin Street. Here you will have the opportunity to see the work of local artists and craftsmen and shop for gifts and souvenirs. Continue to Sheinkin Street, a popular hangout for young Israelis, with its trendy boutiques, coffee shops and restaurants. Traditional Shabbat dinner in the hotel. Overnight : Tel Aviv.

Day 12: FLIGHT TO EILAT
Spend the day at your leisure.  Relax at the hotel swimming pool, at the beach or take a slow walk along the beachfront promenade.  In the evening, transfer to the domestic airport for a flight to Eilat. Overnight Eilat

Day 13: RED SEA CRUISE
Board a yacht at the Eilat Marina for a cruise on the calm waters of the Red Sea towards the Coral Island.  In addition to sunbathing, enjoy swimming, snorkeling or windsurfing from the yacht. Lunch will be served on board. Return to the Marina and hotel in the late afternoon. Overnight Eilat.

Day 14: DEPARTURE
Spend the day at your leisure, either at the hotel swimming pool, at one of Eilat’s beaches or visit the Underwater Observatory for a fascinating view of the marine life and coral reefs of the Red Sea, from a glass walled chamber. In the afternoon transfer to Eilat Airport for flight to Tel Aviv. Connect to the International Terminal for return flight home.

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