Greetings! The following is the handcrafted itinerary of the trip to Israel that Mary and I are leading in response to those who have asked us to put together a “not for credit” study tour. I will be giving mini-lectures along the way both on the bus and on the sites, drawing from my studies. I have spent 16 years of my adult life living in, and guiding, academic groups in Israel, Jordan, Greece, and Turkey (including living, teaching, and guiding in Jerusalem for more than 7 years).
This specially planned itinerary is based upon my experience of leading/guiding/teaching over 100 groups in Israel and is structured to include as many important biblical sites as possible as we study the Bible in the Land of the Bible.
I am Professor Emeritus of Old Testament at Bethel University in St. Paul, Minnesota. I received my PhD in Ancient Near Eastern Studies from Dropsie University (now the Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania). Currently I am an adjunct professor at the Jerusalem University College in Jerusalem and Bethel University in St. Paul, MN and have served as a consultant for a publisher and several media organizations.
In 2010 Zondervan published a new, updated version of my Zondervan Atlas of the Bible. Lavishly illustrated, the new version has been updated in every way including new maps, pictures, graphics and updated text. In 2013 Zondervan published my Zondervan Essential Atlas of the Bible. In addition, I maintain the web site www.HolylandPhotos.org that features over 5,000 free, high quality and high-resolution images of Israel, Turkey, Greece, Jordan, and Italy.
October 30, Sunday: Depart New York – Fly Tel Aviv (via Istanbul)
TK2 19:05 /11:55 JFK-IST + TK786 13:30 /15:40 IST-TLV
October 31, Monday: Arrive Tel Aviv by Turkish Airlines TK 786 at 15:40
Upon arrival at Tel Aviv Ben Gurion Airport, you will be met by TUTKU representative with a “BAS – TUTKU” sign. After collecting our luggage we will head to meet our Tour Guide Mr. Ofer Drori thereafter drive to your hotel in Tel Aviv for dinner and overnight. (D)
November 1, Tuesday: Caesarea, Mt. Carmel, Megiddo, Mt. Tabor – Tiberias
After breakfast drive to the ruins of Caesarea, a large city port built by Herod the Great to honor Roman Caesar Augustus. His city included a theater, a hippodrome, and an aqueduct system stretching from the springs of Mt. Carmel to Caesarea. The book of Acts refers to Caesarea as the city Peter visited (Acts 10). Continue to Mt. Carmel where we visit the Carmelite Monastery of Muhraka to survey the site where God caused Elijah to defeat the priests of Ba’al and a wonderful view of the Jezreel Valley. On to Megiddo where archaeologists uncovered 20 civilizations built one upon another. At this site, King Solomon built his vast stables and, in 609 BC, good King Josiah died in battle. Drive to Tel Jezreel, where Naboth had a vineyard that was coveted by the Israelite King Ahab. View Mount Tabor where the battle of Deborah and the Canaanites took place (Judges 5). Continue on to the Sea of Galilee Hotel in Tiberias for dinner & overnight. (B,D)
November 2, Wednesday: Hazor, Dan, Banias/Caesarea Philippi, Golan Heights
Today travel north to visit Hazor, the largest Old Testament site in Israel (a UNESCO World Heritage Site). We will then proceed to Dan, on the northern border of the biblical kingdom of Israel. There we will walk to one of the headwaters of the Jordan River and visit the extensive excavations. A short drive will take us to Banias / Caesarea Philippi, the place where Peter confessed that Jesus was the Christ (Matt 16:16). From there drive up on to the Golan Heights and view into Syria (if local conditions permit). Time permitting visit Katzrin where there is a well–preserved Synagogue and reconstructed houses. Dinner and overnight in Tiberias. (B,D)
November 3, Thursday: Sea of Galilee, Jesus’ Ministries
Begin our day with a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee, visit the first century fishing boat that is now in a museum and continue on to the well–preserved, first century A.D. synagogue at Magdala and the excavations. We will continue on to visit the Mt. Of Beatitudes then Capernaum, Jesus’ “home” for a good portion of his earthy ministry. We will visit Corazim with its reconstructed synagogue. If time permits we will visit Bethsaida. Return to Tiberias for dinner & overnight. (B,D)
November 4, Friday: Sepphoris, Nazareth Overlook, Jericho, Jordan River
Visit Sepphoris, 3 miles north of Nazareth with its beautiful mosaic floors. Continue to visit the Mount of Precipice where we will have a wonderful view of the Jezreel Valley. We will then drive south down the Jordan Valley and visit Old Testament Jericho where the “walls came tumbling down.” End our day at the Jordan River near where the Israelites entered the land of Canaan and where John was Baptizing. Continue to the Ein Bokek area. Overnight at the Leonardo Plaza hotel on the shores of the Dead Sea. (B,D)
November 5, Saturday: Dead Sea, Masada, Qumran – Jerusalem
We begin our day with a “float” in the Dead Sea at our Spa Hotel. We will then head north to visit Masada, a natural fortress with majestic ruins overlooking the Dead Sea. Peer into amazing water cisterns as a cable car delivers us up to Herod the Builder’s elaborate aerie. Marvel at the impressive villas built on different levels. Large storehouses fed hundreds. Jewish zealots held the fortress against the unrelenting 10th Roman legion until 72 AD, when after a monumental siege, using an attack ramp, they conquered it. In the afternoon, we will drive north to visit Qumran, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found in 1947. We will then continue on to the Grand Court Hotel in Jerusalem for dinner and & overnight. (B,D)
November 6, Sunday: Mt. Of Olives, Gethsemane, Old City, Holy Sepulcher, Garden Tomb
We begin our day with a spectacular view of Jerusalem from the top of the Mount of Olives. As we walk down the mount, we will stop at Dominus Flevit, the church that commemorates Jesus weeping over Jerusalem, and the Garden of Gethsemane—the site of Jesus’ Passion. We will view of the Kidron Valley. Afterwards enter the Old City at the Lion’s Gate. We will visit St. Anne’s Church and Pools of Bethesda continuing on the Via Dolorosa to Umariyah Boys’ School for a view of Temple Mount and then to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher—the traditional site of Jesus’ crucifixion, burial, and resurrection. End our day at the Garden Tomb and Gordon’s Calvary. Dinner & overnight. (B,D)
November 7, Monday: Bethlehem, Herodium, Mt Zion, Western Wall
Start our day and drive to Bethlehem where we will visit the Church of the Nativity and have some time for shopping. Drive to the Herodium, the palace/fortress where Herod the Great was eventually buried and then return to Jerusalem to Mt. Zion to visit the room of the last supper and King David tomb. Walk through the Jewish Quarter to view the holiest site for Judaism the Western (wailing) Wall. Return to our hotel for dinner and overnight. Dinner & overnight (B,D)
November 8, Tuesday: City of David, Wohl Museum, Yad Vashem, Israel Museum
We start our day at the City of David where we will visit Warren’s Shaft, Hezekiah’s Tunnel, and the Pool of Siloam. Be sure to bring a flashlight and water shoes to walk through the tunnel. Anyone wanting to stay dry can walk through the dry Canaanite Tunnel. Continue to the Wohl museum. Then drive to visit the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial and Museum. Afterwards, continue on to visit the Israel Museum where we will see the model of Second Temple Jerusalem, the Dead Sea Scrolls, and archaeological highlights of the Israel Museum. Dinner and overnight. (B,D)
November 9, Wednesday: Departure
You will be transferred to Tel Aviv Ben Gurion Airport for your flight back home. End of our services.
Carl Rasmussen is Professor Emeritus of Old Testament at Bethel University in St. Paul, Minnesota. He received his Ph.D. in Ancient Near Eastern Studies from Dropsie University (now the Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania). Dr. Rasmussen has spent 16 years of his adult life living in Israel, Jordan, Greece, and Turkey, where he taught and led academic study programs. Since his retirement from Bethel University, Dr. Rasmussen has continued to teach and lead adult study tours in Turkey, Greece, and Israel. Each year he spends time in Jerusalem, where he is Adjunct Professor at the Jerusalem University College. [More Bio]
Carl was a “10”—an excellent teacher, providing Biblical references to augment each archaeological site. —Geana M., BAS Israel 2018 tourist
Ofer Drori has many years of guiding experience and has acquired great knowledge in biblical history, desert tourism, archaeological missions and agricultural seminars, as well as having great experience in guiding pilgrimage groups, Jewish missions and private group guiding.
During his high school years, military service, or various jobs in the kibbutz, he has always enjoyed guiding, and today this is his only job and a way of life. [More Bio]
A great guide! Highly recommended. —Gilli, Israel tourist
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