It is hard to put into words the spiritual impact of a pilgrimage to what the Bible calls, “the Holy Land” (Zechariah 2:12). The same is true of a visit to Jerusalem which the Bible identifies as the “center of the world” (Ezekiel 5:5). One person has put it this way: “A pilgrimage to the Holy Land converts the Bible from black and white to technicolor.” One thing is sure — you will return home with a greatly increased understanding and appreciation for your spiritual heritage.
Date: February 21, 2020 – March 2, 2020
Length: 12 days and 10 nights.
Leader: George Kreger
Registration Deadline: Limited to the first 46 people who register.
Cost: The cost is estimated at $3,500 per person. This cost INCLUDES ten nights in 4 or 5 Star hotels, all breakfasts and dinners, entrance fees, guide fees and bus transportation, medical trip insurance and all tips. The cost does NOT include lunches, drinks, souvenirs, and your activities on your free day (our Jeep desert trip for those going will be $100.00 or so). A single room is $1,000 additional. $500 deposit will be due at the time of registration. Each participant will also will purchase their own airfare.
See our DETAILS TAB for expanded information regarding our trip.
Almost three decades ago now, Deb and I and our kids took a long trip out west. We traveled thousands of miles and often drove much of a day to see just one monument, or site, or National Park. It was a great trip, but the driving was very tiring, as the USA is so very large!
When we visit Israel though, the only long travel day takes place while journeying to Israel itself. Once in country, the sites are so numerous and so geographically accessible, that our days are not filled with traveling, but rather with experiencing these amazing places. Our schedule each day will be fluid as variables can develop that will help us see more, experience more and maximize our time. Below though you will see what a typical day will look like, as well as what our overall planned schedule is.
- 7:00 am – Breakfast Buffet
- 7:45 am – Board Bus
- Noon – Lunch
- 4:30 pm – Back to Hotel
- 6 pm – Dinner Buffet
- Evenings – Free and Explore
|Thursday, Feb 20||Flight to Tel Aviv (Participants book their own flight – we will assist as needed)||Plane|
|Friday, Feb 21||Arrive in Tel Aviv; drive to Herzliya (or arrive earlier if you would like)||Herod, Herzliya|
|Saturday, Feb 22||Caesarea Maritima, Mt. Carmel, Megiddo, Nazareth, Cana, etc.||Scotts, Tiberias|
|Sunday, Feb 23||Sea of Galilee Boat, Capernaum, Ginosaur, Migdal, Chorazin, Mount of Beatitudes, etc.||Scotts, Tiberias|
|Monday, Feb 24||North to Golan, Naot, Dan, Caesarea Philippi, Katzrin, Olive Oil Factory, Baptisms, etc.||Scotts, Tiberias|
|Tuesday, Feb 25||Beth Shan, Mt. Gilboa, Shiloh, Up to Jerusalem, etc.||Prima Kings, Jerusalem|
|Wednesday, Feb 26||Jerusalem — Model, Western Wall, St. Annes, Cardo, Pool of Bethesda, Mt. Of Olives, Gethsemane, Laser Light Show, etc.||Prima Kings, Jerusalem|
|Thursday, Feb 27||Jerusalem — Path of Christ – Upper Room, House of Caiaphas, Via Dolorosa, Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Garden Tomb, etc.||Prima Kings, Jerusalem|
|Friday, Feb 28||Jerusalem — Hezekiah’s Tunnel, Walk the Walls, The Shook, Bethlehem, etc.||Prima Kings, Jerusalem|
|Saturday, Feb 29||En Gedi, Masada, Dead Sea, etc.||Prima Kings, Jerusalem|
|Sunday, March 1||Your day (explore the old city; take a jeep trip into the desert; see the museums, go shopping, etc.)||Prima Kings, Jerusalem|
|Monday, March 2||Flight Home (or continue on with personal plans)||Plane|
On one of our trips to Israel, we were at a popular site and six or seven tour buses pulled into the parking lot, one after another. They were all part of the same tour, sponsored by a prominent American televangelist. I observed the extensive amount of time it took to unload all the buses and move those 300+ people to the site they were going to tour. I remember thinking how difficult it would be to experience all the sites that our trip participants are able to experience with that size of a group, as well as to create the more intimate group experience we strive toward.
To this day, with each trip Deb and I have enjoyed in Israel, we can remember the make-up of the group we experienced the country with that year, and the closeness that developed because of that shared experience. Every part of the trip is planned with the desire for that same sense of bonding to develop for you. Even the size of the group is important in that while a tour bus will officially hold 52 people, I always limit our groups well below that, as I do not want the bus overly crowded (or to have a luggage capacity issue). The bottom line is that for most people, they will only visit Israel once, and we want that experience to be the very best one possible.
We stay each of our nights in 4 or 5 Star Jewish Hotels. Many groups will cut costs by using Kibbutz Motels or Arab hotels. The Kibbutz Hotels are okay, but they are most often located in remote locations, and they are not first class at all. Arab hotels can be quite unenjoyable. The hotels we have secured for this trip have been booked as much as two years in advance as they are very much in demand. I have personally stayed at each hotel we will stay at on multiple occasions, and these are the hotels I request far ahead as I know they will provide great environments, tasty food and convenient locations.
We allow our group participants to book their own flights (though we are more than happy to assist you with this task). There are several advantages for our participants with this practice:
- “Group” flights no longer carry the discounts they once did years ago, which could save travelers dollars as a group. In our day, booking your own flight often is less money.
- Some participants may want to travel to Israel a day or more early for a “pre-trip”, or to rest a day or two, or for a variety of other reasons.
- Some participants may wish to visit another country, perhaps in Europe, on the way back to the USA.
- Some participants may wish to book a higher “class” of service such as business class.
- Other participants may possess credit card rewards or airline miles they wish to use for this trip (and with a 20-month lead time there is plenty of time to investigate this perk for those desiring to learn how to do this).
Each day a full breakfast buffet and full dinner buffet are provided by the hotel we are staying at that morning/evening. Lunches are not included. We will stop on most days at establishments for lunch that we have eaten at on previous trips.
Our guide will be Rueben Nevo who we have toured Israel with on multiple occasions. Rueben is a joy to work with and our groups become very close to him. His knowledge, communication style, natural warmth, and sense of humor are always appreciated and valued. Also, our bus driver will be “Adi” who has been our driver on every trip over the past 15 years.
Over the years I have heard many stories from those who visited Israel on a “low-cost” trip, only to find the amount of expenses NOT included in the fee they paid was significant. I try hard to INCLUDE every reasonable and normal expense into the fee we charge for a trip. These include…
- Ten nights lodging in 4 or 5-star Jewish hotels;
- All breakfasts;
- All dinners;
- All entrance fees;
- All guide fees;
- All transportation costs within Israel;
- All tips;
- A secondary medical insurance policy with evacuation benefit if needed;
- A resource notebook;
What I do not include is lunch each day, drinks beyond what comes with your meals, souvenirs, and the cost of your activities on your free day. Trip cancellation insurance, which is different than the secondary medical insurance we provide, is also the choice of each participant as to whether to purchase or not.
On my first trip to Israel, I was fortunate to journey with a long-time pastor friend who has traveled to Israel himself 40+ times since spending a semester of his college experience in Israel back in the 1970’s. I “shadowed” him the entire trip with full intent of learning how to lead a trip myself and capitalizing on his expertise, experience and contacts. And as I have led Israel trips over the years, I have continued to consult with him regularly regarding the latest opportunities in Israel. My hope is that you in turn will benefit from what we have learned and experienced over the years.
We will provide you a resource notebook developed over many years and it will be available either as a hard copy or an electronic copy. Each evening you will have the chance to prepare ahead for the next day’s itinerary. In addition, we will provide a recommended reading list for the months leading up to the trip, as well as hold preparatory meetings during that same time.
Most tours to Israel follow a standard itinerary that is dictated by a tour agency, and to some degree designed with profitability in mind. We customize our trips extensively and work through every aspect of each one. With a smaller group, we can utilize a high degree of flexibility, obtain access to some sites off the beaten path, and maximize the experience for each of our participants.
Some have already asked about a pre-trip to Petra. Petra is in the country of Jordan and requires generally that you arrive in Israel three days before the main trip begins. The cost for this pre-trip may be around $1200.00 per person if enough participants are interested. This is simply information at this point since we are often asked about this possibility.
Our Israel 2020 Trip will be offering a “pre-trip” for those interested in visiting Petra. Petra is in the nation of Jordan and takes some effort to visit. For those interested in this pre-trip, you would still fly to Tel Aviv (only earlier than those who are a part of the Israel 2020 Trip). Once on the ground in Tel Aviv, you would go through immigration and customs and claim your luggage (just as all those arriving for our trip would do).
At this point though, you would proceed to a domestic flight you will have booked to fly to Eliat, where you would check into a hotel with others choosing to participate in this pre-trip. Eliat is a southern Israeli port and resort town on the Red Sea, near Jordan. We will stay at this hotel three nights and on the second day of our stay, we will take a one-day tour to Petra. We will rise early, board our tour bus, travel and visit Petra, and return to our hotel late that same evening.
On Friday, we would travel back to Tel Aviv. If we have enough people join this pre-trip, we would do this via bus and tour during that trip some sites our Israel 2020 trip does not visit. If there are only a few participating in this pre-trip, then a domestic flight back to Tel Aviv, and then on to our hotel would be the plan.
In terms of cost for this pre-trip, a best-guess at this point would be $1200.00 per person.
Biblically, Petra was a part of the nation of Edom (the descendants of Esau), and Edom was prophesied against by the prophet Obadiah. Located amid rugged desert canyons and mountains in what is now the southwestern corner of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, Petra was once a thriving trading center and the capital of the Nabataean empire between 400 B.C. and A.D. 106.
The city sat empty and in near ruin for centuries. Only in the early 1800s did a European traveler disguise himself in Bedouin costume and infiltrate the mysterious locale. In 1985, the Petra Archaeological Park was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site, and in 2007 it was named one of the new seven wonders of the world.
The image of the temple entrance in Petra below is familiar as some filming for the movie, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, took place in Petra.