Walking Israel 2019

February 19–March 1, 2019 • 11 Days – SOLD OUT!

20-24 participants – $3600 • 25-30 participants – $3400

Explore Israel on foot! We start and finish in Tel Aviv, taking in an abundance of historical and Biblical sites within this exotic, bewildering, and enchanting land!

A waitlist is available – contact Walking Adventures International at 800.779.0353 or [email protected] if you would like to be added to the waitlist.

NOTE: This is a special departure of Walking Israel provided for Willamette Christian Church and Beaverton Christian Church. No Travel Discounts are applicable to this tour.

View Daily Itinerary

Greetings from the WAI Travel Team,

We are excited and honored to present this lsrael 2019 journey to the Willamette and Beaverton Christian Churches. As the owner of WAI and a fellow believer, I was thrilled to discover that our walking philosophy of travel also enhances a travel program in the Holy Land. Getting off the bus to walk, and including visits with cultural and historic significance, in addition to the biblical sites, leverages a trip to Israel into “more than a pilgrimage”! We’ve been captivated by Israel and believe you will be too.

Expect to be challenged by the breadth of historical periods that overlap each other in a seemingly endless chain of tribes, conquerors, and kingdoms. You’ll probably be surprised by Israel’s flora and fauna and the verdant green spaces of Galilee and Golan in the north. And it’s difficult not to be impressed by the deserts of the south at Qumran, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered; at Ein Gedi, where David hid from King Saul; and at Masada, the “Alamo” of the Jewish world.

In addition to preparing for a massive dose of sensory overload, we recommend approaching this experience expecting to be challenged. Let’s journey with open hearts, asking the Holy Spirit, our Comforter and Guide, to pare away traditions of religion that are an inevitable product of living in an affluent Western culture long established upon Christianity. Anticipate returning with your worldview realigned with Jesus, the Way, the Truth, and the Life, having walked in His footsteps. Expect to gain a clearer understanding of the Father, our Master, and how we can be a more effective part of His plan to reconcile His lost world to Him.

Dan Friesen, WAI Owner, Lead Planner & Guide

Including:

  • Airport to hotel group transfers on first and last day**
  • Tourist-class or better hotel accommodations
  • All land travel as outlined
  • 21 meals: All breakfasts, 2 lunches, and 9 dinners (BLD as listed)
  • All listed walks
  • WAI guide service throughout (2 guides)
  • Cultural & historical expertise of our local guide throughout
  • All tipping for local guides and coach drivers
  • Double occupancy accommodations – limited number of single occupancy spaces available for additional fee of $775

Activities/Visits to:

  • Caesarea National Park
  • Cultural lunch in Druze home
  • Mukhraka Monastery
  • Nazareth Village
  • Zippori National Park
  • Arbel National Park
  • Capernaum National Park
  • Sea of Galilee cruise
  • Jesus Boat Museum
  • Tel Dan National Park
  • Hermon National Park (Caesarea Philippi)
  • Gamla Nature Reserve
  • Beit She’an National Park
  • Qumran National Park
  • Dead Sea beach
  • Masada National Park
  • Ein Gedi Nature Reserve
  • Chapel of the Ascension (Mt. of Olives)
  • Pater Noster Church (Mt. of Olives)
  • Sanctuary of Dominus Flevit (Mt. of Olives)
  • Church of the Holy Sepulcher
  • City of David National Park and Hezekiah’s Tunnel
  • Church of the Nativity
  • Yad Vashem World Holocaust Remembrance Center
  • Tower of David Sound & Light Show
  • Jerusalem Ramparts
  • Jerusalem Archeological Park – Davidson Center
  • Western Wall Tunnel
  • Garden Tomb
  • Israel Museum – Shrine of the Book

… more inspirational & educational stops than we can list!

**Details of transfers provided are listed in Adventure Advice memo sent upon receipt of tour registration.

Adventure Pace

Tour Pace: 1 2 3 4 5
Walk Challenge: 1 2 3 4 5

Important Info

Group Size

25-30 travelers

Hotels

Strategically located Tourist Class hotels or better

Meals

Breakfasts included with a selection of lunches and dinners. Letters BLD indicate which meals are included.

Airfare

Not Included. Official start and finish point is Tel Aviv airport.

Transportation

Included. We use full-size motorcoaches with a seating capacity of 45+ seats.

Traveler Age

All ages welcome!

Your Guides

Guides Scott & Ruth Burk

Scott and Ruth Burk have been leading travelers on Walking Adventures for the past several years, sharing highlights of European and American destinations with fellow Adventurers! Always on the lookout for the best viewpoint or hole-in-the-wall café, they enjoy finding the hidden treasures along those paths less traveled. While at home in the Pacific Northwest, they are passionate about their family, enjoy hosting soirees, and for several years now have helped to raise guide dogs for the blind.

 

Guide Ran Ortner

Ran Ortner has guided our tours to Israel multiple times and offers a wealth of knowledge and background into the Israeli history and culture. Ran will accompany our group, offering lectures and insights along the way. Ran lives in a suburb of Tel Aviv. He has just completed his doctorate program in an area of study involving 1st century conflicts between Judea and the Roman Empire.

Itinerary

Day 1, Feb 19: Arrive Tel Aviv, Israel (D)

Travelers arrive throughout the day into the Tel Aviv Ben-Gurion International Airport, where you are greeted by a representative of WAI and transferred to our hotel located just two blocks from the Mediterranean Sea. Travelers arriving a day early (yesterday) may participate today in an optional walking event along the seaside promenade, to the ancient port of Jaffa (Joppa). In Jaffa, King Solomon imported cedars from Lebanon to build Jerusalem’s First Temple. Here as well, the Apostle Peter received a vision of gentile equality with Jews. The only official group activity of the day is this evening’s Welcome Orientation followed by dinner.

Day 2, Feb 20: Tel Aviv to Nazareth (BLD)

Caesarea Walk – 3 miles, rated 1C

From a trio of ancient aqueducts, we walk south, with sweeping views of the Mediterranean, into the ruins of 1st century Caesarea, now a national park. Numerous New Testament events took place in Herod the Great’s impressive port city, including Peter’s presentation of the Gospel to the household of Cornelius, the Roman centurion. Stately remnants of the Crusader era give way as we walk to the ruins of the ancient hippodrome and amphitheater. A delicious cultural lunch on nearby Mount Carmel in a Druze home provides insight into this mysterious Arabic culture which combines elements of all three monotheistic religions. The afternoon stop takes us to Mukhraka Monastery, commemorating the duel between Old Testament prophet Elijah, and 450 prophets of the pagan god Baal. Our home this evening is Nazareth, in a rustic, 200-year-old Arab mansion!

Day 3, Feb 21: Nazareth to Sea of Galilee (BLD)

Jesus Trail to Cana Walk – 6 miles, rated 3C

We start the day in Nazareth Village, a living history museum (operated by Christian Israeli Arabs) that brings the biblical era to life, and offers a biblical-era lunch! Afternoon activities begin in Zippori, the remarkable excavation of the hometown of Jesus’ mother, Mary. From Zippori, we walk in Jesus’ footsteps on the “Jesus Trail” along Galilean hills, through an Arab/Israeli village, arriving at Cana, where Jesus turned water into wine at a local wedding – his first public miracle. We spend the next three nights at a kibbutz hotel on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee.

Day 4, Feb 22: Activities in the Sea of Galilee area (BD)

Beatitudes to Capernaum Walk – 3 miles, rated 2B

Mount Arbel offers dramatic panoramas over the Sea of Galilee with an equally dramatic story of radical Jewish resistance to Herod the Great, told by Jewish historian Josephus. Today’s main walk starts at nearby Mount of Beatitudes, likely site of some of Jesus’ most familiar teachings, and takes us along the shores of Galilee to ancient Capernaum. Jesus spent the great majority of his public ministry around the Sea of Galilee, and this afternoon we sail across this freshwater lake from Capernaum to Ginosar, the site of our hotel. Just a stone’s throw from our hotel is the Jesus Boat Museum, a 2000-year-old fishing boat carefully preserved and displayed, which we visit before dinner.

Day 5, Feb 23: Activities in Golan Area (BD)

Tel Dan Walk – 1 mile, rated 1B
Jordan Headwaters Walk – 3 miles, rated 2C
Gamla Nature Walk – 3 miles, rated 3C

North of Galilee, in the Golan Heights, our first walk passes through an Israelite gate from the time of King Jeroboam and enters the Tel Dan archeological site to a high place of sacrifice and an overlook into neighboring Lebanon. Next, we visit the headwaters of the Jordan, marked by an intriguing ruin with the biblical name of Caesarea Philippi. Here, challenged by Jesus’ question, “Who do men say that I am?” Peter became the first of the apostles to affirm Jesus as Messiah. Further south, the national park of Gamla offers both historic intrigue and natural wonder. An epic battle between Jewish rebels and Roman legions here in 67 AD ultimately led to the devastation of Jerusalem foretold by Jesus. From the viewpoint over the long-lost ruins of Gamla, where you can almost hear the sounds of the battle, we walk along a breathtaking canyon known for wildlife and its population of soaring griffin vultures.

Day 6, Feb 24: Sea of Galilee to Dead Sea (BD)

King Saul & Jonathan Walk – 1.5 miles, rated 2B

Heading south, our first stop is the ancient archeological site of Beit She’an, claiming 20 different eras of occupation. Before dropping down to the Roman-era ruins, we climb the Philistine Tell, where victorious Philistines displayed the bodies of King Saul and his sons after their defeat on nearby Mount Gilboa. Further south, we visit a parched desert at Qumran, where a Bedouin shepherd boy discovered the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1947. The find sent tremors throughout the archeological world and lent additional weight to the authenticity of the Bible and its record of Jewish history. The day ends early at a Dead Sea resort in Ein Bokek with time for a spa treatment or a relaxing, unsinkable soak in the soothing waters at this lowest spot on earth!

Day 7, Feb 25: Dead Sea to Jerusalem (BD)

Masada Snake Path Walk -1.3 miles, rated 3B (OPTIONAL)
Ein Gedi David Waterfall Walk – 1.3 miles, rated 2C

Masada is another masterpiece of Herod the Great – a mountain-top citadel/playground captured by Jewish rebels in 66 AD, at the beginning of the First Jewish-Roman War. To reach the top, either climb the ancient, winding Snake Path, or ride the 21st century gondola. In an epic setting, we learn of the epic siege that ended tragically in self-inflicted death for the Jewish defenders, marking the end of the First Jewish-Roman War. Our second walk intersects the wanderings of King Saul again, this time at Ein Gedi, as we walk along a stream past lovely waterfalls below the caves where Saul hunted in vain for his son-in-law, fugitive and future king David. Returning north, we end the day just outside the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem in a hotel that will be our home for the next four nights.

Day 8, Feb 26: Activities on first day in Jerusalem (B)

Jerusalem Footsteps of Jesus Walk – 3 miles, rated 2B

Today’s memorable walk begins at the Mount of Olives with sweeping views over Jerusalem. From here, we descend a trail of tears along a network of legendary sites connected with Jesus’ last days. Most prominent are the Sanctuary of Dominus Flevit (commemorating Jesus weeping over Jerusalem’s future destruction) and the Garden of Gethsemane. Upon entering the Old City through the Lion’s Gate, we continue into the Muslim Quarter on Via Dolorosa, the Way of Suffering, a historically-dubious route to Golgotha marked out by medieval Franciscan Catholics. The route is thought-provoking, nevertheless, and takes us through Jerusalem’s evocative, winding, cobblestone streets to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, culmination of our route and focal point of human history. Join us this afternoon for a visit to the City of David National Park. Here, where David first took Jerusalem from the Jebusites, we descend underground. The wet route splashes through the dark, water-filled (up to your calves) 2700-year-old tunnel built by King Hezekiah as a secret water channel prior to the Assyrian siege. A dry route that shares the historical value of the experience is also available.

Day 9, Feb 27: Activities on second day in Jerusalem (BD)

Bethlehem Manger Walk – 2 miles, rated 1B

We begin our day with a short, six mile drive south to Bethlehem, in the Palestinian West Bank. A walk through old Bethlehem takes us to Manger Square, where we enter the Church of the Nativity, memorializing the birth of Jesus. Our next stop explores a network of caves overlooking fields where shepherds may have “watched their flocks by night”. Following a cultural lunch experience in Bethlehem, a Palestinian town, join us for an excursion to Yad Vashem, an unforgettable holocaust museum and memorial in West Jerusalem. The evening continues with a high-tech sound and light show magically projected onto the crumbling shapes of the ruins of the Tower of David. Dinner is nearby in a historic old building in the Armenian Quarter of Old Jerusalem.

Day 10, Feb 28: Activities on 3rd day in Jerusalem (B)

Jerusalem Ramparts & Western Wall Walk – 2.5 miles, rated 2C

This unique day exploring both above and below the Old City begins with a walk along the ramparts, built in the 16th century by Ottoman sultan Suleiman the Magnificent. We start at the Jaffa Gate and exit at the Zion Gate, walking through the Jewish Quarter to the Jerusalem Archeological Park (Davidson Center) to review what we have learned about this incredible city. Timelines and short films illustrate the various periods of history. After a break for lunch, we visit the Western Wall, holiest site in Judaism, absorbing the significance of this place of Jewish worship, backed by the Muslim-controlled Temple Mount. From the Wall, we descend into a tunnel that runs along the lowest courses of the Western Wall of Herod’s Temple. Our route takes us below the Muslim Quarter, adjacent to the spot in the Temple where the Holy of Holies had been.

Day 11, Mar 1: Depart from Jerusalem (BD)

We begin our day with an ascent to the Temple Mount (conditions permitting), holy to both Islam and Judaism as the site of Mt. Moriah, where Abraham nearly sacrificed Isaac; Solomon’s Temple and the Second Temple of Herod; Mohammed’s Night Journey to Heaven; Al-Aqsa Mosque, one of Islam’s oldest and most sacred; and Dome of the Rock, built over the spot from which it is said Mohammed ascended to Heaven on his Night Journey. Next, we visit the Garden Tomb, an alternative site of the tomb and resurrection of Jesus just north of the city walls. The Garden Tomb complex contains a tomb from the period and, unlike the crowded and overly-decorated Church of the Holy Sepulcher, evokes a sense of the peace, power, and purpose we associate with of the resurrection of Jesus. Our last stop is the Israel Museum, often referred to as the Shrine of the Book for the Dead Sea Scrolls that are reverently displayed here. Later, a farewell dinner prepares us for late evening flights to North America. Our journey through the Holy Land is complete, but the impact of what we have experienced will linger.

More Details

How do I lock in my place on this Adventure?

This tour is sold-out for 2019 but we are accepting names for a waitlist. Contact the Walking Adventures office at 800.779.0353 or [email protected] if you would like to be added to the waitlist. We would then notify you if a spot opened up!

A $1000 deposit is required for registration ($250 non-refundable). The balance is then due 3 months before departure. Please make sure you understand the General Tour Conditions, including the cancellation terms. Once you have registered, your spot is secured for you alone. The closer we get to departure day, the harder it is to fill that spot should you change your mind. Cancellation terms are therefore necessary to ensure that we all understand the importance of shared commitment to this trip. Cancellations received in writing 120 days or more before departure will receive a full refund less a $250 administration fee. Cancellations received in writing 119 to 90 days before departure will receive a full refund less $500 of the initial deposit. Cancellations received in writing 89 to 60 days before departure will receive a 50% refund. No refunds will be made on cancellations received less than 60 days before departure. No refunds will be made on any unused or cancelled services once the tour has commenced. Keep in mind that if WAI cancels this tour, you will receive a full refund of your tour payments. We strongly recommend travel insurance for this tour.

General Tour Conditions and Registration Forms

These forms should be available with the hard copy of the brochure. To finalize your official registration, a completed and signed copy of the Registration Form is necessary. Please be sure to read all the fun stuff (the fine print) in the General Tour Conditions!

Traveler Discounts

This is a special departure of Walking Israel provided for Willamette Christian Church and Beaverton Christian Church. The pricing for this tour has already been discounted, and therefore no additional Travel Discounts are applicable to this tour.

How do we arrange airfare for this Adventure?

The official start and finish point for this Adventure is the Tel Aviv airport in Israel. Please do not book your airfare prior to receiving the Adventure Advice flyer! The Adventure Advice flyer outlines the timing of when to book your flights and how airport-hotel transfers will take place. You may also consider arriving into Israel early: WAI will help with booking one extra night for those who choose. Arriving early has several advantages, including the participation on an optional walk down to Joppa.

Travel Insurance

WAI believes strongly in the importance of travel insurance for financial and medical protection from any number of unforeseen circumstances that can arise before departure or during your Adventure.  Many travel insurance providers are available for you to consider. Debbi Custer of World Travel Inc., a travel agent who provides air travel services to many WAI travelers, can provide travel insurance options for your WAI tour as well as your airfare (email [email protected] -OR- call 888-276-0925 / 503-231-9507). For those of you who purchase airfare through Debbi, purchasing your travel insurance from her as well may be the simplest option. As always, do some shopping to ensure you are getting the best value. Using the Insuremytrip.com website can be a good way to compare pricing.

Other options include:

  • Allianz
  • Travel Guard
  • Travel Insured International

We suggest purchasing from a reputable, well-established insurance company (avoid buying insurance from an unknown company found only online). In addition, be aware that some travel insurance policies contain time-sensitive provisions—i.e. some benefits are available only if the policy is purchased within a certain number of days of the purchase of the travel package.

A Word About Risk

The WAI philosophy of travel often clashes with certain aspects of modern journalism. The oxymoronic union between reporting and marketing has produced a “tabloid” mentality where “news” that stokes the emotions is often the unfortunate result.

Israel is admittedly the epicenter of conflict between Arabs and Jews, which has broadened to include non-Arab Muslims. Hard things have happened in this part of the world. Violence occurs. The violence that occurs in Israel, however, usually receives a disproportionate level of media attention relative to the impact of that violence on the region as a whole, or levels of violence that occur here in the USA, or in other reputedly peaceful cultures.

Many times during the past 20+ years of planning and leading Adventures, we have been in parts of the world that have less than hospitable reputations. Almost without fail, we’ve found that though life does not come with a money-back guarantee, and bad experiences do come our way from time to time, the feeling of fear generated by media reports bears little resemblance to what we actually experience in-country!

In regard to Israel, the odds of our being impacted by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict pales alongside everyday risks such as driving your car or falling in your home that we all instinctively factor into daily life choices without a second thought.

Our point? Though safety is always top of mind as we plan our Adventures, life is inherently uncertain, and we will not likely cancel our plans to visit Israel unless war is declared or significant, widespread violence makes it clear that we would be in danger.

NOTE: For a higher premium, you can purchase insurance that allows you to cancel “for any reason.” Check with your travel insurance provider for more details.

What about the walks?

We generally walk at a pace of 2 to 3 miles per hour. Several walks on this trip are oriented more towards education, and therefore take longer due to stops for guide commentary. Nature walks, on the other hand, generally continue at a steadier pace because we’re stopping less to talk.

In most cases, we are not “strolling.” We are walking at a relaxed but steady pace. Your experience will be significantly affected by your level of physical fitness. If not walking regularly at home, we strongly recommend that you make a priority of “training” beforehand in order to both enjoy the trip and avoid medical issues due to overexertion. If you have questions about your ability to participate, please call our office at 1.800.779.0353.

We have adopted a walk difficulty rating system which contains a numeric indicator for trail incline and an alpha indicator for trail terrain. The explanation for this system is presented on the table below:

INCLINE

1. Very small hills or very little stair climbing. Cumulative elevation gain from Starting Point: up to 200 feet.
2. Some moderate hills and stair climbing. Cumulative elevation gain from Starting Point: 200-1000 feet.
3. Some significant hill or stair climbing. Cumulative elevation gain from Starting Point: 1000-2000 feet.
4. Lots of significant hills or stair climbing. Cumulative elevation gain from Starting Point: 2000-3500 feet.
5. Many steep hills. Cumulative elevation gain from Starting Point: more than 3500 feet.

TERRAIN

A. Almost entirely on pavement.
B. A significant part of the route is on well-groomed trails with very few obstacles.
C. A significant part of the route is on somewhat difficult terrain (rocky / rooted paths or soft sand).
D. A significant part of the route is on very difficult terrain.
E. The majority of the route is on very difficult terrain.

What happens next?

Upon registering for this Adventure, you will receive a welcome letter and an  initial invoice. The next document you will receive will be the Adventure Advice flyer with important information about steps to take in the months before your trip. Please do not buy your airline tickets until you receive the Adventure Advice flyer. The final payment for the program is due 90 days before departure, and you will receive a final billing packet about 3 weeks prior to that point, including a factsheet of additional information about the Adventure to help you get prepared!

About 3 weeks before departure, you will receive a final packet with all the details of the program, including hotel names and contact information, a list of fellow travelers, and a more detailed schedule. You will also be invited to team meetings organized by WCC leadership to better prepare your heart and mind for this amazing experience. For now, take some time to find a quiet place and review the Israel 2019 program. The Holy Land of Israel has always been an integral part of our American culture. It is the birthplace of the Judeo-Christian ethic, and the soil in which our faith heritage is rooted. In a sense, we are spiritual immigrants, faith children of Abraham, according to the Apostle Paul, returning to our homeland!