Many retirees who have expressed interest to visit Israel are looking for a program that is paced just for them, one that combines pilgrimage with academics. We at Isram Israel have created programs for retirees that are structured both for first-time visitors and for those who have been to Israel already. Participants will gain a deeper appreciation of sites with which they may already be familiar as well as explore important sites off the beaten path.

The programs will engage you in Scripture, archaeology, and contemporary Israel and integrate not only the academic component from leading scholars but also field trips to the sites you will be learning about. You will literally be walking in the footsteps of history (But we promise you won't be walking too much)!

Day 1 – Getting Started

Afternoon:Arrive at Ben Gurion Airport
Drive south to guest house in desert
Check in
Evening: Dinner at guest house Introduction to program; participants discuss expectations
Overnight: Kibbutz guest house

Day 2 – In the Wilderness

Morning: Breakfast Guest lecturer: Spirituality in the Desert
Depart guest house; visit Avdat, ancient city along the Nabatean spice route
Afternoon: Box lunch
Short hike to Ein Avdat, natural spring in Nahal Zin
Enjoy hot springs at Neve Midbar
Return to guest house
Free time to relax
Evening: Dinner at guest house
Short drive to Ben Gurion Heritage Center for program on Israel's first Prime Minister
Overnight: Kibbutz guest house

Day 3 – The Dead Sea

Morning:Breakfast; check out of guest house
Visit Tel Arad
Ascend Masada, Herod's desert palace and fortress, via the Roman ramp (20 minute walk)
Tour Masada
Descend via cable car
Afternoon: Lunch at Masada
Check into hotel at Dead Sea
Enjoy pool and spa at hotel
Evening: Dinner at hotel
Overnight:Dead Sea hotel

Day 4 – On the Way to Jerusalem

Morning: Breakfast; check out of hotel
Visit Ein Gedi Nature Reserve; learn about flora and fauna of this desert oasis as well as Biblical references and archaeological findings at site
Visit Qumran, where the Dead Sea scrolls were found
Drive to Qasr al-Yahud, baptismal site on the Jordan River
Afternoon:Lunch in Jericho
View of St George Monastery
Drive to Jerusalem; arrive at Mt Scopus for spectacular panoramic view of Old & New Jerusalem
Check in to hotel; time to rest
Evening: Dinner at hotel
Guest lecture: Archaeology in the Bible
Overnight: Jerusalem

Day 5 – Bethlehem

Morning: Breakfast
Drive to Bethlehem; visit Church of the Nativity and Shepherds' Field
Afternoon: Lunch in Bethlehem
Return to hotel in Jerusalem
Free time to rest
Drive to Kotel (Western Wall) to see Jews welcome the Sabbath
Evening: Traditional Sabbath dinner at hotel
Guest lecture: The Sabbath in Jewish Tradition
Overnight: Jerusalem

Day 6 – The Christian Quarter

Morning: Breakfast
Drive to Mt of Olives; review last week of Jesus' life
Walk down Mt of Olives to Dominus Flevit Church
Continue to Garden of Gethsemane and Basilica of the Agony (Church of All Nations) Continue along Via Dolorosa in Old City
Afternoon: Lunch on own in Christian Quarter; free time to shop
Visit Church of the Holy Sepulcher
Return to hotel; time to rest
Guest lecture: Israel Update – a review of current issues in Israeli society
Evening: Dinner on own in downtown Jerusalem
Free evening
Overnight: Jerusalem

Day 7 – Ancient & Modern Jerusalem

Morning: Early breakfast
Drive back to Old City; go up on Temple Mount and tour site
Visit Supreme Court, considered one of the most beautiful and interesting public buildings in Israel; learn about role of Court in Israel's system of checks and balances
Afternoon: Lunch in local restaurant, Visit Israel Museum; including Shrine of the Book containing the Dead Sea scrolls
Evening: Dinner at hotel
Guest speaker: Educating About the Holocaust
Overnight: Jerusalem

Day 8 – Israel Museum

Morning: Breakfast; check out of hotel
Drive to Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial & Museum
Hear testimony of Holocaust survivor; group then divides into two:
"First timers" to Yad Vashem will visit museum
Those who have already been in museum will visit other sites on the Yad Vashem campus
Afternoon: Lunch on own in Mahane Yehuda, Jerusalem's open-air market
Drive north to kibbutz hotel in Galilee
Check in
Evening: Dinner at hotel
Presentation: The Geography of Northern Israel
Overnight: Kibbutz Guest House

Day 9 – The Golan Heights

Morning: Breakfast at guest house
Drive north to the Banias Nature Reserve; stroll in site where the powerful water serves as one of the sources of the Jordan River and is the site of Caesarea Philippi
Visit Mt Bental, overlooking site of decisive tank battle during 1973 Yom Kippur War; view into the Syrian city of Kuneitra, from a decommissioned army bunker
Afternoon: Lunch on own in area
Visit robotic dairy farm at Kibbutz Ortal
Visit Golan Winery
Return to guest house
Evening: Dinner at guest house
Overnight: Kibbutz Guest House

Day 10 Wednesday – The Lower Galilee

Morning: Breakfast
Visit the Zippori Archaeological Park; learn about recent archaeological findings there, Visit Nazareth, including Church of the Annunciation
Afternoon: Falafel lunch
Visit High-Tech Park; meet with Christian Arab entrepreneur (tentative)
Boat ride on Sea of Galilee
Return to kibbutz
Evening: Dinner at guest house
Guest lecture: The Changing Kibbutz Society
Overnight: Kibbutz Guest House

Day 11 – Rosh HaNikra & Akko

Morning: Breakfast; check out of guest house
Drive to Rosh HaNikra; descend n cable car to visit grottoes formed by sea pounding against the rocks for millions of years
Visit Akko; tour Hospitallers Fortress and Templar Tunnel
Afternoon: Lunch on own in Akko shuk (market)
Drive to Tel Aviv
Visit to Rabin Square, where Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin was assassinated by a Jewish fanatic on November 4, 1995
Check in to hotel
Evening:Dinner at hotel
Guest lecture by Israeli screenwriter: A view of Israeli society through its cinema
Overnight: Tel Aviv

Day 12 – Tel Aviv/Jaffa

Morning: Breakfast
Walking tour of the ancient seaport of Jaffa; free time to visit art galleries
Visit Independence Hall, where State of Israel was declared by David Ben Gurion on May 14, 1948
Afternoon: Lunch on own in artists fair in Nachalat Binyamin Street
Free time to shop and enjoy fair and Carmel Market
Return to hotel
Evening: Join Jewish congregation in prayer to welcome the Sabbath
Go back to congregation members’ homes for Sabbath dinner with the members’ families
Return to hotel
Overnight: Tel Aviv

Day 13 – Tel Aviv

Morning: Breakfast
Optional walking tour of Neve Tsedek and Nahum Gutman Museum
Free time in Tel Aviv port, popular site of restaurants, cafes and shops
Meet back at hotel; discussion summarizing trip
Depart for airport to fly home


Sites in Israel

Christian Travel to Israel