National Geographic Expedition has announced a forthcoming series of in-depth Israel tours. “Immerse yourself in the history and culture of the Holy Land on a special expedition inspired by the peacebuilding efforts of National Geographic Emerging Explorer Aziz Abu Sarah.” reads the website, “Explore the City of David and Masada, glide across the Sea of Galilee, and discover Jerusalem through the eyes of Christians, Muslims, and Jews. Hear a broad spectrum of narratives on this expedition designed in true partnership by Israelis and Palestinians, Arabs and Jews.” it says.
Day one through four are spent in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
“Just outside the Old City walls lies the City of David, thought to be the original capital city established by King David some 3,000 years ago.” On day four participants will “Venture into the archaeological site, and meet with its Israeli administrators, and later with residents of the nearby Palestinian neighborhood who oppose the excavations. Go behind closed doors to discuss the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with an Israeli politician. Then travel to Ramallah, the administrative headquarters of the Palestinian Authority. Here, we have rare access to their offices, and a chance to hear the Palestinian perspective from a high-ranking politician.”
On Day Five, those who take part in the expedition will “trace the turbulent history of the birth of Israel. At Yad Vashem, Israel’s moving memorial to the Holocaust, meet with a Holocaust survivor for a personal glimpse into one of history’s darkest moments. Then travel to Ein Kerem, where Christian tradition says John the Baptist was born. An Israeli and a Palestinian guide will each tell their divergent narrative of the village’s role in Israel’s 1948 War of Independence.” Then, later in the day over at “Ammunition Hill, the site of one of the most brutal battles of the Six Day War in 1967, soldiers from both sides tell their stories from the war. Tonight, gather for a panel discussion with Israeli and Palestinian peace activists from the Bereaved Families Forum.”
On Day Six travellers with visit “Bethlehem and meet with the mayor to learn about the city’s shrinking Christian population. Stop by Manger Square and, at the Church of the Nativity, descend into the cave revered by many as the birthplace of Jesus. Walk through a nearby Palestinian refugee camp, and speak with its residents about their lives. Continue to the Gush Etzion settlement bloc to hear the viewpoints of Israeli settlers. Our final stop is Herodion, a volcano-shaped hill and fortress built by Herod the Great. After dinner, take in a music performance by a group of Israeli and Palestinian musicians.”
Day Seven consists of a visit to the Israel Museum, “where the collections include the Dead Sea Scrolls. Drive down through the Judean Desert to Jericho for a tour of the Old City. Meet with environmentalists from Friends of the Earth Middle East, and learn about efforts to foster Arab-Jewish cooperation and protect the Dead Sea. Then check into a hotel on the shores of the Dead Sea, and treat yourself to a rejuvenating float in its mineral-rich waters.”
Day Eight is at the Jordan River Valley where a journey to the top of Masada will thrill tourists, as will the Roman city of Bet She’an “to see its remarkably preserved amphitheater, baths, and column-lined streets. Stop to dip your feet in the Jordan River where thousands of Christian pilgrims are baptized each year. Visit a kibbutz in Galilee to learn about early Jewish communities in Israel, then check into our hotel in Tiberias which overlooks the Sea of Galilee.”
Day Nine features a trip to the Sea of Galilee and a trip from the ancient city of “Tiberias to Capernaum, where Jesus lived and preached, and which was home to many apostles, including Peter. Continue north to Caesarea Philippi, a center of worship from the Hellenic age to the early Christian era. Explore this area as you wish this afternoon: follow a scenic trail to the Banias waterfall, kayak the Hasbani River, or hike to the ancient city of Dan. As the sun begins to set, take a drive through the Golan Heights.”
On Day Ten: “Join an Israeli Arab Christian for a visit to Nazareth’s Basilica of the Annunciation, one of the largest churches in the Middle East. On an excursion to the mountaintop village of Beit Jann, discover the secretive traditions of the Druze, and enjoy lunch with a Druze family in their home.” Finally visitors will have a chance to “Continue south to Caesarea Maritima, Herod’s harbor city, and explore the site with geo-archaeologist and National Geographic Emerging Explorer Beverly Goodman. The bustling city of Tel Aviv is our home tonight.”
Day Eleven is tour around Jaffa and Tel Aviv, before returning to the airport for a flight back to the U.S.
For more information visit the website:
(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)