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Study Trip

Israel: The Holy Land

Thursday 5 to Sunday 15 December 2019
Leader: Khun Eileen Deeley, Council member of the Siam Society

 

 

For a third of humanity, Israel is literally the Holy Land, and Jerusalem marks its sacred centre. For Christians, this is where Jesus was crucified and resurrected; for Muslims, this is where Mohammed journeyed up to heaven; for Jews, this is where the Temple of Solomon stood. The crossroads of three great religions, the holy land has been coveted and fought over for centuries.

Israel is a small country, the size of the state of New Jersey, with a population of 8 million.  While the state of Israel was founded just after WWII, the Jewish people have a history here going back four thousand years.  In 1947 the United Nations helped found the state of Israel and Jews long dispersed across the world returned to their ancient homeland. In the process hundreds and thousands of Palestinians were displaced and to this day, both people struggle to find an equitable and peaceful way to share what each considers to be their rightful homeland.

Travelling in Israel is to uncover the marks left behind by many of the world’s civilisations. The tiny country is packed with a fascinating range of historical and cultural sites, as well as stunning landscapes.

Under the leadership of Khun Eileen Deeley, The Siam Society will travel to Israel to explore the rich cultural heritage of the region, including Caesarea, Megiddo, Jordan river, Nazareth, Jerusalem, Bethlehem, and Tel Aviv, and learn about Christian art and history up to the Crusade war period through this sacred destination.

 

The tentative programme will be as follows:

Day 1: Thursday 5 December: Bangkok – Tel Aviv

1pm Meet at Suvarnabhumi Airport, check in counter of El Al, Israel Airlines
4.20pm Depart for Tel Aviv by flight LY84(11.20 hrs. flight)
10.40pm Arrive at Tel Aviv Yafo - Ben Gurion International Airport, transfer to Hotel Crown Plaza City Center, Tel Aviv

Day 2: Friday 6 December: Tel Aviv – Caesarea – Megiddo – Haifa

9am After breakfast, check out of the hotel
- Visit Museum of the Jewish People at Beit Hatfutsot
After that, proceed to visit Caesarea, capital of Judea, constructed by King Herod under the Romans. See the excavations of the Crusader city and the Roman port, aqueduct and the amphitheatre that has been restored to its former glory as a concert venue
Noon: Lunch at a local restaurant
Afternoon: Proceed to Megiddo, identified as the site of Armageddon; visit the archaeological excavations including the well-preserved water supply system
  Proceed to Tel Aviv by car
- Dinner and overnight at Hotel Golden Crown, Haifa

Day 3: Saturday 7 December: Haifa – Acre - Tsfat – Galilee

8.30am After breakfast, check out of the hotel
- Proceed to visit the historic walled port-city of Acre, continuous settlement from the Phoenician period. The remains of the Crusader town, dating from 1104 to 1291, lie almost intact, both above and below today's street level, providing an exceptional picture of the layout and structures of the capital of the medieval Crusader kingdom of Jerusalem.
Visit some interesting sites in Acre such as The Hospitaller Fortress (Knights' Halls): a spacious building already uncovered in the1930s, during the British Mandate Period, serving as the Hospitaller Order's main headquarters in 13th century during the Crusader Period, the Market, the core of the city's commercial life offering a colourful array of fish, butcher shops, spices, vegetables, perfumeries and souvenir shops, and the 350-meter Templars Tunnel, served as a strategic underground passageway that connected the fortress to the port. The Templars were a military-monastic order who watched over the pilgrims coming from Europe to visit the Holy Land.
Noon: Lunch at a local restaurant
Afternoon: Continue to Tsfat (Safed), Jewish mystical capital, to learn about the Kabbalah sources. Visit Citadel (Metsuda) at the top of the city with ruins dating back to the time of the Crusaders and the Mamluks; and visit the amazing narrow streets of the old city of Tsfat; the artist street; Beit Hameiri-Hameiri House, a historical museum that documents Jewish life in Safed from the last two hundred years; some interesting shops such as the HaMeiri Cheese shop, with cheese recipes dating back more than 168 years, Safed Candle shop and others; the Abuhab Synagogue where you can view a Torah scroll from the Middle Ages and Yosef Caro Synagogue with its famous Shulhan Aruch (The Set Table), which dates back to the Middle Ages and is still used as the primary source for understanding Jewish religious laws.
- Dinner and overnight at Hotel Galilion, Galilee

Day 4: Sunday 8 December: Hula Valley National Park – Tiberius – Kibbutz

- After breakfast, check out of the hotel
Morning: Proceed to Hula Valley National Park to watch migrating birds. Twice a year in the period between March to May and September to December, Hula Valley National Park turns into one of the biggest bird-watching spots of the world. Birds from the North cross the Israel's land on their way to warmer countries.
- Continue to the Golan Highs to see the Sea of Galilee en route. After that visit Kibbutz Deganya, the first kibbutz ever established. Visit the Pioneers houses and understand their way of life and thinking.
Noon: Lunch at Restaurant 1910 in the kibbutz
Afternoon: Proceed to Tiberias. Visit Capernaum referred to in the Bible as Jesus’ “own town”. See the Octagonal Church of St Peter, Mt of Beatitudes where Jesus delivered the Sermon on the Mount.
- Dinner and overnight at hotel Leonardo Plaza in Tiberias

Day 5: Monday 9 December: Jordan River – Nazareth – Jericho – Jerusalem

8:30am After breakfast, check out of the hotel
- Proceed to Yardenit Baptism Site on the Jordan River and visit the Church of Annunciation in Nazareth
Noon: Lunch at a local restaurant
Afternoon: Continue to visit the archaeological site of Jericho (Tell es-Sultan - the Sultan’s Mound). Jericho is known as the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world. Jericho also claims the record for the lowest city in the world at over 800 feet (250 meters) below modern sea level in the West Bank of Palestine. In the Middle Bronze Age, the city was inhabited by Canaanites, it expanded, and a wall was constructed around it. This wall, which lasted into the Late Bronze Age, was partially destroyed by the Israelites under Joshua.
  Proceed to Jerusalem by car
- Dinner and overnight at Hotel Dan Panorama Jerusalem

Day 6: Tuesday 10 December: Jerusalem

8am After breakfast, proceed to the old town to visit Temple Mount, where the Dome of the Rock marks the place where the Prophet Mohammed is believed to have ascended to heaven. It is also a sacred place in Judaism from Abraham’s sacrifice to Solomon’s First Temple, as well as two other beautiful Islamic monuments - the Dome of the Chain and Al-Aqsa Mosque.
- Continue to the Western Wall, an important pilgrimage site for Jews, then to the Christian Quarter, following the Via Dolorosa to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, retracing the route that Jesus was believed to have walked on the way to the crucifixion site; and onto the Armenian quarter to visit St James Cathedral, a 12th-century Armenian church. The cathedral is dedicated to two Christian saints: James, son of Zebedee (James the Greater, one of the twelve apostles of Jesus) and James the brother of Jesus (James the Just). The ancient church dates to AD 420.
  Note: - The Temple Mount is closed to visitors on Fridays and Saturdays. The area may also be closed during the week due to security reasons or public holidays.
- There is a strict dress code on the Temple Mount: all visitors must either wear full length pants or a skirt that covers the ankles and have sleeves down to the elbows
- The following items are prohibited on the Temple Mount: religious objects or political items of any kind, weapons, alcohol, iPads/tablets/e-Readers, laptops, selfie-sticks, and tripods.
- Visit inside the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa Mosque is prohibited for those who are not Muslim.
Noon: Lunch at a local restaurant
Afternoon: Continue to Mt Zion, visit the 12-century Hall of the Last Supper, the Tomb of King David, Church of All Nationals, and the Garden of Gethsemane, with its ancient olive trees, where we will visit the Rock of Agony where Jesus prayed his last prayer before being arrested.
- Dinner at local restaurant and overnight at Hotel Dan Panorama Jerusalem

Day 7: Wednesday 11 December: Jerusalem

9am After breakfast, visit Mount of Olives for the magnificent panoramic view of the Jerusalem, visit The Church of the Pater Noster, a Roman Catholic Church, also known as the Sanctuary of the Eleona, and visit The Tower of David
Noon: Lunch at a local restaurant
Afternoon: Visit Town of David, see the new excavation site of David’s Palace, and walk through the water of Hezekiah’s Tunnel
8pm See King David, Sound and Light show at the Tower of David Museum
- Dinner at own arrangement, overnight at hotel Dan Panorama Jerusalem

Day 8: Thursday 12 December: Jerusalem

- After breakfast, proceed to visit the Israel museum, the Shrine of the Book, where the Dead Sea Scrolls are housed, and the miniature model of Jerusalem as it was during the Second Temple period. The main part of the museum contains the world’s most comprehensive collection of the archaeology of the Holy Land, and Jewish Art and Life, as well as significant collections of the world’s Fine Arts.
Noon: Lunch at a local restaurant
Afternoon: Visit Rockefeller Archaeological Museum
- Dinner and overnight at Hotel Dan Panorama Jerusalem

Day 9: Friday 13 December: Masada - Qumran – Bethlehem - Tel Aviv

Morning: After breakfast, check out of the hotel and proceed to Masada, a fortress constructed on top of a rock plateau by King Herod. This place was the last stronghold of the Jewish where the Zealots made their last stand against the Romans before committing mass suicide in AD 73
  Continue through the Judean Desert to the Dead Sea, the lowest point on earth, almost 400 metres (1,300 feet) below sea level. Stop at Qumran to visit the site where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found
Noon: Lunch at a local restaurant
Afternoon: Continue to Bethlehem, visit Bethlehem’s Manger Square, home to the Church of the Nativity, one of the world’s oldest-standing churches still functioning to this day. We will visit the main Basilica of the Nativity, designed in typical Roman style; as well as the Catholic Church of St Catherine, adjoining the Basilica of the Nativity. Underneath the Church stands the Grotto of the Nativity, the cave in which Jesus was born, the exact spot of birth is marked by a 14-pointed star of silver set into the floor
  After the visit, proceed to Tel Aviv
- Dinner and overnight to hotel Crown Plaza City Center, Tel Aviv

Day 10: Saturday 14 December: Tel Aviv – Airport to Bangkok

- Breakfast at the hotel
9am Check out of the hotel. Sightseeing in Tel Aviv, a major city of the financial centre and the technology hub of Israel
  Visit Old Jaffa, an 8000-year old port city, walk along the restored artist’s quarter, Neve Tzedek, the first neighbourhood of Tel Aviv, built in 1887, and Nahalat Benyamin, the pedestrian street of the city
Noon: Lunch at a local restaurant
Afternoon: Visit the Eretz Israel Museum, a historical and archaeological museum established in 1953, which has a large display of archaeological, anthropological, and historical artefacts. On the grounds of the museum, there is an excavation hall Tel Quasile in which 12 distinct layers of culture have been uncovered
- Dinner at own arrangement and transfer to Tel Aviv Airport
11pm Depart to Bangkok by flight LY81 (10.50 hrs)

Day 11: Sunday 15 December: Bangkok

3pm Arrive at Suvarnabhumi Airport

Booking

THB 158,000 (THB 161,500 for non-members). Single room surcharge THB 33,000. A deposit of THB 50,000 and photocopy of passport must accompany the booking. Your reservation will be confirmed as soon as the deposit has been made. Payment in full is required 60 days before the start of the trip (i.e. by Saturday 5 October 2019).

Please pay by cash or cheque payable to ‘The Siam Society’. There is a 4% surcharge for credit/debit card payment to cover bank charges. Alternatively, you can deposit/transfer the money to the Siam Society travel account at the Thai Military Bank, Asoke Branch saving account no. 053-2-18000-7. Please fax or e-mail the deposit or transfer docket to us. In case the tour must be cancelled due to insufficient participants, a full refund of the deposit will be made.

Includes/Excludes:

The contribution includes international airfares, meals as mentioned in program, accommodation for two persons per room, entrance fees, gratuities and other costs incurred to make this trip possible. It excludes visa fee (if any), personal expenses, personal beverages, etc.

To comply with payment and cancellation policies set forth by tour agencies, and to facilitate smooth working condition between the Siam Society and the tour agencies, please read carefully the revised cancellation policies stated below:

Cancellation charge:

60 days before the start of the trip:                                Deposit forfeited
60–30 days before the start of the trip:                           50% of the tour cost
Less than 30 days or cancellation without notice:             No refund

Your booking will not be confirmed until deposit payment has been received. Please supply a copy of your passport with your booking.

The Siam Society reserves the right to change the programme as necessary. Seats are limited. Please book your place as soon as possible. For further information and bookings please contact Khun Prasert or Khun Supanut.