U.S./Tel Aviv, Israel

June 10: Arrive Tel Aviv

We’ll gather at Tel Aviv’s Dan Panorama Hotel, where we are staying, for a welcome dinner to be followed by trip orientation from Professor Overman. The Dan Panorama is located on Tel Aviv’s lively seafront where the soft, sandy beaches of the Mediterranean lie just across
the road.

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Hotel: Dan Panorama Hotel

June 11: Understanding Jewish and Christian Beginnings

We begin the day with a tour of the new Itzak Rabin Center for Peace in Tel Aviv and
a private briefing on the work of the Center.

We will then travel via air-conditioned motor coach to Caesarea on the Sea, built by King Herod; on to the ancient city of Sepphoris, within sight of the small village of Nazareth; and from there to Tiberias on the Sea of Galilee. We will end up at the Grand Vista Hotel, Kfar Yuval in the north. A Hebrew lesson from Macalester professor Nanette Goldman will be followed by dinner.

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Hotel: Grand Vista Hotel, Kfar Yuval

June 12: Macalester’s Excavation in Northern Israel

Led by Professor Overman, we will visit the Omrit site where Macalester has been excavating a complex of three temples, the earliest of which dates back to 40–30 BCE. The Omrit site rests above the beautiful Hulah Valley, wedged between Lebanon on the west and the Golan Heights and Syria on the east. Professor Overman will give us a tour of Omrit, explain the significance of the excavation, and offer a vision of the work to come. Lunch at a local restaurant will be followed by free time at the hotel.

A local official will talk with us about issues in the Upper Galilee region of Israel. We will be joined by Macalester student Zach Ballard, who will be studying abroad at Tel Hai College, and hear his observations about studying and living along the Lebanese border.

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Hotel: Grand Vista Hotel, Kfar Yuval

June 13: Fighting for the Land called Holy: The Crusaders in the North

After breakfast we will depart for a tour led by Mordechai Aviam, director of the Institute of Galilean Archaeology. After taking an afternoon to rest and take a break from the midday sun, we will meet with faculty and students from The Center for Peace and Democracy at Tel Hai College. Tel Hai serves some 4500 students, both Jewish and Arab, as well as those from minority populations of the Upper Galilee.

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Hotel: Grand Vista Hotel, Kfar Yuval

June 14: Golan Heights—Relations with Syria and Lebanon

After a breakfast briefing, we will depart for
the Golan Heights, a highly contested land straddling the borders of Syria and Israel. We will visit the city of Katzrin, which offers panoramic views of the surrounding landscapes and includes a number of historic sites. After lunch on the Jordan River, we will visit Majdal Shams on the Syrian border. This is the “shouting place,” where families divided by a cease-fire line shouted their news across the border, as made famous in the film, The Syrian Bride.

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Hotel: Grand Vista Hotel, Kfar Yuval

June 15: Jerusalem

We will depart for Jerusalem after breakfast with special guests . Along the way we will visit the excavation of Bet Shean, a city dating back to the 15th century BCE and the largest Greco-Roman city in the region. It served as the capital city of Alexander the Great’s Decapolis, or League of Ten Cities. After checking into our hotel, we will visit the Western Wall or Kotel, the holiest place in Judaism, for the beginning of Shabbat. Dinner and a brief walking tour of the Old City will follow.

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Hotel: TBD

June 16: Masada, the Dead Sea and Jericho

We will depart for Masada, the historic site of the siege by Roman Empire troops, which led to the mass suicide of the Sicarii rebels, who preferred death to surrender. On our way back to Jerusalem we will stop at the Dead Sea, Jericho, Herod’s palaces, and Qumran, the settlement nearest the caves where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found. We will complete our day with a tour of the Old City of Jerusalem and dinner.

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Hotel: TBD

June 17: Bethlehem, the West Bank, and Contemporary Politics in Jerusalem

Today we travel to Bethlehem, the city of David and the birthplace of Jesus of Nazareth. This is a Palestinian city, inhabited by one of the oldest Christian communities in the world. After lunch at a local restaurant, we will visit the Church of the Nativity, one of the oldest continuously operating churches in the world. We will meet with Palestinian and Israeli leaders in Jerusalem to discuss the issues and hear their insights into the prospects for peace and a negotiated settlement. Dinner on your own in Jerusalem.

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Hotel: TBD

June 18: Jerusalem

After breakfast we will visit the Dome of the Rock, the oldest existing Islamic building in the world (completed 691–692 CE), and the new Israel Museum, home of the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Omrit exhibition. After lunch, explore Jerusalem on your own. We will discuss the role for the U.S. in possible peace initiatives with Ami Ayalon, former Knesset member and previously head of the Israeli secret service as well as commander-in-chief of the Navy.

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Hotel: TBD 

June 19: Wrap up and departure

You will have the day in Jerusalem on your own.
After a mid-afternoon lunch, farewell, and recap, we will depart for Ben Gurion Airport in late afternoon.

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