From Bill Sutter’s Desk Jul/Aug 2006

Much more than a trip—an experience of a lifetime!

That’s the way it is when you travel to Israel with The Friends of Israel. And that’s the way all 128 of us felt during our 10 days in the land before returning home March 30.

In Israel you walk where Jesus walked—on the shores of the Sea of Galilee (Kinneret) and in Capernaum, the hub of Jesus’ ministry in the Galilee. During devotions aboard a boat on the Kinneret, you can visualize how Jesus rebuked the storm and miraculously calmed the wind and waves. Climbing the southern steps to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, you remember Jesus’ dramatic ascent 2,000 years earlier. And participating in a communion service at the Garden Tomb dramatically recalls Christ’s sacrificial death.

In Israel the Bible truly comes alive as you walk through the ancient Mediterranean port city of Joppa where Jonah set sail for Nineveh. You marvel at the magnificent, ancient amphitheater at Caesarea Maritime, a city that figured prominently in the lives of the apostles Peter and Paul. At Banyas you can almost hear Peter’s great confession of faith: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Mt. 16:16). On the slopes of Mount Carmel you recall Elijah’s unparalleled contest with the prophets of Baal.

In Israel you affirm the truth of God’s prophetic Word. Viewing the huge expanse of Armageddon from the top of Tel Megiddo, you cannot help but visualize the drama of this great end-times battle, when God’s judgment will fall on a rebellious world. And on the Mount of Olives, you stand where Jesus began His entry into Jerusalem and where He ascended into heaven and will return at His Second Coming.

The opportunity to relive Jewish history is another important part of the journey. You ride the aerial tram to the top of Masada, the site of the heroic Jewish stand against the Roman forces. You view the caves of Qumran where the famous Dead Sea Scrolls were found. At Independence Hall in Tel Aviv, your heart stirs by a reenactment of the founding of the modern State of Israel in 1948.

Another feature of our Friends of Israel tours is the opportunity to interact with the people and places of modern Israel. Ascending to the Golan Heights, a natural barrier between Syria and Israel’s Galilee region, you easily come to understand the Golan’s strategic importance to Israel’s security. You have the opportunity to plant a tree, under the auspices of The Jewish National Fund, as a symbol of your commitment to the land. You see Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, where democracy thrives. You stand in awe at the famous Western Wall of the Temple Mount.

And it’s always important to have your camera ready as Ethiopian children at an absorption center swarm around you to have their pictures taken. You meet Israelis in the marketplace and on Ben Yehuda Street, Israel’s famous outdoor shopping plaza.

No two of our tours are quite the same. If you join us when we go again, be ready for some truly unique experiences, such as a morning “dig for a day,” sponsored by certified archaeologists.

Our recent tour included a presentation by world famous archaeologist Dr. Gabriel Barkay, who leads a group working to reconstruct Temple Mount history. We also heard from Zvi Vapni of Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who provided a fascinating overview of the Israeli election process. Josh Reinstein, director of the Knesset’s Christian Allies Caucus, told the amazing story of Israel’s warm response to Bible-believing Christians who support the Jewish state based on their belief in God’s promises to the Jewish people.

And you definitely will not “rough it” when visiting Israel with The Friends of Israel. You may experience several nights in a lovely kibbutz guesthouse, as well as enjoying accommodations in Israel’s finest hotels. You will sample Israel’s wonderful food—bountiful breakfast buffets, local favorites for lunch, and scrumptious Israeli dinners.

We select knowledgeable, personable guides who are among the finest available in Israel. And experienced Friends of Israel staff members are there to help make your journey memorable.

The time to plan your visit to Israel is NOW. There may be openings for our October 14–22 trip. Or ask to be added to the list for information about our March 13–23, 2007, experience. For more information, call The Friends of Israel at 800-257-7843 and ask for Lisa Nickerson.

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