ICEJ UK Biblical Tour 2020
An excited group of travellers set off for Israel just before the pandemic in March 2020 and experienced a tour like no other!
A full schedule was planned and after a good flight we spent the night in Netanya before our first day of touring. A delightful first day followed with visits to Caesarea, Megiddo and the Nazareth Village Project moving onwards to Tiberias where we were well looked after at the Caesar Premier Hotel.
We started each day with prayer and a Bible Reading on the coach and Marion gave several valuable Biblical inputs at different locations. The group gelled very well and we had a superb time exploring many sites around Galilee and the north with one of the most interesting being a visit to the most northerly kibbutz in Israel at Misgav Am.
Misgav Am is on a finger of land overlooking Southern Lebanon with a wonderful view of the snow capped Mount Hermon to the East. The residents of Misgav Am are stoic and determined and are well aware of the activities of Hezbollah who are accommodated in homes just across the border. A UN post is visible but there is scepticism of the effectiveness of the UN contingent who are apparently oblivious to the activities of Hezbollah. Misgav Am did suffer an incursion by terrorists in the early eighties which resulted in several fatalities and the deaths of the terrorist gang.
After a few days in the Galilee region we moved on to Jerusalem – it was obvious that the situation with Covid 19 was getting worse, we had a couple of days with our Coach, driver and guide but then all the sites closed and the driver and guide were not allowed to work. This left me with the responsibility to continue to lead the group on walking tours of Jerusalem.
Praise God we were allowed out of the hotel and for two days we walked around Jerusalem initially we walked from the hotel towards the Old City and then entered via the Damascus Gate and headed for the Western Wall and enjoyed walking through all the quarters of the Old City stopping briefly in Hulva Square where pictures were taken of the Golden Menorah near the Hulva Synagogue.
We were able to call for a coffee at Christchurch near the Jaffa Gate but only one person at a time was allowed in because of the impact of Covid 19.
The following day we hired taxis to take us to the viewing platform on the Mount of Olives and spent some time looking over the Old City before walking the traditional Palm Sunday route across the Kidron Valley and through the Lion Gate with some more sightseeing in the Old City. The streets were very quiet and the hustle and bustle normally experienced was notably absent. There were very few other groups left in Israel.
Our Tour was cut short by one day and our agents managed to get a flight back to Heathrow and for those of us who should have been flying back to Manchester transport was arranged. As we left our hotel it was closed and all the staff were redundant as was the case with so many in the tourism industry.
I was very impressed with the humour and cooperation of the wonderful group of people who came on the tour. They were so supportive, friendly and understanding that it made my job much easier than it could have otherwise been.
God willing when this pandemic is over and some degree of normality has returned I intend to arrange another tour to Israel with several of the group intimating that they want to go back.
Maybe next year in Jerusalem?
Mike & Marion Kerry