This morning check out of your hotel in Jerusalem and drive North with your expert guide, viewing the following places before checking into your hotel in the North.
Your guide will take you to an incredibly beautiful site – Zippori, described by Josephus as “the ornament of the Galilee”.
Zippori was the Galilee’s major centre of commerce from the time of the reign of Herod, through the birth of Jesus, and it is probable that Jesus would have worked in Zippori as a craftsman. In Jewish terms, Zippori is hugely important as the place where the Mishna was redacted by Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi in 220 CE, and modern Judaism was therefore given shape. Evidence of the city’s former glory and sophistication is today seen in the stunning mosaic floors which remain. Of major interest are the ‘Mona Lisa of the Galilee’ (pictured below), the Nile Mosaic, and the floor of the 6th century synagogue. Zippori’s remains also include a Crusader fortress and Roman theatre which once seated 4500 people.
Next for a one hour tour of Kibbutz Degania Beth. The tour will provide you with real insight into the history and present day reality of kibbutz life. You will learn about the theoretical foundations for the kibbutz, both socialist and Zionist, about the important role which the kibbutzim played in the history and defence of the young state of Israel and about the current day challenges they face. You will also visit the kibbutz archive which is found in the home of Eshkol Levi, the former prime minister of Israel. The archives contain fascinating material relating to the early days of the pioneer movement generally and Degania Beth specifically.
Tsfat is the ancient mystical centre of kabbalah, where you will wander through time worn cobbled streets, exploring age old synagogues, ducking in and out of art galleries, craft shops and charming cafes.
Tsfat’s historical sites are diverse: from the graves of important Rabbis, to the impressive crusader Citadel, and the Great Stairs built by the British to separate Jews and Arabs. Tsfat is a magical place where the ancient stones invite you to reach and touch them, to feel the layers of human history, and the breeze asks you to listen out for the tales it whispers.