2024 Israel Christmas Tour with Gerrit & Angie Dirkmaat

Dates December 27, 2024 - January 7, 2025
Destination Tel Aviv; Caesarea; Nazareth; Sea of Galilee; Capernaum; Dead Sea; Jerusalem; Bethlehem;
Duration 12 days 11 nights
Price From 3,095
Printable Flyer

Religious Focus:


Activity Level:

Walking Level:

Come join BYU Professor Gerrit Dirkmaat in 2024 and let Israel come alive for you as you travel your own personal journey through the Holy Land.

Israel means different things to different people. Whether looking for answers to life's challenges or to solidify your testimony of Christ's life and the Atonement, a visit to the Holy Land will change you forever.

Walking in the footsteps of the Savior will bring you peace, hope, and understanding. You can bring your scripture study to life as you visit sites such as the Garden of Gethsemane, Bethlehem, Qumran & Masada, Caesarea, the Mt of Beatitudes & many important sites on the Sea of Galilee to name a few. Now is the time to visit Israel and have the experience of a lifetime.

**Please note: due to the nature of this tour, you must be able to climb stairs and walk unassisted at a moderate pace. You will walk an average of 4-6 miles each day. The days are full of touring from breakfast to dinner time with "down time" only in the evening.

Tour ID #9224L25

To book this tour contact your favorite Morris Columbus Travel advisor or the Group Tour Manager listed below:

Dani Edmunds, Tour Manager
Tel: (801) 483-6114
Email - dedmunds@morrismurdock.com 

Day 1: Friday, December 27, 2024
Day 1: Friday, December 27, 2024

Depart USA to Tel Aviv

Today we will board our flight to travel to Israel. See you in Tel Aviv soon! 

Meals : In-flight
Day 2: Saturday, December 28, 2024
Day 2: Saturday, December 28, 2024

Tel Aviv

Welcome to Israel! As you begin your journey in this ancient land, you will notice that the mountains have hidden secrets, and the old ruins have legends. For 3,000 years on this small patch of land, men have toiled and battled; prayed and worshiped; and added their own small humanity to the history of this country. Listen and let the land of Israel tell you the stories of its past.

Meals : Dinner
Day 3: Sunday, December 29, 2024
Day 3: Sunday, December 29, 2024

Caesarea - Mt. Carmel - Megiddo - Cana

And on the morrow, they entered into Caesarea; Cornelius thy prayer is heard." Enter Caesarea, the remains of a city founded by Herod, the residence of Pontius Pilate, and a prison for Paul. Sit in the well-preserved amphitheater overlooking the blue sea and hear the story of Paul's conversion of the Centurion.  The scenery begins to change to the beautiful green pastures and high rolling hills of the Jezreel Valley as we approach Mt Carmel where the prophet Elijah and the priests of Baal contested their faith. Not far away is Megiddo, the tragic site of ancient bloody battles where nations were won and lost. Upon these same tragic fields, the great and terrible last battle of Armageddon will be fought.  As we make our way toward the Sea of Galilee, we will stop by the church in Cana that celebrates the 1st miracle performed by Christ when he turned water into wine at the wedding. 

Meals : Breakfast, Dinner
Day 4: Monday, December 30, 2024
Day 4: Monday, December 30, 2024

Mt Tabor - Nazareth - Beit Shean

Shabbot Shalom - This is the official Jewish greeting on the Sabbath, and we have a great day planned.

"And he lifted up his hands and blessed them while he blessed them; he was carried up into heaven." Mount Tabor is one of the mountains traditionally claimed to be the site of the transfiguration of Jesus Christ. You will thrill by the almost hair-raising taxi ride up the mountain, but once at the summit, you will feel the peace and calm of the surrounding valley. We journey next to Nazareth, the quaint town where Jesus Christ spent his childhood, learned his earthly vocation as a carpenter, and grew and waxed strong in spirit. We will visit a recreated town from Christ's time and visit with the villagers to learn what life was like for Jesus as a boy. This afternoon we will travel to the ancient tel of Bet She'an, where 6,000 years of civilization seem to unfold among the ruins. It is believed to be the very Bet She'an of the Old Testament where the former King of Israel, Saul, was fastened to the city wall without his head by the conquering Philistines. We will end our day with a visit to the beautiful state park Sahne. 

Meals : Breakfast, Dinner
Day 5: Tuesday, December 31, 2024
Day 5: Tuesday, December 31, 2024

Banias- Sea of Galilee - Jordan River

Besides a place of great natural beauty Banias is the site of ancient Caesarea Philippi, where Jesus demanded to know of His disciples who people were saying He was. As we make our way back south towards the Sea of Galilee you see to see some of the rich farmland that has made Israel one of the leading agriculture leaders of the world.

This afternoon you will sail upon the Sea of Galilee to view the area of Jesus Christ's early ministry. As the wind carries your boat, note the halo of mountains that surrounds its shores. Our last visit will be at the Yardenit Baptismal Site on the banks of the Jordan River. It is here that people from around the world, representing diverse denominations, still come to be baptized. 

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 6: Wednesday, January 1, 2025
Day 6: Wednesday, January 1, 2025

Mount of Beatitudes - Tabgha - Capernaum - Magdala

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! The Mount of Beatitudes where Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount is always a highlight to visitors. Here you can see how it was possible for Jesus to teach the multitude all at the same time. From here we will visit Tabgha, the site of the miracle of the loaves and fishes. There is a beautiful Byzantine mosaic on the floor of this miracle that you will not want to miss. Next, we visit Capernaum, where Jesus lived and recruited his first followers among the fishermen. The well-preserved city will amaze you as you sit in the synagogue and imagine Jesus' teaching and performing miracles for the masses. Our last stop of the day is Magdala. Here one can find a first-century synagogue, a complete first-century city, and remains of a once prosperous fish processing industry.

Meals : Breakfast, Dinner
Day 7: Thursday, January 2, 2025
Day 7: Thursday, January 2, 2025

Bethabara - Qumran - Dead Sea - Masada - Jerusalem

As we leave the fertile valleys of the Galilee, we enter the strange and barren desert of the Dead Sea. Once the Biblical Lands of Moab and Edom, the Dead Sea basin has been a refuge to prophets, zealots, and outcasts throughout time. Our first stop is Bethabara the site where the Savior was baptized by John the Baptist. Buried in the beige limestone bluffs, the ruins of Qumran still tell the story of the essences, a reclusive Jewish sect that buried the now famous Dead Sea Scrolls. From the desert floor, ascend by cable car to the spectacular cliff-top fortress of Masada, where a community of 960 Jews preferred death at their own hands to the indignity of surrender to the overwhelming Roman forces. While at the Dead Sea, you cannot miss the opportunity to enjoy a dip in the buoyant waters and bathe in the wonderful medicinal mud! Even Cleopatra sent her slaves to retrieve this magical mud to preserve her legendary beauty. This evening we will journey to the beloved city of Jerusalem. 

Meals : Breakfast, Dinner
Day 8: Friday, January 3, 2025
Day 8: Friday, January 3, 2025

Western Wall - Dome of the Rock Old City - Old Jerusalem

The Western Wall is the most important site in all of Jewish civilization because these rough massive stones are all that is left of the great Second Temple. Revered and honored, the Jews wait and hope for the day they will rebuild their third and final temple upon these sacred remnants. Above the wall is Mount Moriah where the Islamic shrine, the Dome of the Rock, is located. Entering the oldest quarter of Jerusalem, follow the winding alleys and crowded streets to the Pools of Bethesda and learn about their importance. We will discover the ancient city beneath the modern streets where the old paving stones are carved with Roman games at Antonia Fortress. Located in the old quarter of Jerusalem is the site believed to be the Room of the Last Supper. Devoid of gilded statues or ornate chapels, the quiet simplicity and elegance of this room help one to focus on the words of Christ and the poignant last moments with his beloved disciples. Our last stop will be at the House of Caiaphas, which owns the dark and sad dungeon that once imprisoned the Savior. To experience the cold dismal cells and feel the sorrow and grieving of such a place, brings understanding and gratitude to our hearts.  

Meals : Breakfast, Dinner
Day 9: Saturday, January 4, 2025
Day 9: Saturday, January 4, 2025

Sacrament Services at the BYU Jerusalem Center - Bethlehem - Free Time in the Old City

This morning begins with sacrament services at the BYU Jerusalem Center. Next, we drive to the town of Bethlehem for it was here that the Light of the World was given life. Pilgrimages, sacred holidays, and festivities occur all year long to celebrate the birth of Christ. Tradition holds that the small humble inn with just a stable for lodging was located where the Church of the Nativity now stands. Shepherds still tend their flocks on the fields overlooking Bethlehem just as they did over 2,000 years ago when the angel appeared bringing them glad tidings of great joy. Gathered on these fields, we sing the beloved hymns and listen to the wondrous story - a moment not to be forgotten. Lunch will be included today in a Bedouin Tent restaurant overlooking the shepherds’ field. Later this afternoon we will have some free time to go back into the Old City to revisit sites or to finish shopping for treasures to take home. 

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 10: Sunday, January 5, 2025
Day 10: Sunday, January 5, 2025

Sifting Project -Israel Museum - Davidson Center Archaeological Park – City of David – Hezekiah’s Tunnel

This morning we get our hands in the dirt as we have a special opportunity to participate in a sifting project of dirt taken from under the Dome of the Rock and the City of David. Here we can find bone, pottery and possibly an ancient coin! Next, discover the treasures of the Israel Museum and the Shrine of the Book, the site chosen to house the Dead Sea Scrolls. This unique building is shaped like the ancient pottery in which the precious scrolls lay hidden for thousands of years. While we are there, we will get to see the Holy Land Model, a unique scale model of Jerusalem at the time of Christ. The model visually explains the layout of the ancient city as well as the design and magnitude of the Second Temple. After lunch we visit the Davidson Center Archaeological Park at the base of the Temple Mount to visit the Southern Steps of the 2nd temple. Our last stop will be at the City of David to explore the ancient waterway of Hezekiah’s Tunnel! When Jerusalem was preparing defenses against the approaching Assyrian army in the 8th century B.C.E., King Hezekiah decided to protect the water source by diverting its flow deep into the city with an impressive tunnel system. This engineering feat was accomplished by digging a 1,750-foot tunnel into the mountain we can explore today.

Meals : Breakfast, Dinner
Day 11: Monday, January 6, 2025
Day 11: Monday, January 6, 2025

Mount of Olives - Gethsemane - Garden Tomb

This morning we visit the Mount of Olives on whose slopes the Garden of Gethsemane lies nestled. Feel the powerful spirit in the Garden as you envision the momentous events which took place at this sacred site. We will walk through the Church of All Nations, also known as the Church or Basilica of the Agony, a Roman Catholic church located on the Mount of Olives, next to the Garden of Gethsemane. It enshrines a section of bedrock where Jesus is said to have prayed before his arrest. Following lunch we will stop at the beautiful Garden Tomb, there is a limestone hill, which many revere as Golgotha, site of the crucifixion. Just around that hill is an old cemetery with an ancient tomb that once held the Savior's mortal body and saw its glorious resurrection. There is a sign on the door of the tomb that says, do not look for Him here for He is risen. You will never forget this moment in your life as you look for Him, not in the tomb but within your own life.

Tonight, we will have a farewell dinner together as we prepare to leave the land we have grown to love to travel back home. Following dinner, we drive to the Tel Aviv airport. After clearing immigration and customs, you will transfer to the connecting gate for your flight back home with memories to last a lifetime.

Meals : Breakfast, Dinner
Day 12: Tuesday, January 7, 2025
Day 12: Tuesday, January 7, 2025

Travel from Israel to Home City

Arrive USA. Welcome Home!!

Meals : In-flight

Highlights of the Tour:

  • 1 tour-bus experience for the whole tour!
  • Morris Murdock LDS tour Director for the whole trip along with local guides
  • We include all tipping for hotels and restaurants where meals provided.
  • Licensed, insured, and bonded travel agency with 60 years of experience! It matters who you travel with!
  • VERY INCLUSIVE rate - tour, transportation, tips for Israeli guide and driver, taxes, breakfast & dinner daily!

Included for Israel Tour:

  • Accommodations tourist class 4/5-star hotels
  • Meals as indicated on the itinerary 
  • Local Israeli guide & LDS Tour Director Gerrit Dirkmaat
  • Entrance fees and all activities as specified in itinerary
  • Hotel porterage - 1 bag per person
  • Audio hearing system throughout the tour
  • Experienced LDS guide traveling and Services of a bilingual licensed Israel tour guide throughout tour
  • Minimum prepaid gratuities for your Israeli guide and driver
  • Transfers via deluxe air-conditioned motor coaches
  • Group transfers
  • Destination study and informational book
  • Travel bag and document package

Not Included:

  • Round-trip air to and from Tel Aviv
  • Additional transfer when not arriving or departing with the group
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Travel Insurance
  • Meals not specified in itinerary
  • Gratuities for MMET tour leader

Pricing Options:

  • Double Occupancy - $3,095 per person
  • Triple Occupancy - $3,095 per person (limited availability)
  • Single Occupancy - $3,956 per person
  • $100 cash discount per person available when you pay with a check or ACH after the deposit

Payment Terms:

  • Deposit of $500 per person due at the booking 
  • Final payment is due September 27, 2024
  • Terms & Conditions