Heavy Rains Now – Snow on the Way

Israel has been blessed with an unusually wet winter already, and severe rain has been experienced all over the country since Saturday. However, the rain is expected to turn to snow beginning as early as Wednesday PM. That means you may see scenes like these:

mt hermon snow

Mt. Hermon covered in snow. Photo courtesy of BiblePlaces.com

One of the most common questions asked about the climate/weather in Israel is, “Does it ever snow?” Many are surprised to hear that it does actually snow in Israel, and that Israel has a ski area in the Golan Heights on Mt. Hermon, which is on the northern border that is shared with Lebanon and Syria. By the way, there is a clue in the Bible that Israel gets snow: Isaiah 1:18, “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be made whiter than snow.”

You can find out more about this ski area, listed by Popular Mechanics as one of “The World’s 18 Strangest Ski Resorts,” at the Ski Hermon website.

Mt. of Olives cemetery with snow. Photo courtesy of BiblePlaces.com

Mt. of Olives cemetery with snow. Photo courtesy of BiblePlaces.com

Every other year or so, the higher elevations of the country also get snow, sometimes pretty heavy snows.

In this photo, the cemetery on the Mt of Olives has a nice blanket of snow. In the distance, you can see the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem.

If you are interested to know more about the weather in Israel, you can see The Weather Channel’s 10-day forecast here.

All of the precipitation is good news. Not only does it mean stunningly beautiful touring in the late winter and spring, it also replenishes the Sea of Galilee, which has reached dangerously low water levels.

Scavenger Hunt – Bedouin

The Bedouin, or traditional Arab wanderer, are fascinating people with an unsurpassed sense of hospitality. If you can get a photo of a Bedouin you get 10 points. If you can get a photo of YOU with a Bedouin you get 20 points. If you can get a photo of you having tea or coffee with a Bedouin you get 30 points.

Can we have a 4×4 tour?

Discipleship Travel LLC can schedule a 4×4 tour for all or a portion of the group.

Groups that are interested in a 4×4 tour have a variety of terrain options: the mountains of the Galilee and Golan Heights, along the upper section of the Jordan River, along the beach on the Mediterranean coast, or in the Judean Wilderness. We can also schedule a 4×4 tour in conjunction with an evening meal with the Bedouin in the Negev Desert.

 

Can we have a baptismal service?

For groups that desire a baptismal service, a visit to the Yardenit baptismal site at the Jordan River will be included in the itinerary. This is a beautiful setting at the south end of the Sea of Galilee where the Jordan River exits the lake.

The facility requires the use of a rental gown/robe.* Included in the $10 rental fee** is use of the changing room and warm showers, a towel, hair brush and a baptism certificate suitable for framing. Other services that are available for purchase*** include a videographer that offers a video of the group’s baptismal service, a professional still photographer is usually on site, a full service restaurant, a snack bar, and an extensive gift shop.

Our guides and teachers do not lead the baptism service or perform any baptisms. Those responsibilities are left to the group leader who is typically a pastor.

* If you think you may get baptized, for reasons of modesty, you should bring a swimsuit or other suitable covering to wear under the baptismal robe.

** The rental fee is not included in the tour price. Only those using this service are required to pay the fee.

*** The cost of any additional services are not included in the tour price and are the responsibility of the user.

Is a trip to Israel really worth the cost?

Many people wonder if a trip to Israel is worth the cost. One might think the automatic answer from a travel agency is YES! However, we at Discipleship Travel LLC realize there are many factors that determine a trip’s value. We also realize that not all Israel Tours are the same, neither are all travelers.

Two major problems that we have seen many times are tour companies that are focused on making as much money as possible and tourists that are interested in a vacation more than learning the Bible. In the case of the former, the package prices are higher, sometimes considerably, and it seems there is more time spent shopping than touring. In the case of the latter, the tourist gets frustrated because things are different than back home, the hotel or food or entertainment isn’t what they expected, or the days are too long. In both cases, we think the trip isn’t worth the cost.

Discipleship Travel LLC focuses on providing value for your investment by keeping costs as low as possible, using guides who are paid and tipped well so they don’t feel the need to have endless shopping stops, and prepping the groups for a true study tour.

Because we believe the Bible is not just a holy book – it is a life changing book – we are committed to emphasizing learning the Bible on location. Our tours are not designed to give a cursory look at a few sights each day and go shopping. Instead, while we do provide shopping opportunities, we spend the bulk of our time visiting biblical sights and studying on location. We intend for our guests to not only do pre-trip reading, but to also bring their Bibles on locations and begin to read them more intelligently and “see the stories in color.” We also seek out of the ordinary learning opportunities. For example, on one occasion Craig met a holocaust survivor in the breakfast line and asked him to speak to the group on the bus before they left for the day. You can read the story here.

You may also find the testimony of these people helpful in answering whether our tours are worth the price.