The Holy Land in Turmoil

The Holy Land in Turmoil

A military history tour of Israel


The Holy Land in Turmoil

A military history tour of Israel


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Tour Introduction

This incredible ten-day journey will include visits to battlefields familiar to both Bible and history. We will discuss a gamut of military technologies from ancient to modern and terrain from desert to mountains to woods. The tour will be guided by Cliff Churgin, author of “Battlefields” a history of warfare, contributor to Ancient Warfare Magazine and expert on Israeli history. Throughout the tour Cliff will provide a series of illuminating talks and lectures on Israeli military history from Biblical times right up to the modern day.


Since the dawn of civilization the small strip of land, ultimately known as The Holy Land, has served as a land bridge joining many of the world’s great empires. In the Iron and Bronze Ages, Egyptian, Babylonian and Assyrian armies marched through here fighting for control of cities such as Megiddo and Jaffa. Meanwhile the Israelites struggled against the Midianites, Philistines and others in battles led by men such as Gideon, Barak and King David.

Later came the Romans whose war against the Jews was to leave behind some of the best preserved siege works in the world at Masada. As Europe emerged from the Dark Ages, Crusaders arrived erecting castles like Belvoir and fighting battles such as that at the Horns of Hattin against their Muslim foes. In modern times the Holy Land once more became a focus of warfare – at The Battle of Beer Sheba Australians mounted what many consider the last successful cavalry charge in history and at the Vale of Tears in the Golan Heights a handful of Israeli tanks made a desperate stand against a massive Syrian force. We can even see military history unfolding before us as Israel faces Hamas and Hezbollah in a model of modern asymmetrical warfare.


  • With Israeli expert guide Cliff Churgin
  • Walk the ramparts of the Old City of Jerusalem
  • Visit battlefields familiar to both Bible and history

"Great locations, stunning scenery, outstanding storytelling, efficient tour management and good company made the tour a memorable one"


Day 1 – Depart

Fly London – Tel Aviv. Check-in to our hotel for two nights.

Day 2 – Old Jaffa

Visit Pharaoh Thutmose III’s Egyptian palace. At the Etzel Museum we discuss the battle for Jaffa in Israel’s War of Independence in 1948 and at then onto the Israel Defence Forces History Museum for its fantastic collection of weapons. Thence to the Palmach Museum dedicated to the underground fighters of pre-state Israel.

Day 3. The Western Coast

Visit Apollonia (Arsuf) where Richard the Lionheart fought Saladin to a standstill, then travel to Caesarea a Roman and Crusader stronghold. We visit the Haifa Naval Museum. Thence to Acre, the final Crusader capital to walk its walls and check-in to our hotel for one night.

Day 4 -The Jezreel Valley

A biblical day when we visit: Megido where some believe the biblical final battle of Armageddon will take place; Mt. Saul where the first king of Israel died fighting the Philistines; Ein Harod where Gideon met the Midianites (and where 3,000 years later Orde Wingate trained commandoes to quell an Arab uprising) and Mt. Tabor where Deborah and Barak defeated Sisera and his chariots. Check-in to our hotel in Beit Shean for one night and enjoy a sound and light show.

Day 5 – The Galilee

Visit the Crusader castle of Belvoir, Arbel, where Jewish rebels fought Herod and the Horns of Hattin where Saladin broke the Crusaders. Overnight in Upper Galilee.

Day 6 – The Golan

Travel to Tel Faher, a key battle during the Six Day War. See where a handful of Israeli tanks held up a Syrian assault column at Oz 77 during the famous Battle of the Vale of Tears in 1973. Thence to ancient Gamla mercilessly taken from the Jews by the Romans in the 67 AD (this is an optional walk). Check-in to our Jerusalem hotel for 5 nights.

Day 7 – Jerusalem

An orientation of Jerusalem from Ammunition Hill, site of the Israeli paratroopers’ most famous battle from the 1967 war. Walk the ramparts of the Old City that have been assaulted by Assyrian, Crusader and Israeli alike. End with a walk down from the Mount of Olives to the Western Wall to see the Friday night prayer service.

Day 8 – The Dead Sea

Visit Masada site of the famous siege that ended the Great Jewish Rebellion against Rome, walk through a 2,000 year old Roman siege camp then take a relaxing swim and lunch at the Ein Gedi spa.

Day 9 - The South

Visit Yad Mordechai where a small group of fighters held off the Egyptian army during the 1948 War. Continue in the footsteps of the Egyptian army to Gesher Ad Halom, their farthest northward advance in 1948. At Tel Lachish see the ruins of what was the second largest city in Judea and site of the largest Assyrian siege ramp in existence. Our final visit is to Latrun, the site of several key battles during the 1948 war and which today houses a spectacular international collection of tanks.

Day 10 - The South

Visit Beersheba where General Allenby’s forces broke through the Ottoman lines in 1917, the Israeli Air Force Museum, the remains of Tel Sheva, biblical home of Abraham and the Australian Light Horse Memorial. End the day at Yad Vashem, Israel’s official memorial to the victims of the holocaust.

Day 11 - Jerusalem Hills and Departure

Visit Tel Azeikah, overlooking the Ela Valley, where David and Goliath are believed to have fought each other. Back to Tel Aviv for our return flight to London.

Recommended Reading List

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