As a special series, we’ve asked different friends of Immanuel Tours to share their own experiences and favorite parts of tours they’ve been on with Immanuel Tours. This week, one of the favorite tour guides, Yoni Simmons, is sharing his favorite places to teach others from around the world about the Holy Land. We hope you enjoy and you will consider having a tour led by Yoni with Immanuel Tours!
My name is Yoni Simmons and I am an Israeli tour guide who works for Immanuel Tours. I was born in the United States to a Jewish father and Christian mother (who both are believers)who decided to move to Israel when I was just 3 years old as an act faith in God and a desire to be part of the Jewish destiny. I served in the IDF and had a variety of other experiences before experiencing grace myself and becoming a Christian tour guide. My wife and I have 3 children who we are also raising in faith.
I would like to share with you two of my favorite regions in the land which I always am happy to see on the tour itinerary:
Golan Heights (Located in Northern Israel along the Syrian border)
The Judaean Desert (Located East of Jerusalem and down the the Dead Sea)
Two very different landscapes that nevertheless both are beautiful and have a rich history.
The Golan Heights borders Israel to the north and has plenty of water sources. Due to the distance from Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, it has a low population that protects the natural landscape of a volcanic canyon overlooking the Galilee.
There are archeological and sites of human evidence that are scattered around in different sites that are worthy to visit:
Tel Dan: One of the water sources of the Jordan River, you can actually walk in the footsteps of Abraham as he goes on a rescue mission to save Lot, his nephew. Also we can see the evidence of the split between Israel and Judah, a worship center not only away from the Temple but also far from the God of Abraham, spoken of as “High Places”.
Another source of the Jordan is Banias known as Ceasaria Philippi were Peter admitted that he is following the son of God, Jesus amidst a town dedicated to the worship of the Greek god, Pan.
I love to finish the day next to the highest mountain in Israel, Mount Hermon, as we look down into Syria and view the road to Damascus remembering Paul’s words as he is blinded by the light ” who are you, Lord?”
This is also the place to remember the brave Israelis who stopped the Syrian attack in 1973 for the Yom Kippur War, which was seen as a miracle at what is now known as “The Valley of Tears” overlooking Syria. You can still see tanks from the fight still in position.
The second region I love is the Judaean Desert, quite opposite to the fertile Golan. It’s harsh and dry but still overwhelming beautiful land with great sites:
The world famous historical Masada to me personally a reminder of a different dispensation that effected the world 2000 years ago, as Jewish people made their last stand against the Roman empire on this mount. Although the temple was destroyed and they became a scattered people among the nation’s, today Israel is once again the home land of the Jewish people, sacrifice for sin no longer needed.
Ein Gedi is also located in the Judean Desert, an oasis where David sought refuge as he was running for his life. Here you you can see wildlife panting for its fresh cool, life-giving waters, just as spoken of in the Psalms.
The mineral rich waters of the Dead Sea beckon visitors from around the world to take a float in the waters so salty you actually float.
Finally one of the most important archeological sites in all of human history are in the Judean Desert: Qumran. It is here where the Dead Sea Scrolls were written by a dedicated Jewish sect called “Essenes” and where the scrolls were hidden in caves to be found two thousand years later and helped give substantial credence to the correctness of our Bible today.
So brothers and sisters, looking forward to seeing you soon in Jerusalem! Until we meet again, when I shall say, “THANK YOU FOR COMING TO ISRAEL!!!”
If you would like to plan a tour led by Yoni, please CONTACT OUR TOUR OPERATORS for assistance in planning your perfect tour!