FROM THE DESK OF
Victor Davis Hanson
Dear Friends and Travelers,
For our fourteenth annual military history tour, we plan in 2020, for the first time, to venture beyond Europe. This year we will visit Israel, a nation with a glorious past, often challenging present, and always promising future.
For three millennia, the Jewish people of the Holy Land have been at the crossroads of invasions, war, resistance, and vast cultural, religious, and political changes. The common denominator to all these challenges has been the continued ingenuity, defiance, and religiosity of the Jews in their ancient homeland of Israel.
We plan to focus on biblical sites, less well-known Hellenistic and Roman cities and battlefields, the turbulent warring of the Roman, Byzantine, Arab, Ottoman, and colonial eras, and, especially, the eight decades of struggle to ensure the survival of the modern nation of Israel against overwhelming odds. In addition to familiar biblical figures, we hope you will become well acquainted with diverse names from the past such as Judas Maccabeus, Herod the Great, Simon bar Kokhba, Zenobia, Richard Cœur de Lion, Saladin, T.E. Lawrence, Edmund Allenby, David Ben-Gurion, Moshe Dayan, and Ariel Sharon.
Our tour will be based in Jerusalem, Tel-Aviv and Haifa to ensure focus on visiting the perennial crossroads of Jewish history on the Mediterranean coast, and at the Sea of Galilee, the Dead Sea, the Jordan River, Masada, the Golan Heights, and the many sites of the Old and New Testaments.
Professor Bruce Thornton and I will offer both formal historical, cultural and literary lectures and travel commentaries, and will be aided by guest Israeli opinion journalists, historians, and government officials. Each morning we will begin the day with two scholarly lectures, one on contemporary Israel’s turbulent 73-year history, and another on the role of ancient Israel in the various warring agendas of the Persian Empire, Hellenistic monarchs, Roman and Byzantine Empires, European crusaders, Arab and Ottoman caliphates, and British colonialists—focusing on events such as Vespasian’s destruction of the Temple at Jerusalem (AD 70), the Crusaders' two-century fight over the Holy City of Jerusalem, the 1947, 1956, 1967, and 1973 wars and subsequent smaller conflicts, and the role of Israel during its 50-year old alliance with the United States.
As before, the contemporary world will never be far away, as we review the exodus of the postwar Jewish people from war-torn Europe, the terrorist attacks on Israel by a host of enemies, the transformations of Israel into a high-tech giant and rich oil and natural gas producer, and its often complex relations with contemporary Europe, the Gulf monarchies, China, and Russia. We will again host lively debates about our speakers’ own opinion journalism that will reflect many of the issues that arise from recent controversies in American foreign policies as they affect both our friends and enemies throughout the Middle East.
Al Philipp with All Aboard Travel, as in the past, has arranged for our luxury accommodations, gourmet meals, 24/7 service, and a professionally planned itinerary that seeks to cover an enormous amount of ground in the Israeli countryside.
We hope you can join us.
Victor Davis Hanson