Project Description

Encounter & Study Program

This tour invites you to see firsthand what is going on in Palestine and Israel. You will hear stories of the people who live here (living Stones) and taste the incredible food and cuisine of Palestine. In the morning, you will wake to the smell the freshly brewed Arabic Coffee being prepared daily by your host family before visiting religious and historical sites in the Holy Land. You will meet politicians, clergy, and community leaders, as well as members of peace organizations and activists representing the different sides in this unique Holy Land experience.

  • International Focus – No nation operates in a vacuum – particularly not Israel-Palestine. During your tour, we will unpack the broader historical and political roles that the international community has played in configuring the power dynamics in the Holy Land.
  • Authentic Experiences – Our approach to our Encounter & Study programs is to integrate you into the community as much as possible, setting the table for you to ask the hard questions with those around you. The foundation of all our work is honest, open, and transparent relationships. This is where real learning takes place.
  • Focus On People – Analysis from the NGO world is crucial, but the vehicle to transport the message home is always through the personal stories you here while on this land. It is through the richness of connecting with the local people that you truly grasp the situation here on the ground.
  • Participant Dedication – With over 20 years of experience, we understand that this space can be difficult to navigate. Our staff and community network works hard to make sure you’re comfortable, yet challenged – but most of all, feel supported.
  • Career Advancement – The Encounter & Study Program is the perfect program to enter into the discussion, establish new connections and continue to develop a network in the Holy Land to expand your work and interests in peacebuilding.
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A brief look at the itinerary and the costs

Here is a look at a sample schedule of the Encounter & Study Program. Because the situation on the ground is always so fluid, with emerging interests shifting from month to month, we customize each program to meet the realities on the ground.

Fact-Finding Tour Sample Schedule
Day 1 Day 2
Arrival Day & Welcome Activity Nazareth & Haifa
Day 3 Day 4
Golan Heights & Galilee Region Geo-Political tour of Bethlehem ( Wall & Refugee Camp)
Day 5 Day 6
Bethlehem Jerusalem
Day 7 Day 8
Jerusalem Hebron
Day 9 Day 10
Ramallah Jordan Valley, Dead Sea & Jericho
Day 11
Departure

 Program costs 3899 US$ which includes

  • Round trip Economy class air flight ticket from USA to Tel Aviv
  • All necessary land transportation during the tour includes airport pick up and transfer
  • Sightseeing in deluxe private air-conditioned motor coach
  • Accommodations for 8 nights in Bethlehem – 2 nights in Nazareth specified in the itinerary in 4 Star Hotel
  • Breakfast and dinner at Hotel daily
  • Coffee, tea with breakfast daily
  • Service charges, portage and taxes for accommodations
  • Daily Lunches  with soft drinks
  • Cultural dinner in a Bedouin style restaurant
  • Services of a licensed English-speaking guide
  • All entrance fees as described in the itinerary
  • Boat ride at Sea of Galilee
  • Entry to Dead Sea
  • Honorarium fees for speakers and organizations
  • Tips for driver , tour guide, restaurants
  • 1 Free person every 20 paying passengers

Does not include 

Travel insurance,  lunches on arrival and departure day, costs for items not on table d’hôte menus such as water or other beverages at dinner. Laundry, telephone calls, or services other than those specifically mentioned.

Check on “Early Bird” rates and special assistance rates. Email Encounter@Holylandtrust.org

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Up To Date Curriculum

As the new historical evidence and research emerge, as the political dynamics on the ground and internationally shift, Holy Land Trust continues to update our curriculum to reflect these shifting realities. We always push ourselves as an organization to shape the contours of the program make it both relevant, but progressive.

Starting from Biblical times, the Encounter & Study Program charts out the historical moments that have shaped the current realities on the ground. Work through the rise of anti-Semitism, how those acts of violence spurred the Zionists movement and eventually developed into a program of settler colonialism – displacing some 750,000 Palestinians in 1948. From there, we move into the different movements of resistance, unpacking the violent trajectories, the various forms of nonviolent resistance, and how that has led to the current political stalemate.

The Holy Land is a land of diversity. While people oftentimes break this down into binary terms – Israeli/Palestinian – that couldn’t be further from the truth. On this land, we have Palestinian Arabs, which can have a multitude of religious identities – Muslim, Christian, Jewish, and all the rest. There is an Armenian diaspora community with their own unique culture and language they have preserved overtime. There are Bedouin and Druze communities which have a very complicated relationship within the settler colonial system. Within this, we go further into the analysis of complexity of the Jewish communities that live here, who came to settle on the land from far off places like Iran, Ethiopia, different parts of Europe and the former Soviet Union and how that interplay between those groups lead to fascinating dynamics during the formation of Israeli politics. Understanding the ways these groups of people have preserved their culture and heritage over time is crucial to how nonviolent resistance works and doesn’t work within systems of oppression.

With our strong network to the NGO community, we organize meetings with the most significant humanitarian and political organizations – international, Israeli, and Palestinian – to give you a broader understanding of the system of settler colonialism, the impact on the native communities. Then in return, we look at different implications of international, indigenous resistance movements, and tactics and strategies.

One of the unique features of our Encounter & Study program is our integrative “homestay” program. By staying the night with families, you have an opportunity to have your own open space to talk about difficult questions that you might not otherwise ask in group settings. Our host families who have been working with us for decades fully understand that it is only through open and honest conversations that people truly grow and invest themselves into peacemaking.

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What to expect after your Encounter & Study program?

Your tour will result in new information and a deeper understanding of how Israel’s program of settler colonialism has manifested itself, as well as a sharp critique on indigenous resistance to domination. The networks that build through the tour with other international participants, the NGO’s you meet and visit with, as well as local civic leaders on the ground in places like Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and Ramallah set the table for you to stay fully immersed and engaged in meaningful ways.

  • Explore all the historical sites and political centers of the Holy Land: Ramallah, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Hebron, Bethlehem and more!

  • Develop connections with the leading NGO’s that are working to create a better, sustainable future of peace and justice in the Holy Land.

  • Engage in over a dozen lectures that range from the themes of the Nakba to constructs of Jewish identity.

  • Eat all the authentic Palestinian and Israeli dishes you can handle!

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Additional Tours

Olive Harvest

Join us in the Palestinian communities during this sacred time. Stand in solidarity with the local villages as they harvest their crops. 

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Iktashef

This summer-long journey is specifically geared for those looking for a deeper investment into the dynamics shaping the Holy Land. 

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House Rebuilding

We are called to be a light. Rebuilding a home for a Palestinian family is a tangible way you can give hope for all future generations. 

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Christian Pilgrimage

For many, a chance to visit the Holy Land on a pilgrimage and walk in the footsteps of Jesus Christ represents a turning point in their spiritual journey.

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Fact-Finding Tour

Our 14-day Fact-Finding Tour gives you a schedule with meeting with religious leaders, politicians, and community activists tools for peacemaking.

Join Us

Meet the staff

 
Elias Deis
Executive Director
Holy Land Trust’s E.D., Elias Deis has worked for over a decade at Holy Land Trust. He was formally the Travel & Encounter Program Director and serves on the Beit Sahour City Council.
Lara Mitri
BLF Director
Lara Mitri is the Bethlehem Live Festival Director, ensuring that the festival creates an inclusive space that promotes a message of social justice on a global scale.
Said Zarzar
Creative Manager
Said Zarzar is the Creative Manager of Holy Land Trust, organizing the event planning for Bet Lahem Live, as well as the lead coordinator for the Travel & Encounter Department.
Sami Awad
Sami Awad
Founder | Programs Developer
Sami Awad, the founder and former executive director of Holy Land Trust, has spent a lifetime working the infield of community development and leadership training.

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