Project Description

Olive Harvest

October 18 to 31, 2020

Holy Land Trust Olive Harvest Program is a response to the Israeli military and Israeli settler movement uprooting, poisoning and setting fire to hundreds and hundreds of olive trees each year. We organize this harvest activity as a means to stand in solidarity with the indigenous communities to stay on their lands. Because of the necessity and importance of the program, the Olive Harvest has been one of Holy Land Trust’s longest-running programs. Whether it is a day trip or a two-week trip, each year we facilitate hundreds of participants to go out with Palestinian farmers to pick their olives from their groves. Join us in the fall for this crucial activity and couple it with one of our fact-finding tours to place the olive harvest in the broader context of the Holy Land.

  • International Focus – Every year we intentionally unfold a broad marketing push to ensure that we have a large representation on the tour, recognizing that diversity is crucial in developing a robust advocacy program to curtail the destruction of indigenous agricultural. Holy Land Trust has had participants from over 45 different countries
  • Authentic Experiences – Our approach to the Olive Harvest Program is emphasizing building relationships with communities, spending time with the families, and learning from their experiences. We find that through several days connecting with the family, this creates the emotional connection to stay committed to the communities.
  • 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 listen to 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 work hard to make sure you’re comfortable, yet challenged – but most of all feel supported.
  • Career Advancement – The Olive Harvest Program is the perfect program to establish new connections and continue to develop a network in the Holy Land to expand your work and interests in peacebuilding.

A brief look at the itinerary and the costs

Here is a look at a sample schedule of the Olive Harvest program. These schedules are always built in coordination with th group leader. Some groups put more of an emphasis on working directly in the communities, others invest more time in travelling and meeting with NGO’s. The choice is completely up to you. 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

Devotion at Shepherd’s Field 

Olive Picking – Field work  

Geo political tour of Bethlehem (Rachel Tomb & Aida Refugee Camp)

Church of Nativity 

Debriefing session at Hotel

Day 3 Day 4
Olive Picking Olive Picking
Day 5 Day 6
Olive Picking Olive Picking
Day 7 Day 8
Lunch and free time in Bethlehem

Dinner and overnight in Bethlehem

Full day visit Nazareth and Sea of Galilee 

Dinner and overnight in Bethlehem 

Day 9 Day 10
Guided tour of the Old City of Jerusalem 

Guided tour of Holocaust Museum 

Olive Picking 

Olive wood factory and shop 

Day 11 Day 12
All day tour in Hebron Visit Qumran: Camel Riding, Dead Sea and Jericho 
Day 13 Day 12
Farewell dinner in Bethlehem with Holy Land Trust team Departure

The price per person sharing double room is 1750 US$ includes 

  • All necessary land transportation during the tour includes airport pick up and transfer
  • Sightseeing in deluxe private air-conditioned motorcoach
  • Accommodations for 11 nights in Bethlehem – 2 nights in Nazareth specified in the itinerary
  • Breakfast and dinner at Hotel daily
  • Coffee, tea with breakfast daily
  • Service charges, portage, and taxes for accommodations
  • Daily Lunches  with soft drinks
  • Cultural activity
  • Services of a licensed English-speaking guide for the field trips specified in the itinerary
  • All entrance fees as described in the itinerary
  • Honorarium fees for speakers and organizations
  • Tips for driver, tour guide, restaurants 

Does not include 

Flight ticket , 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

Up To Date Curriculum

As the new historical evidence and research emerges, as the political dynamics on the ground and internationally shift, Holy Land Trust continues to update our curriculum to reflect these shifting relaties. We always push ourselves as an organization to shape the contours of the program make it both relevant, but progressive. But with the Olive Harvest, we also make sure to put a focus on the regional development of Israeli settlements and how that impacts the local communities.

From ancient times we explore the historical connection between the indigenous people and the olive tree, how it has represented more than just food and commerce, but how it is intimately connected to peace and justice. We then move to exam how olive trees have been systematically destroyed since 1948, and in many cases, replaced with non-indigenous foresty by the Israeli government and the subsequent degradation of the environment.

During your time with the families, you delve deeper into rural life and learn how these communities center their life on the land. You’ll learn customs, historical narratives, and a way of life that in many ways, is very different than living in the urban centers of Jerusalem, Ramallah, and Bethlehem.

As you get to know more about the role the olive industry plays in the economic development of the Holy Land, you’ll come to understand why Israeli policies specifically target the olive trees as a mechanism for displacement – a key feature in any program of settler-colonialism. From here, you will learn about the different initiatives enacted by Palestinian, Israeli and international NGO’s to change the legal landscape and safeguard the rights of the indigenous people.

You’ll find that working hand-and-hand with these local communities leads to a greater sense of the Palestinian concept of “Sumud,” – steadfastness. Through these experiences of solidarity, our participants come to a deeper understanding of what it means to live under and resist systems of oppression.

What to expect after your Olive Harvest program?

With the amount of time you spend directly in the communities, the biggest take away is the authentic relationship you gain by living the Palestinian lifestyle. Unlike other tours that focus more ongoing form city to city, the centering of this tour on a handful of communities really creates an environment to connect in intimate ways with the families.

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 strong critique on indigenous resistance to domination. The networks that you build through 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 full 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!

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. 

Join Us

Iktashef

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

Join Us

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. 

Join Us

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.

Join Us

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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