Project Description

Jaffa Gate, Jerusalem Old City

Salaam Cultural Awareness Travel: Israel, Palestine, and Jordan

JUNE 15 – JUNE 29, 2020

This tour connects our participants to the deep history of the Holy Land through the intimate sharing of the local people. This intimate context provides a broader canvas of understanding when we visit the historical site, engage with the cultural performances, and civic and religious leaders.

For many, these tours a life-changing experience, not just by traveling the ancient lands and unpacking the legendary stories that have shaped it, but the deep relationships you make with people unfurl a completely different way of life than our own.


No, but we will travel with and interact with people of multiple religions! We will have the chance to visit religious sites that are considered holy for Muslims, Christians, and Jews, and we will learn how people of each religion use their faith to bring both division and peace. The focus of this trip is not to visit holy sites, but to have a cultural immersion experience and to humbly learn from peacemakers in Israel, Palestine, and Jordan.

This trip will have you immersed in the culture of Israel, Palestine and Jordan on day ONE. You’ll have the chance to encounter peace and justice leaders from all faiths and see first-hand how the conflict in Israel and Palestine impacts daily life for locals. You will leave this trip having a better understanding of the conflict in the Middle East and the history that created the current conflict. You will interact with Muslims, Druze, Jews, and Christians, and be immersed in Arab culture. Many trips that travel to Israel skip Palestine and never stay in the West Bank. Instead, we’ve chosen to focus our attention on giving a voice to those who are often ignored. We will spend multiple days in the West Bank.

Absolutely! You will be paired with another solo traveler for your hotel stays. If you would like to have your own room, you’ll need to pay an additional $900 for the trip. If you or we cannot find another solo traveler for you to be paired with, you will need to pay the additional $900 for a single room.

Yes. The news that you hear about rockets and violence centers around Gaza. We will be staying far away from Gaza. It is more likely that you would be killed in a car accident (or shooting!) here in the United States. If, for some reason, violence spreads outside of Gaza to an area where we are scheduled to visit, we will adjust our trip accordingly.

We’ll travel to Tel Aviv by plane and then will travel by air conditioned bus for the rest of the sites. We will have a licensed tour guide with us for the entire trip, as well as an experienced bus driver.

You’ll experience a mix of Middle Eastern & Western food. Hotel breakfasts and dinners often serve a variety of food, including western selections. Lunches will be on the go and often will be Middle Eastern (think falafel, chicken kabob, pita bread and hummus). Some days you’ll have the opportunity to walk and find a lunch that suits you. On other days, we’ll all eat lunch together. (Lunches are not covered in price) You are NOT forced to eat the meals at the hotels (although they are very tasty!). Feel free to venture out into the cities to eat whatever you like and experience more of the local cuisine.

Quite a bit. You’ll need to be physically fit to attend this trip. The stones in the old cities are uneven and slippery, especially when wet and these old cities are unfortunately not handicap accessible. There will also be long hours of sitting on the bus to travel from city to city.

Please remember: this is a cultural immersion trip, not a luxury resort trip. Every hotel will be different. Some may feel like a vacation spot (e.g. Jericho) while others may feel like you’ve stepped back 1,000 years (e.g. Nazareth).

Sure! We can help them book a flight that meets us in our layover or in Tel Aviv. Alternatively, they can fly to San Diego to fly with us the whole way.

The trip will be cancelled and your money will be refunded if 20 people do not sign up. The more people that sign up, the less you pay, so invite your friends!

If they are junior high school age or older, absolutely! You must chaperone them on the trip though.

A $500 non-refundable deposit is due at registration. The next non-refundable payment of $1,500 is due by March 1st. Final non-refundable payment is due April 1st.

If you find someone to replace you, we can issue a refund of your payment. Alternatively, the person who is going on the trip can pay you directly and then take over your payment from there. However, after we send your information into the airlines and book your plane ticket, we can not issue a refund or transfer your ticket to another person. You are then required to utilize travel insurance. Please purchase travel insurance!

This is a Salaam-sponsored trip in cooperation with Holy Land Trust. Salaam is a non-religious, non-partisan organization that creates mutual understanding between Muslims and non-Muslims. You can learn more about Salaam here.  Holy Land Trust has a vision of  employing unconditional love to help change communities living in violence and fear.

Security in Israel is tight. Consequently, your passport information will need to be sent via e-mail to hotels. If you are uncomfortable with this, you should not go on the trip. Also, we will be spending many days in the West Bank (Jericho & Bethlehem) interacting with Palestinians. If you work for the military or government, please check with your supervisors to make sure you can travel with us. Also, there may be required reading prior to travel.

  • International Focus – Our group make up represents a diverse international community. During your time, you’ll be engaging with multiple world views to further unpack your experience.
  • Authentic Experiences – Salaam Cultural Awareness Travel: Israel, Palestine, and Jordan is a program that focuses on diversity and unity through shared experiences.
  • Focus On People – Developing relationships is our main focus, because with deep authentic relationships, we are able to talk about the difficult questions that shape this land.
  • 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.
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A brief look at the itinerary and the costs

Here is a look at a sample schedule of Salaam Cultural Awareness Travel: Israel, Palestine, and Jordan.

Salaam Cultural Awareness Travel: Israel, Palestine, and Jordan Schedule

Monday, June 15

Tuesday, June 16

7pm Depart from San Diego (Flight BA 0272)

1:35pm Arrive in London Heathrow Airport

4:45pm Depart London (Flight BA 0167)

11:50pm Arrive in Tel Aviv

Wednesday, June 17 Thursday, June 18

Jaffa, Sufi Community

Rabbis for Human Rights/Green Olive Tours

Free time in Jaffa /Tel Aviv

Overnight in Tel Aviv

Caesarea Maritima

Haifa Bahai Gardens

Acre Crusader Town

Ibillin, Fr. Chacour Visit

Overnight in Nazareth

Lecture (Palestinian – Israeli Conflict)

Geo Political tour of Bethlehem ( Wall & Refugee Camp)

Friday, June 19 Saturday, June 20
Kibbutz Shaar Hagolan

Sea of Galilee Boat Ride


Tiberias (Lunch covered)

Overnight in Nazareth

Cross into Jordan

Refugee Camp in Jordan

Drive to Petra

Overnight in Petra

Sunday, June 21 Monday, June 22

Overnight in Petra

Mt. Nebo, Madaba

Cross back into Israel


Dead Sea

Overnight in Jericho

Tuesday, June 23

Wednesday, June 24


Church of Nativity & Shepherd’s Field

Geo-Political Tour (Rachel’s Tomb, checkpoint, wall)

Palestinian Refugee Camp

Overnight in Bethlehem

Holy Land Trust Meeting

Al Walajeh Village (Home Demolitions & Rebuilding Projects)

Roots Initiative

Overnight in Bethlehem

Thursday, June 25

Friday, June 26

Settlement Tour & Meeting with Settler

Tour of Hebron

Breaking the Silence

Lunch with Palestinian Muslim Family

Overnight in Bethlehem

Jerusalem Holocaust Memorial

Geo-Political Tour of East Jerusalem

Overnight in Jerusalem

Saturday, June 27

Sunday, June 28

Free Day in Jerusalem

Western Wall

Al-Aqsa Mosque

Temple Mount

Lefta Village (Expelled Palestinian village from 1948)

Monday, June 29
Depart Tel Aviv 7:40am (BA0166)
Arrive in London 11:05am
Depart London 1:40pm (BA0273)
Arrive in San Diego 4:55pm

PRICE $4,300 (for 40+ people):

PRICE $4,480 (for 30-39 people)

PRICE $4,980 (for 20-29 people):

Program cost includes:

  • • Round trip Economy class air flight ticket from San Diego to Tel Aviv with British airways
    • All necessary land transportation during the tour includes airport pick up and transfer.
    • Sightseeing in deluxe private air-conditioned motor coach.
    • Accommodations for Hotels – double occupancy – 2 per room
    • Breakfast and dinner at Hotel daily
    • Coffee, tea with breakfast daily
    • Service charges, portage and taxes for accommodations.
    • Lunch in Sea of Galilee
    • Cultural dinner in a Bedouin style restaurant in the Shepherd’s Field
    • Services of a licensed English-speaking guide (daily)
    • All entrance fees
    • 45 minutes Boat ride at Sea of Galilee
    • Entry to Dead Sea
    • Entry to Petra & 700-meter horse ride in Petra
    • Tips for driver and tour guide
    • Admin fees

    Travel insurance, daily lunches except for 1 lunch in Sea of Galilee, exit tax from Jordan to Israel (approximately 10 dinar), 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.

    For Single Supplement Room: Add $900 to price
    Flight Seat Upgrades available for additional price​


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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.

From Biblical times, this program outlines the different historical narratives from religious and secular contexts, exams the cross-sections and discrepancies. From there, we examine how these competing storylines manifest themselves into political realities on the ground for different groups of people and geographical areas.

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 communities, Druze communities which have a very complex relationship within the colonial settler 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 the groups lead to a very interesting 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.

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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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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.

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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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