Summer Encounter

# Program participants of the Summer Encounter tour are invited to discover Palestine through the three-pillared foundation of Faith, Culture, and Justice.

        Olive Harvest Map
All Tours Include
  • Land transportation (private air-conditioned motor coach)
  • All accommodations during tour
  • Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
  • Shared double room (Private room available upon request at additional cost)
  • Licensed English speaking guide
  • All entrance fees
  • Honorarium fees for speakers & organizations
This Tour Includes
Church of the Nativity
Community Projects
Cultural & Historical Lectures
Geopolitical Tours & Discussions
Hebron Old City
Holocaust Museum
Home Demolition Tour
Non-Linear Leadership Training
Nonviolence & Justice Workshops
Old City Jerusalem
Palestinian Refugee Camps
Sea of Galilee Boat Ride
Separation Wall Tour
Visit Bedouin Communities
Not Included

Flight Ticket
Travel Insurance
Pickup from Airport (can be arranged for $120 USD)
Lunch on Arrival & Departure Day


The Summer Encounter is our longest-running and most successful travel program. Participants are invited to discover Palestine through an immersive experience founded on three core principles: faith, culture, and justice. You are invited to join us for one of two back-to-back sessions taking place over the summer.

Based in the city of Bethlehem, participants are invited to live with a local host family; study Arabic with Palestinian teachers; and learn about the history, culture, and politics of the region through educational lectures and guided tours. Though a wide range of programming is provided to engage participants, those who join us will also have plenty of free time to learn and explore at their own pace. There will also be opportunities simply to relax and have fun with both fellow travelers and the new friends in Bethlehem that you will make along the way.



Up To Date Curriculum

Holy Land Trust continues to update its curriculum to reflect the shifting realities on-the-ground. The political situation continues to change, and new research continues to shed light on the region's culture and history. As an organization, we push ourselves to keep the program relevant to the realities of the present-day.


Starting with Biblical times, the Summer Encounter explores different historical narratives from both religious and secular contexts, examining overlaps and discrepancies. From there, we examine how those narratives manifest in political realities on-the-ground for different groups.



The Holy Land is a land of diversity. While people oftentimes break this down into binary terms – Israeli/Palestinian – nothing could be further from the truth. On this land, we have Palestinian Arabs who belong to a multitude of religious identities – Muslim, Christian, Jewish, and others. There is an Armenian diaspora community with their own unique culture and language they have preserved overtime. There are Bedouin communities and Druze communities that have a very complex relationship within the settler colonial system. We also explore the complexity of the Jewish communities that 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 these groups leads to interesting dynamics within the Israeli political system. Understanding the ways these groups of people have preserved their culture and heritage over time is crucial to how nonviolent resistance works within systems of oppression.


We organize meetings with the most significant humanitarian and political organizations in the region, including international, Israeli, and Palestinian NGOs. By doing so, we offer participants a broader understanding of the system of settler colonialism and its impact on the native communities. We also analyze the histories and tactics of both international and indigenous resistance movements seeking a just peace.

Local Relationships

During your stay in the Holy Land, you will live with a local host family, creating a space where authentic and long-lasting relationships can be formed. In our experience, these relationships help foster within participants a lifelong commitment to pursuing justice more than any other component of the program. The homestays create an intimate environment where stories that might not otherwise be shared are given voice. Reading about Palestinian life or hearing lectures can be helpful, but living with a local family offers unparalleled insight into how ordinary Palestinians navigate the complexities and contradictions of life under Occupation.


Day 1: Arrival Day & Welcome Activity

Day 2: Orientation Day & Tour of Bethlehem

Day 3: Free Day

Day 4: Lecture (Palestinian – Israeli Conflict), Geo-Political tour of Bethlehem ( Wall & Refugee Camp)

holy-land-trust-iktashef-encounter-holocaust-museum.jpgDay 5: Guided tour of the Holocaust Museum & Tour of the expelled village of Lifta

Day 6: Lecture about Judaism by local Rabbi & Geopolitical tour of Jerusalem

Day 7: Lecture about Islam at the Omar Mosque

Day 8: Lecture about Christian Zionism & Palestinian film screening

Day 9: Free Day

Day 10: Worship with Local Palestinian Christian (Optional) & Lecture about the Christians of Palestine

Day 11: Nonviolence Workshop & Lecture on the history of the Intifadas

Day 12: Lessons on Palestinian Liberation Theology

Day 13: Community Project

Day 14: NGO meetings in Ramallah & Meet with PLO

Day 15: Community Project

Day 16: Free Day

Day 17: Hebron Old City Tour & International Observers

Day 18: Community Project

Day 19: Community Project

Day 20: Community Project

Day 21: Visit Bedouin Community in Negev Desert & Gaza Borders

Day 22: Tel Aviv NGO’s & Meetings with the Arab Israeli Minority

Day 23: Galilee Religious Sites & Visit Occupied Golan Heights

Day 24: Free Day

Day 25: Jordan Valley & Jericho Day Tour

Day 26: Community Project

Day 27: Community Project

Day 28: Non-Linear Leadership Workshop

Day 29: Evaluation and debriefing day

Day 30: Departure


What to Expect

After your in-depth, immersive tour through the Holy Land, you’ll find yourself with new experiences, relationships, and networks you didn’t have before. You’ll be equipped to go back into your communities and share in meaningful ways. You’ll be able to carry and honor the personal stories of the local communities. With a complete analysis compiled through a litany of meetings with the regions leading NGO voices, you’ll have a matrix of context for your individual journey.

  • Explore 10 different cities and villages! Spanning the entirety of the Holy Land.
  • Participate in 10 different cultural events. We specialize in organizing participatory cultural events. We don’t just give you the finest Middle Eastern cuisine, we show you how to cook it. We don’t tell you the history of the Palestinian Thob, you learn how to make it.
  • Engage in 25 different lectures that range from the themes of the Nakba to the construct of Jewish identity.
  • You’ll enjoy 40 hours of community organizing and projects. Nothing integrates you more into the fabric of society than working together, hand-in-hand on community-based projects. Collaborate, problem-solve, and bond with locals as you work together to make a stronger society.

Explore Our Tours

Cultural Immersion
Spiritual Pilgrimages
Adventure Tours
Olive Harvest / 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. Explore
Summer Encounter / Program participants of Summer Encounter are invited to discover Palestine through the three-pillared foundation of Faith, Culture, and Justice. Explore
Catholic Pilgrimage / Exploring the spiritual underpinnings of the land, how geography, history, and culture has shaped personal understandings of life and God. Explore
Christian Pilgrimage / To walk in the Holy Land, to experience “the Fifth Gospel” of pilgrimage, to meet and engage with the local people, the “living stones” of the Holy Land….is far more than an exciting tour Explore
Fact Finding Tour / This tour provides a deeper understanding of Israel’s program of settler colonialism. Explore
Bet Lahem Live Festival / The largest creative resistance festival in Palestine Explore

From Past Trips...

My time spent there was perhaps the most influential thing I’ve ever done, it has greatly ignited my passion for social justice and encouraged me to advocate for the ‪injustice of this conflict as much as I can. 

Julia Brown // Summer Encounter Participant 2013 //

The tour went very smoothly. Adjustments were made appropriately to itineraries due to traffic conditions or time constraints, transport was comfortable and efficient, the guides were all informative and (mostly!) sensitive and the hotels looked after us well. We all enjoyed the food!

St. Peter Church/ UK // //

The most amazing thing is how the Palestinians have retained their amazing spirit! I felt so welcomed by everyone I spoke with and met while at PSE. By the end of my time in Palestine, I had a new family that I loved... many new friends from around the world... and I am happy to let you know I consider Palestine my other home. Inshallah"

Lila Coddington Middlebury/USA // //

My own Christian faith has been deepened from my experience. I have more hope for the region from having met so many incredible people.

Lauren Brownlee/USA // //

This program gives you a truly extensive immersion experience across The Holy Land. The community projects, the family visits, and access to policymakers sets this program apart from all the rest.

Marcus Owtram/UK // //

From a group of individuals, with varying motivation, we left as friends, not only with each other but with the people we met along the way and felt united as a group, bound by the shared and varied experiences which Holy Land Trust had given us. It was exhausting and amazing in equal measure, but above all, a once in a lifetime experience.

St. Peter Church/UK // //


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