Holy Land Travel / Bright Stars Trips

Come and See with Bright Stars of Bethlehem Trips

2017 Leadership Program in the Holy Land

October 16-29, 2017

Trip cost: $3999 (including airfare)

Host: The Rev. Dr. Mitri Raheb and the Diyar Consortium
Leaders: Mike Abel, John Lindner, and Susan Wilder

This program offers new and creative ways to understand and respond to the context of the Israel/Palestine conflict. It raises the possibility of different strategies for resisting the power of empire and supporting those who both struggle against it and suffer its daily injustices and violence. This is an in-depth program during which new insights, experiences and strategies will be explored.

We invite pastors, church leaders, educators, and other professionals also committed to the struggle for a just peace in Israel/Palestine to participate in this leadership experience. The aim of this program is to gain a deeper understanding of the current realities in Israel/Palestine as well as to view the Holy Land through a new, biblical/theological lens. This opportunity is open for people already interested in the region, who are committed to making a difference and investing in hope.

The study tour will explore the question: Where do we go from here on the journey toward peace, human rights and building bridges of understanding? The program will highlight the experience of courageous Palestinians attempting to build a future even in the face of occupation.

The Palestinian Christian community in the 2009 Kairos document sent out a cry to the Christian community abroad saying “Come and See.” This invitation is even more urgent in 2017, fifty years after the 1967 war. Come and see the facts on the ground, listen to diverse narratives, be inspired by ministries of hope, and consider future directions for advocacy and support. We hope you will join us for this ecumenical program of faith and learning.

—Mike Abel, John Lindner, and Susan Wilder

Day by Day Program

Monday, October 16 – Depart Washington Dulles on your transatlantic overnight flight via Turkish Airlines. (Meals in-flight)

Tuesday, October 17 – Arrive Tel Aviv, meet the bus and guide for transfer to Bethlehem. Abu Gubran Lutheran Guesthouse (Meals in-flight)

Wednesday, October 18 – Briefing and tour of Bethlehem followed by a meeting with the Mayor of Bethlehem.  Afternoon presentation by Dr. Jad Isaac, environmental expert and Executive Director of the Applied Research Institute. Late Afternoon, Our Story: The Palestinian Narrative, Rev. Dr. Mitri Raheb, President of the Diyar Consortium.  Welcome dinner with Mitri Raheb.  (B, D)

Thursday, October 19 –Morning transfer to Hebron with briefing on the situation in Hebron. Meeting with the Mayor of Hebron. Visit Ibrahimi Mosque, followed by lunch and touring the old city of Hebron. Meet with settler at Cave of Machpelah. Dinner at Illiyeh Restaurant followed by an evening meeting with veterans of the Israeli military. (B, L, D)

Friday, October 20 – Leave to Jericho and the Jordan Valley: briefing on water and environmental issues. Lunch on own and free time in Jericho. Visit to the village of Zochrot. Dinner at Illiyeh Restaurant. (B, D)

Saturday, October 21 – Morning hiking in Battir, a world heritage site. Lunch at the Battir Heritage Kitchen. Afternoon program on Cremisan Valley and Home Demolitions including visits with families. Dinner with representative of the Carter Center office in the West Bank. (B, L, D)

Sunday, October 22– Morning Worship at Christmas Lutheran Church. Lunch at Il Illiyeh Restaurant. Tour of Solomon’s Pools and the new museum in Artas Village. Special tour of Church of the Nativity restoration. Dinner at The Grotto Restaurant. (B, L, D)

Monday, October 23 – This is the day when we meet with Israelis. We begin with a tour of Jerusalem and conversation with settlement expert and human rights advocate Daniel Seidemann. Meeting with “Arab Joint List” member(s) of Knesset. Dinner with Dr. Alon Liel, former Director General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and an International Relations lecturer at Tel Aviv University & the Herzliya Interdisciplinary Center. (B, D)

Tuesday, October 24 – Visit Al-Aqsa Mosque plus meeting with Prof. Mustafa Abu Sway. Lunch at student café and program with political science faculty at Al Quds University. Free time in Jerusalem Old City with free evening. (B, L)

Wednesday, October 25 – Diyar Ministries tour. Day at Dar Al-Kalima University College and meet with students and staff. Lunch prepared by culinary program at the university. Meeting with Ambassador Hind Khoury, Gen. Secretary of Kairos Palestine and former PLO Ambassador to France. Dinner at Illiyeh Restaurant. (B, L, D)

Thursday, October 26 – Visit Rawabi, a new Palestinian City. Meet with Dr. Michael Sabbah, the former Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem for lunch in Taybeh. Tour Taybeh village and Taybeh Beer Brewing Company and Taybeh Winery. Conversation & Dinner about business and economics in Palestine with Zahi Khoury and Sam Bahour in Ramallah. Return to Bethlehem. (B, L, D)

Friday, October 27 – Visit Ramallah. Meeting with PLO Negotiations Office. Lunch with leading Palestinian women. Visit Arafat Tomb and Darwash Museum. Return to Bethlehem. Dinner at Illiyeh Restaurant. (B, L, D)

Saturday, October 28 – Free morning and early afternoon in Bethlehem. Group debriefing and discussion. Farewell dinner with Rev. Dr. Mitri Raheb at Illiyeh Restaurant. (B, D)

Sunday, October 29 – Return to USA Early departure with box breakfast for transfer to Ben Gurion for flight check in and departure at 8:50A. (B, meals inflight)

Code: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Itinerary subject to change. Speakers subject to availability.


Program Expense:

The $3999USD price includes airfare departure from Washington Dulles airport. It includes Program gratuities; Airport departure taxes and is based on per person double occupancy. Optional single room supplement is available for an additional $329.

For additional information, please download the brochure.