Hidden Treasures, a travel series prepared by Trio Orange, a Canadian company based in Montreal, Quebec, recently completed a Palestine-themed program, with Siraj Center providing logistical support as well as other on-site expertise.
Hidden Treasures is focused on promoting Middle East countries and everything they have to offer, from well-known tourist attractions to "hidden treasures," with the programs focus on the rich history, people and must-see attractions of each nation. The film production crew
filmed scenes in places such as the old city of Jericho, Nativity Church in Bethlehem , Arafat's Tomb in Ramallah, the Muslim pilgrimage shrine of Nebi Musa, and much more; often using off-road jeeps in the Jerusalem Wilderness and also among the Bedouin communities within the Dead Sea region. The series will be broadcasted on the Canadian channel Evasion in Fall 2019 - stay tuned and let us know what you think of the program!
This past July, Siraj was pleased to host an educational program entitled Abraham's Children: Searching for Justice in Israel & Palestine.
This intensive 14 day tour was led by Ann Fortin and Paul Parker, and focused on exploring many of the most important socio-political questions of the region through meetings, discussions and site visits.
Some of the organizations that "Abraham's Children" met with included the Educational Bookshop, Rabbis for Human Rights, Zokrot, Sabeel, WIAM, Tent of Nations, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the Edward Said Conservatory, and many more. And as with all of our programs, the participants were able to encounter everyday people and gain an on-the-ground perspective from the local "children of Abraham."
We love all of our programs, but it's a special labor of love for Siraj staff to help Palestinians living or born abroad reconnect with their homeland through a heritage tour.
This July, Siraj worked with two Palestinian families from the United States to make use of a family trip to their hometown of Ramallah to visit such places as the historic Palestinian cities of Akko, Haifa and Nazareth as well as many of the key religious, cultural and historical sites of Jerusalem and the West Bank.
We hope the tour sparked a desire of the participants to return as often as possible and to encourage other Palestinians in "Amreeka" to take their own "Cousins Tour" with us.
Once again, Siraj was able to work with Cambridge University for another in-depth journey for its students through Palestine.
Their 8-day program brought them across the region, meeting with a range of local Palestinian civil society leaders in Jerusalem, the West Bank, and historic pre-1948 Palestinian communities in Israel.
Some of the highlights included meetings with diplomat and negotiator Dr. Sa'eb Erekat and Hanan Ashrawi, visits to the Old City of Jerusalem and the Samaritan community of Nablus, and even organizing Skype calls with Palestinian youth in Gaza. In the words of the program leader:
"The Cambridge University Palestine Trek facilitated by the Siraj Center brought 22 students on an unforgettable trip--getting to meet with and learn from everyone from local artists to politicians, journalists, top businessmen, and of course, talented young Dabkeh dancers! The group was so glad Siraj could take care of so many details for the trip they designed and only dreamed of!"
Have you thought of joining one of our Bike Palestine programs, but just have never found the right time to do so? Now is the time!
Our friend George Snow, filmmaker, teacher and enthusiast of all things Palestine and cycling, is returning once again to Palestine for an 8 Day, 7 Night cycling excursion through Palestine.
The program will begin in Jenin and end in Jerusalem, passing through the heart of the West Bank from big cities such as Nablus, Jericho and Bethlehem to small villages as Aqraba, Duma, Taybeh and more.
Along the way there's plenty of picturesque views, places of cultural and historical interest, and opportunities to experience the local cuisine, culture and hospitality.
Siraj Center is looking for international volunteers to come and work with the Siraj team, starting in late September and lasting through the early winter.
Volunteers will work with our staff and local partners to help with administrative, media and development projects both at the Siraj office with opportunities to explore Palestine through site visits and occasional program accompaniment.
Volunteers must have proficiency in English, a basic ability to assist with English-language social media, content and report writing, and marketing, and a willingness to learn new skills.
We are able to offer letters of recommendation and notices of completion of a certain number of hours for those seeking a formalized work-study program or internship.
Volunteers must make a commitment to a set number of hours with Siraj, a willingness to abide by local laws and cultural norms, and be motivated to both work individually and also as a team player, and above all, possess a positive attitude!
For more information on volunteering, please contact name at email.
Until the olives are ready to be harvested....Siraj wishes you a pleasant (and temperate) end to the summer.
Siraj Center is pleased to announce that the Bike Bethlehem Tour is now available.
This program was launched in response to an expressed interest in more alternative tours in the Bethlehem area, We have added an inventory of battery-operated bicycles with all the necessary safety equipment, and have laid out an exciting new route for discovering the Bethlehem area as few international travelers have. Battery-powered bicycles have been an increasingly popular means of transportation for Palestinians as well as foreigners in the Bethlehem area.
Our program participants will enjoy the unique opportunity to discover all the sites and locations that our beloved Bethlehem has to offer. this program can be a stand-alone day tour, or can be incorporated into a larger Siraj Center Tour. For more information on booking a Bike Bethlehem Tour and the tour itinerary, visit www.bike-bethlehem.com
SIRAJ Center is pleased to introduce the very first bird-watching tour in the West Bank of Palestine.
Palestine is a bird-watchers haven; with over 40 indigenous species and along a global migratory path, it has more than enough to interest any ornithology enthusiast.
In cooperation with regional conservation partners, the Siraj Center Bird-Watching Tour will be a 08-Day experience, offered twice through the year to match migratory bird patterns: late winter to mid-spring, and then in the month of November.
Our program will visit carefully selected regions in the West Bank idea for bird-watching and include both stationary observation as well as hiking tours in places such as Cremisan Valley, Mahkrour, Artas and the UNESCO heritage village of Battir in Bethlehem, Wadi Qelt near Jericho, Wadi Quof in the southern West Bank, and Jenin district in the northern bank.
Program participants will visit the Talitha Kumi Bird Ringing and Monitoring Station in Beit Jala; the first of its kind in the West Bank of Palestine, for lectures on the birds of Palestine and learn of the important work that is being done to monitor bird migration patterns and head up preservation efforts. At the newly-founded Palestinian Museum of Natural History, program participants will learn of the biodiversity of the Holy Land and ecological efforts being undertaken to preserve its fragile ecosystem. Our guided bird-watching experiences will also offer a rare view into the beauty of the Palestinian countryside. Tours of the Old City of Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Hebron, Jericho, Nablus and other Palestinian cities will complement bird-watching excursions, with plenty of opportunities to encounter local culture, cuisine and more all throughout the program.
Program Cooperation: Talitha Kumi Environmental Education Center (EEC)/ Simon Awad, Palestinian Museum of Natural History (PMNH)/Dr. Mazin Qumseyeh
Day 01: March 26TH 2022
Arrival from the airport. Dinner and overnight in Bethlehem.
Day 02: March 27th 2022
After breakfast, visit Talitha Kumi EEC. Have a General lecture on birds of Palestine followed by a hike from Makhrour to Battir. Lunch in Battir village. Return to Bethlehem city and visit the walled off hotel, Nativity Church and the old city of Bethlehem. Dinner and overnight in Bethlehem.
Day 03: March 28th 2022
Hike through Artas to Solomon’s Pool in the morning followed by a visit to the Museum. Have a tour in Mar Saba at noon. Followed by a visit to the Palestinian Museum National Center and have lecture on ecological concerns in the west bank late afternoon. Dinner and overnight in Bethlehem.
Day 04: March 29th 2022
After breakfast, visit the Bird-watching station in Wadi Quof. Transfer to Hebron and have a tour in the old city including the Abraham Mosque. Transfer to Rashaydeh community in the Afternoon and enjoy the sunset at the Dead Sea cliff. Dinner and Overnight with the Bedouin community in Rashaydeh.
Day 05: March 30th 2022
Transfer to Jericho for a morning bird watching around Wadi Quilt followed by a visit the Eco Center in Jericho; visit the old city of Jericho, Hishams Place, Tel Alsultan and Ein Auja. Swim in Dead Sea afterwards. Dinner and overnight in Jericho.
Day 06: March 31st 2022
Jenin bird watching at Umm at-tut Nature reserve, followed by a visit to Wadi al makta’, Balama, the old city of Jenin and Burqeen church. Transfer to Nablus city for lunch followed by a tour in the old city. Dinner and overnight in Jerusalem.
Day 07: April 1st 2022
Free day in Jerusalem.
Day 08: April 2nd 2022
After breakfast, have a morning tour with the Israeli Committee against House Demolish (ICAHD) in Jerusalem. Departure to the airport.
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Siraj Center has been doing more than a little of its own travels.
In early January, we took part in the Vakantiebeurs Utrecht Tourism and Leisure Fair in Utrecht, Netherlands, and then a few days later it was on to the Germany for another experiential travel show.
In mid-February, it was the Prague Travel Fair, followed by the world’s largest travel and tourism exhibition in the mid-March, the annual ITB show in Berlin, Germany. In late April, our exhibition team split into two groups to attend the Arabian Travel Market in Dubai as well as a meeting with tour operators in Hong Kong.
We’re hoping to be back to all of these fair shows in the coming year; but we’ll also be attending the World Travel Market in London, set this year for November 5th-7th. Visit us at our booth if you are there!
Providing tour participants an opportunity to invest in the Palestinian economy through purchasing fair trade products is a top priority for the ethical tourism & travel sector, and Siraj has done its part in the promotion of fair trade products through its tours. This May, the World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO)
Siraj center in a cooperation with Holy Land Handicraft Cooperative Society (HLHCS) organized its first Fair Trade delegation to visit centers of fair trade, and taking the opportunity to visit some of the many fair trade organizations in Palestine that are producing handicrafts and produce items such as olive wood, embroidery and looming, glass and ceramic, non-perishable foods, olive oil and soap, and much more.
On May 9th, the WFTO delegation celebrated Fair Trade Day in Bethlehem with many of its local WFTO members as well as the Institute for Community Partnership of Bethlehem University. Siraj Director Michel Awad was pleased to give some opening remarks to the delegation and attendees, and to encourage the growth of Palestinian fair trade development in partnership with the Palestinian tourism sector.
Siraj Center is pleased to support the WFTO 10 Principles of Fair Trade in its programs: