News

Friday, 21 December 2018 09:23

Canadians “Come and See” Palestine

Fifteen Canadians of the "Come and See" program came from across the provinces, each with different experiences and with different views, but a common interest in trying to better understand the complicated and emotionally-charged Israeli-Palestinian conflict. They have travelled for two weeks across the country from north to south, visiting the Galilee, Nazareth, the coastal cities, Hebron, Ramallah, Nablus and Bethlehem, as well as the Negev.  Along the way they met with local organizations & individuals and had a wide range of educational tours to gain a wide range of perspectives.  Of course, along the way, this delightful group shared their customary Canadian politeness and courtesy with the impressed locals!

Friday, 21 December 2018 09:21

Masar Ibrahim al-Khalil Thru-hike

This past November, Masar Ibrahim al-Khalil, in partnership with Siraj Center, completed its 4th Masar Thru-hike. Six participants did the full 20-day program while many groups and individuals who joined the program at different junctures along the hike, for an average of 15-20 participants per day, including local Palestinian guides, including several Palestinian students in training that were learning the route. Participants from the USA, England, Australia, Spain and France participated, hiking from Rummana, north from Jenin, to Beit Mirsim, south of Hebron, the hikers walked 330 kilometers in total.  Throughout the hike, they got the chance to overnight at local families and in Bedouin communities, making it possible for the hikers to experience the local culture, customs and a chance to talk with Palestinian people from across the West Bank, experiencing the famous hospitality of the Palestinian people, exploring the amazing nature and its changes along the trail.

We were pleased to host a tour program from our partner agent in France, led by our colleague Guillaume, who shared Palestine with his clients through an intensive four-day program through Jericho, Bethlehem, Hebron, Ramallah, Nablus, Sebastia and Jenin.  The program was a mix of historical, sociological and cultural experiences.  

 Our Deleglise Group had a bit more time to discover the country through a 08-day hiking tour that included all the principal sites of Jerusalem and the West Bank along with some more out-of-the-way programs, such as Teqoa, Wadi Qelt, Nabi Musa, Tel al Qamar, and Rashayda, as well as many other cities; visiting Bedouin communities as well as refugee camps along the way.  The program enjoyed a mix of accommodation styles from Bedouin encampments to guesthouses and hotels, as well as a delightful exposure to Palestinian culture, cuisine and more.

Friday, 21 December 2018 09:15

Susan Tour 2018

Dear Siraj;

 We are home safely!

 Thank you for organizing such a wonderful few days in the West Bank. I learned so much while I was there about the Palestinian perspective regarding your political situation, which was just what I wanted.   I would like to say that my guide in Nablus was such an intelligent, enthusiastic and lovely guide. He went out of his way to be flexible, and make sure I had a good time.

 The two home stay families were lovely. Messada and her daughters were particularly lovely and warm. Her daughter and nieces took me for a long walk around the village and her oldest daughter was fascinating to talk to. So fantastic to talk with local people and hear about their lives

 Finally I was very lucky to have our guide Anwar. He was knowledgeable about so many things, including the plant and bird life along the way. He knew so many people along the way too! He was very patient in answering all my questions and he took good care of me.  And he is passionate about Palestine.

 So thank you again. I will recommend your agency to my friends, and I hope to come back and do more walking in Palestine soon.

 Susan, Australia

Once again, Siraj was able to work with Princeton  University for another in-depth journey for its students through Palestine. 

Siraj center brought 12 students and 2 professors on an unforgettable trip--getting to meet with and learn from everyone from local artists to politicians, journalists, filmmakers, and of course, talented young Dabkeh dancers! 

Siraj worked together with them on many details for the trip, which allowed the Princeton faculty and students to enjoy a trip that they designed and could only have dreamed of!

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 different NGO’s, university students and professors , visits to the Old City of Jerusalem, and the Old City of Nablus. 

 

Since 2006, Siraj Center has organized no less than 19 West Bank study tours from Ireland, bringing more than 500 citizens of the Emerald Isle to Palestine. These groups have traditionally been organized through voluntary efforts and non-profit making capacity. This past September 2018 a group of 28 Irish came to Palestine, and had a great opportunity to visit unique historical sites. They came with expectations to see and experience the reality of Palestine/Israel issues and hear informed points of view from all sides. We were told from program participants that the experience exceeded their most optimistic expectations, and was an excellent means of building a platform for Irish activism for Palestine, with many who come on the trips becoming Palestinian activists on their return home.  Last but not least, friendships were formed on this program, and a genuine link made between the Irish and Palestinian people. We hope to greet Irish Group #20 and beyond in the coming year! 

 

Friday, 21 December 2018 09:10

Walking Masar Ibrahim

In early December, Siraj Center organized a five-day Masar Ibrahim hike for a private hiking group of seven adventurers who traveled all the way from America, Australiaa, Canadian and Sweden to experience Palestine through its nature, culture and hospitality.  

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!

Wednesday, 22 August 2018 20:05

"Abraham's Children" Visit the Holy Land

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."  

Wednesday, 22 August 2018 20:00

"Cousins Tour" Returns Home to Palestine

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.

Wednesday, 22 August 2018 19:55

Cambridge University Palestine Trek

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.

We are in need of at least three more cyclists to join this program, with possibilities for more to join.  Interested?  Contact George Snow at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit bikepalestine.com

Wednesday, 22 August 2018 19:37

Siraj Autumn Volunteer Wanted

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.

Wednesday, 22 August 2018 19:32

E-Bike Bethlehem Tour Now Available

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

Saturday, 09 June 2018 07:27

Siraj GDPR Email Notification

Siraj Center for Holy Land Studies, in compliant with the new General Data Protection Regulation of the European Union, is contacting you to confirm continued usage of your email for the sole purpose of contacting and informing you for news and information regarding the work and mission of Siraj Center.  As per our Center's policy, your email and contact information will never be sold, shared or given to any third party without your express consent.

 

If you wish to have your email removed from our mailing list and database, or have any questions or concern related to this policy, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

Otherwise, you do not need to respond to this email.

 

Thursday, 31 May 2018 06:54

Travelling for Travel Fairs

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!

Thursday, 31 May 2018 06:53

May 2018 WFTO Fair Trade Tour

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:

  • Creating Opportunities for Economically Disadvantaged Producers
  • Transparency and Accountability
  • Fair Trading Practices
  • Fair Payment
  • Ensuring no Child Labour and Forced Labour
  • Commitment to Non Discrimination, Gender Equity & Women’s Economic Empowerment, & Freedom of Association
  • Ensuring Good Working Conditions
  • Providing Capacity Building
  • Promoting Fair Trade
  • Respect for the Environment
Thursday, 31 May 2018 06:52

AdventureNEXT May 2018 Fam Tour

In early May 2018, Siraj was pleased to host a familiarization tour for AdventureNEXT, a leader in the adventure travel and tourism sector.  AdventureNEXT specializes in developing up and coming destinations, and with Palestine being noted as the fastest emerging tourist destination in 2017, Adventure Next is doing its part to help develop our market.  Siraj worked with the AdventureNEXT team to provide a compact four-day familiarization tour of Palestine; showing some of the best and most unique components of our experiential tours.   We are looking forward to our friends with AdventureNEXT returning back to Palestine and providing a whole new network of tourists with an opportunity to truly experience Palestine as few are able to!

Thursday, 31 May 2018 06:49

MAP Cycle Palestine 2018

In the month of April 2018, Siraj hosted the Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) Cycling TourMAP is a London-based charity and awareness-raising organization that works all across the Holy Land, Lebanon and elsewhere, working to alleviate some of the worse medical difficulties within Palestinian communities.  Nearly 30 MAP staff members, volunteers and supporters came for a fundraising cycling tour of Palestine, traveling from Jenin to Jerusalem, as well as Bethlehem and Hebron.  Besides being a worthy endeavor, the program offered its participants a chance to better acquaint themselves with the West Bank and Jerusalem in a way that would not be possible through a tour bus.  

On a post on their Facebook page, MAP had this to say about their experience: “Congratulations to all and a huge THANK YOU to everyone who took part in the ride and to those who have supported them along the way. The money raised comes at a critical time and will help MAP continue our work for the health and dignity of those Palestinians living under occupation and as refugees.”

Siraj was honored to have organized the charity cycle, and encourages our UK friends to keep supporting the good work of MAP.

Wednesday, 06 September 2017 16:53

A Visit to Em Shadi Guesthouse in Duma

“Welcome! Our Home is Your Home!”

Em Shadi (“Mother of Shadi” in Arabic) is always eager to greet her guests to her home in Duma, a tranquil agricultural village in southeastern Nablus district.  Em Shadi is a passionate believer in volunteer work. In the past she served as a director for a Women’s Association in Duma, and has also served on the Duma village council for six years.  A wife and a proud mother of six children, she strives for women empowerment in all that she does.