News

Monday, 04 August 2014 07:12

Leeds Met Volunteer Journey June 2014

June 11th - Our first morning in Tel Aviv, we headed to the neighborhood of Shapira, which has long been a poor and ethnically diverse area of the city.  With a local resident of Shapira we walked around the streets, met people from the Mizrahi Jewish and African migrant communities.  We met a group of young Israeli students and recent graduates, who told us about their backgrounds and about the question of military service in Israel.   Some of them refused to serve and were even jailed.

 The next day, we were guided by Jaffa historian and community leader Sami Abu Shahadeh.   We explored the story of a Palestinian city that was transformed by the birth of Israel.  In Jaffa’s old town we met Arab residents who can still remember the events of the mid-20th century.

Friday, 01 August 2014 06:41

Condolences to Gaza

As the fragile 12-hour ceasefire between Hamas and Israel has come into effect earlier this morning, approximately 1100 people have been brutally killed by the Israeli attacks onto the civilian population in Gaza.  The horrendous images on TV and social networks show the graphic mutilation of innocent children’s bodies and devastation to people’s lives and homes.

In the strongest possible language, we condemn the attacks and bloodshed on innocent Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.  We send our condolences to Gaza.  Every family has been affected either by either injuries or death of family members, or destruction to homes and property.  No one has been untouched.

We believe that only justice leads to peace.  We call on Israel to comply with international law by ending its occupation of Gaza and the West Bank  - including Jerusalem. Until this is achieved, we kindly ask you to comply with the Palestinian civil society call to action including via boycotts, divestment, and sanctions.  See: bdsmovement.net

 

 

Friday, 01 August 2014 06:38

Phil and Janet Tour, 19-25 May 2014

The whole experience was very thought provoking and we learned a lot from it.

Our guide was excellent and i hope our relationship with him was just as enjoyable for him.

We can never hope to fully understand the position of everyday life for Palestinians but we certainly saw something of it, particularly with the way in which we, and everyone else, was treated by the Israeli authorities when the Pope was in town!

Being under curfew was certainly a new experience for us!

 The Greek hostel was fine although we did enjoy our visits out in the evening to sample the local restaurants.

Jerusalem

The Old City’s Spice Market.  The colors.  The scents.  The textures.   The infinite possibilities of how to use these spices in cooking.

 Lunch:  Makloubeh is a Palestinian upside-down rice and eggplant casserole, hence the name which is literally translated as "upside-down". It is sometimes made with fried cauliflower instead of eggplant, and usually includes meat.

  In the evening, we participated in preparing dinner:   “Malfouf” which has a dual meaning of “cabbage” as well as “rolled.”  The dish involves rolling cabbage leaves with a stuffing of ground meat, rice, 7 spices.  Next step is stacking them in a cooking pot in layers, and then simmering them on low heat in a sauce made with lemon juice, fried minced garlic, water and salt.

The Christoph Jungen Swiss Group arrived on Sunday, March 30th, and had their first tour and meeting in Neve Shalom.  The following morning, the Group were driven along the Mediterranean coast between Tel Aviv and Haifa, where they had the opportunity to visit the ancient port city Caesarea Maritima, which was built by Herod the Great, and today is a national park.  In the afternoon, the Group had the chance to visit the lookout at Muhraka, which is located on the southern end of the Mount Carmel range.  The views of the Mediterranean Sea captivated the visitors.  Overnight was in Nazareth. 

 The morning of April 1st, there was a short visit to the Nazareth Church.  Following, the participants visited Sephoria’s archeological site, located in the central Galilee, 6 kilometers north-northwest of Nazareth.  The site holds a rich and diverse historical and architectural legacy that includes Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, Jewish and Islamic influences. It is believed to be the birthplace of Mary, the mother of Jesus.  For dinner and overnight, the participants stayed at the Mt. of Beatitudes, where it is said that Jesus gave his important Sermon on the mountain.  

Visiting the Holy Land: 16th to 23rd March 2014

By:  Helena Paula Niemonen

INTERNATIONAL SECRETARY
DIOCESE OF STRÄNGNÄS

Sunday 16th March

We, 34 persons from Strängnäs, Sweden, arrived at Tel Aviv Airport, and transferred to Nazareth, St Margaret’s House.  The hotel rooms were ready for us and a very good dinner was served in the evening.

Monday 17th March

We met our guide, Hani al Hayek, in the morning and visited the Church of Annunciation. After that we drove to the Mount of Beautitudes where we celebrated mass up on the hill. We had a very good moment there, hearing people from all corners of the world celebrating their masses in different places close to us.

 

We took the bus down to Tabgah, and to the restaurant. There were busloads of people but the restaurant was amazing in its effectiveness on serving the meals in no time at all! Having visited Caphernaum we headed towards Jericho and our hotel. 

Monday, 31 March 2014 08:31

Yeaney Family Holy Land Tour Experience

We are so grateful to each of you at Siraj for providing and working with us for a superb Yeaney Family Holy Land Tour Experience.

 

 The responses from our group have been many such as: "life changing," "now I understand much better the situation," "we met so many wonderful people," "swimming in the Dead Sea and riding a camel was 'cool',"  "I learned so much." "Dr Mazen was the perfect person to set the stage as we began our time together," "the Sights and Sounds of the Holy Land and walking the walks of Jesus remain with us.

 

 The Yeaney group has returned home to the San Francisco Bay Area with full hearts and so many new understandings.  

Monday, 31 March 2014 08:10

Lancaster Theological Seminary Group

Greetings! We are writing to you from Bethlehem in the Occupied West Bank where we successfully arrived this afternoon. Our journey began together Saturday morning at Lancaster Theological Seminary. We first travelled to Newark International Airport, for our ten hour direct flight to Tel Aviv, with close to a four-hour delay we ended up in the plane for almost 12 hours. Needless to say when we arrived in Tel Aviv we were more than ready to leave the plane and walk. After a successful custom entry process we met our Guide and proceeded to Bethlehem to the Holy Family Hotel.  Once we settled into our rooms it was a temptation to lay down and rest after almost 30 hrs travel time, but the group managed to keep the scheduled meeting for a late lunch and a short orientation. We then got on the stop for our first visit to the Wi’am Palestinian Conflict Resolution Center (Wi’am means Agape in Arabic).

Monday, 31 March 2014 08:10

Lancaster Theological Seminary Group

Greetings! We are writing to you from Bethlehem in the Occupied West Bank where we successfully arrived this afternoon. Our journey began together Saturday morning at Lancaster Theological Seminary. We first travelled to Newark International Airport, for our ten hour direct flight to Tel Aviv, with close to a four-hour delay we ended up in the plane for almost 12 hours. Needless to say when we arrived in Tel Aviv we were more than ready to leave the plane and walk. After a successful custom entry process we met our Guide and proceeded to Bethlehem to the Holy Family Hotel.  Once we settled into our rooms it was a temptation to lay down and rest after almost 30 hrs travel time, but the group managed to keep the scheduled meeting for a late lunch and a short orientation. We then got on the stop for our first visit to the Wi’am Palestinian Conflict Resolution Center (Wi’am means Agape in Arabic).

Tuesday, 05 November 2013 04:05

Sherrill Group 2013

From October 28 to November 1, 2013 a five member delegation of Americans used Siraj’s expertise and excellent guide, Mohammed Barakat, to expand our visit to Palestine, which we had started by participating in the Olive Harvest Campaign organized by JAI. 

Thursday, 16 January 2014 08:57

Nativity Trail Dec 2013

A multinational delegation walked the entire Nativity Trail from Nazareth to Bethlehem.  The delegation started with a day tour in Nazareth, visiting the Church of Annunciation, the House of Mary, and the Sea of Galilee.

 

The group then began their walk from Faqua’a, heading south across the West Bank through the towns of  Zababdeh, Fara’a camp, Nablus, Duma, Ain Auja, Jericho, Nabi Musa and Mar Saba.

When you travel to this sensitive part of the world, the first thing you feel is some sort of unease as you go through the passport control at the airport in Tel Aviv, in Israel. It might be the consequence of all we read about it in our western papers and of all the news we get from this part of the world, usually worrying and somehow obscure, but the reality that awaits you just a few kilometers away, once you leave the airport and start your journey traveling to Nablus, in the West Bank, is much more exciting, positive and enjoyable than what you expect.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013 08:52

FAAP Group

From 16/7/2013 to 26/7/2013

Seven students from Brazil came to Palestine from 16/7/2013 to 26/7/2013 to experience Palestine and to share the daily life of Palestinians.

They started their tour in Jerusalem, then moved onto Duma and kufurMalek and they stayed overnight there with local families which was a great chance for them to live the daily life and share their food. Next, they moved to Bethlehem, passed by Hebron, and at last visited the Negev.

From 25/6/2013 to 3/7/2013

A UUJME group of 13 Pax, the aim of their tour was to learn about the human rights andthe political situations, in order to return to the U.S. to work more effectively for Palestinian rights in the context of a just peace.  To achieve this objective they met with Palestinian and Israeli people representing many different viewpoints: academics, human rights workers, representatives of Fatah and of Hamas, lawyers, a right-wing settler, and many others.

They started their tour in Jerusalem, and went on to Hebron, Bethlehem, Ramallah, Nablus,  Nazareth, Haifa and Tel Aviv.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013 14:50

Abraham Children Group

From 15/6/2013 to 29/6/2013

The group signed-up for a ‘listening’ tour through which the participants wanted to learn about the issues and contemporary lives of Palestinians and Israelis by meeting persons who are members of the different religious communities, i.e., Christians, Muslims, Jews, Samaritans, Druze, and Baha'i.

The tour began in Jerusalem.  After that, the group visited Bethlehem, Hebron, Ramallah, Nablus, Nazareth, Majdal Shams, and finally Haifa.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013 14:49

Bike Tour, June 2013

A group from Norway cycled all the way from Nazareth to Jerusalem, passing through Nablus, Taybeh, Jericho, Bethlehem, and Hebron before then they finished their tour in the Old City.

The group cycled through a variety of landscapes, visiting historic sites along the way and enjoying Palestine's food, hospitality, and culture.

Friday, 09 August 2013 09:39

Gulf for Good Group

A group of institutions from Dubai, whoare supporters  of human rights, had a walking tour in Palestine.Theiraim was to provide material and moral support for the Hope Flowers School, and to know more about the political and social situation in Palestine.

 They walked from Awarta to Aqraba, then moved to KufurMalek, Taybeh, and Jericho and ended their trip in Bethlehem with a tour in the old city and a visit to the Nativity Church.

On their final night in the Bethlehem area, the group enjoyed a traditional dinner and dabkadance at a local restaurant.

Friday, 09 August 2013 09:35

Kompassresor Company Group

Group from Sweden had a tour in different cities of Palestine, including Hebron, Nablus, and Bethlehem.

Their trip was looking at culture, religion, environment, history and social issues in order to learn about the Palestinian and meet with local organizations.

Friday, 09 August 2013 09:32

Nativity Trail,18 April

A multi-national delegation hiked along the Nativity trial beginning at Nazareth, where they toured the Church of the Annunciation and the House of Mary.

The hike took them from Faqua’a through Zababdeh, Fara’a camp, Nablus, Duma, AinAuja, Jericho, Nabi Musa and Mar Saba. During their journey the group stayed with local families and learned a lot about Palestine’s culture and everyday life, and enjoyed the local food and landscape.

Friday, 09 August 2013 09:32

Nativity Trail,18 April

A multi-national delegation hiked along the Nativity trial beginning at Nazareth, where they toured the Church of the Annunciation and the House of Mary.

The hike took them from Faqua’a through Zababdeh, Fara’a camp, Nablus, Duma, AinAuja, Jericho, Nabi Musa and Mar Saba. During their journey the group stayed with local families and learned a lot about Palestine’s culture and everyday life, and enjoyed the local food and landscape.