Join Finjan Alternative Travel and Mejdi Tours for a Friday excursion to Jerusalem’s southern artery in the areas around Gush Etzion and Bethlehem. The trip will be a dually guided day of exploration with an Israeli and Palestinian guide, local speakers and visits to key areas around Jerusalem’s southern outskirts which serve as a crossroads for Israelis and Palestinians both culturally, politically and historically.
This area of Route 60 – which stretches north to south on the Holy Land’s mountain spine – is a major point of interaction between Jewish and Palestinian communities around Bethlehem. Sitting at the heart of the biblical landscape, this area has been a point of contention between the different communities even before the founding of the State of Israel.
For Jews, the area recounts deep biblical connections, great military victories of the Maccabees and the success of Jewish self-determination in farming the land prior to the creation of Israel. For the local Palestinian Arab communities, this area is long seeded as an economic center of industiral trade, agriculture and of course the connection between the holy cities of Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Hebron – three holy cities that hold importance to the three monotheistic inhabiting the landscape.
So, whats on tap for the day?
We will depart from Tel Aviv with a pickup in Jerusalem where we will meet our Israeli and Palestinian tour educators. From there we will head south towards Gush Etzion and Bethlehem via Route 60 and the tunnels’ highway between Gilo and Beit Jala. On the way, we will stop for a viewpoint that will give a macro perspective of the surrounding areas and changing geographical realities.
Eventually, we will make our way through the area, meeting our Palestinian and Israeli guest speakers for the day – local residents of the area – to get a deeper understanding of the differences and similarities in life in these enclaves and the current political situation affecting both Israelis and Palestinians residing in this key region. These issues are especially pertinent today as both the Israeli and Palestinian leadership have become increasingly more distanced from one another in the last few years. At the same time, this specific area is a place of continuous interaction across the political divide, despite the growing lack of interaction between Israelis and Palestinians in the post-Oslo period.
The day will culminate with an optional munch at a local hangout around Beit Jala, just outside of the Israeli settlement of Har Gilo. Hopefully some good food and drink will continue to open our appetite for discussing the themes of the day.
Trip costs and what’s included
First come first serve! Early discounted tickets will be sold at 175 NIS/person
Standard priced tickets will be sold at 199 NIS / person
Included in the price are 2x tour guides and educators (Israel and Palestinian), full transport and two local speakers from the region we are visiting. The bus will depart from Tel Aviv and includes pickups in Jerusalem and along the route.
- Food at the end of the day is on an individual basis