No tours to Hebron -12th & 13th September • Muslim holy day - Eid Al Adha.
No day-tours 12th October - Jewish holy day • Yom Kippur.

Olive Picking Program

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OLIVE PICKING
11 days / 10 nights

17th - 27th October, 2016
from $1,580 
(per person)
includes accommodations, daily tours or olive picking, most meals

HIGHLIGHTS
 

  • Visit Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Nablus, Jenin, Kalkiliya
  • 4 days olive picking 
  • Historical sights
  • Meet Palestinians - organizations
  • Olive Harvest Party
  • Once in a lifetime!




Olive picking is one of the iconic activities in the Holy Land, and a defining national characteristic for Palestinians. You can participate in this timeless activity with families in the southern West Bank surrounded by some of the most beautiful landscapes of the country.

This program combines an introductory day, plus tours of 5 cities, important historical and religious sites, and an opportunity to meet with Palestinians and Israelis in informal settings. The first three days are hosted overnight stays with families in Bethlehem and the other nights are in the village of Sebastiya in the northern West Bank. Don't miss this great opportunity.

17th October - Monday - Greater Jerusalem and The Old City

09.15am. A representative of Green Olive will meet you at the Rimon Cafe, Damascus Gate, at the entrance to the Old City of Jerusalem. You can also make arrangements to be picked up from another location.

Your trip will start with a briefing with maps and an alternative tour of Jerusalem's Old city, taking in the Western Wall and viewing the outside of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in addition to seeing the Israeli settler homes that have been sprouting in the Muslim  Quarter.

You'll learn about the implications of Israeli encroachment into Muslim areas of the Old City and surrounding neighbourhoods.


After lunch you will go on the road for a tour of some of the suburban Jerusalem settlements, Palestinian neighborhoods, the Separation Barrier, and segregated roads. These will include Pizgat Ze'ev, Har Homa, Beit Hanina, and Anata.

You'll drive through Ma'ale Adumim, one of the largest settlements in the West bank (pop. 35,000). Then off to Beit Sahour (a Bethlehem suburb) to meet your host family after a busy and intense first day.
Dinner & overnight in Beit Sahour (Bethlehem)

18th October - Tuesday - Bethlehem

Today you'll be with a Palestinian guide for an overview of Bethlehem. You'll see the settlement of Har Homa that you saw from the Jerusalem side of the Barrier yesterday. Today the view will be from the Palestinian side.

You'll visit the Aida Refugee Camp, and have a discussion with a representative of an organisation there. You'll see the Separation Barrier up close, and the famous Bansky Graffiti. You'll also meet Palestinians, and visit the Church of the Nativity.

In the evening you'll visit the Alternative Information Center (AIC) for their weekly discussion session about aspects of Palestinian life and the Occupation. There is a featured speaker from an Israeli or Palestinian organization then lots of round table discussion. The AIC promotes the rights of the Palestinian people, and is the only peace and justice organization that has a mixed staff and board of Palestinians and Israelis.
Dinner & overnight in Beit Sahour (Bethlehem)

19th October - Wednesday -  Nablus - Sebastiya
You'll be picked up early in the morning and travel up the spine of the West Bank on route 60 seeing many small radical settlements and Palestinian villages.

On arrival in Nablus you'll visit the iconic Jacob's Well Church and Balata Refugee Camp. You'll see the crowded conditions and hear some stories about life there. You'll also visit one of the camp organizations that helps make life a little better for the residents.

Next you'll visit the Old City with its beautiful labyrinth of buildings dating back to the Ottoman period. You'll visit the ancient Turkish baths and an olive oil soap factory. You will also visit the Samaritan's hilltop village on Mount Grizim, the site of their ancient temple. Sometimes a local Samaritan priest is available to have a discussion at the museum.

At the end of the day you'll go to Sebastiya, the base for olive picking during the next week. You'll settle into the guest house there, situated in a crusader era building.
Dinner & overnight in Sebastiya

20th October - Thursday - Sebastiya Orientation and Tour
This will be a day of learning about Sebastiya, both the modern village, the ancient Roman city that once stood on the site, and the Crusader settlement of a later era.

The mountaintop ruins are magnificent, and the views unparalleled. There are olive trees over 1,000 years old sharing the same space with a Roman amphitheatre.

The magnificent ruins are a legacy from the time of Herod when the city was a Roman metropolis, full of temples, a large hippodrome, theatre and stadium. The remains of these can still be seen in remarkably preserved condition. There is also a small Byzantine church where the head of John the Baptist is supposed to be interred.
Dinner & overnight in Sebastiya

21st & 22nd October - Two Days of Olive Picking

The next two days will be spent with villagers in the Sebatiya area, home to some of the finest olives in Palestine.

The work is not physically strenuous but it is tiring. You'll be ready for a hot shower and an early bed each day.

The rewards are great. You'll work and eat with local people performing a task whose history stretches back into antiquity. You'll learn about what ties people to the land, and have an opportunity to chat with farmers whose ancestors were harvesting the same trees many hundreds of years ago.

We'll provide you with work gloves if needed, but you should bring a set of rough clothes and stout shoes. Also remember that despite getting hot from the work, local rules of modesty will prevail. More detail about this later.

You'll work 4-5 hours a day with the afternoons free for relaxation or visiting villagers.
Dinner & overnight in Sebastiya

23rd October - Sunday - Tour to Kalkilia
Kalkiliya is a town of about 45,000 people situated at the furthest western extremity of the West Bank with just 8 kilometers to the Mediterranean Sea.

In 1948 the local farmers lost much of their prime farmland in what became the state of Israel.

Today the city is surrounded completely by the Separation Barrier with only one road in or out.

You'll visit the 24-meter high wall with Israel's 6-lane ultra fast Route 6 highway,  just one hundred meters on the others side.

You'll visit the only zoo in the West Bank and learn about life under Occupation just a 20-minute drive from Tel Aviv
Dinner & overnight in Sebastiya

24th  October - Monday - Olive Picking

25th October - Tuesday - Tour to Jenin
Jenin is in the far north of the West Bank and home to a refugee camp and the Freedom Theatre.

The Freedom Theatre provides the refugee children with an outlet to vent their anger and frustration in an artistic setting. They are taught acting, music, dance and circus arts. Many go on to become serious amateur or professional performers.

Enroute to the camp you'll see the 'breadbasket' of the West Bank as the hills give way to broad valleys and plains where much of the Palestinian produce is grown.
Dinner & overnight in Beit Ummar Village

26th  October - Wednesday - Olive Picking

27th October - Thursday - Free time & Olive Harvest Party


The festival, or Jaru’a, is a traditional end of harvest celebration giving gratitude for another year of abundance.

You'll celebrate with the villagers with music and dance, and of course some great food.

In the evening you'll be taken back to Jerusalem, or to another destination if you have made prior arrangements.


Itinerary subject to change




  • Nablus Day Tour
    Visit the Samaritans and their holy temple on Mount Grizim. Hold a discussion with the Director of a youth organization in Balata Refugee camp. Explore the sights and sounds of the Old City of Nablus
  • Masada, Dead Sea & Southern West Bank
    An overview of the southern West Bank, the ancient Roman complex at Masada, a drive along the entire length of the Dead Sea, and an opportunity to dip in the healing sea waters.
  • Taybeh Village
    Come and explore Christian Palestine through the beautiful village of Taybeh located between Jerusalem, Ramallah and Jericho.
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