- Explore various sides of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict with experts from National Geographic and The Wall Street Journal, as well as activists, entrepreneurs, and educators living across the region.
- Delve into thousands of years of history in the Holy Land, from the churches and mosques of Jerusalem’s Old City to mountain fortresses in the Negev Desert.
- Learn about life on the border of the Gaza Strip, and cross into the West Bank to meet with Israeli settlers in Gush Etzion and Palestinian entrepreneurs in Ramallah.
- Experience age-old traditions and savor the rich flavors of Israeli cuisine in bustling markets, quaint cafés, and local kitchens from Tel Aviv to Bethany.
Journey through the storied lands of Israel and the West Bank and gain a unique dual perspective on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, provided by peace-builder guides from both sides of the border. Explore ancient landmarks in the Old City of Jerusalem—from the Temple Mount to the Western Wall—through the eyes of Jews, Muslims, and Christians. Venture into the golden expanse of the Negev desert, float in the Dead Sea, and relax in the lush, coastal cities of Jaffa and Haifa. From Tel Aviv to Ramallah, engage in discussions with local politicians, journalists, and grassroots organizers working to achieve a diplomatic solution to the ongoing struggle for political self-determination in the Holy Land; and hear how the region is leveraging technology and innovation amid a climate of conflict.
This trip is offered in partnership with The Wall Street Journal.
Arrive at the airport in Tel Aviv, enjoying VIP assistance through customs; then transfer to your hotel overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. Meet fellow travelers and accompanying experts from National Geographic and The Wall Street Journal at our welcome reception, and get introduced to the Israeli–Palestinian conflict during a talk by a local historian. After dinner, discuss the dual narrative concept—an effort to illuminate both sides of the conflict through tours led by teams of Israeli and Palestinian guides.
This morning, journey to the ancient Mediterranean port city of Jaffa. Stroll winding stone alleyways and learn about the city’s religious and political history from the Bronze Age to the present. Return to Tel Aviv to explore one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods, Neve Tzedek, and lively Rothschild Boulevard, dotted with monuments commemorating the establishment of Israel. At the Taglit–Birthright Innovation Center, meet with a local entrepreneur and discuss Israel’s future as a “start-up nation.” Later, visit Tel Aviv University for a conversation with students in the StarTAU entrepreneurial program.
Delve into the development of the modern state of Israel at the Yitzhak Rabin Center, a national institute dedicated to the legacy of the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. At the center’s Israeli Museum, historical exhibits and short documentary films provide an in-depth examination of important events in the country’s history. Return to our hotel to meet with a panel of journalists and activists to discuss peace-building and politics in Israel. In the evening, learn more about the region’s complex history from our Wall Street Journal expert.
Today, explore contemporary political and religious movements along Israel’s Mediterranean coast as you travel between Tel Aviv and Haifa. Visit the Q School in Tira to learn about its progressive curriculum focused on English-language education for Arab-Israeli students. Tour a kibbutz for a glimpse into one of Israel’s socialist collective communities. Head to the town of Daliyat el Karmil to sit down for lunch with a Druze family, members of an Arabic-speaking ethnoreligious group with ancient roots. In Haifa, visit the green Bahá'í Gardens on the slopes of Mount Carmel. These lush terraces surround the Shrine of Báb, one of the 19th-century founders of the Bahá’í faith. After returning to Tel Aviv, enjoy dinner with representatives of a local organization working to cultivate interfaith relationships between Arabs and Jews.
After breakfast, meet with Gershon Baskin, author and founder of Israel–Palestine: Creative Regional Initiatives, a nonprofit think tank combining research with peace-building actions and advocacy. Then venture into the golden plains of the Negev—the desert region of southern Israel—to visit the city of Sederot, about a mile from the border with Gaza. Tour Sederot with a local guide and visit the offices of Amdocs, a multinational telecommunications company. While walking the city’s tree-lined streets, learn more about the Iron Dome innovation, established to intercept missiles fired across the border. Stop at the factory for SodaStream, once the subject of international controversy for operating its facilities in the West Bank. End your day with a visit to a traditional Bedouin village.
Explore the stark desert realm of the Negev this morning. Stand on the edge of Ramon Crater, a vast erosion cirque at the center of Israel’s largest national park. Capture incredible images of this otherworldly landscape, home to wildlife such as the Asiatic wild ass and the Nubian ibex. In Masada, climb to an ancient fortress along a ramp once used by Roman soldiers, and view the ruins of the 2,000-year-old mountain refuge of Herod the Great. Descend the mountain by cable car, then head to the shores of the Dead Sea for an afternoon float on the world’s deepest hypersaline lake. Continue to Jerusalem this evening and head to the top of the Mount of Olives to enjoy panoramic city views.
Begin your exploration of one of the world’s oldest cities with a visit to Temple Mount, a venerated holy site in Jerusalem’s Old City. Gaze at the glittering cupola of the Dome of the Rock, and meet an imam from Al-Asqa Mosque to learn about the site’s importance in Islam. Touch the ancient stones of the Western Wall, believed to have been built by King Herod, then sit down to lunch with a rabbi to discuss the wall’s religious significance for Jews. In the afternoon, visit the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, home to six Christian sects and, according to tradition, the tomb of Jesus. Before dinner, meet with a local pastor to continue the dialogue on Jerusalem’s importance to many faiths.
Today, trace the turbulent history of the birth of the state of Israel at Yad Vashem, the nation’s memorial to the victims of the Holocaust, and meet a survivor for a sobering glimpse into one of history’s darkest decades. Then delve into the bustling Mahane Yehuda Market for a taste of local specialties like halvah and hummus. During a free afternoon, choose to view the Dead Sea Scrolls at the Israel Museum, wander café-lined boulevards, or stroll the shady garden of Gethsemane. Tonight, gather for a discussion with activists from the Bereaved Families Forum, a joint Israeli–Palestinian organization of over 600 families who have lost loved ones in the conflict.
Delve deeper into the complexities of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict at a morning meeting with Women Wage Peace, a grassroots movement of women working to achieve political agreement to resolve the conflict. Travel to the Gush Etzion Jewish settlement in the West Bank to hear from female Israeli settlers living in this disputed territory. Continue to Bethlehem to explore Manger Square and the Church of the Nativity, which stands on the site believed to have been the birthplace of Jesus. This afternoon, visit Aida, a Palestinian refugee camp, to learn how the inhabitants use street art as a form of nonviolent expression. Then listen to a Palestinian woman’s story of life as a refugee. In the evening, join our National Geographic expert Aziz Abu Sarah for dinner at his home in Bethany, followed by a performance by an Arab–Jewish band.
Today, explore the roles of politicians and the media in shaping the global narrative of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. Set out on a geo-political tour of Jerusalem led by Miri Eisin, a retired colonel for the Israel Defense Forces and former international advisor to the Prime Minister of Israel; then meet an Israeli journalist to learn about local coverage of the conflict. Gather with a group of entrepreneurial women for lunch in Ramallah, the de facto capital of the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank. Tour the city’s historic sites, from Crusader-era ruins to the tomb of Yasser Arafat. Sit down for a discussion with a Palestinian government official before returning to Jerusalem for a farewell reception and dinner.
Transfer to the airport in Tel Aviv to connect with your international flight home.