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On Saturday December 28,our trip began in Tel Aviv as we exited the plane. The bus was waiting for us and then we headed towards the St. Vincent Guest House in Bethlehem. We were able to begin the next morning with Mass in Arabic at the Church of St. Catherine. The singing of the people and architecture of the church was beautiful. After Mass, we traveled to the excavation site at  Herodium.  We were able to see the tunnels, the cisterns, and the private burial ground of Herod. In addition, we saw Solomon’s Pools. After lunch at the Christmas Tree Restaurant, we drove to Shepherd’s Field. Walking through the park, we came to the small chapel with a cave showing the nativity scene.

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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).

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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.  

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In Nablus, we first visit a soap factory in the middle of the modern city.  We are allowed to wrap some soap. Fascinating!  Then we walk around the old city, a university lecturer, joins us, and we see more of the old city, including a wall of photos of local martyrs. We have coffee in a coffee shop recently opened in the old city; it is also a sort of local history museum. Lots of talking, including a fascinating political discussion about Palestine. Café is full of young people, although all in single sex groups. Visit the hammam; it is men’s day so Brigitta and I just see the main hall, a lovely old building.

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Under this title IMBACH-REISEN in Lucerne, a pioneer of hiking holidays and tours, presented a new destination to their customers.

 

A friendly Palestinian guide took us to villages and refugee camps,at some distance Jewish settlements. Again and again we got in touch with the Bible and the Holy Land : Abraham and Jacob, miracles by Jesus, the woman at Jacobs well.

 

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Describing the beauty of the Palestinian landscape and its fascinating diversity, the privileged witness of timeless scenes, the shepherds driving their herds across thousand-year-old landscapes of cliffs, the Bedouins in their traditional daily life,  would all be incomplete and inequitable toward those women and men met along the trail and who bring to this journey all its powerful humanity.

 

Abraham’s Path is as well, a rich encounter with each person involved in the project, the local guide who bridges the voyageur to his family, and the communities the voyageur will meet on the way. 

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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.

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