Visit Us in Israel

Sample NIF Study Tour Itinerary - December 2013

04 April 2014 By New Israel Fund

Democracy, Equality, Justice: The Battle for Israel's Character
New Israel Fund Study Tour

An 8-day tour (December 5 - 12, 2013) designed to explore the multiple issues, organizations and people NIF funds as the leading organization advancing democracy and equality for all Israelis. NIF works to help Israel live up to its founders’ vision of a state that ensures complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants, without regard to religion, race, gender or national identity.

Thursday, December 5: Welcome to Israel! (Jerusalem)

Noon: Welcome and Introductions (snacks will be provided)

Lunch: Walking tour of Machane Yehuda (lunch on own)
Visit the sights and sounds of Jerusalem’s vibrant food market

Afternoon: Meet Drori Yehoshua from Mimizrach Shemesh – Jewish Social Leadership Center
Mimizrach Shemesh is a Beit Midrash (House of Study) and Center for Jewish Social Activism and Leadership in Israel. They cultivate leaders and train activists who are dedicated to the values of communal responsibility and social action rooted in all Jewish traditions including those of the Sephardi and Mizrachi heritage.

Evening: Welcome dinner at Spoons with NIF-Israel Executive Director Rachel Liel and NIF Board member Debra Pell
Enjoy a unique Jerusalem experience. Spoons was established in 2005 by chef and designer Hila Solomon, as an exclusive private dining experience in a historic house in the picturesque neighborhood of Yemin Moshe. Spoons is an exchange of ideas, adventures in food and culture.

Overnight: Inbal Hotel, Jerusalem

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Friday, December 6: Seeking Religious Freedom (Jerusalem)

Morning: Freedom bus ride with the Israel Religious Action Center
Take a ride on a Jerusalem municipal bus through with IRAC, the leading Israeli organization dedicated to religious freedom, and learn about the struggle for religious women to sit in the front of the bus.

Noon: Lunch and tour of Ein Kerem
Visit one of Jersualem’s most picturesque neighborhoods. Nestled in a peaceful valley between hills and mountains, surrounded by natural groves, Ein Kerem has been a pilgrimage site for thousands of years.

Afternoon: Visit with Bina – the Secular Yeshiva of Jerusalem
Meet the founders of Bina Secular Yeshiva, and learn about their work to construct a moral worldview that sees Jewish learning and direct action as steps to strengthening Jewish identity, mutual responsibility, social solidarity and Jewish Peoplehood.

Evening: Shabbat home hospitality with NIF staff, Board and International Council
Spend Shabbat dinner at the home of one of NIF’s local leaders. Enjoy Israeli hospitality, spirited conversation and a relaxing evening with NIF friends and supporters.

Overnight: Inbal Hotel, Jerusalem

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Saturday, December 7: Shabbat in Israel (Jerusalem)

Morning: Visit to the Israel Museum and special exhibit on King Herod
A guided visit to Israel’s premier art and history museum, with a stop at the exhibit on King Herod: “The first exhibition entirely dedicated to Herod the Great, Israel’s greatest builder and one of the most controversial figures in Jewish history. Large reconstructions and new finds from Herod’s palaces in Herodium, Jericho, and other sites are on display. Exhibited to the public for the very first time, these artifacts shed new light on the political, architectural, and aesthetic influence of Herod’s rule (37–4 BCE).”

Afternoon: Tour of the Old City (lunch on own)
Enjoy a unique guided tour of the Old City of Jerusalem, with its remarkable ancient history, cacophonous sights and sounds and delicious delicacies.

Evening: Conversations with journalists:
“Outlooks for Peace: Palestinian and Israeli Perspectives”
(dinner at the American Colony Hotel)
Dinner at the beautiful American Colony Hotel, with its fascinating history and reputation for being a haven for journalists, diplomats and Jerusalem’s mixed society for over a century. Enjoy conversations with Israeli journalist Gershom Gorenberg and Palestinian journalist Ziad al ZIad they discuss issues of peace from both sides of the conflict.

Overnight: Inbal Hotel, Jerusalem

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Sunday, December 8: The Conflict – New Perspectives (day trip to Hebron)

Breakfast: Conversation with NIF Board member Talia Sasson
Talia Sasson, attorney and author of the Sasson Report, an official Israeli government report which, in 2005, concluded that Israeli state bodies had been discreetly diverting millions of shekels to build West Bank settlements and outposts that were illegal under Israeli law. Talia will talk about the settlements as an obstacle to peace, and her work with Yeruham, a development town in the South.

Morning: Visit to Hebron with NIF grantee Breaking the Silence (with lunch)
Breaking the Silence is an organization of veteran combatants who have served in the Israeli military since the start of the Second Intifada and have taken it upon themselves to expose the Israeli public to the reality of everyday life in the Occupied Territories. Their tour of Hebron, home to Israel’s most controversial settlement, is a challenging look at the heart of the conflict and the optics of war.

Afternoon: Visit to Herodian ruins
As a tonic from the conflicts of today, on our return trip (and as a counterpart to the exhibit in the Israel Museum), we will stop to visit the ancient ruins of Herodian, the monumental fortress and palace built by Herod the Great on the highest hill in the Judean desert, 15KM south of Jerusalem, and where Herod is believed to buried.

Late afternoon: Discussion on Hebron visit
Shatil’s Conflict Transformation and Management Center will facilitate a group discussion on our experience visiting Hebron. This will be an opportunity to digest, process and discuss the issues, concerns and questions from the day.

Evening: Group dinner
A casual group dinner at Machneyuda, a trendy, chef-restaurant near the market, where we’ll enjoy informal conversations with NIF’s board and staff.

Overnight: Inbal Hotel, Jerusalem

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Monday, December 9: The Human Face of Civil Rights in Israel (Jerusalem)

Breakfast: Conversation with Yuval Yavneh and Ronit Heyd (NIF Offices)
Learn about NIF’s grant making and Shatil’s capacity building work.

Morning: Visit with the Association of Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI)
Tour of the Supreme Court

Several factors were taken into consideration when Israel’s modern-day Supreme Court was built: the site would be adjacent to the Knesset; the building would integrate post-modern architectural elements, reflecting Jerusalem’s rich architectural history; and the building would express values of justice, law and righteousness, drawing inspiration from biblical metaphor.

We’ll visit Israel’s judicial gem with NIF’s flagship grantee – the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, the organization responsible for the majority of Court decisions regarding civil and human rights over the past 40+ years.


» Tour the Knesset, meet with a Knesset member and NIF Grantee Social Guard
Visit the Knesset, the seat of Israel’s democratic government, and learn about the roles and responsibilities of Knesset members and the extraordinary artwork in the building. Meet with NIF grantee, Social Guard, who is working on developing a new progressive voice in Israeli politics.

» Meet with former Knesset member and NIF Board member Naomi Chazan
Naomi Chazan, former Deputy Speaker of the Knesset (Meretz party), political analyst and activist and Dean of the School of Government and Society at the Academic College of Tel-Aviv-Yaffo, will join us for a talk on politics and democracy in Israel today.

» Mid-tour discussion
An opportunity to debrief, debate and discuss what we have seen and heard to date.

Evening: Free evening in Jerusalem(dinner on own)

Overnight: Inbal Hotel, Jerusalem

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Tuesday, December 10: Refugees, Asylum Seekers and Immigrants: The Changing Face of Israel (Tel Aviv)

(Check-out of Inbal Hotel)

Morning: Visit Florentine neighborhood and NIF grantee Mahapach
Established originally by Greek and Turkish immigrants, the Florentine neighborhood continues to be populated by a combination of new arrivals and lower income Israelis. Its streets boast trendy shops and cafes, but the underlying struggles faced by disenfranchised Israelis are evident.

NIF grantee, Mahapach, is a grassroots, feminist, Jewish-Arab organization dedicated to social change through education and community empowerment, working towards equal socio-economic and educational opportunities for all.

Lunch: Lunch on own and tour of Tel Aviv
Named one of the top three cities in the world by Lonely Planet, Tel Aviv has a vibe all its own. Walk along the streets of Israel’s most exciting city, with its fantastic cuisine, vibrant street life and pleasant tree-lined streets that spill into the Mediterranean Sea. Visit Nachalat Binyamin, Tel Aviv’s exciting weekly artist’s market.

Afternoon: Walking tour of South Tel Aviv with Hotline for Migrant Workers and Power to the Community
South Tel Aviv is home to Levinsky Park, which is currently serving as a refuge for the influx of African immigrants and refugees that have come to Tel Aviv in recent years. NIF grantees Hotline for Migrant Workers (whose goal is to build a just and democratic society where the human rights of all those residing within its borders are paramount civic and political values,) and Power to the Community, will visit with us and explain the needs, challenges and every-changing face of this population.

Evening: Dinner with NIF Board members/grantees
Enjoy dinner at a popular Tel Aviv restaurant and enjoy conversation with NIF leaders.

Overnight: Carlton Hotel, Tel Aviv

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Wednesday, December 11: A Line in the Sand: Bedouin, the Negev and the Challenges of the Israeli South (day trip to the South)

Full day:

Meet with Shatil staff in Beer Sheva
Start our day by meeting the organizers of Shatil’s work in the South, who will frame the issues being faced by the multiple communities with whom we work.

Visit an unrecognized village and meet with Bedouin citizens
Visit the citizens of a village “unrecognized” by Israeli authorities and learn what it means to live without government services, and how the community’s voices are being organized for action.

Visit NIF grantee, Bedouin Women’s Weaving Project
The Bedouin Women’s Weaving Project supports Bedouin women in creating a cottage industry that helps feed, educate and empowers Bedouin women and girls.

Evening: Free evening in Tel Aviv

Overnight: Carlton Hotel, Tel Aviv

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Thursday, December 12: Shared Society: Dream or Reality? (Tel Aviv)

(Check out of Carlton Hotel)


Tour of Old Jaffa
We’ll take a walking tour of the ancient port city of Jaffa, which today is a “mixed” city with Arab and Jewish residents.

Meet with NIF grantee Arous Elbahar (Bride of the Sea)
Located in the hardscrabble Ajami neighborhood in Jaffa, Arous Elbahar is a community center for Muslim Arab women where residents can learn new skills such as bookkeeping, home finances, computers, English and entrepreneurship.


Conversation with Gil Gan Mor of ACRI
We’ll take a walk with Gil Gan Mor, ACRI’s expert on affordable housing, and learn more about issues of housing supply, cost and its impact on Tel Aviv’s citizens

Free time

Final tour wrap-up
Our opportunity for a final group conversation about what we’ve seen, and what we’ll bring back.

Evening: Final night dinner at Beit #3, Jaffa

For those with late evening flights, transportation to the airport will be arranged from Beit #3.