Rick: Yeah. They call this place Temple Mount, believe it to be the center of the earth, and have worshipped here for 3,000 years. Here we have another eggplant salad with vegetables. Abie: Definitely. We're meeting Kamal's mother, fiancée, his sister, and her children. Second man on balcony: Exactly. Here are 10 different interviews with people I met in the Holy Land. And Jerusalem marks its sacred center. Galilee is popular among Christian pilgrims. Holy Land Tour. What we wanted to do was to share the "eurekas" and discoveries that any thoughtful traveler will pick up when they go to a place like the Holy Land in person. Viewers relate to me because I come at things from the perspective of someone who knows a little and is hungry to learn more. Knowing people like Husam, you become more tuned in to the ramifications America's policies in this region have on real people. So I just believe it's right and in our interest to not shirk the responsibility of staying involved and engaged in this challenging part of the world. That's "Palestine." Jeff Griggs says: May 3, 2013 at 10:30 am We were so impressed with your show on Iran about two years ago. If you're going to go to the Holy Land, it's not a balanced experience without actually sleeping in Israel and actually sleeping in Palestine. Adjacent the president's headquarters stands the tomb of Yasser Arafat. This was a very exciting experience for me. It's famous as the place where Jesus did his three years of ministry, and where so many Bible stories were set — from loaves and fishes, and the Sermon on the Mount, to Christ walking on water. Land is treasured, land is disputed, and land is the basis of dreams. Husam: Yeah that's a good — a good excuse, but why it's unused — because we are not allowed to use it. Woman: Yes, and you have to leave something on your plate, 'cause if you don't keep something in your plate — food — you'll get another kind food. It's enlivened with singing, studying, and praying among the tombs of their great patriarchs. Rick: What does the block on the forehead indicate? Rick: Israelis I've heard would say, "Well, the land is unused anyway, it sits on the top of the hills." In the West Bank, most of the trees are olive trees. Exploring the market streets, I'm immersed in Palestinian life. While Muslims generally outnumbered Jews and Christians, the various communities generally got along peacefully. That's my hope. see our FAQ. My Account. Watch the interview. Scandinavia So I thought it might be a good idea to go there with a travel writer's perspective, with open eyes and an honest curiosity. We would talk to people in the markets in Jerusalem. As if rising out of those ancient olive groves, the ancient city of Hebron, with over 200,000 people, is the largest city in the West Bank. Within a 10-minute walk you can see the Church of the Holy Sepulchre — so sacred to Christians, the Dome of the Rock — revered by Muslims, and the holiest place in Judaism: the Western Wall. About 15 percent of Israeli Jews are Orthodox — very religious, and living conservative lifestyles that require them to be apart in many ways. Rick Steves' The Holy Land: Israelis and Palestinians Today is Rick's newest public television special — filmed on location in 2013. Here, Jews live literally atop Palestinian Muslims as the two communities struggle to be near the tomb of their common patriarch. Guides and tour companies interested in joining this list: Email firstname.lastname@example.org with a brief description of your company and your web address. When producing a show on the Holy Land, one of the big challenges is just simple terminology. Greece Approximately 1,000 Israeli civilians were killed by Palestinian suicide bombers as violence intensified during the Second Intifada from 2000 to 2005. by StockFootage.com. It's going to make only war. Explore Europe with Rick Steves, best-selling travel author and host of public television's "Rick Steves' Europe" and public radio's "Travel with Rick Steves." Today, that number's down to less than 2 percent. Children are let out of school for the week so they can work the trees with their parents. Rick Steves' The Holy Land: Israelis and Palestinians Today. I wanted to talk about things that illustrated a certain point, but you could take any number of issues and start a very constructive debate on any of these. A thousand years before Christ, King David united the 12 tribes of Israel and captured Jerusalem. Most of the West Bank population is in Palestinian-controlled cities, but Israel still controls most of the roads and most of the land. Israelites were Jewish. And I'm hopeful. Further up the coast is the 12th-century Crusader town of Akko. If you talk to an Orthodox Jew about Palestine, he or she — as a matter of principle — will call it "Judea and Samaria" because that group of people believes that's what it should be. see our FAQ. Palestinians living in the West Bank have no access to waterfront. I know the hurdles are high. We sat down with our Israeli guide Benny and driver Kobe to get an edible lesson in this part of their culture. Later, Palestinians — chafing at the loss of their land and freedom — staged two uprisings, or "intifadas." And it's all about this very sacred and complicated site: an ancient structure capped by a medieval church, which now functions both as a mosque and a synagogue, holding the Tombs of Abraham and his family. Built on the site believed to be where Jesus died and was resurrected, pilgrims line up to pray at the place of the crucifixion, and a few steps away, under a grand dome, they gather to enter Jesus' tomb, or "sepulchre," and place a candle where he was buried. Nearly half the country is first-generation immigrants, evident in the cultural makeup of the soldiers who seem to be everywhere. We have an obligation to work very hard to help find solutions that enable people in the Holy Land to exist peaceably and with dignity. The western foundation of this ancient temple complex survives. Kamal's mother: Sahtein. And they claim it's been effective — noting that since its construction, there's been almost no terrorism. We didn't leave. Rick: My hunch is they've learned that there [is] only one future and that is to respect Israel and not be violent. Man: Around the 19th of October, 1948, my family was forced to leave their village. As a curious traveler and a TV producer, I felt it was very comfortable, and honestly never once felt at risk. Land for Palestinians is a complicated and very human challenge that deserves a thoughtful response from American leaders. Even with all the problems that there is here, this is our roots, you know, we'll never, never give it up. It's a very contentious issue, and Israel seems determined to keep Jerusalem whole and in its control. Travel with a Mobile Device Jump to top. And many Jews believe it's God's will that they occupy Biblical Judea and Samaria, which is what they call the West Bank. For Christians, this is where Jesus was crucified and resurrected. Etiquette? Man in café: You know I think they've learned — We were impressed at how easily we could get into the settlements. As anywhere, actually making friends and getting into a home gives an intimate insight into the everyday worlds of the people you meet. They explained how they manage the boredom of small-town fortified living as they proudly shared their strongly held beliefs. Please sign in to post. It's October, and across the land — as they have since ancient times — families gather in the olive groves for the harvest. Jump to bottom. Second student: We're very happy that you're coming and give you this point and this thoughts about us, because we know that Americans and public in general, they know the bad idea about us. Yet traveling here, I feel there's a growing realization that neither side is going away, violence is not the answer, and everyone will be better off when dignity, security, and economic justice are provided to all. Rounds of olive paste are pressed into a weeping mass. Kamal Mukarker was a wonderful guide and fixer for our film shoot — and is now a good friend. First man on balcony: Yes. One regret I had in producing "Rick Steves' The Holy Land: Israelis and Palestinians Today" was that a lot of fascinating material wound up on the cutting-room floor. Man: Some neighborhoods, some streets are mixed. Rejoined by our Palestinian guide, Kamal, our first stop is Battir Natural Park — famed for its hikes through olives groves and ancient terraces. Abie: Well, in the Scripture, it says you should always have the love of God on your mind. It's made of bulgur and parsley and cucumbers. Spain Rick: More than? And just like Seattle's a city so is Ma'aleh Adumim a city. He also offers the "Kamal Mini-Tour Package": $700 per person for double, or $600 for single, which includes three nights and two days of sightseeing (one day covering Bethlehem, the second day visiting Hebron, Jericho, and the desert) with breakfast and dinner (add a third or fourth person to the double rate for $100 per person per day). Beyond the infrastructure of conflict, it's the treasured land that defines Palestine. In the process, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were displaced. With its international professionals and university students, Ramallah has an almost cosmopolitan energy you feel nowhere else in Palestine. To vet our script, we went to great lengths to run it by people in academia here in the United States and people who are leaders in the Holy Land, both from the Palestinian narrative and from the Israeli narrative. They are fun destinations, and there's not much quibbling over what you say about this place or that. Turnstiles and checkpoints are a way of life. Things are pretty quiet during our visit and we're able to move fast and free, even with our green plates, throughout the West Bank. There are no replies to this topic. These are the biblical terraces of Battir, and we call them "biblical" because they're over 2,000 years of age. This hour-long special weaves together the Israeli and Palestinian narratives while visiting the big sights, delving deeper to better understand both perspectives. Because if they can't get together, they're saddled with the unfortunate baggage of their parents' struggles. Rick: Sahtein. While beloved among Christians as the place where Jesus was born, Bethlehem is now a mostly Muslim town. Terms of Service | Privacy, Watch the Director's Cut without commentary, Bethlehem's Mix of Christians and Muslims, The Holy Land: Israelis and Palestinians Today. Around here, pride can come in little triumphs…and Mustafa is heading home with dinner for the family. Kamal: Translated it's "cheers" — to your health — twice. MTME emphasizes cultural, historical, religious, archeological, and political explorations. Gleaming Tel Aviv feels as modern and busy as any American city its size. L'chaim. Civil war broke out, which led to the 1948 Arab–Israeli War. Rick: Beteavon.Thank you. We want to show them we, we're accepting this now because we want to show you this is not who we are. We are planning a trip for the Middle East for May 2018. Rick: And what do you see for the future, for your, for Israeli Arabs and Israeli Jews together, your children — what do you hope for? By the way, a century ago, about 20 percent of all Palestinians were Christian. Still, it's impressive how the true grit of those early Jewish settlers turned sand dunes into Tel Aviv and built modern Israel. I envisioned writing things in a way where if you took me out of context in a little snatch of the show here and there, you might think I was pro-this or pro-that. Take the refugee problem, for example. The focal point for both faiths is this: the tomb of Abraham. Since working with Kamal, I've recommended many Americans to hire him for their own trips, and they've also had wonderful experiences. Much of Jerusalem's importance rests upon this holy site, which is both an inspiration and a flashpoint for the religions that share it. About three-quarters of all Israelis are Jewish. Download a free pdf of Rick's 48-page travel journal. Here in the Holy Land, the land itself is holy to its inhabitants. Holding the Torah high, joyous families celebrate at the most holy place in Judaism. And peace is possible only when both sides move beyond the past and make real concessions. I go to places that are confusing to me. In historic Dublin you'll learn about the struggle for independence and have a close-up look at the famous Book of Kells. As long as times are calm, the West Bank's wide open for the adventurous traveler. One regret I had in producing "Rick Steves' The Holy Land: Israelis and Palestinians Today" was that a lot of fascinating material wound up on the cutting-room floor. I enjoyed a conversation with a Muslim cleric at the Mosque of Omar in Bethlehem. Rick: A whole book in the Koran, named after Mary? Jump to bottom. This was where new arrivals first set foot in Israel. Their journey culminates at the site of Jesus' crucifixion — marked by the Church of the Holy Sepulchre on Calvary Hill, or "Golgotha.". In this travel lecture, Rick Steves shares his personal experience traveling through Israel and Palestine and filming his one-hour TV special "Rick Steves' The Holy Land." Jews teach that here, Abraham, as a test of his faith, was asked to sacrifice his son. European Travel Skills We can go out together and no judgment, nothing. Rick: Are you "settlers"? Everything that you see here is grown here locally. Woman in café: I don't know if they've learned. And it's nearly twice as long as the border it claims to defend — redrawn in order to secure settlements, aquifers, good farm land, and holy places within the West Bank for Israel. (I'd happily to pay the cost to hire Kamal for anyone in the Trump Administration who might like to balance their understanding of the challenges of this region by hearing the Palestinian narrative firsthand.) For a whole generation the Syrians were — the Syrians were here on the Golan, on the edge of the cliff targeting and shooting every single village and kibbutz of ours. He's a young, modern, and well-educated Palestinian who believes in nonviolence and in dignity for Palestine. I doubt it. Even on a "Holy Land history" kind of sightseeing tour, you can add a lot of value to your experience by connecting with people who live there today. I wanted to share the narratives from Israel and from Palestine in a balanced way. I felt safe the whole time. For the Muslims, Jesus is their second important prophet. Rick: Free women with a good future. Watch the interview. I wanted to talk to all kinds of people, and come away with some empathy and a better understanding for the different narratives. — Boom. At the east end of the Mediterranean Sea, the region west of the Jordan River is split between Israel (predominately Jewish), and Palestine (predominately Muslim and Arab), which is made up of the West Bank and Gaza. And Jerusalem is the most contested city within this contested land. If I had a biased perspective, it was that I knew a lot about Israel, and almost nothing about Palestine. Being here, I can see the appeal of these neighborhoods — especially for young families. But during a Muslim service in 1994, an Israeli settler entered here with his gun and killed 29 Palestinian worshippers. I’m back from the Holy Land and ready to put my focus back on Europe. Rick: What do you hope for? In fact, I 'can imagine Abraham, Jesus, or Muhammad, each traversing these same valleys. I'm a huge fan of people going to a complicated part of the world to talk to people and understand what's going on there. Israeli troops are posted here in the name of security. Sahtein. The people of Nablus are relatively conservative. But, I've learned that these Israeli enclaves embitter the Palestinians as much as violent resistance embitters Israelis. We live in Israel, this is Israel. A short drive up the coastline takes us to Haifa — a prosperous and open city famous for its tolerance. Rick: Now, you could say this is Israeli, but it's also Arab cuisine. Having traveled in the last year at length in Israel and Palestine, I am very enthusiastic about people traveling there. With a quick and decisive victory in the Six Days' War, Israel increased its territory substantially. I also talked to a diverse bunch of people who are very committed to finding solutions to the challenges that the Holy Land presents us. Emperor Constantine, the first Christian Roman emperor, had this church built in 326. Abie: Regarding the ear locks, the Torah is very specific: "Thou shalt not shave the sides of your face." Well, it depends on who you talk to. Just strolling the streets, dodging cars, and mixing with the people, I feel the energy of an economy that seems primed to grow. In Israel, we go from the venerable ramparts of Jerusalem to the vibrant modern skyline of Tel Aviv. Kamal: Olives, they're the best trees. Able: Definitely. Twins Tours & Travel Ltd. specializes in both individual and group tours. The hour-long special “Rick Steves’ Holy Land: Israelis and Palestinians Today” weaves together both the Israeli and the Palestinian narratives to better understand a place that is, for a third of humanity, literally holy land. It was the only way for them to survive. I don't think we've seen it yet. Hi, I’m Rick Steves, back with more travels. The crossroads for three great religions, the Holy Land has been coveted and fought over for centuries. He shares how he has hope for peace in the Holy Land. Jump to bottom. We got a chance to talk to refugees. Until next time, keep on travelin'. Woman in café: I don't know. Rick Steves Special: The Holy Land, Israelis And Palestinians Today Airs Saturday, Dec. 21, 2019 at 10 a.m. on KPBS TV Thursday, December 12, 2019 There's no easy answer. To have peace and to be, you know — Benny: Standing here, on a former Syrian position, one can understand how vulnerable was the settlements, the villages of the kibbutzim of Israel before 1967. Palestinians living in the West Bank, while nominally autonomous, are living under an Israeli occupation. But, when tensions are low, Palestinian families are allowed to enjoy some Israeli Dead Sea resorts. I like to hear that. Woman in café: I'm not convinced yet. Second student: For all, for us to stick together. But trying to write a script for a one-hour special on the Holy Land — not dodging contemporary challenges and issues that are very complicated — I just couldn't do that without running it by experts who would bring in a very thoughtful take from both narratives. Woman in café: I don't know! Regardless, there's always a watchtower, reminding those coming and going that Israel is keeping an eye on things. The state of Israel was born, in part, out of the Holocaust, a defining event in the long history of the Jews. This service is a kind of cultural boot camp, as even fresh-off-the-boat immigrants emerge as good Hebrew-speaking Israelis. I wish we'd had time in the program to talk with an even wider spectrum of voices. Europe for Foodies Kamal: You know that daily there are settlements [they] are building, there is, the wall is being built, and the Palestinians don't do anything about it. With over 40 years of intercultural bridge-building and tourism experience, MEJDI was founded on the belief that travel should contribute to a more positive, interconnected world. Germany & Austria Watch the interview. Tour Account › Travel Forum › Home / Travel Forum / Beyond Europe / Holy Land; Please sign in to post. But the people who are pro-settlements are calling the shots today, so it's especially important to understand what makes them tick. Rick Steves Travel Talks In this travel lecture, Rick Steves shares his personal experience traveling through Israel and Palestine and filming his one-hour TV special "Rick Steves' The Holy Land." Its Hall of Names is a project designed to give every victim the dignity of simply being named and recorded. The square operates as an open-air synagogue, with men and women separated by a barrier. email@example.com Buy Season 1 HD $6.99. We had a chance to talk with people in the university. All my life, I've heard experts talking about the Holy Land. While he certainly has plenty of detractors, this Palestinian statesman, who led the PLO from 1969 until 2004, is without a doubt the father of modern Palestine. In this interview, Husam Jubran, a very well-established Palestinian tour guide, shares the joys and challenges of earning a living as a guide in the West Bank. Rick: That's a good analogy. That's when the Jews became a people without a land and dispersed throughout the world. And The other half is a mosque — where Muslims worship before their shared patriarch with equal fervor. Whew! But, when times are tense, checkpoints are manned, and only yellow plates are allowed. One very clear lesson from all this travel: There are good people — very good people — on both sides of the divide. What Israelis call a "security fence" Palestinians consider an affront to their dignity, and a land grab, as it often reaches over the internationally agreed-upon border and into Palestinian territory. While Israelis and Palestinians have overlapping claims and struggle to share it peacefully, this land has a rich and fascinating heritage. Rick: Artillery from this little base? The tension between the communities is illustrated by a wire net that protects the Arab food and clothing market from the garbage of the Jewish residents above. Turkey, ©2021 Rick Steves' Europe, Inc. | Talking with him and his buddy, we learned of the special appeal of the Jordan Valley and how their community here is small and caring...like a big family. Mobile: +972/505-254-939. We'll go beyond the sights, opening our minds to both narratives to better understand and empathize with the people. My grandfather, his grandfather, his great-great-great-great-great-grandfather, and we still here. 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