To mention it right from the start: There is no elevated safety risk if you take part in our programs in Israel. Please read the explanations below the get a general overview over the safety situation.
We have two main locations for volunteering, internships, World Learner and voluntourism in Israel. One is the town of Tamra in Galilee in the north of Israel. Tamra is part of the wider Akko-Haifa-Tamra area. These three cities are located some 15-30 minutes' drive from each other, and are well connected via buses, train (Akko-Haifa) and communal taxis. It is easy to move between the three cities. The second location is the Bedouin village Qasr A-Sir in the Negev Desert in the south of Israel.
Israel is a very developed country of European/North American standards. The institutions and organizations in Tamra where we offer volunteer and internship placements, just as the accommodation options, are of the same or even higher standard than in Europe or the US.The Bedouins in the Negev Desert however live under simple conditions.
Our coordinator and local contact person in Tamra is Mrs. Aisha Khatib. She is an arts teacher and is working at some of the organizations to which we bring volunteers and interns. She often combines work at several organizations for you, so you will get to see and do a lot. In the Bedouin village, the NGO Bustan is offering support services to our participants.
In Tamra and in Qasr A-Sir Arabic is spoken. In Tamra many citizens further speak Hebrew and English. All staff of Bustan speaks English. Arabic language skills are not required. To communicate with children and people of lower education in Tamra, and with Bedouins in the desert, it is however of advantage to have basic Arabic skills. We can offer Arabic language classes.
You reach Israel by aircraft to Tel Aviv Airport, the country's only international airport. Numerous airlines have scheduled flights to Tel Aviv from Europe and the US. From Tel Aviv there are good train connections to Akko and Haifa, the ride takes 90-120 minutes without changing trains. You reach the Negev Desert by train to Be'er Sheva (around 90 minutes from Tel Aviv Airport) and from there by bus to Qasr A-Sir (20 mins).
The historical port town of Akko (also: Akkon) has around 50,000 inhabitants. Its old town atmosphere is very oriental. Akko has been mentioned in the bible's Old Testament; Alexander the Great, the Romans, Sultan Saladin, and the Crusaders all have been to Akko. Napoleon didn't succeed to conquer the city though. The old town of Akko as a UNESCO World Heritage site is part of every Israel round trip. During the summer, Akko's beach is very populated, and Akko's Arabian market is a popular location for tourists and locals alike.
Tamra (25,000 inhabitants) is located on the hills which rise behind the plains of Akko. With clear weather, from Akko you have a fantastic view over Akko and the Mediterranean Sea. For this reason, Tamra is a popular town for short trips of people from the neighbouring cities who enjoy Tamra's attractively priced traditional Arabic restaurants.
The town is dominated by Arabic Israelis living in extended family clans. Arts, culture and community are highly valued in Tamra; many citizens are highly educated and have studied abroad. They are particularly friendly and open towards foreigners and it is easy for our participants to get integrated into the town community.
Tamra is also famous for its extravagant weddings. There are several locations where weddings are being celebrated. During the "wedding season", from May to October, Tamra hosts 7-10 large weddings every day.
Haifa (270,000 inhabitants) is after Tel Aviv and Jerusalem Israel's third largest city. It is a city full of life as there are more than 40,000 students studying at Haifa University and numerous colleges. For that reason Haifa can count with a wide selection of bars and clubs. During the summer, the beaches behind Mount Carmel are populated at day and night by young people.
Between Haifa, Akko and Tamra there are not only olive and pomegranate plantations, but also the so-called "Krayots" which are several villages belonging to the wider area of Haifa. They have modern entertainment facilities such as multiplex cinemas, bars and bowling allies.
The Bedouin village Qasr A-Sir is located along an
ancient caravan route which connects the Arabian peninsula with the
Middle East, and for generations has served as a stopover for traders,
soldiers and nomads. Qars means fortress - the remains of an ancient
fortress can still be seen at the entrance to the village. From Qasr
A-Sir you can easily travel over a weekend to Tel Aviv (90 mins) or
Jerusalem (2 hours). Also the ocean isn't far.
Leisure time activities in Tamra/Akko/Haifa
As mentioned before, there are numerous ways of how to spend leisure time in Tamra, Akko and Haifa. All cities are full of cultural life. During the hot summer you can go to the beaches, Tamra also has a public swimming pool. Day trips in Israel which can be done from Akko/Tamra/Haifa include visiting mystical historical sites such as Jerusalem, Nazareth, Safed, the Sea of Galilee and Magito, where, according to the prophecy of Jews, Christians and Muslims alike, the final battle of "Armageddon" will take place. In the nature of the hilly north it is possible to hike, mountainbike and even ski in the winter time.
Our participants in Tamra usually stay at two neighbouring houses which are overlooking Tamra town and the plain of Akko-Haifa. A garden with olives and lemon trees between these two houses can be accessed. On the ground floor of these houses there are modern and spacious studios, each with its own bathroom and kitchen area. 2-3 participants can stay comfortably at each studio. The owners, local couples, live upstairs and can offer further rooms in the house if needed. There is wifi internet.
If there are many participants in Tamra at the same time, we also arrange accommodation of comparable standard at other houses in town.
Accommodation at the Bedouin village Quasr A-Sir is at the Eco Khan guest house of the village, which is run by the Bedouin community,
Safety in Israel
When you tell your family or friends about your plan to go to Israel as a volunteer or intern, you probably have to face concerns about the safety situation. In the media, the image of Israel is dominated by acts of violence between Jewish settlers and Palestinian, and by conflicts with neighbouring countries.
This fear is mostly without any reason. Around 2 million tourists visit Israel annually. Tourists have never been the goal of violence and the security measures in the country are very high so that it is almost impossible to get oneself into critical situation by accident. The only problematic area is geographically limited to the Gaza Strip.
You should not travel to the Gaza Strip. As it is anyway ccompletely closed by military/police so that it is impossible for you to enter it accidentally. The same is true about any other place in Israel where there might be possible conflicts. They will be preventively blocked, such as the old town of Jerusalem from time to time, as there is a a conflict about a Mosque which got occupied by Jews who believe that the remains of a Jewish cult site are to be found under the Mosque. If you plan a day trip to Jerusam, you should ask our local coordinators if entering Jerusalem is possible on that day. They are following the news every day and will know.
The safety measures in the whole country are extremely high. At train stations or the main terminals of the buses there are security checks similar to airports, and the security controls at Tel Aviv airport are higher than in any other international airport.
There is almost no petty crime in Israel and women can move freely.
Should the safety situation in Israel change so that we consider it irresponsible for you to travel to Israel after your booking is made, we will fully refund you.