Connect with Locals

There is no better way to learn about the people, community and culture of Bethlehem than to add a homestay with a host family into your Travel & Encounter program. Each of our host families is carefully selected to provide more than just a bed-and-breakfast experience for our program participants.  Our host families offer insight into the home and family life of Bethlehem, engaging in conversation, meal preparation and inclusion into social activities with their guests.  Just as each traveler has different interests and needs, each host family provides a different experience.

A stay with a host family can be organized for individuals, couples, families, friends and students in small groups, and can be organized for single or multiple evenings.  Each family stay includes at least one dinner meal and breakfast.  Special dietary or facilities needs for program participants are discussed with host families in advance,

Discover true Bethlehem hospitality with a homestay, and don’t worry….you won’t have to sleep in the manger.

Meet our families

Jiries Hanna Jiries Qumsieh
He is a 47 year old man who is married and a father of three children. He works as a constructor in Jerusalem and his wife is a teacher at the rosary. He lives in Bethlehem.

This family has had a relationship with Holy Land Trust for 10 years and they are hoping to continue this. He has strong connections with the staff members.

He hosts families for several reasons, including:

  • ● to improve his children's’ English skills
  • ● To increase intercultural communication skills
  • ● To have more income
  • ● To be hospitable to the international community

Visitors often leave with an incredible intercultural experience, and with strong relationships with
the family, for even years after they leave.

Nathalie Hanna George Maria
She is married and a 46 year old mother of four children. Her husband is an employee at the Bethlehem University and he is the only working member in the family. Nathalie is a house wife and takes care of the families that she hosts.

Nathalie and her husband have a house which is in good condition. It has a private room for visitors to stay in.

The family’s relationship with Holy Land Trust started a few years ago and we are looking forward to it continuing for years. The relationship is special with the staff because it is built on trust and transparency.

Nathalie says she likes hosting people because she can interact with other cultures as well as raise their household income. She often finds that international visitors are not very aware of the Palestinian situation and she hopes that, by visiting, internationals can learn more about the conflict and the Palestinian community.

Atallah Moussa Khalil Danoun
He is a 76 year old retired teacher. He lives with his wife and he is in good health. He owns a house in the city of Beit Sahour, which is very close to Bethlehem.

10 years ago, Atallah started to work with the Holy Land Trust. He had met one of the employees and asked to fill an application form to start hosting tourists in his own home. Atallah likes hosting people for several reasons. He feels that when people come over that the international community can learn more about the Palestinian situation. He also likes to exchange various cultural ideas, especially those the pertain to peace. Being retired, he is also able to raise his financial situation through hosting people.

Atallah says that anyone whom he hosts is a part of his family and he will treat them as such. Often, people cry when they leave his home because they had such a good and meaningful time with him. Atallah shared a story about a German couple whom he hosted for 10 days. At first they were unsure about staying with a host family but at the end of their visit, they had felt like family.

Um Nidal, Attalah’s wife, is the one who often keeps in touch with the visitors after they leave and she makes sure to follow the highs and lows of their lives through the years.

Raja As’ad Ibrahim Kheir
A 49 year old man who lives in Beit Sahour. He is a construction worker in Jerusalem. He is married and has four children. His wife is a teacher in a private school in Hebron. Their relationship with Holy Land trust started about eight years ago. Raja says he likes to host foreigners for three different reasons:

  1. Meeting people from other cultures
  2. Improve the English skills of the family
  3. Have more financial income

One incident that Raja likes to talk about is when they had a foreigner stay with them for six weeks. Years later, the foreigner managed to find the house and surprise the family with a visit!

Most foreigners that the family hosts like to listen to different stories and ask many questions about Palestinian life, including the difficulties they face daily. Raja added that they try to keep in touch with the families they host as much as possible.

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