Volunteer or Tour? How to Travel to Israel in 2022
So you want to come to Israel, but you’re not sure what kind of trip is right for you? Maybe it’s your first time, and everyone says that you should come on a 10 day tour. Maybe you’ve been on a tour before, and you’re ready for something different.
Either way, you want to experience Israel differently. You don’t just want to run where Jesus walked, and go home with a t-shirt that says, “My sister/brother went to Israel and all I got was this lousy t-shirt.” You want to go deeper. Meet the locals. Visit off-the-beaten track places. Experience your Bible come to life. After all, this is the Holy Land, and the birthplace of your faith!
Most tours to Israel don’t provide an experience that takes you past the big cities or tourist sites. Don’t get me wrong. Tours can be amazing, and a great way to visit Israel, especially if it’s your first time. If you don’t consider yourself a tourist however, you might want to look deeper.
How about a volunteer opportunity? This could be a great option, but it also comes with some questions. What kind of volunteer opportunities are there in Israel? How do I know if I’m choosing the right one?
In this article, we’ll break down some of the best ways to sign up for a volunteer program in Israel, as well as how you can get involved with our work.
DISCLAIMER: we’re definitely biased towards the volunteer programs that we offer.
Why Volunteering is One of the Best Ways to Visit Israel in 2022
If you’ve ever volunteered for a charitable cause, you know the secret. There is great fulfillment and joy to be found while serving our fellow man. Oftentimes, we receive far more than what we could ever give. Jesus said that He came to serve and not to be served. As believers, we should strive to emulate our Messiah’s mission.
There are many great causes that you can volunteer with in Israel. You can sign up to care for Holocaust survivors, help out in a soup kitchen, volunteer with the IDF, or even pick up garbage from Israel’s busy city streets! All of these are incredible causes, and I would recommend any one of them as a great volunteer opportunity.
There are volunteer programs however, that provide something that none of the above experiences do. HaYovel has been bringing volunteers to serve small Jewish farmers in Israel’s biblical heartland (AKA – West Bank) for the past eighteen years. Not only does this give you a unique opportunity to get your hands dirty in Israel’s prophetic soil, but it also provides an experience like none other – meeting the local Israeli people and experiencing Israel’s biblical heartland.
Don’t Miss Israel’s Biblical Heartland When You Visit Israel
Most of the world has heard about the “West Bank” or the “Occupied Territories.” Mainstream media has been obsessed with demonizing the Jewish people who choose to live and settle in Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria since the 1970s. The Israel-haters have run a very successful propaganda campaign and would love for you to believe things like:
- Jews who live in the West Bank have horns on their heads.
- Jewish settlements are an obstacle to peace in the middle east.
- The IDF routinely oppresses Palestinians who live in the West Bank.
- Israel illegally occupies Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria.
- Settlements are illegal under international law.
None of these bullet points are true, but we don’t have the time nor space to go into that in this article. If you’re interested in some hard-core proof that soundly debunks these myths, visit TheIsraelGuys.com.
The actual reality is that Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria make up a region of what the world likes to call the West Bank. Samaria is north of Jerusalem, and Judea is south of Jerusalem. Technically, East Jerusalem (including the Old City), is included in the “West Bank” because Jordan occupied it during their nineteen year illegal occupation from 1948-1967.
The real name for this region is the “biblical heartland.” That is because more than 80% of our Bible was either written, or occurred in these areas. It’s also Israel’s central mountain region, and home to some of the country’s most incredible agriculture and beautiful towns. Vineyards and olive orchards dot the mountainous landscape. Wineries, some of which have won awards in competitions that included the best of old world wine regions, are sprinkled throughout Judea and Samaria. Archaeology is here, the oldest of which is more than 4,000 years old, dating back to Abraham.
The reality is that the real heartland of Israel is a vastly different place than what the media would have you believe. Instead of being a war-torn wild West Bank where crazy settlers live and Israel’s military oppresses the Palestinians, it is actually a hidden jewel in Israel’s landscape. And it is a place that you should most certainly visit or come to volunteer.
The volunteer programs that we host in Israel’s heartland are based around helping small, Jewish farmers.
Visit Israel and Make a Difference Through Farm Volunteer Programs
Our volunteer programs mostly serve small, Jewish farmers in Judea and Samaria, Israel’s heartland. We help vineyard owners prune, plant, and harvest their grapes. We also plant trees in partnership with farmers and Jewish communities to help restore Israel’s barren and rocky landscape. Over the years, we’ve planted nearly 40,000 trees and vines in Israel’s biblical heartland.
Everyone who has come and put their fingers in Israel’s prophetic soil has experienced a life-changing phenomenon. Those who have harvested grapes, pruned branches from vines, or placed a new sapling in Israel’s rocky soil have come away with an unforgettable story. Instead of only coming to Israel to observe what God is doing here, they have become a partner in God’s beautiful story of redemption. Instead of just seeing it with their eyes, they have gotten involved. I’ve heard it likened to giving up your seat in the audience to take your place on the main stage.
It may seem simple. Come to Israel and participate in a volunteer program where you harvest grapes, plant trees, or prune vineyards.
The reality of what is taking place, however, is deeper and more significant than any of us could ever imagine. Hundreds of prophecies that were written thousands of years ago in the Bible are now coming to pass right before our very eyes. And do you know what many of those prophecies speak about? They speak about agriculture, the mountains of Israel (Judea and Samaria), and the nations coming to participate.
How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who proclaims peace, who brings glad tidings of good things, who proclaims salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns!” (Isaiah 52:7)
That means that the prophets of old literally predicted that people just like you would come and stand with the Jewish people in the biblical heartland. They also predicted that Israel’s mountains would one day burst back to life after a period of desolation.
But you, O mountains of Israel, you shall shoot forth your branches and yield your fruit to My people Israel, for they are about to come. (Ezekiel 36:8)
Ready for a Life-Changing Trip to Israel?
Tours are great. Personal trips to Israel can be great. We believe the secret ingredients for a truly life-changing experience when traveling to Israel, however, are these:
- Serve the land and people through a volunteer program.
- Make sure to include Israel’s biblical heartland (where more than 80% of our Bible was written or took place).
- Be a part of biblical prophecy coming to life in Israel today.
If this sounds like something you’d like to be a part of, check out the programs that we offer at ServeIsrael.com/Volunteer. You can come for 2 weeks, 3 weeks, 6 weeks or even longer! Our volunteer programs are for everyone: men, women, young and old. Families are especially welcome! Since 2004, we’ve hosted more than 3,000 Christian volunteers from more than 30 countries to serve more than 50 small farmers all throughout Judea and Samaria. Most of them have gone home to report life-changing experiences. You don’t have to take our word for it though. Make sure to read and watch their real stories on our website.
You too can go past the typical tour bus experience, get off the beaten track, and watch your faith come alive as you join a volunteer program in Israel’s biblical heartland.
Visit ServeIsrael.com/Volunteer to learn more today.