2019 Speaking Tour - USA

Green Olive Partners Mohammad Barakat and Fred Schlomka will be on a speaking tour across the USA at the end of September. Fred and Mohammad will be discussing recent events on the ground in Israel/Palestine and the work of the Green Olive Collective. They will also introduce a new project and our unique crowdfunding campaign launching soon.

Green Olive supporters across the USA are opening their homes for these events.
Come and join us.

To register, please go to our registration page at this link. After you register, the name, address, and contact details of the host will be emailed to you.
21st September
Minneapolis • 2-4pm • Private Home
Saint Paul • 7-9pm • Private Home
22nd September 
San Francisco • 1-3pm • Private home
San Francisco • 4:30-6:30pm • Private home
23rd September
Palo Alto • 6-8pm • Cubberly Community Center
24th September
Manhattan • 6:30-8:30pm • Private home
25th September
Manhattan • 6-8pm • York Theater, St. Peters Church
26th September
Ithaca • 7-9pm • Tikkun V'Or Reform Temple
27th September
Beverly • 7:00-9:00pm • Private home
28th September
Boston • 3-5pm • Private home


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2019 writing competition


 >> VOTE HERE >>


The Green Olive Collective is launching a writing competition and you are invited to share your thoughts with our community! There are cash prizes to be won and author Gershon Baskin has kindly agreed to act as our judge.

Our judge - Jerusalem Post columnist Gershon Baskin

How to enter

The theme for the topic is broad: "Reflections on my trip to Israel-Palestine". You might like to tell us your views on the country, and how they changed during your trip. You might have some novel idea for a potential solution to the ongoing conflict here. Or perhaps you have a reaction to the Peace to Prosperity conference held recently in Bahrain?

Whichever subject you chose, the article must be in English and between 500 and 750 words.

Then submit your article, before August 30, at this link.

  • Total prize money of US$600, including a grand prize of $300 for the winning submission.
  • Signed copies of In Pursuit of Peace in Israel and Palestine, the most recent book by peace activist Gershon Baskin.
  • All short listed articles will be published on the Green Olive blog, and the winning article will be distributed to the nearly 30000 Green Olive supporters around the world.
>> Submit your article here <<

    Terms and conditions

    1. The competition is open to anyone age 18 and over who has visited Palestine / Israel during the past five years.

    2. Closing date for receipt of all entries is midnight on Friday the 30th of August, 2019.

    3. To enter, submit your article consisting of 500-750 words via the official entry form.

    4. An initial shortlist will be selected on merit by a panel of reviewers appointed by Green Olive Tours (including at least one independent reviewer not affiliated with Green Olive Tours). The selected ten entries will then be open to voting by the public via the Green Olive Tours website. The winner will be chosen by independent judge, Gershon Baskin, from the three entries receiving the most votes.

    5. The author's name (with permission) and country will be published along with their article. Contact information is for the use of Green Olive Tours only and will not published.

    6. Public voting will begin on Friday 13th September 2019 and terminate on Friday 27th September 2019. To be eligible to vote, you must submit a unique email address and vote on our official website. Only one vote is allowed per person.

    7. The winners will be announced via the Green Olive Tours website by the 4th of October 2019 and informed via contact information provided with the entry.

    8. The winner will receive a prize package consisting of $300 USD (payable via PayPal or wire transfer) along with a signed copy In Pursuit of Peace in Israel and Palestine by Gershon Baskin. Second prize will receive $200 USD and a copy of the book. Third prize will received $100 USD and a copy of the book.

    9. The winning article will be published in the October 2019 Green Olive Tours newsletter that is distributed to almost 30000 people throughout the world. 

    10. Green Olive Tours reserves the right to publish any entry on its website now and at any time in the future. Authors retain the copyright and can subsequently publish elsewhere, with an attribution and link back to Green Olive Tours.

    11. Entries limited to one per person. 

    12. Email addresses provided during entry or voting will be used solely by Green Olive Tours and will not be disclosed to any third parties. Newsletters and other correspondence that we send have a clearly indicated 'unsubscribe' link which can be done at any time.

    13. There is no alternative to the prizes offered. 

    14. If for any reason a winner is unable to accept the prize as offered, Green Olive Tours reserves the right to award the prize to the next best entry. 

    15. The judge's decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.

    These terms and conditions may be changed at the discretion of the organizers.


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    2019 writing competition

    You too can enter the writing competition - Entry page at this link >>
    w couchsurfing broadened my horizon

    - by Miriam Blanchette, Sweden -  

    We had just got out of the store when I experienced the chilling sounds of the air raid sirens. One minute later I heard explosions from the rockets intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system. My stomach dropped and I felt like crying.
     Imagine you go on a vacation and already on the second day a war breaks out. That’s what happened to my friend and I during our first trip to Israel back in 2014. On one occasion we couldn’t find a bomb shelter on time and we threw ourselves on the ground with our hands over our heads trying to protect ourselves as best we could.  People might think that an experience like that would make you not want to ever come back again. For me it was the opposite; I have been back almost 10 times. It's become my happy place - some people go to Greece, Spain or Thailand - I go to Israel and Palestine. I call it home. Home is where the heart is and my heart is definitely here, with the people, different culture and also in the religions.

    I grew up in a very pro-Israel home and I realized later that my mother’s version of the conflict was one-sided and biased.  When I came home after my first trip I joined Swedish PRO Israel Facebook groups but they all turned out to be full of people with opinions that made me feel uncomfortable. I asked myself: does being PRO the state of Israel mean I am AGAINST the State of Palestine? Do I need to hate because I love?

     I decided to leave the groups. Instead I joined Couchsurfing. This gave me opportunity to stay with families in both Israel and Palestine. My last host family was Christian Palestinian, owners of and organic farm and restaurant. They took me in with open arms and made me feel like a part of their family. With them I ate the most delicious Arabic food, saw breathtaking sunsets behind the hills of Al Makrour and felt how the nature and air brought total peace to my body and soul.  Tears ran down my cheeks as I left Beit Jala. I have also stayed with Jewish families on settlements. My host in Har Bracha showed me where the nation of Israel was constituted. The Torah coming alive in front of my eyes was absolutely incredible! I visited a winery and talked with the owner. He told me he is fulfilling the following words of Jeremiah: Yet again shall you plant vineyards on the mountains of Samaria.

    After this experience I stayed with another Palestinian family. I didn’t tell them where I had been. My first day with them I was still wearing my Star of David together with my Hamsa. The next day I took it off and later I was asked why I was wearing the sign of the occupation. I listened carefully as my new friend explained to me what he meant. I hadn't really listened with a desire of actually understanding what the occupation means for someone who feels he is being a victim of it. During my last trip I spent almost all of my 20 days in Palestine.

    Long gone are the days when I’m lying on a crowded beach in Tel Aviv working on my suntan. Something has changed within me. I’m more open-minded. I’ve meet people from different communities and I’ve heard their stories and what they believe in. I’ve seen the land being used to bless the people living there - I’ve seen where the desert truly bloom - on both sides! I’ve asked a million questions, I have listened, I have shared my thoughts, I have cried, laughed, and also gotten annoyed. I have eaten with Jews, Christians, Muslims, Samaritans, Messianic Jews, Bedouins and a Druze. Some people talked about occupation, others about liberation. So many want peace. Most people here are REALLY GOOD people. The stories and narratives I’ve heard, the kindness and goodness I’ve seen, the heartbreak and love I’ve felt often keeps me awake at night. I’ll linger away and for a second I’m back in the Old City and sitting on the Dream Bench eating a delicious falafel. The story and adventure doesn’t end here. Now I’m thinking of how to share my meetings, experiences and feelings with those who want to listen. Be’ezrat Hashem (with G-d’s help) and Inshallah (G-d willing) I will find ways.


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