Dialogue | Encounters on the Israel Trail
Encounters on the Israel Trail is an annual event which invites Israelis and visitors from abroad to hike the Israel Trail together, while engaging in-depth dialogue about the challenges facing Israeli society. From Eilat in the south to She’ar Yashuv in the very north, each of the 40 one-day segments offers immersion in a different section of the Israeli landscape, along with pluralistic Jewish educational programming and meetings with local figures, invited speakers and community initiatives. Each day features a different theme and a discussion session where small groups study text and share their thoughts on issues related to Jewish and Israeli identity, traditional and contemporary culture, memorial, remembrance and social justice. The program brings together participants from a wide range of ages and social sectors for a day, a week or more of walking, discussing, learning and bonding.
Encounters on the Israel Trail was established by Raya and Yossi Ofner in honor of their son Avi, who was killed along with 72 other soldiers in the tragic 1997 helicopter crash that shook Israeli society. Israelis who have lost family and friends to the call of duty or terrorism are specifically invited to take part in the program, and it has taken on special significance for all participants.
In 2015, Encounters on the Israel Trail was awarded the Jerusalem Prize for Israeli Unity by President Reuven Rivlin and Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barakat for its groundbreaking work in bringing different parts of Israeli society together.