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  • Talma Gotteiner

The Galilee: A Taste of the 24th Olive Festival

Updated: May 6, 2020

Hi there!

I am happy to share with you some of the offerings in store for you from a preview trip to some of the Druze villages in the Galilee, courtesy of the Ministry of Tourism that will participate in the 24th Olive Festival that will be taking place over two weekends this November.

Festival Dates: 1-3 Nov 2018 between 10:00-16:00 8-11 Nov 2018 between 10:00-16:00

Trip Agenda Options

Druze Village Beit Jann

  • Dr. Dabour Cosmetics Visitors Center

  • The Ancient House

  • Ajiel Cave

Druze Village Hurfeish

  • Olive Oil Visitor Center Abu Afif

  • Embroidery Lace Hurfeish

  • Late Lunch at Ibtisam's House

Trip Anchors

The Ancient House in Beit Jann

This authentic ancient house is presented by its 10th generation owner, Nidal Halabi. After a tour of the Mediterranean style arched house with its internal water cistern, Nidal tells about the Druze culture and customs in the large guest room or Diwan where light refreshments are offered. Nidal also offers guided tours of the village including his ancient house that take up to 3 hours.

Contact: Nidal 050-756-0249

Ancient House Beit Jann

Late Lunch at Ibtisam Faras in Hurfeish

Nothing can compare to a personal experience of Druze hospitality. Ibtisam invites you to partake of her family recipes of the delicious Druze cuisine in her lovely courtyard. I recommend it wholeheartedly.

Contact: Ibtisam 077-2308292

Ibtisam Faras Hurfeish

Additional Options

Dr. Dabour Cosmetics Visitors Center in Beit Jann

Dr. Ziad Dabour, the founder, was born and raised in the village of Beit Jann, siturated at the heart of the Meron Nature Reserve where he grew up hearing about the traditional methods for using local plants that grew in the region. Years later he studied pharmacology and medicinal herbs until receiving a doctorate degree in medical science from the Technion. After serving as the chief pharmacist in the IDF for several years, he currently lectures on organic chemistry and clinical pharmacology in parallel to development of the dermo-cosmetic industry in the galilee.

The products developed at his laboratories focus on facial care, anti-aging, hair-care, toiletry and medical skin products. All are based on natural herbal ingredients that are extracted and formulated using advanced biotech formulation methods. At the visitors center you will be able to hear more about his products and purchase them of course.

Phone: 04-9803711 email: Website:

Dr. Dabour Beit Jann

Ajiel Cave

Ajiel cave also known as the Byzantine or Crusader cave is a three hundred square meter cave that was used for prayer in a secret church of the first Christians in the Galilee. It also served as a source of water and hiding place for the villagers. You can arrange a guided tour by appointment.

Contact: 04-9802457 or 050-9802457.

Ajiel Cave Beit Jann

Olive Oil Visitors Center Abu Afif

The Olive Oil Visitor Center Abu Afif invites you to meet with a Druze family and learn about the production of traditional olive oil that has been passed on through the Afif family from father to son.

Abu Afif Olive Visitors Center, Hurfeish

The tour includes a lecture regarding the olive harvest season and oil production, an explanation about the different types of seed oils and essential oils and their quality and even a bit about soap production. You will be able to try out the press and experience oil tasting and even register for one of the additional workshops offered such as preparation of natural olive oil soap, preparation of a tray of the oriental sweet called Kanafeh and a workshop for preparing authentic Druze dishes. At the visitors center's you can also enjoy a light Druze meal based on baked goods from the Taboon with Labane cheese, olives and honey and purchase a wide variety of galilean products from the region.

Contact: 050-654-7638

Abu Afif Olive Visitors Center, Hurfeish

Embroidery Lace Hurfeish

The embroidery lace house at Hurfeish is an employment initiative for women living in the heart of the Druze community. Once a week, the women of the village gather in a large stone house, learn knitting and embroidery, and create decorative and fashion items in a traditional style.

A visit to the site includes an explanation of the project, the status of Druze women in the past and present, and a short tour of the village nucleus. In the tradition of Druze hospitality, guests will be greeted with coffee and cake. The visit should be scheduled in advance. For those interested there is a possibility for registering for a knitting or embroidery workshop.

Address: Road 89, Hurfeish Contact: 077-9964487

Embroidery Lace Hurfeish


The main meal at Ibtisam in Hurfeish was described above. In the morning we enjoyed a light meal made by a local catering called 'Sajtag' that was brought to Dr. Dabour's yard. You are welcome to contact the owner Tagrid and arrange for your own private meal.

Contact: Tagrid from Sajtag 04-9803496

Sajtag Druze Catering


A few nearby suggestions include: C Hotel Hacienda Forestview in Maalot Tarshiha and a few hotels in Safed (see my previous post): Ruth Rimonim Safed, Safed Inn, Azamra Inn, Artists' Colony Inn, Canaan Spa Hotel and Pelech Harimmonim.

My Timeline

This trip filled up a day. This is what it looks like on the map:

Olive Festival Oct 2018 Trip Map

Festival Dates: 1-3 Nov 2018 between 10:00-16:00 8-11 Nov 2018 between 10:00-16:00

More information on the festival events can be found at the Hebrew Website.

Best, Talma

P.S. If you're interested in travel-related offers, you're welcome to view my 'guided tours' and 'best deals' pages. Subscribers also have 'members only' benefits. To subscribe.

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