Israel-Palestine trip cancelled

Jasmine Schmidt

Poster of the Israel-Palestine trip, courtesy of Dr. Haley Jacob

The Israel-Palestine Jan Term trip planned for January 2025 was canceled in early April due to a lack of students signing up as well as conflict in the area. The trip was intended to be led by Dr. Haley Jacob, the chair of the theology department and Whitworth University associate professor, and Jeremy Wynne, director of theology graduate studies and Whitworth associate professor at Whitworth.   

Jacob decided to cancel the trip after Iran’s embassy was bombed in Syria on April 1 and found out that only 10 students paid the deposit for the trip. According to Jacob, the bombing in Damascus meant that the conflict in Israel-Palestine would likely go on for many more months, which would make the necessary safety of the trip even more unpredictable.  

“We just hoped all winter long that we would see peace come to the area [to] give us that guarantee [of safety],” said Jacob.

“We’ve now come to the place where the trajectory is just unsafe. And we can’t make a trip like that in good conscience,” said Wynne.   

The goal was to have 20 students on the trip, so having only 10 students would not be enough to bring the two leaders.  

Spencer Little, a Whitworth senior planning to go on the trip, was also disappointed about the cancelation. “I know that at some point in my life, I know I will be able to go to Israel, but I was excited about who was on the trip and about the professors leading it. I was really excited to learn more about the people and the culture and do the homestays, and so I was really bummed that all of that didn’t work out,” said Little.   

However, Little was aware of the safety concerns and knew that Jacob and Wynne would make the best decision for the group.  “In terms of safety, I really trusted the professors’ judgment and knew that they wouldn’t take us if it wasn’t safe to do so,” said Little. 

Depending on how the war continues to unfold, another Israel-Palestine trip could be offered to Whitworth students as early as January 2026. “There’s so much unpredictability about the current circumstances that it’s hard to anticipate what this time next year might look like. There’s no reason why we couldn’t offer this trip even for January 2026 if things change in the Holy Land and we return to the level of peace or the level of a guarantee of peace that has historically been there,” said Jacob.  

While disappointed, those involved in planning and then canceling the trip are looking forward to the end of the current conflict. “We realize we have so much to be thankful for, and the fact that this trip can’t happen is very sad. But we’re reminded in this circumstance that people are enduring on a daily basis much harsher realities of occupation,” said Jacob.

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