Our Abraham Story
If you feel at home when you visit our hostels, it’s probably because the Abraham Hostels & Tours was founded by travelers, for travelers. It all started with Maoz Inon, who was an enthusiastic backpacker with a dream of opening a hostel for international travelers, which would promote sustainable and socially responsible tourism here in Israel.
From this dream, our Fauzi Azar Inn was born, which ultimately led to the founding of the Abraham Group. But even this story is its own remarkable tale.
After spending time traveling the world with his wife, Maoz set his sights on his homeland of Israel in the early 2000s. At the time, there were no English resources for traveling in Israel, and even fewer places for international travelers. Maoz knew he wanted to open a guesthouse somewhere here, and in a very unusual decision, decided on Nazareth.
Why was Nazareth such a strange choice? Not only was it the largest Arab city in Israel, but it has deep Christian roots, and at the time, was not hospitable for Israeli outsiders. In fact, even the idea of an Israeli spending time in the Old City of Nazareth was considered incredibly dangerous by the locals. But Maoz saw Nazareth as an opportunity for connection, community, and the positive impacts of travel. He visited Nazareth, and found a mansion which belonged to the Azar family. The building was beautiful but had been empty for 15 years after Fauzi Azar died while protecting his family from a fire.
It took Maoz many meetings with the family over many cups of coffee to earn their support and trust, but one day, Maoz received the keys to the abandoned mansion. After a weekend of cleaning and quick painting, the Fauzi Azar Inn was open for business.
Today, it is a special hostel in one of the most unique cities in Israel with an unmatched atmosphere. The hostel is located in Nazareth’s Old City, and is known for its incredible food and hospitality. It’s also perfectly located for tours across the Galilee and Golan.
The Fauzi Azar Inn opened in 2005, and not only did it survive, but it began to thrive. Guests started to visit Nazareth, spending their time in the Old City, and their money supporting local businesses. After the success in Nazareth, Maoz joined forces with Gal Mor, and later with Nitzan Kimchi, Dror Tishler, and Yaron Burgin, to form the Abraham Group.
The first hostel launched from the Abraham Group was Jerusalem, which opened its doors in 2010. Whereas Fauzi Azar is a homey inn, Abraham Hostel Jerusalem sleeps up to 300 guests every night. It’s located just around the corner from the famed Machane Yehuda Market, and is a 15-minute walk to the Old City of Jerusalem. Complete with a cozy lounge, daily events, and an airy rooftop bar, Abraham Hostel Jerusalem marked the start of a new era of tourism in Israel. Also notably, in 2012, the Fauzi Azar Inn was brought into the Abraham Group.
Abraham Hostel Jerusalem led to the next major project: Abraham Hostel Tel Aviv. It opened its doors in 2016 in the heart of the buzzing city, and sleeps up to 400 international travelers every night. Abraham Hostel Tel Aviv is surrounded by cafes, clubs, bars, and is close to many incredible sites in Tel Aviv, such as the beautiful beach, the Old City of Jaffa, and the trendy Florentin neighborhood.
There’s no shortage of things to do at our Tel Aviv hostel. With nightly events such as musical performances, cooking workshops, language exchanges, and paint and pint, there’s something for every guest. Both the rooftop and lounge are spacious, and the guest kitchen and in-house restaurant are places where locals and travelers can connect over food and drinks.
The newest hostel in the Abraham Group is our Eilat location, and it’s an exciting project that opened its doors in 2021. Eilat is situated on the southern tip of Israel, and this city perched on the Red Sea is surrounded by sand dunes.It’s also just a short drive from both the Egyptian and Jordanian borders.
This hostel is our largest so far and sleeps up to 450 independent travelers, who can spend their days relaxing in the swimming pool, enjoying the bar and lounge, or spending their time on Eilat’s sandy beaches. Eilat has a bustling nightlife scene, is a great place for water activities such as scuba diving and snorkeling, and is perfect for tours to Egypt and Jordan.
Aside from our incredible hostels, the Abraham Group also launched its own tour branch, Abraham Tours. Abraham Tours was founded in 2011 with the goal of creating not only tours that are amazing for every traveler, but ones that are of superb quality, are socially responsible, and that do not promote a political agenda (something that is not necessarily a given here in Israel).
Our tours operate out of each of our hostel locations: Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Eilat, and Nazareth. We have tours in every category imaginable, spanning from political and socially responsible tours, to ones that hit the major attractions Israel has to offer. Our culinary & nightlife tours will have you enjoying food and drinks from every corner of the world, while you can experience the different cultures of Israel on our cultural tours. Our nature and adventure tours will have you sailing through the Red Sea, enjoying a Jeep ride through rugged deserts, hiking in the Galilee, and much more. For those looking to dive into the political complexities of Israel, we offer many engaging dual-narrative tours. You can travel to the border wall with Gaza, and experience both Jerusalem and Hebron from a dual-narrative perspective.
Social Impact Tourism
As you can see, Abraham is not your average tour and hostel group. We are dedicated to doing what we believe is right, and standing up for causes. That’s why we’re especially proud to offer our Social Impact tours, which are designed to educate travelers about social and political issues of Israeli society. These issues include the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, LGBTQ+ rights, and issues impacting the Ethiopian Jewish community. Our Social Impact tours include:
- Rahat’s Entrepreneurial Women: Rahat is the only Bedouin city in Israel. On this tour, participants meet exceptional women from this city, who share their story of the complexities of their patriarchal communities, and how they pursue their dreams.
- Bnei Brak Culinary Tour: Bnei Brak is home to an exquisite culinary scene for traditional Jewish food. Your guide will be a member of the Orthodox Jewish community, who will take you on a culinary journey while sharing stories about the community.
We here at Abraham don’t only want to do good, we also want to fight for change and stand up for what’s right. That’s why one of our guiding principles is “Come As You Are,” which you’ll see written on the walls of our hostels. We want to be a place where every human can feel comfortable entering, and a tourism company that positively influences society and its community. Here’s how Abraham works to positively impact the world around us:
- Sustainable tourism: We are dedicated to reducing the negative environmental impacts of tourism and addressing the climate crisis, through sustainable and responsible tourism. For example, our Eilat hostel was built with energy efficiency in mind, and with measures for reducing its environmental footprint.
- Our society: We work to support our society through many means, such as our multicultural and dual-narrative tours, and through arts & culture as a means of social activism. You’ll notice art on the walls of our hostels by local artists, and many of our exhibitions are about social justice issues. We also take part in political issues that are important to us, such as standing up against the deportation of refugees.
- Fair and empowering employment: We emphasize fair and empowering employment, with ethical work environments, and opportunities for impactful employee development. 41% of Abraham’s managers are women, about 50% of our placements are internal promotions, and 90% of our staff say their experience with us is better than their alternative.
- Economic opportunities: We’re dedicated to supporting local small businesses in our communities, and to referring our guests to local small businesses. 138 small businesses and enterprises are referenced in our maps that we give to guests, and we’ve spent more than 25 million NIS on purchases with local small businesses.
Abraham’s Blog Is Here For You
As you can see, there is so much more to Abraham besides our hotels and our tours, and our blog is here to be your top resource. For example, in “The Guide to Israel” section you’ll find all of our pieces related to traveling in Israel, including our guide to Israeli graffiti, and the best historic sites.
Abraham is here to host you in a fashion that is true to Abraham, the first backpacker. Our doors are always open to offer you unparalleled hospitality and an experience in Israel unlike any other.