Friday, April 01, 2011

On to Tel Aviv

Yesterday we arrived in modern Israel -- in Tel Aviv, a city that never sleeps. This is the view of the Mediterranean from our hotel window. We walked a long way down the board walk to have a delicious fish dinner right on the beach.

This morning we learned about efforts to promote Arab-Israeli dialog at all ages. We visited Givat Haviva, a beautiful space dedicated to that purpose. The tree above was an ancient cypress which fell over in a storm. A team of Jewish and Arab teenagers was tasked with designing a memorial to peace from the fallen wood. Here is their plan, which was followed quite well.

We talked a lot about the Green Line and the recently constructed wall, which in some cases deviate, leaving a no-man's land between. One of the most difficult outcomes of these attempts to create new borders is the town of Barta, where East Barta is under the control of the Palestinian Authority and West Barta is part of Israel. Families are split and at this point it is unclear whether the two pieces will ever be reunited. We had to go through this checkpoint to visit West Barta.

The green foliage in the photo below marks the Green Line as it runs through the middle of this small town.

Here are three Arab boys who came to welcome us. It is hard to imagine any of them becoming a suicide bomber. But life for them is terribly difficult and complicated because of the partitioning of their town.

We moved on to Atlit, a spot where thousands of post-war refugees were imprisoned by the British as they sought to enter Palestine, not yet the state of Israel. Can you even imagine the fear of these people, who in many cases had been liberated from the death camps, only to be placed behind barbed wire once again and told they had to take showers to become decontaminated? They came mostly on rickety old ships, like the one in Exodus.

Here is one of the barracks where women and children slept, while they waited to be repatriated. As it turns out, if they were able to make land and not be turned back, they were allowed to stay and were released from their imprisonment usually within 6 months.

We stopped in Zichron Jacob (remembering the father of Baron von Rothschild) for a coffee break. It's a charming little town from which people can easily commute to either Tel Aviv or Haifa.

We are finally on our way back to Tel Aviv after celebrating Shabbat with our sister congregation Or Chadash in Haifa.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm in awe of all that you're seeing and taking in. Thanks for sharing it here.

My heart eased a bit as I moved on to the photo of the fountain; felt like an oasis of simple calm amidst so much challenging terrain...



1:25 PM  

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