Our early morning began with a movie at the Kfar Etzion Field School. This was followed by additional and meaningful insights by Steve Gar, security expert. Gar began by teaching us about the importance of fighting for the eradication of terrorism. We thanked Gar and the rest of his unit for their constant support and sacrifices, so the people of Israel can go about their daily lives without constant fear.
We continued our afternoon by joining Gar on a hike along an ancient highway from Jerusalem to Hebron called “the Patriarchs Way.” We saw an ancient wine press, a Mikvah and a well that was used to fill up the Mikva. After the hike, we had lunch at a volunteer center called “Warm Corner” where soldiers are given free food, hot soup in the winter and slushies in the summer.
We then visited an IDF base in Gush Etzion. We passed, to our surprise, an Bedouin unit of scouts who pray five times a day and fast on Ramadan, all under the auspices of the IDF. They choose to fight for the country that protects them. Afterwards we visited Yaniv’s (our bus driver) cousin, a combat medic at the clinic in the base. Tuvia, our educational guide, who is an IDF combat medic, then simulated a wartime combat conditions by inserting an actual plasma infusion into Gush’s arm. We then boarded the bus and headed towards “Roots,” an organization that introduces Palestinian and Israeli teens. What should have been a conversation teaching each other about our intertwined histories, turned into a heated argument. For peace to be reached it is important to remember that we must listen to each other. In the future, we hope the Israeli-Palestinian conflict won’t be us vs them, but all of us together will learn how to resolve it
We finished off a great day by hearing Yossi Klein HaLevi preach the beauty of being a centrist. We are all looking forward to Yossi’s new book, Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor, released this coming May.