Israel Journey Kingswood/JORI: Kibbutz Afik and the Golan Heights

Here is what we have been up to the last few days!

Monday July 4th
To begin our Monday morning, we woke up early and ate breakfast at the kibbutz. After breakfast we ascended the Golan Heights. We got to see the view of the waterfall there and a select few also chose to go swimming in the water beneath the waterfall. Then we went to lunch at a strip mall where many people ate falafel and shawarma.

We then left and went on a two hour jeep tour of the Golan Heights. We were able to see the border of Syria, and see/ go through many bunkers that were used in Israel’s past wars. After that, we went to the beach at the Sea of Galilee where we swam in the water and had a Fourth of July barbecue. We then went back to the kibbutz and had some free time before our Fourth of July festivities. We were surprised with firecrackers which made for a good reminder of home and a great Fourth of July for all of us. “It was a memorable experience to celebrate an American holiday outside of America,” said Britt.

Tuesday, July 5
On Tuesday, we woke up early in the morning for a 7:45 breakfast at Kibbutz Afik. We then hopped on the bus for a long ride to an Arab Village in the Golan Heights. When we got there, we went into a classroom to speak to an Ashkenazi Jew who taught us about the coexistence and history of the Jews and Arabs in Israel. Ben Salden remembers that about 20% of Israel’s population consists of Arabs.

We broke up into four groups, each with one or two Arab Muslims, to talk about our families, interests, and lives as minorities where we live. We then drove on the bus to Piquan, a Druze community, and enjoyed a tradition Druze lunch. A Druze man then spoke to us about the different aspects of being a Druzi. After a fun time with the Druze community, we went back to the kibbutz for optional swim time. The pool was great, and we all had a great time. We then got dressed for dinner, had an evening activity, and went into our rooms at 11 for curfew. Ben Cohen said his favorite part of July 5th was eating a meal from and learning about the Druze community!
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