Israel Journey 4: Update #4

Dear Family and Friends,

IJ4 was feeling hot, hot, hot the last few days!

Wednesday, we woke up early to enjoy a water hike. It was a beautiful stream and a great way to stay cool. After the water hike we headed to Merom Golan for lunch. It was cool to visit a different kibbutz and compare it to the one we had been calling home.

After lunch we enjoyed a Jeep tour in the Golan Heights. Our drivers were a little wild and the kids enjoyed the off roading experience! The jeeps dropped us off at Mt. Ben-Tal. From there we could see Israel’s border with Lebanon and Syria. Our medic, Tal, and tour guide, Henry, shared personal stories of their time in the army with us. These two men worked to protect the same borders we were overlooking. We also had a powerful discussion about the Syrian Civil War and its impact on Israel.

After this educational discussion, we loaded the bus and headed to a beach BBQ. We relaxed in the Sea of Galiliee and then enjoyed a BBQ dinner! Once back at the kibbutz, we continued our teen-led discussion on Israel and Middle Eastern conflicts. Everyone in the group had insightful thoughts, asked questions and respected each others’ opinions. We all agreed that the conflicts are very complex and would not be solved in one night.

Thursday, we loaded the buses and said goodbye to Kibbutz Afik. That morning we took part in a coexistence workshop at the Galilee Foundation. It was incredible to watch our teens interact with Israeli Muslim teens. They connected on things like food, movies, hobbies, and even deeper subjects such as politics and being minorities. For lunch we stopped in Ussafiya, a Druz village, where we learned about another minority group here in Israel. They introduced us to a traditional Druz lunch that we all enjoyed.

Then it was off to Haifa!  There we stoped at the Baha’i Gardens – the landscape was beyond spectacular and the pictures we took won’t do it justice! After enjoying the views we learned a little about the Baha’i people and their culture.

That night the teens were in for a real treat! BBYO celebrated 60 years of teen programs in Israel with a huge party! B’yachad brought all the BBYO groups together for a night of music, dancing and laughter. We had great food, henna tattoos, games and more! It was so special to share these memories with our new and old friends!

Tomorrow is another adventure! Our next update will come after we celebrate Shabbat together…

– Your Israel Journey 4 Staff

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