Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Israel Odyssey - Day 3 Meeting the real Israelis

We drove down from Jerusalem to the Merchavim district of the northern Negev to meet with the kibbutzniks of the south. Part of the day was spent with students of the district school. We met with the district police chief and learned what it was like for the residents who live so close to the Gaza border and had to deal with the rocket and mortar attacks from last summer's war with Hamas. The spirit and exuberance of the sabras, their love of the land, and their determination to make the desert blossom was really inspiring.

Israel is the only country in the middle east that has completely solved its water problem through new scientific irrigation techniques, recycling, and desalinization. It has been working with Jordan on their water issues, building a desalinization plant in Aqaba and bringing water from the Gulf of Elat up to the Dead Sea. Israel has also been working with Egypt on water issues. By building commercial and economic bridges with its neighbors - with which it was at one time mortal enemies - the Israelis are creating a reality on the ground that will make dislodging an impossibility.

Meeting with residents of kibbutz Ofakim to hear their stories of the most recent Gaza war, and listen to them recount tales of the wars of 1948, 1956, 1967, and 1973:



Having one-on-one talks with students of the Merchavim school district:



 Hearing from the police chief of the Merchavim district about the nightmare of living with rocket and mortar fire:



Child's toy, laying in the grass: