This last weekend I took Friday off and headed north. I took two buses and finally I reached Ein Hasofet. If you don't remember Ein Hashofet and need a visual reminder check out my pictures and look at the albums from October and December. You can also check out the posts from that time to refresh your memory of the Kibbutz where I spent 2 months volunteering. It was a great time and an interesting look into Israeli culture.
Anyway I went back to visit all the friends I left who were on the Ulpan. A few of the volunteers were still there, but most of them too had moved on. A day makes it a little difficult to make new friends, but I did meet many new people. The volunteer ranks have grown a little, but the Ulpan is largely the same.
Thursday night Daryl met me in Yokneam and we had an excellent dinner. We bought a few beers and reminisced about good times and caught up on each others lives. We then headed to the Super Sal [Supermarket] and bought some snacks and beer for later. That night after a quick haircut we hung out and had some beers and I generally had a great time catching up with all my old friends.
Brief side note...most of the weekend was spent speaking only in Hebrew as the Ein Hashofet Ulpan is 4 months into the 5 month process. Even the כתה א (Class Aleph) students are able to hold down decent conversations. It was nice.
Daryl and I woke up late on Friday morning and went back to Yokneam. The original plan was to go to Haifa, but we ended up getting a late start and the buses wouldn't work for us. Anyway, we ate lunch and did a little shopping...I bought a new hat. My old one was too big for my newly cut hair.
Friday night we went to he Ein Hashofet pub. We played pool, drank, ate, and danced. It was a great night. While there I met up with some kibbutznik friends who I had made while volunteering. Long story short one of them invited me on his Shabbat day trip.
Waking up at 9:30 am to go on the trip was a little difficult. We only got back from the pub at around 3 or 4 am. Tired and without coffee, Daryl, Begonyia [from Spain], Matan [My kibbutznik friend], and I all headed for a brunch. Little did I know what was in store for me.
We headed to a small Arab village south of the Kibbutz. We pulled up at a tiny little restaurant in the middle of an Israeli Arab village. The restaurant was an amazing experience. We were shuffled to the best table in the restaurant an food immediately appeared. (Matan had ordered with out me even knowing.) Humus, salads, chips (french fries to us), falafel, stacks of pita, and plates of Arabic jasmin rice, meat, beans, and tahina. When a plate looked empty it was refilled very quickly. The owner (I can only assume the man working was the owner) was pretty regularly checking up on us and all the other customers. A mix of Hebrew and Arabic was in the air mixing with the wonderful scents of food. Arab families were sitting next to Israelis and children were playing outside. It was delicious food, and a wonder of an experience.
After the amazing food and a quick shot of spiced Arabic coffee we headed to Tel-Meggido. This is an archeological site near Ein Hashofet. The like goes to the Wikepedia entry for it. Quite an amazing piece of history overlooking a modern road that was built on an ancient one. I took lots of pictures and had an amazing time. History is everywhere here and its almost always right next to something very modern. Tel-Meggido is right next to Kibbutz Meggido. Its amazing to see how interwoven history is with the modern state. Check out the pictures.
After I got home life seemed to return to normal. Unfortunately tragedy struck this morning and it was quite close to home. Dimona is a city in the Negev. Its mostly famous as the bathroom stopping point on the bus to Eliat. However, its a fairly large settlement just south of Be'er Sheva. While smaller than Mequon, this country is much smaller and 36,000 people is a fairly large place. This morning tragedy struck in Dimona as the first suicide bomb in over a year hit. Details are still a bit sketchy, but at least one woman died and 11 were wounded. Check out the Ha'aretz article to know more.
The scene from lunch on Saturday is playing over and over in my mind. Most people here just want to live their lives, but there is so much hate. I desperately want history to not repeat itself this time. I want there to be peace, but I know its difficult when young men and women are willing to blow themselves up to try and make their point.